MOYOCK, N.C. (AP) -- Blackwater Worldwide has laid off an undisclosed number of employees after the security firm failed to win a government contract for its Grizzly armored vehicle to replace the Humvee.
Blackwater spokeswoman Ann Tyrrell said Monday that reductions were necessary because the company wasn't selected to make the Army's joint light tactical vehicle.
Tyrrell refused to disclose how many employees lost their jobs.
The Daily Advance of Elizabeth City reported that Blackwater president Gary Jackson said in June 2007 that the company had 52 employees to build the armored personnel carrier at a 70,000-square-foot plant in Camden County.
Jackson said many of the Grizzly workers were former employees of Ford and Volvo.
"Our employees and independent contractors are our greatest asset and it is always unfortunate when cutbacks become necessary," Tyrrell said. "Because we were not selected for the Army's JLTV contract, manufacturing staff reductions were necessary."
She said the layoffs would "improve the company's efficiency by taking into account the cyclical nature of government contracting."
Last week, the Pentagon selected teams led by Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, and the U.S. subsidiary of British defense conglomerate BAE Systems PLC to compete in developing a lightweight tactical vehicle.
Each team received deals worth between $35.9 million and $45 million.
Blackwater had been given a $120,000 grant by the North Carolina Department of Commerce to create and maintain up to 60 jobs at the Grizzly plant.