Two former top officials of Nurad Inc. of Baltimore were sentenced to federal prison yesterday after pleading guilty to filing false statements that antennas they manufactured for the F-16 jet fighter met Air Force specifications.
"It's hard to picture anything more serious in the area of defense procurement than this," U.S. District Judge Walter E. Black Jr. said, rejecting defense attorneys' pleas for probation.
Judge Black sentenced David W. Rider, a former Nurad vice president and director of engineering, to three years at TC minimum-security facility.
Rider, 50, of Forest Hill pleaded guilty to two charges of making false statements in certificates to the manufacturer of the F-16, General Dynamics Corp. of Fort Worth.
The judge sentenced Bruce E. Kopp, the former project manager at the manufacturing plant in the 2100 block of Druid Park Drive, to eight months in a minimum-security facility. Kopp, 36, of Baltimore pleaded guilty to one charge of making a false statement.
The statements filed from 1986 through 1988 involved antennas Nurad was making as part of the Airborne Self-Protection Jammer, designed to detect enemy radar and send a signal to confuse its aircraft and anti-aircraft missiles.
The jammer never was used, for reasons unrelated to Nurad's deception, but the F-16 is being used in the war against Iraq, and Judge Black and government prosecutors told the defendants that their deceptions could have threatened the lives of U.S. pilots and the success of their mission.
Rider and Kopp admitted in their guilty pleas that they taught Nurad employees for 10 years or more to falsify test results for the antennas.