BAE Systems has outlined a potential new round of job losses linked to reduced workload on some of its aircraft programmes and planning changes made by the UK Ministry of Defence.

In all, 740 positions from BAE's Military Air Solutions (MAS) unit could be lost at five UK sites, "following a detailed review of current business levels", the company says. The step also comes as the UK's leading defence contractor positions itself for the knock-on effects of the coalition government's ongoing Strategic Defence and Security Review process.

Over 650 of the at-risk jobs are at BAE's Brough, Samlesbury and Warton plants in north-west England. These respectively face reduced business on manufacturing the Hawk advanced jet trainer, in machining parts for Spirit AeroSystems and in supporting legacy fast jet products the Harrier, Hawk and Tornado.

The remainder of the possible cuts will be made at Chadderton, Greater Manchester, as a result of reduced large-aircraft business on the Nimrod R1 and Vickers VC10, and at Farnborough in Hampshire.

Some 55 positions are threatened at the latter site, with BAE citing the UK government's December 2009 decision to reduce the number of Harriers in service, and the pending completion of capability upgrades to the GR9 variant aircraft. The Royal Air Force disbanded its Harrier-equipped 4 Sqn earlier this year.

 Harrier bow - BernieC Gallery
© BernieC Gallery on
Some of the UK's Harriers bowed out earlier this year

"We must ensure we remain competitive by having the correct skills, capabilities and resources," says MAS managing director Kevin Taylor. "We are committed to working with our employees and their representatives to explore ways of mitigating these potential job losses."

Additional losses could also be encountered at BAE's Integrated System Technologies, or Insyte, operating unit.

Source: Flight International