The chief executive of Lockheed Martin (LMT), the largest U.S. defense contractor, told his employees Thursday there will be no immediate furloughs and they will continue to get paid if there is a government shutdown.

CEO Bob Stevens issued a statement to Lockheed’s 126,000 employees telling them operations will continue if a Congressional budget impasse shuts down the U.S. government at midnight on Friday, as is growing increasingly likely.

“If the government does shut down, you can rest assured that we will continue to conduct business with a constancy of purpose, a steadfast commitment to you, and a continuing focus on serving our customers,” Stevens wrote in the statement. “Our facilities will remain open. We will continue to pay you. Your benefits will remain in force. We currently have no plans to furlough anyone.”

Still, Stevens said a shutdown would impact employees differently depending on where they work and in what area of Lockheed’s various businesses they are employed.

Stevens said he and other “industry leaders” have been “working vigorously” with Congress to pass a defense appropriations bill “to avoid unnecessary risk to our national security and avert a shutdown.”

In the event of a shutdown, however, Stevens said Lockheed Martin has a “plan in case the worst happens.”

Based in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin, with more than $45 billion in 2010 sales, is the largest provider of IT services, systems integration, and training to the U.S. government.

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