Counterfeit electronics in military weapons

Boeng and the US military found some systems on new P-8 Posiedons to be defective. The culprit: counterfeit electronics. These are scrap parts from 80s-90s electronics that have been re-branded and sold to the government as new.  Many of the parts have been linked to dealers in China, but the Chinese government feels no need to pursue this(according to the article).

There is an amendment to a defense operation bill in the works that requires all parts from china to undergo rigorous inspection and testing before installation.  Regardless of your stance on military action or military spending or whatever political aspect you want to connect this with, we can all agree that dangerous things designed to destroy stuff and kill people should not have defective electrics, right?

[via Adafruit]

152 thoughts on “Counterfeit electronics in military weapons

  1. Well, its the same as what America did to other countries. Selling faulty components to delay manufacture of nuclear weapons etc. Very likely that this is not just an accident, at least not always.

  2. The only reason the army wants US-only parts is to sell overpriced US-made crap (just look at US-cars vs. Japanese and German cars) US-washing machines, etc etc) This “security” stuff is not important at all.. A seller in china does not know if the part will end up in an missile or in some computer hardware so why take the time to developp a backdoor?

    This was only a case of counterfeit chips.. do you realy think there is no counterfeit stuff made in the US???? Are you sure the chips in the very computer you use right now are not recycled chips??

    I think the article rather tells a tale of how bad the qualitycontrol at the army contractors must be since chips with no marking were used and the error was not detected before the part was installed inside the plane….

  3. This wasn’t even about America’s wars, Therian, you patriotic fool. I appreciate you love your little poor, oppressed eastern nations there very much, but the story has nothing to do with whom or why wars are being fought. Stop it. No-one cares about your opinions.

  4. The biggest problem isn’t recycled parts. It is the re-marking of normal grade parts as milspec parts. Milspec parts usually cost about 25% more than their counterparts and the two parts will perform identical in most situations , the difference usually being that the milspec parts are rated for higher temperatures and can take more of a beating before failure. The easiest way to solve this is require all parts to be purchased directly from authorized distributors only and make that a condition of the contract. Currently the way it works is a company only has to certify that the final product does what they say it does and they can claim they used all the correct parts.

    The companies assembling these devices KNOW they are cutting corners so go after them. This isn’t a case of the companies finding out afterward they used counterfeit parts. Companies in the business know who the authorized suppliers are and also who the grey market suppliers are.

    I only buy direct from places like mouser or straight from the manufacturer. I don’t do ebay for parts because most are counterfeit.

  5. Does everyone realize that the military is not the 800 pound gorilla in the room? The consumer market is a lot larger target. Because the military is < 1% of the global electronics market, you might want to consider that service contract on your next big electronics purchase. Between counterfeits and tin whiskers, consumer electronic hardware is doomed to premature failure. I received two counterfeit (re-marked) AMD processors from a well known and perfectly legitimate company. It took a lot of research on part markings to prove my point.

    Oh, it's not all made in China either — it's just reprocessed and re-marked there (and elsewhere in the world). What was in that old computer you recycled may come back in a cell phone or Plasma TV. Check out http://www.landandmaritime.dla.mil/downloads/psmc/Apr10/Loenstein100420PSMCCounterfeitBrief.ppt on the web for some stunning photos and data.

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