Lockheed Martin fined for radio failure

Wednesday, 24 January, 2018

Lockheed Martin fined for radio failure

Defence contractor Lockheed Martin has agreed to a settlement valued at US$4.4 million to resolve allegations that it violated the civil False Claims Act by providing defective communications systems for the United States Coast Guard’s National Security Cutters.

The penalty was announced by Acting United States Attorney Alex G Tse and Department of Homeland Security Office of the Inspector General Special Agent in Charge of the San Diego Field Office Amanda Thandi.

The US government alleged that the radio frequency distribution system (RFDS) Lockheed provided failed to meet the requirement of transmitting and receiving several different radio signals at the same time without undue interference.

The Coast Guard has taken delivery of the first six Cutters and three more are under construction. All nine Cutters have or will have versions of the same RFDS.

To settle the allegations, Lockheed has agreed to pay US$2.2 million, and to provide the Coast Guard with repairs to the RFDS on the nine Cutters at no charge. The repairs are valued at US$2.2 million.

“This office remains committed to fighting fraud and false claims against the federal government,” said Acting US Attorney Tse.

“It is essential that the communications systems on the Coast Guard’s National Security Cutters work properly.

“I am pleased that Lockheed has agreed to repair the systems so that they fully function to support the Coast Guard’s important mission.”

The settlement resolves a whistleblower lawsuit filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. An engineer who formerly worked for Lockheed filed the case under the provisions of the False Claims Act.

Under those provisions, private citizens, known as ‘relators’, may file lawsuits on behalf of the United States and receive a portion of the proceeds of a settlement or judgment.

In this case, the relator will receive US$990,000 as his share of the government’s recovery from Lockheed.

Image courtesy USCG.

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