Eurofighter Slowdown Forces Job Cuts

 - October 10, 2011, 10:16 AM
A slow-down in the production rate of the four-nation Eurofighter has caused job losses in the UK and Italy. (Photo: Eurofighter)

A slowing of the production rate of the Eurofighter Typhoon combat aircraft is partly responsible for new job losses in the UK and Italy. BAE Systems is trimming 1,500 workers from its employment rolls at Warton and Samlesbury in the UK. Alenia is cutting 1,200 jobs in Italy. Both companies blame squeezed defense budgets for the cuts.

The four Eurofighter partner nations have decided that the current rate of more than 50 aircraft per year for Germany, Spain, Italy and the UK can be reduced to fewer than 40. BAE Systems chief executive Ian King noted that the slowdown “will ensure the production line stays open until we receive anticipated export contracts.” The aircraft is vying for orders from India and Japan. But the British government has not yet been able to conclude an expected deal with Oman for up to 24 aircraft, nor to renegotiate the Al-Salam contract for 72 aircraft with Saudi Arabia. The first 24 Eurofighters for the Saudis have been completed and flown at Warton as planned. The other 48 were supposed to be assembled in the Kingdom. Instead, though, major subassemblies for the first of these follow-on aircraft have gone into storage at Warton. Neither BAE nor the UK government will comment on the situation.

BAE Systems also blamed a slower-than-expected increase in the F-35 production rate for the job cuts at Samlesbury, which builds the F-35 rear fuselage. The company laid off another 900 people at Brough, where production of the Hawk jet trainer has ended, pending any further orders.