Friday, May 23, 2008

Army Probing Plane Parts Supplier

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. - The Army is investigating a Southern California supplier of composite materials for allegedly selling bogus products to the makers of civilian and military aircraft, according to reports.

Huntington Beach-based Airtech International is suspected of supplying "nonconforming products" to government contractors that build the C-17 and F-18 fighter jets, plus to the manufacturers of commercial jets like the Boeing 747, according to an Army memo obtained by CBS Evening News and the Project on Government Oversight.

The composites, which are high-tech plastics used to replace metal parts in the wings and fuselage in many planes, did not meet manufacturers' required specifications and can contaminate other parts, according to the memo cited by CBS and the watchdog group.

The memo by an Army criminal investigator alleged a "brazen disregard for the safety of soldiers and civilians as well as for the sanctity of laws, regulations and rules."

A call Thursday to Airtech seeking comment was not immediately returned.

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