BAE Systems will shed 2,000 jobs as new chief executive Charles Woodburn tries to shake up Britain's biggest defense contractor in the face of dwindling orders for the Typhoon fighter jet.
The Eurofighter Typhoon has won fewer orders this year than the rival Rafale built by France's Dassault Aviation, as a major order expected from Saudi Arabia has not materialized, although Qatar agreed to buy 24 Typhoon and six Hawk trainer jets in September.
Woodburn, who took over as chief executive in July, plans a major overhaul of the non-U.S. operations of Britain's preeminent defense supplier, including revamping its air and maritime operations and simplifying management structures.
"These changes will drive competitiveness; accelerate technology innovation; and deliver continued improvements in efficiency and operational excellence," the company said in a statement.
Britain's Unite union vowed to fight the "devastatingly short sighted" job losses that it said would undermine the sovereign defense capability of one of the European Union's top two military powers.
BAE, which has been the backbone of Britain's defense industry for decades, employs 34,600 people in the country out of a global workforce of 83,100.
Britain will look to support BAE and its workers, Prime Minister Theresa May's spokesman said. BAE said it will also cut around 375 jobs at its maritime operations, which design the Britain new Dreadnought class of nuclear submarine. Maritime accounted for a quarter of its sales, while its land unit, which builds combat vehicles, accounts for 16 percent.
It will also cut 150 jobs at its Applied Intelligence unit that helps companies and governments fight cyber-warfare.
Defence analyst Howard Wheeldon said the cuts were essentially due to a gap in orders emerging in key programs such as Typhoon and Hawk, and other programs, such as support work for the Tornado jet, also ending soon.
"It is the stamp of a new CEO who has looked across the group and decided where it needs to be heading," he said.
"It takes out a management layer and lays out a new structure and the people for the years ahead."