WASHINGTON, Aug. 8 (UPI) -- Defense contractor Pratt and Whitney's admission to violating export rules by selling military software to China is troubling, U.S. lawmakers said.
Defense contractor United Technologies in July said subsidiaries Pratt and Whitney Canada and Hamilton Sundstrand Corp. settled U.S. government claims that exports of military software to China would help the country develop the Z-10 attack helicopter.
The government said the companies likely committed hundreds of violations related to the International Traffic in Arms Regulations agreement in the United States.
In a letter to U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Levin and McCain said they were especially concerned given the "large number of administrative violations" that the companies acknowledged.
"The widespread nature of these violations by just this one major defense contractor raises the possibility of systemic deficiencies with the oversight and enforcement of federal export controls," the letter read.
Their stated frustration comes as U.S. defense leaders stressed the importance of a military role in the Asia-Pacific.
Panetta this week said the U.S. strategic alliance with Japan "has been the bedrock of peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region for more than 50 years."