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BAE Fayette closing won't affect York County facility

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BAE Systems, the London-based defense contractor, said today it is closing it's Fayette County Land & Armaments production facility where it remanufactures and upgrades land vehicles for the U.S. military, but that decision will not impact its York County facility that produces similar vehicles.

BAE's Fayette facility was primarily responsible for overhauling and upgrading the Bradley Fighting Vehicles and the M109 self-propelled howitzers. Production work there will be complete by November with the end of contracts, and the facility will close by the end of 2013, the company said.

"This is an extremely unfortunate business decision we've had to make and are doing everything we can to prevent this from continuing to happen across the Bradley industrial base," Erwin Bieber, president of BAE Systems Land & Armaments, said in a statement.

There are 78 employees and 35 contractors that work at the Fayette County facility.

The decision will not affect BAE's facility in West Manchester Township, York County, BAE spokesman Randy Coble said. Work from the Fayette facility will not be moved to York, he said.

"In terms of what the future may hold ... the Bradley industrial base is facing the lowest amount of production since the vehicle was first produced in 1982," Coble said in an email. "That reality is something that the company and its suppliers will have (to) accommodate by making adjustments. We're continuing to work with the key decision makers in the Army to secure work that preserves essential capabilities. However, further reductions within BAE Systems and within our supply line are likely."

The Army has been considering a pause in the upgrades of Bradleys, which BAE says could mean the layoff of 250 people in York County when that line shuts down.

Small midstate companies that supply BAE have said such cutbacks could cost them as much as 20 percent of their business in some cases.

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