Government joins lawsuit

MINNEAPOLIS — The U.S. government has joined a whistleblower lawsuit that argues that Alliant Techsystems Inc. of Edina, Minn., knowingly made defective flares for the Navy that could have ignited if accidentally dropped. Alliant has denied the allegations.

The lawsuit, which has largely been sealed, was filed by former Alliant flare program manager Kendall Dye in federal court in Utah in April 2006. The company disclosed last month that the government was investigating the allegations.

The baton-sized illumination flares in question are usually launched by military or rescue aircraft. Once ignited, the flares light up large patches of ground below. Premature ignition of the flares could cause significant hazards.

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