Britain’s biggest defence contractor, BAE Systems, is to cut nearly 2,000 jobs, it announced today.

The company, which makes the Eurofighter Typhoon jet and Britain’s nuclear submarines, said that 1,400 jobs will go at its military aerospace business over the next three years, along with a further 375 in maritime services and 150 at its cyber-intelligence business.

Charles Woodburn, Chief Executive, BAE Systems plc, said: “BAE Systems is a world leader in technology, advanced manufacturing and engineering and our diverse portfolio provides a strong platform for future growth. The organisational changes we are announcing today accelerate our evolution to a more streamlined, de-layered organisation, with a sharper competitive edge and a renewed focus on technology. These actions will further strengthen our company as we deliver our strategy in a changing environment.

“Separately, we are also announcing actions at some of our UK sites to align our workforce capacity more closely with near-term demand and enhance our competitive position to secure new business. Those actions are necessary and the right thing to do for our company, but unfortunately include proposed redundancies at a number of operations. I recognise this will be difficult news for some of our employees and we are committed to do everything we can to support those affected.”

Eurofighter Typhoon slow-down

The majority of the job cuts are understood to relate largely to a continued slowdown in production of the Eurofighter Typhoon fighter aircraft, with ongoing uncertainty about the timing of a potentially large order from Saudi Arabia.

Woodburn said: “Discussions with current and prospective customers continue to support our expectations for additional Typhoon and Hawk orders, including the recently announced Statement of Intent by Qatar to purchase 24 Typhoon aircraft. Negotiations are progressing to agree a contract with the government of Qatar, which, if secured, would sustain Typhoon production jobs, and manufacturing well into the next decade.  However, the timing of future orders is always uncertain and to ensure production continuity and competitive costs between the completion of current contracts and anticipated new orders, we now plan to reduce Typhoon final assembly and Hawk production rates.

“The recently announced Statement of Intent from Qatar also included the intention to purchase six Hawk aircraft. While this is also subject to agreeing a contract between BAE Systems and the Qatar government, we have taken the decision to include this potential future order in production planning, extending Hawk manufacturing for a further 12 months at a reduced production rate.  We are actively pursuing additional orders which, if secured in the next year, would further extend Hawk manufacturing.”

He added: “Following the UK Government’s confirmation that the RAF’s Tornado fleet will be taken out of active service in 2019, Tornado support and sustainment activities at RAF Marham and RAF Leeming are progressively winding down and will cease at that time. Longer term, our presence at RAF Marham is underpinned by F-35 sustainment activities.”