Prison inmates employed to manufacture helmets for the US army were encouraged to cut corners and falsify safety documents by US Defense Department subcontractors, defense news website Foxtrot Alpha reported.
The US government lost millions of dollars after inmates at US prisons made helmets for the army, only for the gear to be recalled because of dangerous manufacturing defects, defense news website Foxtrot Alpha reported on Saturday.
According to a report published earlier this week by the US Department of Justice, the privately-owned company Federal Prison Industries and another contractor, ArmorSource, were awarded contracts by the Department of Defense (DOD) to produce Advance Combat Helmets (ACH) and Lightweight Marine Corps Helmets (LMCH) for the US Army.
From 2006 to 2009 ArmorSource and the FPI were paid more than $30 million to produce 126,052 ACH helmets.
They also provide a mounting platform for electronic devices and other defense equipment, and the use of unauthorized manufacturing practices or defective materials could potentially result in serious injury or death to the person wearing the helmet.
The investigation into manufacturing at Beaumont determined that the ACH and LMCH had numerous defects, including serious ballistic failures, deformities and improper placement of the holes used for mounting equipment.
Scrab ballistic material incerted into ACH ear and back sections
Finished ACH helmet shells were pried apart, and prisoners had added scrap Kevlar and Kevlar dust to the ear sections. Helmets were manufactured with degraded or unauthorized ballistic materials, expired paint, and unauthorized manufacturing methods.
To falsely indicate that faulty helmets had passed inspection, prisoners were directed by FPI staff to alter manufacturing documents, and switch or alter serial numbers.
"A surprise inspection by OIG and military personnel on January 26, 2010, uncovered inmates at the Beaumont FPI facility openly using improvised tools on the ACH helmets, damaging the helmets' ballistic material, creating the potential for the tools' use as weapons in the prison and, thereby, endangering the safety of factory staff and degrading prison security," the report from the Justice Department said.
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