Lockheed to cut 4,000 jobs, close plants

Defense giant Lockheed Martin plans to cut 4,000 jobs and close facilities in five states as it grapples with defense budget cuts.

Lockheed announced Thursday that it would be laying off 4,000 employees by the end of 2014 as it closes plants and makes reductions in its information systems, mission system and training and space systems businesses.

"In the face of government budget cuts and an increasingly complex global security landscape, these actions are necessary for the future of our business and will position Lockheed Martin to better serve our customers,” Lockheed CEO Marillyn Hewson said in a statement.

The largest U.S. defense firm plans to close down operations in Newton, Pa.; Akron, Ohio; Goodyear, Ariz.; and Horizon City, Texas, and close four buildings in Sunnyvale, Calif.

Lockheed said 2,000 of the job losses will be a result of closing plants, and another 2,000 will come from reductions in its business areas.

Lockheed has been downsizing for several years in an attempt to stay ahead of a downturn in U.S. defense spending with the end of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the budget cuts under sequestration.

The defense contractor has already cut its workforce from 146,000 in 2008 to 116,000, and cut its footprint by 1.5 million square feet. The closings announced Thursday slash another 2.5 million square feet of Lockheed facilities.

Lockheed’s shares were up 30 cents on Thursday morning to $137.56. The company’s stock has risen 47 percent this year.