NEWARK, N.J. – The Department of Justice announced today that Indal Technologies Inc. (Indal) has agreed to pay $3.5 million to resolve allegations that it knowingly sold defective helicopter landing systems designed for U.S. Navy destroyers. Indal, of Ontario, Canada, is a division within Curtiss-Wright Corporation of Charlotte, North Carolina.
Since the 1970s, Indal has produced the Recovery, Assist, Secure, and Traverse (RAST) system attached to U.S. Navy’s Arleigh-Burke class destroyers. RAST systems allow helicopters to land on destroyers.
The RAST system includes a device that locks a hovering helicopter onto a trolley. Once locked in place, the helicopter moves along a series of steel track plates into a shipboard hangar. The trolley must remain securely connected to the track plates, because the helicopter may be required to land during rough seas and high winds. The Navy’s contracts for RAST systems expressly required track plates made of HY100 steel due to the material’s increased strength, combat ruggedness, and protection from corrosion.
The settlement announced today resolves allegations that Indal, without informing the Navy, knowingly substituted a different, less expensive type of steel in numerous RAST system track plates delivered to the Navy.
“When government contractors supply equipment to our armed forces that fail to meet performance standards, they not only cheat taxpayers, but can put service member lives at risk,” said Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Civil Division Joseph H. Hunt. “Today’s settlement demonstrates our commitment to ensuring our military receives products that meet its requirements and for which it has paid.”
“American taxpayers are entitled to get what they pay for under government contracts, and that is especially true when the health and safety of U.S. armed forces are at stake,” U.S. Attorney Carpenito said. “This office will continue to pursue and hold accountable those who, like Indal, defraud the government by providing substandard goods and services in order to enrich themselves.”
“Fraud is never a victimless crime. This case of using inferior materials damaged the readiness of U.S. forces. The victims are not just our men and women in uniform, but all American taxpayers. NCIS will continue to tirelessly pursue all those who seek to take advantage of the Department of the Navy and its interests while keeping the procurement system fair and honest,” said Special Agent in Charge Leo S. Lamont of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.
This settlement was the result of a coordinated effort among the Civil Division’s Commercial Litigation Branch and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey. In the District of New Jersey, the government was represented by Senior Litigation Counsel Anthony J. LaBruna and Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Orlowski of the Civil Division, Newark.
The claims resolved by the settlement are allegations only; there has been no determination of liability.