Virgin Galactic Countersues Boeing, Alleging ‘Shoddy Work’

Virgin Galactic Countersues Boeing, Alleging ‘Shoddy Work’

Last month, Boeing and its subsidiary Aurora Flight Sciences sued Virgin Galactic, accusing Richard Branson’s space venture of skipping on bills and holding onto trade secrets. Now, Virgin has returned fire.

The company last week countersued Boeing and Aurora, accusing the struggling aerospace company of “shoddy and incomplete work.” According to Reuters, Virgin Galactic said Boeing is breaching its contract and attempting to unlawfully force the return of intellectual property.

Virgin Galactic is seeking damages totaling $45 million, an amount it said it had already shelled out to Aurora for help in developing its next-generation Mothership, which is the large jet that carries Virgin’s ship to the edge of space. The company claimed the amount it paid was “substantially in excess of the actual value of Boeing’s performance.”

Most Read on IEN:

In a statement obtained by Reuters, Boeing blasted the complaint and said “we intend to vigorously defend our intellectual property and the work performed.”

The public battle between the two aerospace companies began unfolding last month when Boeing filed suit against Virgin Galactic, claiming more than $26 million in unpaid invoices. The Boeing complaint also accused Branson’s company of refusing to delete “the equations.”

“These equations allow Boeing and Aurora to model aircraft stability and control with exceptional accuracy beyond that which is commonly available in the aerospace industry,” the lawsuit reads. “These equations are valuable to Boeing and Aurora because they give it a distinct competitive advantage in accurately modeling aircraft stability and control.”

The legal battle comes as Boeing is attempting a culture change amid increased scrutiny and investigations into its manufacturing practices following high-profile issues with its planes. That includes an incident earlier this year when an Alaska Airlines flight lost a panel mid-flight.

For Virgin Galactic, the Mothership fight with Boeing is happening as the company is focusing on completing work on its Delta-class spaceship and opening a new factory in Arizona this year.

Click here to subscribe to our daily newsletter featuring breaking manufacturing industry news.