Despite the Persian Gulf war successes of the Patriot missile system, Raytheon Corp. has laid off 146 workers in its missile division.

"It's a reflection of the slowdown in defense spending," company spokesman Ed Powers said last week.The layoffs of primarily white-collar employees represent less than 1 percent of the firm's 17,000 workers in the missile systems division, he said. The Lexington-based contractor has eight divisions and 11 subsidiaries.

Besides the now-famous Patriot, the missiles division works on three other systems: Hawk, Sparrow and Sidewinder.