Westinghouse might lay off 1,200 in Md.

Because of a copy editing error, an article in the business section yesterday incorrectly described the extent of possible layoffs at Ridge Engineering Inc. in Hampstead. The company has 85 workers and may have to lay off some of them.

The Westinghouse division in Linthicum notified its 15,000 workers yesterday that as many as 1,200 of them might lose their jobs as a result of the Defense Department's decision earlier this week to cancel the Navy's A-12 attack aircraft program.


In a bulletin to employees, Richard A. Linder, president of the Electronic Systems Group adjacent to Baltimore-Washington International Airport, said the division received a "stop work" order Wednesday from General Dynamics Corp., one of the prime contractors on the A-12 and that if the order becomes a contract termination, "initial data indicate that as many as 1,200 jobs may have to be eliminated."

Westinghouse is Maryland's largest manufacturing employer. It has a complex near BWI and other facilities in Hunt Valley.


Company officials could not say when a contract termination notice might come but indicated that it could be a matter of days or weeks. "The layoff process will begin at that time," said Jack Martin, a Westinghouse spokesman.

General Dynamics and McDonnell Douglas Corp., both St. Louis-based, and the other prime contractors in the development of the bat-winged, radar-evading A-12, already have received word from the Navy that their contracts have been terminated.

Mr. Martin said that nearly all of the Westinghouse layoffs will be in Maryland. Most will be at the company's sprawling BWI complex, but some workers at the Hunt Valley operations also will be affected. The Electronic Systems Group, the main defense arm of Westinghouse Electric Corp., also has a small operation in Orlando, Fla.

In his message to workers, Mr. Linder said, "Every possibility that could minimize a work force reduction is being considered."

Westinghouse is a major subcontractor on the A-12. It has contracts to supply the main radar units and an infrared system that uses sophisticated electronic optics and heat sensors in detecting targets.

Westinghouse has declined to talk about what its revenues would have been if the Navy had proceeded with its $57 billion plan to purchase 620 of the planes, but other industry sources have estimated that it would have resulted in more than $3 billion in new business for the Electronic Systems Group.

Westinghouse might not be the only Maryland company to suffer from the halt of A-12 development. John Georg, a spokesman for the Amecom division of Litton Systems Inc. in College Park, said the the A-12 was a "major program" for the company and that Amecom is still trying to determine whether any jobs will be lost.

Amecom, which has about 1,000 employees, had a contract to develop electronic equipment that would have been used by the new Navy plane to detect and identify other electronic signals, such as those transmitted by another plane or anti-aircraft missile.


At least one small company, Ridge Engineering Inc., a machine shop in Hampstead that was producing A-12 components for Westinghouse and other major subcontractors, reported yesterday that it also has received stop-work orders from its customers.

David Tracey, president of Ridge, said that if new work is not found in the next month or so to replace the A-12 contracts, the company might lay off about 85 workers.

Defense Secretary Dick Cheney canceled the A-12 program Monday, saying that its builders, General Dynamics and McDonnell Douglas, had so badly mismanaged the program that it could never meet the government's contract terms.