Hughes Aircraft has begun to lay off up to 220 engineers and support personnel in Canoga Park after losing a "Star Wars" defense contract to a competitor, a company spokesman said Wednesday.
Layoffs will continue through December. "We have laid off 20 employees to date," a spokesman said. "We expect further reductions of up to 200 over the next six months." All 220 work in the company's Missile Systems Group in Canoga Park.
The main reason for the layoffs was the Air Force's decision in mid-June to award a $209-million contract to Rockwell International in Downey for a space-based anti-missile weapon, a part of President Reagan's strategic defense initiative known as "Star Wars."
"The employment level was predicated on the expectation that we would receive additional contracts," a spokesman said. Efforts are under way, the spokesman said, to find positions in other Hughes divisions for those being laid off. Hughes employs about 3,400 workers at its Canoga Park facility.