DEFENCE contractor BAE Systems is planning to axe 620 jobs and shut down its Newcastle factory, it said yesterday.
BAE is locked in talks with unions over the Newcastle closure, which would account for half the jobs to be culled.
The company said weak demand for the Terrier armoured vehicle, which is made there, was to blame for the closure threat.
Under the company’s plans the factory will close down at the end of next year when the Terrier contract ends.
BAE said there were no other armoured vehicle contracts in the pipeline, leaving closure the only realistic option.
Up to 280 jobs are also under threat at the company’s three sites in Radway Green, near Crewe.
Meanwhile 10 jobs could go at the company’s headquarters in Farnborough, Hampshire.
Managing director Charlie Blakemore said: “We need to adapt to very challenging market conditions and further reduce our overheads to drive better value for our customers and increase our competitiveness in the export market.
“I know that this is difficult news for employees and we will do all we can to help them through this difficult period and mitigate the proposed job losses wherever possible.”