DRS lays off 170 at Melbourne facility

650 employees left at factory, officials say

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MELBOURNE, Fla. - About 170 employees have been laid off from the DRS Reconnaissance, Surveillance and Target Acquisition facility in Melbourne, Local 6 news partner Florida Today reports.

The layoff leaves about 650 employees at the 100 N. Babcock Street factory, the company confirmed Thursday morning.

"The reason for the reduction all has to do with the defense budget," said Richard Goldberg, DRS vice president of public affairs.

The end of the U.S. combat role in Iraq and the expected winding down of the U.S. presence in Afghanistan curtailed the need for the thermal cameras and infrared sighting systems developed and built by DRS in Melbourne, Goldberg said.

"There was reduced customer demand for products and that required us to make these adjustments," Goldberg said.

Melbourne police confirmed they were contacted by DRS and asked to provide officers for crowd control during the layoff. Police said the officers were working a special detail using overtime hours paid by the company. No incidents have been reported so far Thursday.

The layoffs will be complete today, Goldberg said.

About 70 workers were laid off at DRS Tactical Systems, Inc., on West Hibiscus Boulevard, in November.

Goldberg said the company expects continued declines in military orders and plans to introduce commercial products to compensate. Goldberg added that the company has no plans to close it facilities in Melbourne. The company also has operations in West Melbourne and Palm Bay.

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