Defense electronics employees to be laid off at BAE Systems in effort to sharpen market focus

NASHUA, N.H., 25 June 2009. Leaders of the BAE Systems Electronic Solutions segment in Nashua, N.H., are set to lay off 250 non-engineering employees by 31 Aug. in an effort to sharpen the company's focus on small, lightweight military electronics systems for infantry soldiers, situational awareness, and other priorities of the Obama Administration, company officials announced today.

Jun 25th, 2009

By John Keller

NASHUA, N.H., 25 June 2009. Leaders of the BAE Systems Electronic Solutions segment in Nashua, N.H., are set to lay off 250 non-engineering employees by 31 Aug. in an effort to sharpen the company's focus on small, lightweight defense electronics systems for infantry soldiers, situational awareness, and other military priorities of the Obama Administration, company officials announced today.

"We are looking at bringing down the total structure -- not in the key skill sets in engineering, but in support groups like finance, communications, facilities, and possibly managers who are not directly building the product," says Maryellen Tansey, director of communications for BAE Electronic Solutions, which specializes in electronic warfare, electro optical technology, and other advanced military systems.

BAE executives expect to see a reduction in defense spending over at least the next three years, Tansey says, even though the 2010 defense budget sharp cuts in many areas -- especially not in technology spending for electronics, military electro optics, unmanned vehicles, and other areas considered key for future defense needs, such as lightweight electronics for infantry, situational awareness, and similar applications.

"The secretary of defense tells us he will reduce programs, and will reducing spending," Tansey says. "Over the last six years we have seen an increase in defense spending. We believe it has peaked, and history suggests it is time for a downturn. Over the last six months we have restructured the business to align with these changes. We listen to Defense Secretary [Robert] Gates, and he is stating clearly that he will cancel some programs."

Of the 250 employees to be laid off at BAE Systems this summer, between 125 and 150 will be from New Hampshire, and the rest will be from the other seven U.S. states in which BAE Electronic Solutions operates, Tansey says. This segment has about 9,000 employees total.

BAE Electronic Solutions continues to hire in technical areas like electronics and electro optics engineering. "We want to stay in what are the key areas we need to be in to solve what we anticipate will be the military missions three years in the future," Tansey explains.

"We are determining what are the key technologies we need to invest in, so when some programs start to fall off, we will have a broad portfolio and can continue to grow." Segment revenues are up for this year, she says, "but we don't want to be lax."

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