LONDON, England (CNN) -- British defense contractor BAE Systems is to cut 500 jobs and close three of its UK sites due to falling orders, the company announced Thursday.
Visitors walk past a BAE Systems infantry vehicle at a recent exhibition in Abu Dhabi.
The company said in a statement that the move follows the UK government's decision to postpone the purchase of its FRES (Future Rapid Effects System) utility vehicle -- part of a new generation of medium weight battlefield armored vehicles.
It also pointed to a downturn in work supporting British Army operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
BAE said the cuts will be made from its Global Combat Systems (GCS) Vehicles and Weapons business, which currently employs 1,820 people throughout the UK.
The company shed 200 jobs from the same business in November last year.
"We must consolidate a fragmented site infrastructure to reduce fixed overheads, whilst at the same time transforming our skills mix to increase our UK focus on systems integration and win orders internationally," said Global Combat Systems Managing Director David Allott.
"While we clearly regret having to take this step, our forecast for UK order intake has reduced and we have to match the size of our business appropriately to the projected nature and volume of workload."
BAE added that it was working with Britain's Ministry of Defense to provide a more streamlined, cost-effective support service for its armored vehicles in service with the British armed forces.
With around 105,000 employees worldwide, BAE Systems' sales exceeded $34.4 billion) in 2008.
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