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F-16 Fighting Falcon News

Lockheed to cut F-16 workforce

January 15, 2004 (by Lieven Dewitte) - Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co. will be cutting 700 to 1,000 jobs from the F-16 Fighting Falcon program over the next few months as the Fort Worth-based company moves out of the development and initial production phases for the aircraft.
Although many jobs will be eliminated, the changes probably won't affect an equal number of workers since the defense contractor counts such factors as overtime in the equation when coming up with the total.

Also, they have requirements on other programs. Defense companies often shift employees from areas that are no longer needed for a program to others that are gearing up.

The number of cuts could also be fewer because of reductions in overtime and a decrease in the number of contract workers.

The eliminated jobs will come primarily from the engineering and manufacturing staff. Since Lockheed Martin introduced three new versions of the F16 in the last year, staffing in those areas has been higher than usual for a mature program.

The union met with the company in November and expects most production employees to get assignments on newer programs at the plant, such as the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter or the F/A-22 Raptor.

Engineers will find out if their jobs are being eliminated in the spring. Anyone who loses a job will get 60 days' notice. At the same time this occurs, Lockheed Martin will be adding people in critical skill areas.

Currently, there are 16,800 workers at the plant, and that total is expected to stay about the same regardless of job adjustments.

The F-16 was developed in the 1970s, and more than 4,600 have been sold to a couple of dozen countries. There is a backlog of 300 orders for the jet, which should keep the production line open until 2008.