The United States has joined a whistleblower lawsuit against the Lockheed Martin Corp. that alleges that one of the company’s vendors violated the False Claims Act by overcharging the government for tools.

Department of Justice officials said that during 1998, Tools & Metals Inc. won a contract from Lockheed Martin Aeronautics to supply all of Lockheed’s perishable tools for the manufacturing of F-16s and F-22s for the Defense Department.

The suit alleges that Lockheed is independently liable for TMI’s violation because of “its reckless oversight of TMI.”

The lawsuit was filed by former TMI executive John Becker, and a TMI competitor, Robert Spencer, in U.S. District Court in Dallas under a whistleblower provision of the False Claims Act.