WORKERS at BAE Systems military aircraft division's Lancashire factories were today braced for hundreds of jobs losses.

Industry sources said the company would announce more than 1,000 redundancies on its Eurofighter Typhoon programme in the next 48 hours.

The firm refused to confirm or deny the reports, which would affect 10,000 people employed at its factories in Samlesbury and Warton.

Both are heavily involved in manufacturing the Eurofighter, a four-nation collaboration with Germany, Spain and Italy.

The Samlesbury factory in the Ribble Valley, which employs 4,500 people, manufactures the central fuselage, while Warton, with 5,500 workers, assembles planes for the export contracts with Saudi Arabia and Oman.

Andy Wishart, chairman of the Unite union's staff side at Samlesbury, confirmed the union had been in talks with the company over workloads on the Eurofighter and was 'concerned' as reports of job losses emerged yesterday.

Ribble Valley's Tory MP Nigel Evans branded the news of the imminent redundancies 'disappointing' for BAE staff and smaller companies which relied on it for orders.

Burnley MP Julie Cooper and East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce chief executive Miranda Barker expressed concern not just at the loss of highly-skilled jobs but the impact of the cutbacks on the aerospace supply chain which stretches across the east of the county.

A BAE Systems spokesman said: “BAE Systems continually reviews its operations to make sure we are performing as effectively and efficiently as possible, delivering our commitments to existing customers and ensuring we are best placed to secure future business.

"If and when there are any changes proposed we are committed to communicating with our employees and their representatives first.”

The industry sources said many of the job cuts will affect the Warton plant with the company's new chief executive Charles Woodburn also 'trimming' its workforce at other locations.

The job cuts are understood to relate largely to a continued slowdown in production of the Eurofighter Typhoon fighter aircraft, with ongoing uncertainty about the timing of a large order from Saudi Arabia.

Many of the employees from across East Lancashire work between the two factories.

Mr Wishart said: "We are very concerned at these reports.

"We have been in discussion with the company for some time about workload issues going forward but have not heard anything official as yet.

"We do not have any new planes in the design stage at the moment and are waiting on information regarding orders with Kuwait and Oman."

Ms Barker said: "I am concerned by these reports and interested to hear more details from the company itself.

"I am concerned at the impact on the jobs market, exports from the county and the impact on the aerospace supply chain which stretches right across East Lancashire."

Mrs Cooper said: "This is very worrying. There are many people in my constituency who work for BAE Systems.

"This could have a very damaging effect not just on them but for the many employees who work in the aerospace industry supply chain which stretches through Burnley and right across East Lancashire."

Mr Evans said: "I am deeply disappointed.

"Not only is the company vital for the livelihoods of a small army of workers, it is crucial for a significant number of small-to-medium sized businesses that rely on BAE across the county.

"The company must look at voluntary redundancy, retraining, redeployment and help for those staff who need help in finding alternative work.

"BAE Systems is major employer and there will be many many families across East Lancashire affected.

"I shall be pressing Michael Fallon, the defence secretary, to to increase the government's efforts in looking for overseas orders and to increase domestic procurement."

Hyndburn MP Graham Jones said: "This is disastrous. These are highly skilled jobs and once they have gone it is very difficult to replace them.

"With other MPs I shall be putting pressure on BAE Systems to think very carefully before before they get rid of any staff and putting pressure on the company and the government to do everything they can to retain these jobs."

BAE announced last month that it had secured an order for 24 Eurofighters from Qatar.

When Mr Woodburn replaced Ian King as BAE's chief executive in August, he said: "We obviously have to review our Typhoon production demand very carefully."