IT staff are safe from the job cuts QinetiQ announced yesterday, the defence company has confirmed.

A spokesperson for QinetiQ said that the plan to axe 391 roles at the company will "not affect IT skills". It employs 6,500 staff in the UK.

QinetiQ is planning to cut around 130 jobs at its site in Farnborough, Hampshire, and around 230 jobs in Malvern, Worcestershire. Another thirty jobs would go across its UK operations.

The roles are mainly management level and and include researchers working on projects with QinetiQ's primary UK customer, the Ministry of Defence (MoD). The defence company said that the job cuts are part of its review of its advice and technology solutions group businesses and corporate headquarters. It is conducting a further review of the rest of the company over the summer.

Leo Quinn, CEO of QinetiQ, said: "We are acting to make our costs more competitive and improve our productivity. Our goal is to remain a full service provider and we will work with our customers, including the Ministry of Defence, to ensure that we main this capability."

Prospect union, which represents 2,000 staff at QinetiQ, warned that more than 700 jobs could go eventually.

David Luxton, Prospect national secretary, said: "Our members in QinetiQ give a technological edge to our armed forces, which is evident in current military operations. The loss of so many skilled and innovative scientists and engineers will inevitably impact on the UK's defence capabilities.

He added: "QinetiQ has begun a 90-day consultation with the unions, initially on 391 job losses, but it is expected that over 700 jobs will disappear during that period."

The MoD has recently cancelled a £141 million framework contract for IT consultancy services during the tendering process.