Fridley defense plant cuts 314

Layoffs became official today at the BAE Systems plant in Fridley — 314 is the official number cut.

The layoffs unveiled today are the inevitable fallout from a Pentagon decision earlier this year to end a crucial Army contract to build the Non-Line-of-Sight Cannon, a weapon designed and built at Fridley and once thought to be a battlefield weapon of the future.

We’ve been keeping close tabs on the project’s fate and its potential effects on the Fridley workforce after a source in MPR’s Public Insight Network alerted us to what was happening. About a month ago, more than 300 workers were placed on paid leave.

It’s not clear if 314 is the final layoff number. Earlier this year, BAE said about 400 of the roughly 1,500 jobs at the plant were tied to the cannon.

Here’s the official announcement from BAE late this afternoon:

BAE Systems has announced an involuntary layoff of approximately 314 employees at its Minneapolis facility. These layoffs come as a result of the Partial Termination Notice and Stop Work Orders the company received for its FCS manned ground vehicle program contracts.

BAE Systems deeply regrets having to reduce its workforce, but given circumstances beyond our control, we are left with no other choice. The company will continue to aggressively pursue future opportunities in order to maintain market share.

UPDATE: Regarding possible future layoffs, a BAE spokeswoman tells us:

At this point, we do not anticipate additional reductions. However, there may be unforeseen circumstances in the future that would require us to reevaluate this issue.

We will continue to monitor our business situation and work with customers to assure that our business and staffing plans are aligned to meet the customer’s requirements and our future strategic objectives.

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