Fake Parts are Everywhere

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

47 Comments on "Fake Parts are Everywhere"

  1. Blame the Goverment, all the Electronic parts are manufacture in China, Gov. never set guide line.

  2. Part of the problem lies in the procurement process itself… not just with the integrity of the suppliers.

  3. at what point do we, the USA, realize that we need to stop producing everything in China – ESPECIALLY PARTS FOR OUR WEAPON SYSTEMS!

    its bad enough we let them get by putting spyware on Apple computers.

    Come on guys open your eyes.. Their economy is booming, while we are falling into poverty more and more each day. what a joke.

  4. The simple solution is stop buying parts from Chinese suppliers. Implementing that is not a simple task though. This is not to say that all US manufacturers are perfect, but it should make the process simpler. We will have to be willing to pay more of course. But that is the age old debate, Price vs. Quality.

  5. The title made it sound like some kind of crazy $hit… Because it is some kind of crazy $hit.

  6. Time to fight back at China have a embargo of not all Chinese goods but all Chinese electronics till Beijing monitors there state own electronics companies better. Overall the sad days of the military buying foreign stuff brought this on. Time to bring back all American made goods!

  7. This is something that really ****** me off and scares me. The entire concept of producing out military’s weapons, some of the most sophisticated in the world, in a frenemy country or any foriegn country for that mayter is beyond idiotic. Sure, labor is cheaper bit at what cost to our security needs and military lives? We could create jobs y producing them here In the states… And we wouldnt have to wrry about our best aircraft being produced in china of all places. How stupid can our government and defense industry get? I pray someone fixes the whole way our weapons are made, and even if they fix all the faulty parts, your letting china produce it… I mean really? Am i the only one who sees this as completely stupid beyond belief?

  8. This is something that really pisses me off and scares me. The entire concept of producing out military’s weapons, some of the most sophisticated in the world, in a frenemy country or any foriegn country for that mayter is beyond idiotic. Sure, labor is cheaper bit at what cost to our security needs and military lives? We could create jobs y producing them here In the states… And we wouldnt have to wrry about our best aircraft being produced in china of all places. How stupid can our government and defense industry get?

  9. 4FingerOfBouron | May 22, 2012 at 12:40 pm | Reply

    And the sad things is we are probably not going to do anything about it!

  10. you guys can thumb down my post all you want, but the fact are none of the ELECTRONIC parts are made here in the US……just name one part….CAPACITOR, IC, RESISTOR ETC…. are all made in China…AGAIN the gov. are clueless before it too late…..

  11. The "made in China" software was clearly not a "mistake" or a "fake". It was one more defense contractor lining their own pockets with taxpayer dollars.

  12. Unfortunately, the situation is beyond the point of reversibility already. You won’t able to find US vendors capable of fabricating basic electronic components. I’m talking about engineering expertise, manufacturing, QA, etc, the entire life cycle of product. They are all gone. You stop importation, the final assembly lines stay idle, regardless of cost of doing business. The other day I posted an article here and pointed out the madness of outsourcing. I was re-educated by some hot shot who claims the new era of US technical dominance by using Facebook and Yahoo as examples. Well, good luck with that.

  13. Trying to imagine what WW2 would be like if America didn't have factories and instead used a foreign power to supply parts, with the parts suddenly getting cut off during wartime.

    Sounds an awful lot like the fuel shortage that drove Japan into WW2 and the tungsten/POL shortages that stymied Germany.

  14. Two Words: Sabotage and Espionage.

    The people who authorized foreign production of these chips should be tried for treason on both terms state above. Who the hell knows what the Chicoms wrote on those chips. They could push a button and cause the entire software interface to shut down on our combat aircraft carrying these bad chips. Makes me almost wonder now what Chinese electronic hardware was installed to monitor the F-22's life support systems.

  15. StrumPanzer | May 22, 2012 at 2:12 pm | Reply

    What we need to do is stop buying foreign parts and start producing a military electrics and parts here in the US where we can keep a close eye on them. Also any company caught trying to sell counterfeit parts should have large fines levied against them.

  16. Tribulationtime | May 22, 2012 at 3:13 pm | Reply

    If all that is so big, so broad…..

  17. You might have higher up-front costs if these components were manufactured in the USA; but the US military are currently paying for the in-service inspection of all these parts – carrying out the manufacturers and suppliers own QA checks for them, and paying for the replacement parts. They’ll also have to pay for the repair of secondary damage – genuine parts that may be damaged by sub-standard counterfit parts, or for the loss of equipment altogether.
    Higher production costs, making this stuff in the US, but part of those higher wages would return to the government in taxes, maintenance costs would be reduced, and likely new jobs would be created. Taken altogether, buying from off-shore suppliers could be a false economy.

  18. Not just China….I remember doing a repair on a Laser range finder in am M1,and finding ALOT of parts inside were made in Israel…..I had an earlier M60A3 that had LRF parts made in Brazil……go figure..

  19. I hope the counterfeit parts in navigation software was a typo and is meant to be navigation hardware.

  20. I don't trust China further than I can spit China.

    The next world war will be with China.

  21. On a positive note, the way government oversight works in China (corruption on all levels), their planes and other weapons systems must have been built MAINLY with counterfeit parts.

  22. Well, as a person who used to work in the defense/industrial complex and who did parts sourcing for government projects, the companies who used to make electronic parts mil qualified got out of the business when it became unprofitable to do so. You need 1000 full mil spec resistors. Who wants to open up a production line to make 1000 resistors? No one does. So production lines got shut down and people laid off.

    Lots of blame to go around over this issue. We had excess manufacturing capacity and trained people in the years leading up to WWII. Now those trained people are retiring, the factories are shuttered, the environmentalists are happier, and we lack the ability to make many very fundamental products.

    The next war is going to be a come as you are and hope you can hold out long enough to build weapons.

  23. There ought to be a law passed requiring that all U.S. military equipment consist of nothing but 100% American-made content.

  24. Can someone explain to me what a "part" is in a software package, and how exactly one "counterfeits" it?

  25. was it worth taking our jobs and giving them to a chinaman. i would have done a great job because its for my county….. so you get what you paid for.

  26. Walter F. Barber | May 22, 2012 at 10:52 pm | Reply

    I Handled government sales for my company during the 70's and 80's. We lost a bid to an outfit we never heard of. The winning price, wouldn't cover the cost of our labor and materials, much less a profit. My competitor's Government Sales rep's reaction was the same as mine. Both companies protested the award. My company designed and built the original for Chrysler. We sent laboratory certified test reports with operating specs with our protest letter. Long story short, The winner's units were China built and didn't come anywhere near meeting the requirements!!! The bid was thrown out and we got the business. We found our there were absolutely no incoming inspections made on the Military parts!! They were shipped directly to Government destinations for issue. The DOD Procurement Group at Wright Patterson AFB visited us to see how we inspect and test out going products as well as incoming components. The Government was supplied with documents both from us and our worthy competitor and then they wrote their own inspection procedures, Did they stop inspecting all incominvg materials?

  27. Well, to misquote an ancient Chinese general, to know your enemy (and sell them fake substandard parts) is to destroy him.

  28. Its just sad that the DOD is figuring this out now. It’s something I thought we would of taken advantage of a decade ago. We need to think like an underdog not a Super Power.

  29. We should have the capability to now build automated factories that specialize and can produce at least 90% of parts. The production line would always be busy.

  30. If China disappeared tomorrow the contractors would source fake parts from somewhere else.

    As William C says – "why not defraud the US people" its not like the contractors owe any loyalty to them.

  31. So what are we going to do about this problem is the question.

  32. Very easy to stop this, require contractors and sub contractors to buy only from franchised distributors. Fine them the first time if they get busted, fine them even more the second time and then disqualify them for 5 years from government contracts if they get caught a third time. They aren't getting fake parts from legit distributors, it's these brokers that they use. You know, the ones that advertise that they are "authorized" for every mfr under the sun, can get you parts anywhere in the world, etc…..Very simple fix.

  33. This is part of what Pat Buchanan complained about in his editorials from 2002-2008, when he implored the administration to stop the policies that encouraged US manufacturers to move dual-use technologies (and hard-won manufacturing techniques, let alone the engineering) to China. The loss of jobs and the tax base were only part of what he complained about – it was also the experience of the Russians who had been selling military equipment to the Chinese because they were desperate for hard currency.

    The Russian experience included massive re-engineering/outright thievery of technologies, then re-branding as Chinese product time and time again. The Chinese government, as noted above, refused to do anything about it. Why anyone thought the US experience would be different is likely beyond the comprehension of most first-graders.

    The USA *must* bring its mission critical manufacturing back to the US. Having to rely on the Chinese for military grade parts is asinine, and the allowing of the US government of these critical technology/manufacturing transfers in return for access to Chinese markets demonstrates that the lobbying system MUST be killed off. Our government has ceased protecting the US taxpayers interests, and has severely compromised our national security.

  34. Every since we (USofA) told them chicom bastards they couldn't nor wouldn't repossess their Taiwanese Isl., we have been at war. Except our arrogance to what Communism really stands for has allowed that war to be one sided. How is it said best? **** me once shame on you. **** me twice shame on me. Well I have to ask all of you, "Really, who's to blame?"

  35. The government passed the "Berry Amendment" requiring critical things like boots and shirts be made in good old USA. You can find plenty of mil surplus clothing and boots that are Berry compliant.

    The law did not include things that are actually mission critical, but at least we know our boots and T-shirts are safe from Chinese espionage.

  36. Our Congressional Leaders should trace back and pinpoint just who it was that authorized China as a Special trading partner., that allowed them to flood our markets with their products? Especially any military parts that has NOW caused GREAT concern for these parts reliabilities??? A perfect set-up to destroy the efficiency of Our weapons systems without firing a shot in anger a perfect fool-proof method for Sabotage! Again it can said….follow the money to get to the bottom of it….. Don't overlook Walmart Stores better known as Chinese Outlets in the USA, and General Motors has joined the group?

  37. Did you notice that they always refer to it as suspect counterfeit. What the heck is that? Is that different than a counterfeit part? Is it the same as a non-counterfeit part? Do they know? Is there a difference between a suspected good part and a suspected counterfeit part? Which one do you rely on in an airplane? Would we all feel better if Boeing came out and said "you know we suspect those parts are good?"

    Shouldn't they use the word known counterfeit? Would it suddenly shrink the occurrences down significantly? There could easily be 70K suspect counterfeit parts report, but only 700 known counterfeits. The rest may just be different from other ic's off different production lines.

    The only way to protect against suspected counterfeits is to manufacture the chips you sell to yourself, and never take a return. The minute a manufacturer or Franchised Distributor takes a return the potential for a counterfeit part to enter the channel. It happens all the time. No company selling components should be considered safe.

  38. David Franz | May 24, 2012 at 1:40 pm | Reply

    As several posters have already stated, this country no longer has the capability to supply these parts. And, unless you are willing to spend far more for your ipods, we won't get it back. Also, how do you find electronic parts to repair a system build 30 years ago? Some of these parts literally have to be scrounged from the dump. The only solution is to test the new or repaired items to see if they can do the job. Procedures for this testing are well established, c.f. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environmental_stress….

  39. Pay them in counterfeit money.

    (It is China afterall, they will be used to it, my chinese wife points out that up to 25% of the currency in circulation is fake.)

  40. The US corporate execs are making tons of $$ and keeping their benefits while the Chinese workers work for pennies and the US workers collect unemployment. How patriotic? My son just came back from a usmc tour overseas and has no job prospects… Maybe if he moves to China he can get a job as a “guest worker”

  41. Low cost and shark of bussiness , are the only one guilty in your problem . This occurs in all the countries of the wold , people that don't mather lives of your brothers in the name of the money . Americnas don't have work because this bussiness . A group send to manufacturing parts in foreign countries , most cheaper , more money for them ,bud bad quality and risk in the security and corruption in the middle . It's the old history of the world . All the nations need man of honor , ther are a few in the world . Grandathers live for honor , this generation is different . All the nations need to comeback to the antique times , here , the word of a men have a real and true value .

  42. Somebody, whether Demo. or Repub..WHEN did DOD BEGIN purchasing Military Parts, equipment, eg. choppers ets from specifically China and Russia?
    Let's develop the "Blame Game"…Causual and Effect?

  43. A refreshed version of the HTC One may arrive later in the year, posits Pocket-lint Details could include a faster and more powerful Snapdragon 800 processor as opposed to today’s Snapdragon 600.

  44. They might be a good fashion declaration at home however, not in Spain. The
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  45. Doing your taxes by hand these days is like saying you will only write on a typewriter or code via Notepad.
    OK dude, right on, but you know you're just making things unnecessarily hard on yourself, right?

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