BAE cuts Typhoon and Hawk production, plans layoffs
BAE Systems, a British multinational defence company, has announced organizational changes that include up to 2000 jobs cuts in the UK, as the company struggles to secure offers from Qatar and suffers from UK government’s decision to retire the Tornado fleet.
“We are also announcing actions at some of our UK sites to align our workforce capacity more closely with near-term demand and enhance our competitive position to secure new business,” said Charles Woodburn, Chief Executive of BAE Systems. “Those actions are necessary and the right thing to do for our company, but unfortunately include proposed redundancies at a number of operations. I recognize this will be difficult news for some of our employees and we are committed to do everything we can to support those affected.”
The company announced that the reductions will affect the company’s “management layers”, as well as Applied Intelligence business (cut of 150 roles) and Maritime Services (cut of 375 roles). However, the biggest reductions are foreseen in the Military Air business across five sites where cuts of up to 1400 roles in the upcoming three years are planned as part of reduction of Typhoon final assembly and Hawk production rates.
BAE Systems has recently signed a Statement of Intent with Qatar for 24 Typhoon and six Hawk aircraft, but while the negotiations are taking place, the pressure to find new customers for Typhoon and Hawk continues. “Negotiations are progressing to agree a contract with the government of Qatar, which, if secured, would sustain Typhoon production jobs, and manufacturing well into the next decade,” the company announces in a statement.
The company is also saying farewell to the ageing Tornado, following the UK government’s decision to retire its Tornado fleet by 2019. “Following the UK Government’s confirmation that the RAF’s Tornado fleet will be taken out of active service in 2019, Tornado support and sustainment activities at RAF Marham and RAF Leeming are progressively winding down and will cease at that time. Longer term, our presence at RAF Marham is underpinned by F-35 sustainment activities.”
A brighter future is foreseen for F-35 Lightning II, as BAE Systems, responsible for manufacturing 10% of every F-35 aircraft globally at its UK units, expects to reach steady production rates of the model by 2020 and sustain them “well into the next decade”. “The business also benefits from significant support activities across Typhoon, Hawk and F-35,” the company announces.