After a little more than a year in the field, a new technology platform based on plant DNA is making a difference in the fight to keep counterfeit electronics out of the military supply chain.
Last year, the U.S. Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) launched a program featuring SigNature DNA, a botanically derived taggant developed by New York-based Applied DNA Sciences (ADNAS). The program requires suppliers of certain high-reliability microelectronics for use in missiles, submarines and weapon systems to mark their products with SigNature DNA as a way to keep bogus parts from entering the defense supply chain. Once applied, the mark carries identifying or traceability information wherever it goes. Manufacturers apply authenticity data, which appears red under UV light, and suppliers and distributors apply traceability data, which appears yellow under UV light.
The program has already prevented counterfeit goods from being distributed in three separate incidents, according to ADNAS. With fake parts going into everything from missile systems to nuclear submarines, defective pieces can cause unnecessary casualties. Aside from the potential to human lives, early interception of fraudulent goods can also keep rework and replacement costs from escalating, counterfeit experts agree.