Three defense contractors, one of whose offices was searched Tuesday in connection with possible fraud, will undergo reduced government oversight in the future because of superior past performance, the Air Force said Wednesday.

The three are: Boeing Aerospace Co., Seattle, Wash., the Autonetics Division of Rockwell International Corp., Anaheim, Calif. and the Pratt & Whitney Division of United Technologies Corp. of East Hartford, Conn., producer of jet aircraft engines.Pratt & Whitney's offices were among the dozens searched Tuesday in what the Justice Department said was a nationwide investigation by the FBI and the Naval Investigative Service into "possible widespread fraudulent activity" in military contracting.

Reduced government oversight "has nothing to do with how they got their contracts. The FBI investigation is an entirely different matter," said Gerda Parr, spokeswoman for the Air Force Systems Command.

She said the three companies are "three of our best performers based on past performance."