The government charged five people Friday with attempting to illegally export to Egypt restricted materials used in a sophisticated rocket and missile system.

The Justice Department said in a statement that the five have been charged with conspiracy to violate export laws and with violating money laundering laws.The case involves employees of two U.S. companies and several foreign nationals.

They were identified by the Justice Department as Abdelkader Helmy, of El Dorado Hills, Calif., a research engineer at Aerojet Solid Propulsion Co., and specialist in the field of rocket propulsion; Mohamed Abdella Mohamed, of Baltimore; and James Huffman, of Lexington, Ohio, the Midwest marketing representative of Teledyne, McCormick, Selph, a defense aerospace company headquartered in Hollister, Calif.

The complaint also charged Helmy's wife, Albia Eltayeb Helmy, and Hussam Yossef, of Salzburg, Austria.

According to legal documents filed in California, the defendants were dealing with carbon composite materials that are lightweight, heat-resistant materials with low radar visibility and used as rocket nose cones and in stealth aircraft, the department said.

A department official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the material could upgrade existing missiles to the cruise class - small, long-range drone aircraft equipped with either nuclear or high-explosive warheads.

The department said the materials are included on the U.S. Munitions Control List and cannot be exported without a license from the State Department's Office of Munitions Control.