Kendall Dye, an engineer with ATK Thiokol, was astonished when he discovered that the company was knowingly supplying dangerously unsafe flares to the United States military, the New York Times reported Nov. 2.
According to the whistleblower suit Dye filed under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act, ATK cheated taxpayers by selling fragile flares and knowingly put soldiers at risk. The flares are supposed to ignite when dropped from a height of 10 feet or greater, but Dye claims they could ignite if jostled or dropped from a much lower height.
The government has joined Dye’s suit. Although ATK contends that the flares have not yet injured anyone, they are so powerful that the accidental ignition of one could set off nearby ordnance, burn a hole in the hull of a warship or melt through the skin of an airplane high in the sky.