BETHESDA, Md., Oct. 4 (UPI) -- Lockheed Martin, the prime contractor of the F-35 Lightning fighter, plans to begin furloughing some 3,000 workers beginning Monday, the firm said.
The aerospace and defense giant has 116,000 employees and said the partial federal government shutdown that began Oct. 1 was delaying testing and production in military programs.
"I'm disappointed that we must take these actions and we continue to encourage our lawmakers to come together to pass a funding bill that will end this shutdown," said Lockheed Martin Chief Executive Officer and President Marillyn Hewson in a statement Friday.
Lt. Gen. Chris Bogan, the general heading the F-35 program, told The Wall Street Journal Thursday, the government shutdown has delayed flight tests and deliveries of aircraft. Lockheed delivered 80 F-35 jets to the Department of Defense last month and the U.S. Marine Corps hopes to have the first combat-ready squadron of F-35s by late 2015.
Defense contractor United Technologies this week also announced furloughs because of the shutdown's effect on contract awards, payments and inspection work. Lockheed warned it may announce more layoffs weekly if the budget impasse continues in Washington.