WASHINGTON - Kaman Precision Products Inc., an Orlando, Fla., defense contractor, will pay the United States $4.75 million to resolve allegations that the company submitted false claims for non-conforming fuzes sold to the U.S. Army for use in “bunkerbuster” bombs, the Justice Department announced today. In addition, the settlement requires Kaman to adhere to a compliance program and to dismiss administrative claims that it had made against the Army after the termination of its contract.
The lawsuit, filed in the Middle District of Florida by the United States under the False Claims Act for breach of contract, alleged that the company knowingly substituted a component in four lots of fuzes that made them unsafe for use in military operations. Specifically, the United States’ allegations relate to FMU-143 fuzes for use in hard target penetration warheads, colloquially referred to as “bunkerbuster” bombs.
The government alleged that Kaman knowingly substituted non-conforming bellows motors for the specified motors in four lots of fuzes supplied to the military, and that the non-conforming parts could cause the fuzes to fire prematurely, creating a hazard for military personnel and causing misfires of the warheads. The military discovered the parts substitution and quarantined the defective fuzes.
Today’s settlement resolved those claims, as well as other administrative claims that the Army brought after it terminated Kaman’s contract for the company’s violation of its contractual obligations.
“The Department has zero tolerance for defense contractors who put the lives of our military personnel in danger,” said Tony West, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division. “When this type of misconduct is alleged, we will actively pursue legal remedies to reclaim taxpayer dollars as well as ensure the safety of our men and women in uniform.”
“Integrity in the procurement process is fundamental to our nation’s security and the safety of our military personnel,” said Robert E. O’Neill, U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Florida. “This settlement represents a significant achievement in our long standing commitment to the enforcement of civil laws in the area of defense contracting.”
This settlement resulted from the efforts of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida; the Commercial Litigation Branch of the Justice Department’s Civil Division; the Defense Criminal Investigative Service; the Army Criminal Investigation Command; and the U.S. Army Legal Services Agency Contract and Fiscal Law Division.