Israeli Unit of U.S. Firm Caught Cheating on Jet-engine Tests

Pratt & Whitney finds engine-test fraud at Carmel Forge; Israeli unit says there was never any need to recall parts or ground planes, 'Uvda' reports.

United Technologies' Pratt & Whitney unit has found that an Israeli United Tech unit fraudulently tested jet-engine parts to reduce the odds of further monitoring, Pratt said on Monday.

Pratt's findings on the testing at the Israeli unit, Haifa-area based Carmel Forge, were first reported by The Wall Street Journal, which has conducted an investigation into the matter with Israeli Channel 2 news program "Uvda."

According to "Uvda" on Monday night, Carmel Forge has admitted that what was done at the plant should have never occurred, but there was never any need to recall parts or ground planes.

Pratt said that after receiving a tip from an employee in June 2011, it had reviewed 15 years of tests at Carmel Forge and found that "employees had in fact adjusted certain test data to minimize the possibility of further testing."

It said a further internal review of engine parts inspected by Carmel Forge found they were in fact safe and that the scheme had not caused any flight-safety risks.

Pratt said the unit has changed staff since the fraudulent testing, bought new test equipment and put in place new controls to ensure future testing would follow normal practices. Carmel Forge inspects a class of engine used on light jets made by Pratt & Whitney's Canadian arm.

According to the expose, the irregularities surfaced after a junior employee at Carmel Forge tipped off United Tech in an email. Company officials from the United States then raided the Israeli plant and seized incriminating evidence.

On Monday, Carmel Forge declined to comment.

Avishag Shaar Yeshuv