McDONNELL DOUGLAS (MDC) is to close its missiles plant in Titusville, Florida, following the group's failure, to win the US Tomahawk cruise-missile competition. Another electrical-equipment plant is also to close at St Charles, Missouri, bringing group redundancies to 1,300.

The Florida plant will deliver its last Tomahawk sea-launched cruise missiles in August, after which it will shut, with the loss of around 1,000 jobs.

MDC was beaten in 1994, by Hughes Aircraft in the competition to produce the US Navy's remaining requirement, for an updated version of the cruise missile. Hughes can expect contracts worth $1.5 billion for further production and development.

The group says that the Missouri plant, known as Building 500, will close by the end of this year, because of a scarcity of defence work. The plant produces electrical-wire bundles and ground-support equipment for aircraft and missile systems. Remaining work at the Titusville and St Charles plants will be shifted elsewhere within the group.

Since 1991, the aerospace giant has shut down around one-third of its production floor space, or roughly 1.4 million m2 (15.5 million ft2). Over the past four years, the group has also halved its workforce, shedding around 60,000.

Source: Flight International