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Boeing sued for stealing specialized tooling to assembly SLS

A Colorado company, Wilson Aerospace, on June 6, 2023 filed a lawsuit against Boeing, claiming that the company conspired with Wilson’s direct competitors to steal the designs of its specialized tool for installing the core station engines on SLS.

According to the lawsuit, after some initial discussions, Boeing arranged for a “live” demonstration of Wilson’s torque device, during which participants could handle and operate it to verify the tool’s capability and performance. What Wilson claims it did not realize, however, is that some of the participants in this demonstration were not Boeing employees. “Wilson later learned that at least seven of those in attendance for the live presentation were external to Boeing and were, at the time, employees of Wilson’s direct competitors,” the lawsuit states. “This fact was concealed from Wilson who was deceived by Boeing and the ‘Bogus Boeing Employees’ into giving the presentation by falsely suggesting to Wilson that everyone was a Boeing employee.”

The complaint alleges that Boeing subsequently used information from this demonstration, as well as proprietary drawings and designs, to work with Wilson’s competitors to develop a cheaper solution. “Boeing concealed these facts from Wilson as part of its scheme to defraud Wilson and to transmit Wilson’s IP to its direct competitors,” the lawsuit states.

The company is demanding a jury trial. If its charges are proved true, it will be another piece of evidence demonstrating the level of corruption that exists at Boeing.

Genesis cover

On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.

The ebook is available everywhere for $5.99 (before discount) at amazon, or direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit. If you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and the author gets a bigger cut much sooner.

The audiobook is also available at all these vendors, and is also free with a 30-day trial membership to Audible.

"Not simply about one mission, [Genesis] is also the history of America's quest for the moon... Zimmerman has done a masterful job of tying disparate events together into a solid account of one of America's greatest human triumphs."--San Antonio Express-News


  • James Street

    My first job out of college was at one of the Boeing aircraft divisions. It was a bizarre atmosphere of office politics with people working to destroy other people’s careers and lives. Quite a shock for a naïve college grad. After a few years there I went to work for a small cell phone company where the atmosphere was “Let’s build something cool”, kind of what I imagine SpaceX is like today.

    It’s said the big negative change came when Boeing bought failing McDonnell Douglas and the politically savvy, inside-the-beltway connected McDonnell Douglas management were moved into the top positions at Boeing.

  • John Fisher

    Boeing is the latest company to head for the dustbin of history when financial engineering came to outweigh product engineering. GE and Westinghouse (which I experienced) come to mind. I still can’t understand why CEOs don’t get that the financial statements are not the territory.

  • Andi

    Minor edit in title: “specialized tooling to assemble SLS” or “specialized tooling used in SLS assembly”

  • pawn

    I’m glad Wilson Aerospace is calling Boeing out legally on this. Boeing obviously violated the terms if not the sprit of an NDA by having ringers at the presentation.

    Wilson will probably not get much money if they win based on damages but standing firm against the blatantly dishonest, albeit illegal, deed is commendable.

    I do hope it discourages these professional, reverse engineering IP thieves.

    Boeing has lost any ethical standing they once had that made them the dominant player in Aerospace.

    I would get a reprimand from Bob if I said what I really think about this.

  • Jeff Wright

    I remember the EELV data theft.
    And there was Jack Welsh—a perfect libertarian cost cutter in deed if not name.

  • pzatchok

    And here I would have been fired for just telling a competitor of Boeing that I did work for them.

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