By Liz Segrist
Published April 28, 2014
General Dynamics Land Systems – Force Protection plans to lay off 170 of its 226 employees in Ladson by the end of the year.
The layoffs are “in response to changes in the defense industry,” according to the communications director, Peter Keating, in an emailed statement.
The largest layoff round, which will affect 143 employees, will occur when the production of the Buffalo, a mine-resistant and ambush-protected vehicle, ends in June.
The Ladson facility manufactures the Buffalo, Cougar and other security vehicles for the U.S. government and several international customers.
General Dynamics is working create a partnership with “a well-known S.C. company to maintain vehicle fabrication and assembly in the local community,” according to a statement.
Keating declined to name the company, but said the partnership is needed to enable General Dynamics to continue manufacturing its vehicles in the Charleston region. If the deal comes to fruition, the unnamed company would lease General Dynamics’ current location and continue manufacturing operations there.
“We look to make an announcement in a few weeks that would enable us to use the same facility and hopefully hire some number of the laid-off employees back,” Keating said.
Following the layoff announcement, the company plans to reposition its Ladson business by establishing a Center Of Excellence for its protected mobility vehicles with a focus on program management and integrated platform support, Keating said.
The Center of Excellence will include a core team from various departments to retain and build business with the Marine Corps, Defense Logistics Agency and international customers, Keating said. It will house supply specialists that will manage inventory and direct field service representatives to customer locations.
The local layoffs do not affect General Dynamics Land Systems – Force Protection Europe in Leamington Spa, United Kingdom, where the Foxhound Light Protected Patrol Vehicle is manufactured for the British Army.
The workforce has been informed of the layoffs. The company has arranged a variety of programs to assist these workers with their transition from General Dynamics, according to a statement.
Reach Liz Segrist at 843-849-3119 or @lizsegrist on Twitter.