Faulty Sights Lead to Lawsuit

L-3 developed the EOTech weapon sight and developed contracts with the military in the mid-2000s. By 2007, the Norwegian military had identified that the sight did not perform well in temperatures below freezing. In 2008, they marketed it to the US military. Only one problem; the issues were not fixed and, even eight years later, the military still has thousands of EOTech sights in use in war zones around the world.

Technology opens the doors to issues. It is no surprise that, as the complexity of a component is increased, the likelihood of problems not being identified until after equipment is purchased and distributed also increases. In the case of military gear though, problems and issues can often be the difference between surviving to fight another day, or being remembered. Therefore, it is always disconcerting when equipment flaws are known by a company, but they fail to report it in an attempt to make a future profit.

When L-3 marketed their EOTech sights, they were bringing a new technique to the weapon sight business. Their holographic sights enabled shooters to see the target in both close combat fighting and at range. In buildings, the target was quickly acquired by the eye and able to reduce the time that shooters were attempting to place the sight on the target and pull the trigger. These moments are important and when your business is fighting, they make all the difference.

HolographicWhat they failed to mention were the growing issues that were being identified with the sights. First came the reports by the Norwegians about the sight fading and changing shape in colder temperatures. Then came questions about the waterproofing of the sights when faulty seals led the crosshairs to dim. What came next was even more concerning. The FBI found that the sights themselves were moving, unbeknownst to the shooter, in hot or cold environments.

These subtle movements meant a 6 to 12 inch variance at 100 yards. Although seemingly small, 6 to 12 inches is the difference between hitting the target, or missing. When the target is shooting back, the importance cannot be understated. The fact that the target movement was unidentifiable by the shooter meant that they could not offset or apply Kentucky windage until after the first shots were fired.

As the issues mounted, the government sued L-3. The president of the company, Paul Mangano, resigned. The company settled for $25.6 million and that would usually be the end of the story, except that all branches of the United States military purchased EOTech sights, and even after the lawsuit and defects have been identified but not fixed, the military branches are still using them. The problem is that the company has not figured out how to solve the holographic sight wandering and so even recalling the sight does not replace it with a sight that works.

The company, which like many companies that contract to the military, has an obligation to be both open and transparent about all specifications of their equipment. In this way, the government can ensure that the service members have the right equipment, for the right problem, and are not finding out about known flaws and defects when those same service members are fighting for their lives. Transparency, as such, protects both the government, and the company. In this case, it also would have prevented a multimillion-dollar settlement.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Kyle Soler

Kyle Soler is an active duty Infantry Officer serving in the US Army. He has served in the military for more than 10 years, working his way from an Infantry Squad Leader to a Company Commander with multiple combat deployments to both Iraq and Afghanistan in between. Kyle earned his bachelor’s degree in History from Willamette University, and three Master degrees from Jones International University in Information Security Management, Health Care Management, and International Business. He also holds certifications in Six Sigma Lean and Six Sigma Lean Black Belt. His primary focus is realigning organizational priorities to get the most out of the time available in terms of training and development. Prior to entering military service, he worked as a fire fighter and an EMT. His areas of knowledge include military, training, leadership, disaster and continuity planning.
Kyle Soler

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