WASHINGTON ― The U.S. State Department announced it reached a $13 million settlement with American defense firm Honeywell over allegations it exported technical drawings of parts for the F-35 fighters and other weapons platforms to China and other foreign countries.
The Charlotte, North Carolina-based company faced 34 charges involving drawings it shared with China, Taiwan, Canada and Ireland, according to the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs’ charging document.
The State Department alleged some of the transmissions harmed national security, which Honeywell acknowledges with the caveat that the technology involved “is commercially available throughout the world. No detailed manufacturing or engineering expertise was shared.”
All together, the materials pertained to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the B-1B Lancer long-range strategic bomber, the F-22 fighter, the C-130 transport aircraft, the A-7H Corsair aircraft, the A-10 Warthog aircraft, the Apache Longbow helicopter, the M1A1 Abrams tank, the tactical Tomahawk missile; the F/A-18 Hornet fighter, and the F135, F414, T55 and CTS800 turboshaft engines.
The State Department said it would not debar Honeywell because it voluntarily disclosed its alleged violations in compliance with the Arms Export Control Act and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations. Also, $5 million of the fine is suspended so Honeywell can apply it to compliance costs and remedial measures.
“Honeywell also acknowledged the serious nature of the alleged violations, cooperated with the Department’s review, and instituted a number of compliance program improvements during the course of the Department’s review,” the State Department said in a statement. “For these reasons, the Department has determined that it is not appropriate to administratively debar Honeywell at this time.”
Between 2011 and 2015, Honeywell allegedly used a file-sharing platform to inappropriately transmit engineering prints showing layouts, dimensions and geometries for manufacturing castings and finished parts for multiple aircraft, military electronics and gas turbine engines. Its first disclosure of violations to the government came in 2015.
“The U.S. Government reviewed copies of the 71 drawings and determined that exports to and retransfers in the PRC [People’s Republic of China] of drawings for certain parts and components for the engine platforms for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, B-1B Lancer Long-Range Strategic Bomber, and the F-22 Fighter Aircraft harmed U.S. national security,” the charging document read.
Though Honeywell told the State Department in 2016 of corrective actions it took to prevent such violations from recurring, it disclosed further violations involving export-controlled drawings in 2018. Employees using “an alternative process” to send two drawings to Canada, two drawings to China and 23 drawings to Mexico.
“The U.S. Government reviewed copies of the 23 drawings and determined that exports to and retransfers in [China] of drawings for certain parts and components of the CTS800 gas turbine engine harmed U.S. national security,” the charging document read.
In a statement, Honeywell said it has since taken steps to ensure there are no repeat incidents.
“Under an agreement reached with the State Department to resolve these issues, Honeywell will pay a fine, engage an external compliance officer to oversee the Consent Agreement for a minimum of 18 months, and will conduct an external audit of our compliance program,” Honeywell’s statement on the matter reads in part.
“Since Honeywell voluntarily self-reported these disclosures, we have taken several actions to ensure there are no repeat incidents. These actions included enhancing export security, investing in additional compliance personnel, and increasing compliance training.”
Joe Gould is senior Pentagon reporter for Defense News, covering the intersection of national security policy, politics and the defense industry.