The U.S. government has sued L-3 Communications Corp. for fraud, claiming it knowingly supplied the military and law enforcement with thousands of defective holographic weapon sights that malfunction in hot, cold and humid conditions.
L-3’s EOTech unit has been paid “tens of millions of dollars” since 2004 by the Defense Department, Department of Homeland Security and Federal Bureau of Investigation for weapon sights that were supposed to perform in temperatures ranging from -40 degrees to 140 degrees Fahrenheit (-40 degrees to 60 degrees Celsius) and in humid weather, the government said in a complaint filed Tuesday in Manhattan federal court.
The New York-based company failed to disclose testing showing the sights were less accurate in extreme temperatures and degraded when exposed to moisture, the U.S. said.
“U.S. troops used EOTech’s optical sights in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as in the jungle, mountains, desert and other extreme environmental conditions around the world,” the government said in its complaint.
John Bailey, a spokesman for EOTech, didn’t immediately return a voice mail message seeking comment on the allegations.
In the complaint, the government named as defendants L-3, EOTech and EOTech’s president, Paul Mangano. The U.S. is seeking unspecified triple damages plus civil penalties of as much as $11,000 for each fraudulent claim. In July, L-3 said it had incurred an $8 million charge “in anticipation of a settlement for a product specifications matter” with the government over its holographic sights.
L-3 dropped 2 percent to $123.56 at 1:12 p.m. in New York trading.
The case is U.S. v. L-3 Communications EOTech Inc., 15- CV-09262, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).