GE Aviation to $6M in settlement

GE Aviation Systems has agreed to pay $6.58 million to settle allegations that it submitted false claims in connection with multiple Department of Defense contracts, the U.S. Department of Justice said Wednesday.

According to a Justice Department announcement, GE contracted to make and deliver Navy external fuel tanks for use on the F/A-18 Hornet strike fighter jet. The tanks were made at the company’s plant in Santa Ana, Calif.

After a tank failed during government testing, a federal investigation led to a government allegation that GE “knowingly failed to comply with contract specifications and failed to undertake proper quality control procedures in connection with 641 tanks it delivered to the Navy between June 2005 and February 2008,” the Justice Department said.

In addition, the settlement resolves allegations that GE Aviation Systems knew it falsely represented to another government contractor that the company had performed a complete inspection of 228 “drag beams” to be used on Army UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters and that those drag beams conformed to all contract specifications.

A spokesman for GE Aviation said Thursday, “We cooperated fully with the Justice Department investigation – which did not reveal any fuel tank malfunction during U.S. Navy operations which could be tied to GE’s manufacture of the tanks. After the government investigation was complete, the U.S. Navy in 2010 and 2011 awarded GE’s Santa Ana facility with new production and spares contracts for the F/A/-18 fuel tanks.”