BAE hopes that sales of its fighter jets will pick up in the coming months

BAE announces job losses amid slowing fighter jet sales

Defence company BAE Systems is cutting 371 jobs after slowing production of its Typhoon jets.

BAE said the vast majority of the redundancies would occur in its 13,000-strong workforce in Samlesbury, Lancashire, although some roles will also be impacted in its Typhoon final assembly production team.

Incoming orders for Typhoon jets have disappointed in recent times and the company expects a resultant drop in earnings for the line of aircraft from £1.3bn in 2015 to an estimated £1.1bn in 2016.

However, BAE also expects that additional Typhoon contract wins will pick up "in the months ahead" after already securing a deal to supply 28 Typhoon aircraft for the Kuwait Air Force in September.

In a statement, the company offered a relatively positive outlook for the future: "In the UK, budget commitments to defence spending provide greater certainty and stability ahead of the forthcoming 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review. Defence and security remain the first priority of governments in all of our markets."

BAE hopes to minimise compulsory redundancies by moving employees to other areas of the business.

Its chief executive Ian King said: "Overall the company is operating in an improving business environment and we continue to win new orders, with good prospects for the future.

"In the short term, action to extend the production life of Typhoon aircraft by reducing the current production rate and a charge to impair the carrying value of the Williamstown shipyard in Australia will impact the group's 2015 results."

BAE employs more than 80,000 people worldwide but reported in February that 2014 sales had fallen by £1.5bn with underlying earnings dropping 11 per cent to £1.7bn.

But it said at the time that it hoped earnings would improve in 2015 amid ‘greater stability and improving clarity’ in its key markets.

In May, it announced it would retain both of its shipyards in Glasgow and make its most significant investment in them for decades.

Unite union national officer Ian Waddell said: "This is disappointing news on top of a miserable few weeks for manufacturing in the UK. The Government needs to stop dithering and act urgently to stop the haemorrhage of skilled UK manufacturing jobs.

"The Typhoon is a superb aircraft, but it faces tough competition in the export market. It is vital that critical skills and capability are maintained by BAE Systems and their supply chain so that the ability to build the Typhoon in the UK is protected.

“Cutting too far, too fast could lead to a skills shortage for when orders pick up.”

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