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Defense giant Lockheed cutting jobs as US spending slows

Defense contractor Lockheed Martin said on Thursday it plans to cut 4,000 jobs, or more than 3 percent of its worldwide workforce, to cope with declines in U.S. spending.

The weapons maker will close operations in Akron, Ohio; Newtown, Pennsylvania; Goodyear, Arizona; and Horizon City, Texas, by mid-2015. The company said four buildings at its Sunnyvale, California, operation will also be shuttered.

The plant closures will eliminate 2,000 positions, Lockheed said, while "operational efficiency initiatives" will pare an additional 2,000 jobs in its information systems and global solutions, mission system and training and space systems business segments by the end of 2014.

U.S. defense companies have shed non-core divisions and cut jobs in recent years as the United States, the world's largest weapons buyer, cut military spending.

Lockheed, the No. 1 supplier to the Pentagon, builds F-35 and F-16 fighter jets, satellites, missile defense equipment and warships. It said the latest cuts reflected continued efforts to bring down costs. Since 2008, the company has pared its workforce by 30,000 employees to 116,000 worldwide.