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Lockheed cuts more jobs from its F-16 line

August 31, 2005 (by Lieven Dewitte) - Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co. will continue to reduce the number of workers employed in its F-16 Fighting Falcon program. through 2006, the company said Tuesday.
Layoff notices with 60-day advance warnings were delivered to about 60 workers at the Fort Worth assembly plant Monday and notices were posted in F-16 work areas indicating that more cuts are likely next year.

If that happens, 2006 would be the third straight year that Lockheed has cut jobs, primarily F-16 workers.

Including the latest round, Lockheed will have cut about 950 positions from the F-16 program this year, close to the 1,000 the company announced in January that it planned to eliminate.

Lockheed cut about 800 jobs from the F-16 program in 2004. The company added workers early in the decade as it boosted F-16 production from about two dozen planes a year to 62 in 2003 and 83 in 2004. About 70 planes are to be delivered this year.

With few new F-16 orders and a two- to three-year lead time on parts production, Lockheed has been able to cut employment on the manufacturing side while meeting its delivery schedules.

In a letter given to F-16 workers Monday, June Shrewsbury, vice president of the F-16 program, said Lockheed expects to gain 100 to 200 more orders and that "the F-16 program is alive and well."

There would be additional employment reductions, the letter suggested, as Lockheed works to keep costs down and the price of the F-16 affordable for potential buyers.

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