Lockheed says furloughs could delay F-35 fighter, other programs

WASHINGTON Tue May 14, 2013 2:46pm EDT

WASHINGTON May 14 (Reuters) - The Pentagon's plans to put most of its 800,000 civilian employees on unpaid leave for 11 days could lead to delays on Lockheed Martin Corp's F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and other weapons programs, a top company official said on Tuesday.

Lockheed Chief Financial Officer Bruce Tanner said the company had not been officially informed about the impact of the expected furloughs, but said civilian government workers have played a big role in supporting flight testing and other work on the F-35 jet.

"We'll lose the capability to remain on schedule for some of our programs if in fact the government support that goes hand in hand with our flight tests, for example, is reduced," Tanner told Reuters in an interview.

He said the company was also bracing for a possible slowdown in contract payments as a result of the reduced work time for civilians, since a large part of the company's bills were handled at a Defense Department facility in Columbus, Ohio, which is staffed by many non-military employees.

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