Sikorsky Aircraft has agreed to pay the US government almost £3m to resolve fraud allegations in connection with its contract for the manufacture of Black Hawk helicopters for the army.
Sikorsky manufactures the helicopters, or variations of them, for the US Army, the US Navy, the US Air Force and the US Marine Corps, as well as for other countries.
Under Sikorsky’s contract with the US Army, the company was required to install armour plates in the Black Hawk to the left of the pilot and to the right of the co-pilot that were ballistically tested to ensure the helicopters could withstand combat.
However, the US goverment alleged that, from 1991 to 2006, Sikorsky installed armour plates purchased from Ceradyne Corporation that had not been ballistically tested as required under the contract.
Under the US False Claims Act, a contractor who knowingly claims payment for non-compliant goods is liable for three times the government’s damages, plus a $5,500 (£3,870) to $11,000 civil penalty for each false claim.
‘This settlement sends a message that fraud, especially when it concerns the safety of our men and women in uniform, cannot and will not be tolerated in government contracts,’ said Michael Hertz, acting assistant attorney general for the US Department of Justice’s Civil Division.