Lockheed Martin's aeronautics business plans 'voluntary layoff' program

A Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fighter jet is seen in its hanger at Patuxent River Naval Air Station in Maryland October 28, 2015. REUTERS/Gary Cameron

(Reuters) - Lockheed Martin Corp's LMT.N aeronautics business said it plans to reduce about 1,000 positions in the United States through a "voluntary layoff" program.

The program is available to mid-level employee groups in several location in the U.S. including Fort Worth, Texas and Marietta, Georgia, the company said.

As of Dec. 31, 2015, U.S. weapons maker had about 126,000 employees.

Lockheed is scrambling to become more agile and lower its costs as the U.S. Air Force nears decisions on how to replace and augment the large missile warning and protected communications satellites that it builds.

In January, the company forecast 2016 earnings of $11.45 to $11.75 per share, which was below estimates.

Reporting by Radhika Rukmangadhan in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta