Indal agrees to pay $3.5m after selling defective systems to US Navy

Illustration: Sailors remove chocks and chains from an MH-60R Seahawk helicopter on the flight deck of guided-missile destroyer USS Carney (DDG 64). Photo: US Navy

Defense contractor Indal Technologies Inc. (is to pay $3.5 million after it sold defective helicopter landing systems designed for US Navy destroyers.

According to a Department of Justice announcement from October 15, the company has agreed to pay the amount to resolve allegations that it knowingly sold the defective systems.

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 installed on US 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 announced settlement 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 our armed forces with equipment that fails to meet performance standards, they not only cheat taxpayers, but they put at risk the safety of our service members,” said Assistant Attorney General Joseph H. Hunt of the Department of Justice’s Civil Division. “Today’s settlement demonstrates our commitment to ensuring that the military receives products that meet its requirements and for which it has paid.”

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. The investigation was conducted by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and the Defense Contract Audit Agency.

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