The Westinghouse Electronics Systems Group in Linthicum today said it is eliminating the jobs of about 1,200 workers as the result of the cancellation of the Navy's A-12 Stealth program.

The terminations are effective Feb. 28.

Workers arriving at the plant today received the information in a letter from Richard A. Linder, president of the Electronics Systems Group.

"Following a comprehensive evaluation of our overall manpower requirements, we have regrettably determined that a permanent reduction-in-force is necessary . . . ." Linder said.

Affected workers were to be notified by their supervisors later today.

Jack Martin, a company spokesman, said the cuts are across the board, ranging from hourly workers to non-exempt salaried workers and management. Martin did not have a breakdown of " how many workers in each category are affected.

The terminations affect 720 workers in Linthicum and 480 employees at Hunt Valley.

"Regretably, we believe the layoffs will be permanent," Martin said.

Westinghouse, a subcontractor on the Stealth program, was to have produced the A-12 aircraft's main radar units and an infrared system.

The work had been expected to total more than $3 billion in new business over the decade.

Defense Secretary Richard Cheney announced Jan. 7 that the Defense Department was canceling the $57 billion A-12 program because its builders had so badly mismanaged the program that they could never meet the government's contract terms.

McDonnell Douglas and General Dynamics, the primary contractors, denied the allegations. The companies had worked on the contract for three years.

"It is with great reluctance that we must proceed with this action," Linder said, adding that every effort would be made to help the fired workers find new jobs.

Martin said an off-site office has set up to help employees process benefit claims and find out about job openings. He said the company also would be contacting other local businesses and placing ads in the newspapers to help the employees find work.

Employees will also receive a severance package based on the number of years of service.

With about 16,000 workers in Maryland, Westinghouse is the state's largest private employer. The last layoffs were in 1985, when 500 workers lost their jobs, Martin said.

Westinghouse was not the only Maryland company to lay off workers as the result of the cancellation of the contract. The Amecom division of Litton Systems Inc., in College Park, laid off 200 workers when it lost a contract to build electronic equipment for the A-12 aircraft.

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