WASHINGTON — Two former executives of Nurad Inc. have been sentenced to federal prison terms for concealing defects in antennas the company made for radar-jamming devices on Air Force F-16 fighter planes.
At a hearing late yesterday in U.S. District Court in Baltimore, Judge Walter E. Black Jr. sentenced David W. Rider, 50, of the 1800 block of Cosner Road in Forest Hill, to three years in prison and Bruce B. Kopp, 35, of the 2900 block of Salem Road in Woodlawn, to eight months in prison.
Rider is Nurad's former vice president and director of engineering. Kopp is a former Nurad project engineer.
Black recommended imprisonment for Rider under a law that would allow the defendant to be paroled when the federal Parole Commission determines he is rehabilitated. Defense attorney Joshua R. Treem said Rider could be freed in as little as one year.
Both defendants pleaded guilty to felony false statement charges last August tied to cheating on antenna specifications for the radar-jamming devices and falsifications of documents to make it appear that the faulty antennas worked properly.
The false statements were made on certificates of compliance submitted to General Dynamics Corp., manufacturer of the F-16s. The criminal charges culminated a two-year investigation by the Defense Criminal Investigative Service and the FBI that began with information received from a confidential informant.
Prosecutor Carmina S. Hughes told Black yesterday that "testing was a hoax" at Nurad, and that Rider and Kopp were personally involved in directing the company's lab technicians to falsify test data.
Hughes said Rider was the man that Nurad employees "looked to for guidance, and the guidance he gave was to ignore the law."
Nurad, located in the 2100 block of Druid Park Drive, pleaded guilty last week to five related false statement charges. The company paid a $500,000 fine and $750,000 restitution to the government.
Rider was charged in two counts with submitting false certificates on 27 antenna systems. Kopp was charged in one count with submitting false certificates on 11 antenna systems.
Both men were fired by Nurad during the federal investigation.
Hughes said no American fighter pilots were endangered because the antennas were never installed on warplanes delivered to the Air Force.
"Had the antennas been used, they could have produced life-threatening situations for American pilots," the prosecutor said.