I was over 55 years old and had a pension from a company that Raytheon bought. Reducing pension liability is very important for all the big government contractors. Just recently Boeing announced the upcoming freeze of their pension plan, and Lockheed shortly did the same. (Union workers are another case. If you are a current employee, don't think your seniority or job skills will save you from a RIF. In many cases local management has little or no say in who gets cut. There is some upstream entity that does some cost analysis on who should go. In 2011 my software unit had 100 engineers, by 2014 the head count was down to about 30 after several periodic RIFs and many new hires walking out the door.
I totally agree with you. If you're over 50, you have a bullseye on your back. There are so many people who have either been Rifed or voluntarily left RTN seeing the writing on the wall. It is no longer the company it once was.
With Swanson leaving at the month, it's likely to further sink leading to more reorgs which inevitably means MORE layoffs and RIFs.
Sad but true