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Fake Parts are Everywhere

by John Reed on May 22, 2012

Well, after months of research, Senate Armed Services Committee investigators have discovered “a flood” counterfet parts in everything from critical navigation software for newly modernized C-5 Galaxy cargo planes to “assemblies” destined for RQ-4 Global Hawk spy planes, submarines and even Stryker Mobile Gun Systems.

Now, we’ve known that fake parts — usually made in China — have been making their way into Defense Department maintenance depots for years. However, a brand new report by the SASC details how fake parts are making their way into some of the military’s newest and most advanced weapons systems. How many fake parts in DoD supply chains were discovered by the committee’s investigation? 84,000 from just one Chinese supplier.

Here’s a key excerpt from a SASC summary of the report:

The Committee’s report includes detailed descriptions of how counterfeits are flooding the supply chain, risking the performance and reliability of critical defense systems. In just one example described in the report, the U.S. Air Force says that a single electronic parts supplier, Hong Dark Electronic Trade of Shenzhen, China, supplied approximately 84,000 suspect counterfeit electronic parts into the DOD supply chain.

Parts from Hong Dark made it into Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance Systems (TCAS) intended for the C-5AMP, C-12, and the Global Hawk. In addition, parts from Hong Dark made it into assemblies intended for the P-3, the Special Operations Force A/MH-6M, and other military equipment, like the Excalibur (an extended range artillery projectile), the Navy Integrated Submarine Imaging System, and the Army Stryker Mobile Gun.

The report goes on to state that China has shown little interest in doing anything to stop the flow of fake parts to the U.S. Even worse, “the Department of Defense lacks knowledge of the scope and impact of counterfeit parts on critical defense systems,” states the report.

In addition to the billions of dollars worth of economic damage the Chinese counterfeiting industry does to legit businesses, fake parts in high-end weapons systems pose a massive safety threat for obvious reasons. Oh, and don’t forget that counterfeit microchips put into a U.S. weapon could easily serve as a conduit for Chinese cyber attacks.

Click through the jump to read the report summary.

SASC Counterfeit Electronics Report 05–21-12

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