LONDON (AP) -- BAE Systems PLC is closing three factories in Britain with the loss of 500 jobs following a drop in its work for the British government, the defense contractor said Thursday.
The affected plants, all part of BAE's Global Combat Systems Vehicles and Weapons businesses, are in the English cities of Telford, Leeds and Guildford.
The move followed a decision by the Ministry of Defense to postpone a utility vehicle contract, and a reduction in work supporting British Army operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, BAE said.
BAE said the factory closures were part of an effort to make operations more efficient.
"We must consolidate a fragmented site infrastructure to reduce fixed overheads, whilst at the same time transforming our skills mix to increase our U.K. focus on systems integration and win orders internationally," said David Allott, managing director of Global Combat Systems.
"While we clearly regret having to take this step, our forecast UK order intake has reduced and we have to match the size of our business appropriately to the projected nature and volume of workload."