$195 million radar pact goes to Westinghouse

November 11, 1994|By Ted Shelsby | Ted Shelsby,Sun Staff Writer

Westinghouse Electric Corp.'s local division has received a $195.6 million order for 157 radar units to be used on F-16 fighter planes, the Department of Defense announced yesterday.

The radars will be installed on planes being purchased by Taiwan.

The announcement is more good news for Maryland's battered defense industry, coming a day after Martin Marietta Corp.'s Middle River plant received a $298 million contract to build rocket launchers for the Navy.

Yesterday's contract stems from a 1992 decision by President George Bush to authorize a $6 billion sale of 150 F-16 jet fighters to Taiwan. The F-16 is built by Lockheed Corp. in Fort Worth, Texas, and Westinghouse supplies the radar.

Jack Martin, a Westinghouse spokesman, said the contract "will help in our efforts to stabilize our work force."

Linthicum-based Westinghouse Electronic Systems Group employs about 9,500 in Maryland. Through layoffs and attrition, Westinghouse has eliminated more than 7,000 jobs in the state in recent years, mostly because of cuts in military spending.

Mr. Martin said the F-16 radar has been one of the division's longest-running and most successful programs.

Over the past 20 years the northern Anne Arundel County plant has produced radars for more than 3,000 of the fighter planes, accounting for more than $5 billion in revenues.

During peak production in the late 1980s, when General Dynamics Corp.'s aerospace division was building 30 planes a month, the jobs of about 1,000 workers at Westinghouse's Linthicum complex were linked to the F-16 program. Lockheed acquired the General Dynamics military aircraft business last year.

But the long-running F-16 program has been winding down in recent years, and the number of Westinghouse workers involved in the production of its radar has declined to about 300.

The Westinghouse F-16 fire control radar gives pilots information on their heading and altitude. It also spots enemy aircraft beyond visual range and guides air-to-air missiles during combat.

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