April 7, 2009

Defense proposals would cost Boeing jobs

Budget changes proposed by U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates could mean the end of thousands of Boeing Co. engineering and assembly line jobs.

The proposal to stop ordering F-22 advanced stealth-jet fighters would end production of wings and aft fuselages in the Seattle area, closing 1,200 Boeing assembly positions, The Seattle Times reported Tuesday.

An additional 5,000 Boeing jobs in Long Beach, Calif., would end if Congress upholds a proposal to stop ordering C-17 military-cargo planes. In addition, significant changes were proposed for the Future Combat Systems program, a $160 billion project for which Boeing serves as the lead contractor.

Gates also proposed canceling about $41 billion in projects that Boeing may have landed in future contracts.

Boeing wasn't alone in the proposed cuts. Gates has proposed terminating a $14 billion order for new presidential helicopters, which Lockheed was to build.