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A whistleblower lawsuit accusing Pratt & Whitney of doctoring F-22 engine inspection reports just got a major boost
A federal court has denied Pratt & Whitney's efforts to dismiss a whistle-blower suit accusing the aerospace giant of falsifying inspection reports and selling billions of dollars of possibly defective jet engines to the military between 2012 and 2015.
Pratt has been trying to kill the suit since it was first filed, under seal, in 2016. But Judge Janet C. Hall, in a decision made public Wednesday, said the latest version of the complaint by former Pratt engineer of metallurgist Peter J. Bonzani, Jr. can proceed because it contains information Bonzani recently obtained about the company's F119 engine contract with the U.S. Air Force.
Bonzani claims in his suit that Pratt learned in late 2015 that it had been using defective equipment for at least three years to test and certify the seal coatings applied by spray-on process to integrally bladed rotors in the F119 engine core.
The faulty tests raise questions about Pratt's certifications that the rotor components can withstand the enormous stresses of engine operation, the suit claims, and create a risk to the military of "premature wear, poor performance and possible catastrophic engine failures."
"The proper sealing of these engine parts is critical to the engine function of jet fighter aircraft as these planes are designed to fly at higher pressures, lower bypass ratios, hotter temperatures, and within tighter tolerances compared to most commercial engines," the suit says.
The Air Force uses the F119 in its F-22 fighter jet. But Bonzani contends in the suit that the allegedly defective process in place at Pratt's Middletown plant may have affected engines the company built over the same period for the commercial Airbus A320NEPO and the F-35 fighter jet.
Pratt did not reply to questions about the suit.
Bonzani provided robotics and thermal spray expertise to Pratt & Whitney as an independent contractor and later as a full-time employee, he said in his lawsuit. He says he was assigned to investigate after tests showed that the spray coating being applied to engine components in Middletown suddenly and inexplicably fell beneath quality control standards in 2015.
The suit asserts that Pratt had been using wrong-sized and worn spray equipment. When the equipment was replaced, the suit claims, subsequent tests showed quality measures were not being met.
Bonzani said Pratt immediately suspended him and fired him 90 days after he brought what he called the defective testing procedures to the attention of management in Nov. 2015.
©2019 The Hartford Courant (Hartford, Conn.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
29 years after Desert Storm, an Air Force general says we’ve forgotten the lessons that made it so successful
When Air Force Gen. Chuck Horner (ret.) took to the podium at the dedication of the National Desert Storm and Desert Shield Memorial site in Washington D.C. last February, he told the audience that people often ask him why a memorial is necessary for a conflict that only lasted about 40 days.
Horner, who commanded the U.S. air campaign of that war, said the first reason is to commemorate those who died in the Gulf War. Then he pointed behind him, towards the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, where the names of over 58,000 Americans who died in Vietnam are etched in granite.
"These two monuments are inexorably linked together," Horner said. "Because we had in Desert Storm a president and a secretary of defense who did the smartest thing in the world: they gave the military a mission which could be accomplished by military force."
The Desert Storm Memorial "is a place every military person that's going to war should visit, and they learn to stand up when they have to, to avoid the stupidness that led to that disaster" in Vietnam, he added.
Now, 29 years after the operation that kicked Saddam Hussein's Iraqi army out of Kuwait began, the U.S. is stuck in multiple wars that Horner says resemble the one he and his fellow commanders tried to avoid while designing Desert Storm.
Horner shared his perspective on what went right in the Gulf War, and what's gone wrong since then, in an interview last week with Task & Purpose.
The Navy SEAL accused of strangling Army Special Forces Staff Sgt. Logan Melgar was promoted to chief petty officer two months after Melgar's death, according to a new report from The Daily Beast.
US troops are still ready to 'fight tonight' against North Korea despite canceled exercises, general says
U.S. troops are still ready to "fight tonight" against North Korea despite the indefinite suspension of major military training exercises on the Korean peninsula, Pentagon officials said Tuesday.
March Air Reserve Base in California will host nearly 200 U.S. citizens who were flown out of Wuhan, China due to the rapidly-spreading coronavirus, a Defense Department spokeswoman announced on Wednesday.
"March Air Reserve Base and the Department of Defense (DoD) stand ready to provide housing support to Health and Human Services (HHS) as they work to handle the arrival of nearly 200 people, including Department of State employees, dependents and U.S. citizens evacuated from Wuhan, China," said Pentagon press secretary Alyssa Farah in a statement on Wednesday.
Wuhan is the epicenter of the coronavirus, which is a mild to severe respiratory illness that's associated with symptoms of fever, cough and shortness of breath, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The virus has so far killed 132 people and infected nearly 6,000 others in China, according to news reports.