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News / Business

Boeing plans 2,000 cuts in defense work

The Columbian
Published: September 28, 2014, 5:00pm

Boeing will announce Monday afternoon that over the next three years it will move significant defense work out of the Puget Sound region in Washington State, affecting the jobs of about 2,000 employees, according to people with detailed knowledge of the plan.

Employees in Kent and Seattle, who will be most affected, will get details at an all-hands meeting scheduled for Tuesday morning.

One person familiar with the plans said 2,000 jobs mostly in engineering will be affected through a combination of relocations, transfers, attrition and layoffs.

Boeing’s plan will not affect the two major Boeing defense programs based in the region – the 767-based Air Force tanker and the 737-based P-8 anti-submarine jet.

However, most other defense work based there is moving either to Oklahoma City, Okla., or to St. Louis, Mo.

The work set to move out includes military system upgrades on both the older 707-based Airborne Warning and Control System jets and the updated 737-based Airborne Early Warning and Control jets.

The decision to move the AEW&C work is particularly surprising.

Those jets, which have been sold to Australia, South Korea and Turkey, are assembled in Renton and their military radar systems are fitted in Seattle.

Earlier this year, Qatar announced another international order, not yet finalized, for three more AEW&C jets, used for airborne surveillance, communications and battle management.

But although the Qatar planes and any subsequent orders will still have to be assembled in the Renton 737 plant, Boeing is nevertheless moving the program engineering work to Oklahoma City.

The source familiar with the details said some AWACS work is already done there today.