Lockheed Martin has filed a lawsuit alleging Boeing used misappropriated information during the 1999 competition for satellite launch contracts under the US Air Force's Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) programme. Boeing has admitted employees acted improperly during the competition, which resulted in the company winning 21 of 28 EELV launches.

The lawsuit accuses Boeing of misappropriating proprietary Lockheed Martin information, including sensitive cost and technical data, then "covering up" by misrepresenting to Lockheed Martin and the US Air Force that the documents involved were limited and that no proprietary data was used by Boeing in the $2 billion EELV competition bid. The company is seeking compensatory and punitive damages.

Boeing chairman Phil Condit says the company is "co-operating fully" with US Justice Department and USAF investigations.

Lockheed Martin alleges a former EELV project manager, Kenneth Branch, took the documents with him when he joined Boeing in 1997. Branch was fired by Boeing in 1999 after an internal probe, and the incident came to light when he filed a wrongful termination suit against Boeing, which was dismissed last year.

Source: Flight International