An additional 150 workers at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics in west Fort Worth received pink slips last week, more than doubling the number of layoffs since the first of the year. Their last day of work is expected to be Jan. 25. On Jan. 4, 110 workers, mostly aircraft assembly line employees, were laid off.
Speculation about defense industry cuts has been widespread, and all eyes are on the nation’s biggest defense program, the F-35, which is seen as a target for budget cutting in coming years.
Last month, Lockheed received a Pentagon contract guaranteeing a final installment of about $127.7 million for the fifth production lot of F-35 fighters. And then, just before year’s end, Lockheed and the Pentagon agreed to contracts for a sixth lot of 31 additional F-35 jets. For now, executives have said that the program should not have to cut back on production and jobs, thanks to two recent contracts.
About 6,000 of Lockheed’s 14,200 workers at the west-side complex are directly involved in F-35 development, engineering and production, and many other jobs at the plant are tied to the program, reports stated.
Plans call for Lockheed to build more than 2,400 F-35s for the Air Force, Navy and Marines at a cost now estimated at $395.7 billion.