The Air Force has notified Alliant Techsystems that the company’s Launch Systems Group has been temporarily placed on an excluded parties list, according to a company release on Feb. 6. This action could result in limitations being placed on the group’s ability to win new contracts, but will not affect its existing military contracts or place constraints on the company’s other business sectors, ATK said. USAF’s decision stems from an ongoing lawsuit regarding the performance of the then-Thiokol Corporation’s LUU-19 aircraft-deployed illumination flares in testing in the late 1990s. ATK subsumed Thiokol in 2001. “The company believes this action is unjustified and will have no material affect to its near- or long-term financial performance,” ATK wrote, noting that it “fully intends to resolve” the issue through discussions with Air Force officials. The company said it views the original lawsuit as “without merit.” “More than 40,000 of the illumination flares in question have been used in combat and all information available to us indicates that there has never been a reported incident of a malfunction,” it wrote. “The company has filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit in federal court. Based on the merits of the case, the company believes the court will rule in its favor.”
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.