Sikorsky to close plant, cut 570 jobs

The Pentagon’s budget crunch has pushed defense contractor Sikorsky to close a plant in upstate New York and cut about 570 jobs, the company said Tuesday.

Sikorsky, a subsidiary of United Technologies, informed employees at its facility in Horseheads, N.Y., on Monday that it would close the plant at the end of the year and move the work to West Palm Beach, Fla.

The helicopter manufacturer cited “declining defense budgets” and continuing economic weakness as its rationale behind the move.

“Faced with these difficult economic conditions, we must eliminate excess production capacity and increase operational efficiencies to remain competitive,” Sikorsky spokesman Paul Jackson said in a statement.

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Sikorsky is the latest defense contractor to point to the Pentagon’s plan to cut $487 billion from its budgets over the next decade as it announces layoffs. Northrop Grumman also cited the budget crunch last week when it announced it was shedding nearly 600 aerospace jobs.

Companies have warned that sequestration, which could bring another $500 billion cuts to the Pentagon, would increase the number of layoffs in the industry.

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