Defence giant BAE Systems has announced it will close its historic factory in Newcastle.
The firm said 330 jobs will be lost through the closure of the site, which is currently making Terrier vehicles for the Army.
A further 100 jobs will be lost at the BAE site in Washington.
The factory, which made tanks for the First World War, has been a defence manufacturing site since 1847, building a number of ships and employing tens of thousands of workers in its heyday. It is famously mentioned in the Blaydon Races song.
BAE said the proposal to close the Newcastle site at the end of 2013 followed a business review which concluded that there was no prospect of new UK armoured vehicle manufacturing work once production of the Terrier ends next year.
The firm said the proposals now under consultation followed major efficiency improvements and reductions in the amount of ammunitions required by the Ministry of Defence.
Managing director Charlie Blakemore said: "We need to adapt to very challenging market conditions and further reduce our overheads to drive better value for our customers and increase our competitiveness in the export market.
"I know that this is difficult news for employees and we will do all we can to help them through this difficult period and mitigate the proposed job losses wherever possible."
MP for Newcastle Central Chi Onwurah said the closure came as "a terrible blow".
She said: "This is very bad news for Newcastle and my thoughts are with the employees of BAE Scotswood and their families, having to deal with a bleak future.
"I want to work with everyone including the company, the city council and government to attract manufacturing onto the Scotswood site.
"The whole region is affected by the loss of such highly skilled jobs. The BAE announcement highlights the overdue need for a more active UK procurement policy which supports and secures our future skills base in the region.
The MP is writing to the Secretary of State to ask for an urgent meeting to discuss all possible options for the site.
Kevin Rowan, regional secretary of the Northern TUC said: "The announcement from BAE Systems is a hammer blow to North East manufacturing. Losing so many highly skilled and well paid jobs is devastating for all individuals concerned as well as to our local economy.
"We are now witnessing the Government's savage cuts to defence taking its toll across our manufacturing and defence industries. This is further evidence that ministers must urgently review their counterproductive cuts and become much more active in safeguarding British industry and jobs."
Unite national officer Ian Waddell said: "The lack of an industrial strategyfor the defence industry is putting highly skilled jobs at risk and bringingeconomic misery to areas, such as Newcastle, that have already been battered bythe Government's austerity programme.
"Philip Hammond (Defence Secretary) needs to get a grip of defence procurementpolicy and provide a blueprint to safeguard future jobs and skills for thisindustry.
"There is a desperate need for a defence industrial strategy where the Government clearly lays out its plans for defence spending, allowing industry toplan and invest with confidence.
"The BAE Vehicles job losses demonstrate what happens when there is no planand no visibility. It creates a culture of short-termism and leads directly to the dire job losses announced today.
"We will be consulting with our members on the next steps in the campaign to save these jobs."
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