- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 29, 2014

LADSON, S.C. (AP) - General Dynamics says it will lay off about 170 employees at its plant in Ladson by the end of the year.

The company blamed reduced military spending for the decision to cut 75 percent of its workforce at the old Force Protection plant.

The company says it will stop making mine-resistance vehicles at the plant by December. At the height of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2007, the company employed 2,000 workers.

The company says it will keep about 50 workers in Ladson to supply spare parts and supplies and offer field service support to its customers.

The Virginia company says about 140 workers will lose their jobs in June when production of the Buffalo mine-resistant vehicle is halted. The plant also makes several other vehicles.

The plant also has made another mine resistant model called the Cougar and peacekeeping security vehicles for the U.S. government and international customers.

“The company has arranged a variety of programs to assist these workers with their transition from General Dynamics,” company spokesman Pete Keating said.

General Dynamics bought Force Protection in 2011 for $360 million.

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