Lockheed Martin Corp. (NYSE: LMT) has announced its plans to lay off 176 workers based in southern Maryland as a critical program ends. According to a Work Adjustment and Retraining Notification filing with the state, the layoffs will be effective on April 27.
They will affect workers in its Sikorsky division supporting the heavy lift helicopter program at Naval Air Station Patuxent River. This program was established to test the CH-53K King Stallion heavy lift helicopter for deployment with the U.S. Marine Corps.
The program was initiated in 2005 and is expected to be operational in 2015. However, program delays due to what a Defense Department arm described as design deficiencies pushed a crucial testing phase of the vehicles to 2021. Those operational tests are finally reaching their conclusion in the push toward deployment of the CH-53K aircraft to replace the 35-year-old CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter.
“We made staffing adjustments to the team supporting the heavy lift helicopter program at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland, to reflect the planned progression and conclusion of the CH-53K system development and demonstration test and evaluation program,” said a Lockheed Martin spokesperson. “Employees have been provided with assistance in securing new roles both inside and outside the company. These actions are never easy but are necessary to keep an infrastructure aligned appropriately with our military customer’s plan. We value our highly skilled workforce and their contributions to our customer’s mission.”
In its most recent earnings call, Lockheed Martin projected sales to be largely flat in 2023. He did not expect annual sales to increase until 2024 as supply chain issues continue to plague the production of fighter jets, rocket launchers, and other weapons. Its total revenue dipped 1.6% to $65.98 billion last year, though the company saw more sales growth in the back half of the year.
A boost in production volume and CH-53K King Stallion sales were a bright spot for the company’s rotary and mission systems division, which otherwise saw sales decline 4% year over year to $16.15 billion last year. However, Lockheed reported a nearly $35 billion contract backlog for that division at the end of last year, thanks in part to more Sikorsky orders.