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Top US contractor who gave China US warplane, missile data to pay $13M for ‘harming nat’l security’

An F-22 Raptor from the 325th Fighter Wing flies alongside an F-35 Lightning II from the 33rd Fighter Wing over the Emerald Coast in northwest Florida May 18, 2020. (U.S. Air Force photo by 1st Lt. Savanah Bray/Flickr)
May 10, 2021

Honeywell, a top U.S. defense contractor, agreed to pay out $13 million in an administrative settlement after the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs charged it with illegally sharing secret technical drawings of U.S. aircraft with China. Those technical drawings included technical details for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and F-22 fighter jet, among others.

According to a State Department charging letter, between October 2011 and July 2015, Honeywell Aerospace’s Integrated Supply Chain (ISC) requested quotes for the prices of several different aircraft parts from both U.S. and foreign suppliers, including Chinese suppliers. In its call for quotes, the company provided 71 sets of technical drawings for a number of military aircraft and missile parts, including the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, B-1B Lancer Long-Range Strategic Bomber, F-22 Fighter Aircraft, C-130 Military Transport Aircraft, A-7H Corsair Aircraft, A-10 Aircraft, Apache Longbow Helicopter, M1A1 Abrams Tank, Tactical Tomahawk Missile, and the T55 Turboshaft Engine.

Honeywell shared the drawings with Chinese parts suppliers, as well as Canadian, Irish and Taiwanese suppliers.

Honywell ISC personnel typically transmit technical drawings of this nature through a file exchange platform called DEXcenter, but in this case shared those files without prior authorization. Honeywell ultimately admitted the unauthorized sharing of the drawings and told The Hill it “inadvertently shared” the information over the course of “normal business discussions” and “no detailed manufacturing or engineering expertise” was given out.

The charging letter said Honeywell’s actions “harmed U.S. national security.” 65 of the 71 technical drawings are regulated under the Arms Export Control Act (AECA) and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR).

Last week, the U.S. State Department announced Honeywell International, Inc. (Honeywell) of Charlotte, N.C. will pay $13 million in civil penalties for unauthorized data sharing. The total $13 million penalty is to be paid as $8 million in civil penalties and $5 million in “remedial compliance measures.”

“Honeywell voluntarily disclosed to the Department the alleged violations that are resolved under this settlement,” the State Department said. “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. For these reasons, the Department has determined that it is not appropriate to administratively debar Honeywell at this time.”

In a statement to the Daily Caller, Honeywell said, “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.”