At Gamlet Inc., six to eight employees would lose their jobs the first day the Bradley Fighting Vehicle line is shut down, said Scott Cutright, company vice president.
Cutright was among local and regional suppliers of BAE that met Thursday morning at Tucker Industrial Liquid Coatings in East Berlin to explain the impact on their businesses if the Bradley Fighting Vehicle program is sidelined for three years.
Gamlet, a small manufacturer in Manchester Township, has been a supplier for BAE Systems for nearly 40 years, he said.
"It would be a big deal for us," he said. "It would be a big deal for York County."
Executives said there would be widespread layoffs next year if the U.S. Department of Defense continues with its planned shutdown of a line of Army vehicles.
President Barack Obama's fiscal year 2013 budget outlines a production break for the Army's Bradley Fighting Vehicle program, beginning in 2014 and possibly extending through 2017.
BAE, a defense contractor in West Manchester Township, builds the Army vehicles at its York County facility and uses parts supplied by more than 500 businesses across the U.S. About 100 of those suppliers are in Pennsylvania.
Last year, BAE spent $19.5 million on items from 115 York County-based suppliers, said spokesman Randy Coble.
Three local companies received the bulk of the money: Military & Commercial Fasteners Corp., which received $7.82 million; York Electro Mechanical Corp., which received $5.9 million; and AMZ Corporation, which received $2.5 million.
Hundreds of jobs: Some local suppliers gave specific numbers on how many jobs would be lost at their companies, and the combined total was more than 1,000 in York County.
"It's fair to say it would be a significant impact," Coble said.
That impact includes 250 manufacturing jobs BAE anticipates cutting next year. Additional jobs and support staff could also be eliminated, he said.
During his last year of service, former U.S. Rep. Todd Platts, R-York County, said he and fellow committee members introduced House Bill 4310, the National Defense Authorization Act, to add $140 million to the Defense budget to keep Bradleys in production.
His successor, Rep. Scott Perry, R-Dillsburg, said when the nation is nearly $17 trillion in debt, it's important that the Department of Defense drives the national security discussion and determines the equipment necessary to complete its mission.
"While I can't advocate spending taxpayer money solely because something benefits our congressional district, maintaining a healthy industrial base is key to our overall national security strategy and a strong national defense. I will work to support that goal," he said.
U.S. Sens. Bob Casey, D-Pa., and Pat Toomey, R-Pa., introduced the Bradley Fighting Vehicle amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, which has been referred to committee, to help prevent the production break by requiring the Army secretary to conduct a study determining the impact of a production break. Across the country it could mean more than 7,000 layoffs at BAE suppliers, Coble said.
And once the local skilled workforce is gone, it could be hard to get back, according to Mike Smeltzer, executive director of the Manufacturers' Association of South Central Pennsylvania.
"Those workers are not going to be sitting at home, waiting to come back. They have mouths to feed," he said.
There's already a skilled-labor shortage in the region, Smeltzer said, and the work done by defense contractors is "not something you pick up overnight."
The suppliers: BAE is one of two defense contractors that make tracked vehicles for the Army. The other is General Dynamics in Lima, Ohio.
BAE has weathered the slowdown of a line, but never a complete shutdown, company officials said.
During a shutdown, BAE could lose suppliers in addition to its workforce, Nace said.
Military & Commercial Fasteners Corp. is one of those suppliers.
The Manchester Township-based company supplies both defense contractors and commercial businesses.
Its work for BAE makes up 20 percent of its business, said Craig Siewert, president of Military & Commercial Fasteners.
During the last three years, the company has delivered more than 23 million parts to BAE, he said.
"We're working now to try and make up what we'll be losing with BAE if the line closes," Siewert said. "We're trying to make it up on the commercial side and also do business with General Dynamics."
If the Bradley line shuts down, it will cause 15 to 20 people to lose their jobs at Military & Commercial Fasteners, he said.
"We're just a small company. Just imagine what it will be like across the entire supply chain," Siewert said.
In Hellam Township: Several other local business executives attended the event Thursday, and the majority said a Bradley line shutdown would mean a 20 to 25 percent loss to their businesses, and their workforces would each be cut by five to 25 jobs.
The shutdown would also have a big impact at Pre-Mach Inc., said David Busler, who manages government contracts for the machine shop in Hellam Township.
"We'd lose 25 percent of our business and qualified people," he said.
The company is trying to find other business to fill the void that would be left by a Bradley line shutdown, but it's not easy, Busler said.
"In York County, machine shops are a dime a dozen, so we'll all be scrambling for the same work," he said.
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