In a report from The Star-Telegram, employees from Lockheed Martin who worked on the F-22 fighter jet program in Georgia are going to see their jobs relocated to Fort Worth. The manufacturer of the F-22, the F-16 and the F-35 jets, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, said that the move will include 560 salaried jobs from the Marietta, Georgia facility to the division’s headquarters in Texas.
“Now we are at a stage of supporting the aircraft that are in the field and looking at opportunities to make improvements in the aircraft,” Lockheed spokesman Joe Stout said.
The company has been working to cut costs recently as it expects the defense budget to reduce its budget in Washington, D.C. the relocation could save close to $250 million for the company, according to Stout.
“We started about two years ago to look at ways that we can do things more efficiently and more affordably,” he said. “We felt consolidating our fighter aircraft here in Fort Worth was an opportunity to increase efficiency.”
A couple of years ago, the Pentagon announced that the F-22 program would come to an end, which is a $66 billion program. The end of the program was to make way for the manufacturing of the F-35 joint strike fighter. The United States Air Force received the final F-22 Raptor in May of 2012.
Stout said that 195 of the planes were manufactured, which includes eight test planes. Each jet cost $147 million. Stout also said that even though the program has ended, Lockheed is not going to stop its business related to the jet.
“Those F-22s are going to be in operation for 20 to 25 years and, during that time, they’re going to need a lot of support,” Stout said. “There’s going to be improvements made in them. Electronic technology is going to change,” he said. “There might be an opportunity to replace a system or capability on the F-22 with something faster and better.”
Those affected by Lockheed’s announcement of the job relocation includes administrative personnel, schedulers and engineers. Stout made it known that hourly production workers will not be affected by the move of the jobs.
Even though the F-22 Raptor was assembled in Marietta, one-third of its construction was performed in Fort Worth. The aircraft’s center fuselage was a piece constructed in Fort Worth, where there are 14,200 employees. The employees from Marietta will be offered a relocation package and have until January 7 to make a decision if they will move with the job. Stout said that if an employee remains in Georgia, the company will decide if the employee can work in another position or if the employee will be laid off.Lockheed Martin Relocating Jobs to Fort Worth, Texas from Marietta, Georgia by Andrew Ostler