Lockheed to cut 200 jobs at Fort Worth F-35 assembly plant

dfwnewsa | January 29, 2024 | 0 | Fort Worth , Fort Worth News

Lockheed to cut 200 jobs at Fort Worth F-35 assembly plant

The Lockheed Martin assembly plant located in Fort Worth. (Courtesy photo | Lockheed Martin)
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Aviation defense company Lockheed Martin Aeronautics will be laying off 200 workers at its F-35 assembly plant in Fort Worth. 

A Lockheed Martin spokesperson told the Fort Worth Report that the company will lay off an additional 100 workers in the aeronautics division at its factories in Marietta, Georgia, and Palmdale, California. The layoffs are part of the company’s recent plan to reduce its overall workforce by 1%. 

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The layoffs affect a small number of Lockheed’s 122,000 employees across the country. The company is one of the largest employers in Tarrant County, with 18,700 workers. About 34,000 employees work in the company’s aeronautics division nationwide. 

“To improve efficiencies and position the business to remain cost competitive, we made a difficult decision to reduce a limited number of positions,” a Lockheed statement said. “We are working with all impacted employees to help them identify other opportunities with Lockheed Martin.”

The workers in Fort Worth who will be cut are mainly in the overhead positions in the operations area, a mix of salaried and hourly employees. A portion of employees will be those who work on the F-35, the fighter jet the company develops for the U.S. military and 18 other countries.“We have some parts shortages that we’re experiencing that (have) left a number of folks who don’t have work in a work area,” the spokesperson said. 

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Employees will be notified about the layoffs this week and leave the company in mid to late February. Last week, during its earnings call, Lockheed’s CEO, Jim Taiclet, estimated Lockheed will deliver between 75 and 110 F-35s to the Pentagon this year due to software delays, lower than its previous prediction of 97. The company told the Fort Worth Report that the layoffs aren’t related to the software delays, and that they are still hiring.There’s no shortage of demand for the F-35. The Czech Republic recently signed on to buy F-35s, and Taiclet indicated that South Korea ordered 20 more jets. 

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The company recently signed a lease for 136,165 square feet of industrial space in west Fort Worth. 

J.J. Gertler, senior analyst at the Teal Group, said Lockheed has been looking for a while at how to make its business more efficient and run its supply chain. Other defense companies, such as Bell Textron Inc. and Raytheon Technologies, have made cuts to their workforce. Defense companies are coming to the realization that while the U.S. defense budget keeps growing, support for defense is less than it used to be, the analyst said.“(Defense companies) can’t necessarily count on the kinds of margins that they have had in the past,” Gertler said. “So there are a lot of defense companies adapting to that reality in different ways. Lockheed is being very forward about what they’re doing on the personnel side.”

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Seth Bodine is a business and economic development reporter for the Fort Worth Report. Contact him at seth.bodine@fortworthreport.org and follow @sbodine120 on X, formerly known as Twitter. 

At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.

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