BAE Systems to close Lemont Furnace facility in US

The move could affect more than 100 employees.

New Statesman
Photograph: Getty Images.

The British defence, security and aerospace company BAE Systems is planning to close its US facility at Lemont Furnace in Fayette County of Pennsylvania state by the end of this year, primarily due to cuts in the US budget.

The facility, which currently employs 78 full-time employees and 35 contractors, has been producing and upgrading the Bradley fighting vehicles and M109 self-propelled howitzers for the US Army, Marine Corps and other customers for the past 20 years.

The company would either move the affected employees to other facilities or may ask them to leave.

Erwin Bieber, president of BAE Systems Land & Armaments sector, in a statement said: “The current business environment has made this difficult announcement necessary. The plant closure in no way reflects upon the work and dedication of the employees. We will do all we can to assist them in this difficult transition.”

BAE, however, said that it was not intending to close other facilities that produce fighting vehicles other than Bradley.

The left over production work at the facility is expected to be completed by the end of November 2013.

The US has reduced its defence budget due to the end of the war in Iraq, as well as withdrawal of its forces from Afghanistan in 2014.

Earlier in July, the US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said that President Barack Obama’s fiscal year 2014 budget includes “a carefully calibrated and largely back-loaded $150bn reduction in defense spending over the next 10 years.”