News Briefs – December 18, 2015

BAE Systems lays off 160 workers at Norfolk shipyard

BAE Systems has laid off 160 workers at its Norfolk, Va., shipyard in the second round of job cuts.
The company says the Dec. 16 layoffs, along with the first round of layoffs in November and voluntary departures, cut the shipyard’s employment by about 400 jobs. The shipyard now employs about 1,080 workers.
BAE Systems had announced in September that it would lay off about 650 workers, citing a decrease in repair work for the Navy. The company said Wednesday in a news release that the shipyard’s workload has improved in the short term, thanks to efforts between it and the Navy.
But the company says sustaining the ship repair industry in Norfolk will require additional work.
BAE Systems provides ship repair, maintenance, modernization, conversion, and overhaul for the Navy and other customers. AP

U.S. announces $1.8 billion arms sales for Taiwan

The Obama administration has announced a $1.83 billion arms sale to Taiwan, the first offered by the U.S. to the self-governing island in four years.
China regards Taiwan as part of its territory and has said the sale, which was expected, should be canceled to avoid harming its relations across the Taiwan Strait and between China and the U.S.
The arms package includes two decommissioned U.S. Navy frigates, anti-tank missiles, amphibious assault vehicles, stinger surface-to-air missiles and other equipment.
There’s been mounting bipartisan concern in Congress that Taiwan is inadequately armed to defend itself against an increasingly powerful mainland China.
David McKeeby, a State Department spokesman on political-military affairs, said the package is consistent with U.S. support for Taiwan’s ability to defend itself. AP

Army tells Oshkosh to resume building tactical vehicles

The U.S. Army has told Oshkosh Corp. to resume work on building tactical vehicles that will replace some military Humvees.
The Army awarded a multi-billion dollar contract to Oshkosh Defense in August after Lockheed Martin’s challenge of the award was dismissed by the federal Government Accountability Office. Yet to be settled is Lockheed’s federal court challenge of the $6.7 billion contract award.
Oshkosh Northwestern Media says the Army Dec. 15 told Oshkosh to resume work on the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle. The contract calls for Oshkosh to build 17,000 vehicles. AP

Russian general says new weapons will ‘neutralize’ U.S. shield

Russia’s strategic nuclear forces chief says its new weapons will be capable of “neutralizing” any potential missile defenses.
Col. Gen. Sergei Karakayev, the Strategic Missile Forces’ commander, said Dec. 16 in remarks carried by Russian news agencies that the nation’s military planners have taken into account the emerging potential of NATO’s U.S.-led missile defenses.
The Kremlin long has described the U.S. missile shield as a top threat to Russia, dismissing Washington’s claim that it is intended to fend off an Iranian missile threat.
Karakayev said that while the existing U.S. missile defense isn’t capable of deflecting a missile attack Russia is capable of launching, the American missile shield will become more advanced in the future.
He added that Russia already has taken steps that would “guarantee neutralizing” any prospective missile defense. AP

Aerospace company offers retirement program to employees

An aerospace company has offered a voluntary retirement and layoff program to employees in Wichita, Kansas.
The Wichita Eagle reports that Spirit AeroSystems announced Dec. 14 that the programs are being offered to eligible executive, management and salaried employees in Wichita and Oklahoma.
Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace’s Midwest director Bob Brewer says he was surprised by the announcement because company officials had indicated in earlier conversations that there were no plans to offer an early retirement program this year.
“To me it’s kind of dangerous path to go down because these programs will only affect the people with the most knowledge and skills,” Brewer said.
The company says it does not have a target for the number of people who will participate in either program. Company officials also wouldn’t say if there would be involuntary layoffs if it was not satisfied with the results.
The programs come after the company made a recruitment effort in July that included a job fair coordinated by the company seeking to hire up to 500 people, mostly as assembly machinists.
AeroSystems says it is still hiring as it prepared for production rate increases on the Boeing 737 and 787. Spirit expects to increase its production rate on the 737, of which it manufactures the fuselage and other components, from 42 to 47 airplanes a month, followed by a jump to 52 by 2018.
The production rate of the Boeing 787 will increase from 10 to 12 a month by spring 2016.
“We are still hiring critical skills to meet the need of the business,” Spirit said in its e-mail Dec. 14.
Spirit AeroSystems has about 11,000 employees in Wichita. AP

More Stories From This Author