Eye on Counterfeit
Counterfeit Parts: A Risk to Safety and National Security

Counterfeit Parts: A Risk to Safety and National Security

A report from the Senate Armed Services Committee of the United States has identified a massive number of imported counterfeit Chinese electronic parts being used in U.S. military equipment.

According to the report, more than 70% of an estimated one million suspect parts have been imported from China. The United Kingdom and Canada were found to be the next-largest sources for fake parts. The report also highlights that counterfeit parts have been found in SH-60B helicopters, C-130J and C-27J cargo planes, and in P-8A Poseidon planes used by the U.S. Navy.

The failure of a single electronic part in any of these military planes could bring safety and national security risks and impose higher costs. This is a serious issue that is growing rapidly and can cause personal injuries, mission failure, reduced reliability and product recall, potential loss of contracts, and shutdown of manufacturing lines, among other problems for the U.S. Department of Defense.

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The Senate Committee has criticized the Chinese government for failing to shut down counterfeit manufacturers and markets across China. At the same time, the National Defense Authorization Act signed on December 31, 2011, aims to stop counterfeit parts from entering the United States while cutting down on sourcing components from unidentified suppliers.

In the meantime, there are many ways to spot counterfeit parts. As part of the detection process, outdated codes and counterfeit parts need to be screened through stringent authentication.  For more information, see our previous article on “14 Ways to Spot Counterfeit Components.” Incorrect information, unusual markings, and imperfections are a few of ways to detect counterfeits.

David Sepanik is Director of Engineering & Supply Chain at Intercomp USA and has more than 15 years of experience in global electronic component sourcing in the United States, China, Brazil, and Europe. For more information, please visit www.intercomp.com.


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