May 4 (UPI) -- The State Department announced it has reached a $13 million settlement with U.S. defense contractor Honeywell International over allegations it exported technical data concerning fighter jets and other military vehicles to foreign countries, including China.
The settlement resolves 34 charges the State Department leveled against the company for disclosing dozens of engineering prints showing dimensions, geometries and layouts for manufacturing parts for aircraft, gas turbine engines and military electronics.
Honeywell voluntarily informed the department in two disclosures that it had violated arms export control laws by sending the technical drawings to foreign countries, the State Department said in a statement.
"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," it said. "For these reasons, the department has determined that it is not appropriate to administratively debar Honeywell at this time."
The proposed charging letter said Honeywell, which manufactures and exports a variety of controlled defense articles including aircraft parts and components, first disclosed to the department in December of 2015 that he had identified multiple drawings of export-controlled parts it had sent to Taiwan and China that July as part of requests for quotations.
Following an internal investigation, Honeywell had identified 71-controlled drawings that it had exported to Canada, Ireland, China and Taiwan between July 2011 and October 2015.
"The U.S. government reviewed copies of the 71 drawings and determined that exports to and retransfers in the PRC 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 document said.
Honeywell then voluntarily disclosed in 2018 how it committed similar violations despite informing the State Department two years earlier that it had taken "multiple corrective actions" following the first disclosure.
Under an alternative process, which Honeywell officials believed complied with export laws, the company sent two controlled drawings to Canada, two to China and 23 to Mexico, which the government said after reviewing the documents harmed national security.
"The settlement demonstrates the department's role in strengthening U.S. industry by protecting U.S.-origin defense articles, including technical data, from unauthorized exports," the State Department said. "The settlement also highlights the importance of obtaining appropriate authorization from the department for exporting controlled articles."
In a statement emailed to UPI, Honeywell explained it "inadvertently shared" the technology that was assessed as impacting national security during "normal business discussions" but remarked that the schematics were commercially available worldwide.
"No detailed manufacturing or engineering expertise was shared," it said.
Under the agreement, Honey said it will pay the fine and have an external compliance officer oversee the consent agreement for at least 18 months as well as conduct an external audit of its compliance program.
"Since Honeywell voluntarily self-reported these disclosures, we have taken several actions to ensure there are no repeat incidents," Honeywell said.