LONDON - British arms maker BAE Systems (IW 1000/167) said on Friday that it will close a small Pennsylvania plant that overhauls and upgrades military equipment for Bradley fighting vehicles, and blamed spending cutbacks.

"BAE Systems announced today the planned closing of its Fayette facility in Lemont Furnace, Pennsylvania," BAE said in a statement that was issued overnight.

The plant, which currently employs 113 people, deals with equipment for the U.S. Army, Marine Corps and foreign governments, mainly the Bradley family of fighting vehicles and M109 self-propelled howitzers. It will be shut by the end of 2013.

"The decision to close the Fayette facility was made in response to the planned completion of existing contracts managed at the Fayette site and no prospect of future work for the facility," BAE said.

"It is anticipated that all of the production work at the facility will be complete by the end of November."

It added: "This facility is a part of the Bradley Industrial Base, which is at significant risk of experiencing further cuts and impacts to jobs and communities across the country."

The group stressed that workers would be offered opportunities on other sites.

Erwin Bieber, president of BAE Systems Land & Armaments sector, added: "The current business environment has made this difficult announcement necessary.

"The plant closure in no way reflects upon the work and dedication of the employees. We will do all we can to assist them in this difficult transition."

The U.S. market accounts for about 40% of BAE Systems' group revenues -- making it the biggest foreign supplier of military goods to the Pentagon.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2013