Report unveils the presence of more than a million counterfeit electronic parts in U.S. combat planes

The Senate Armed Services Committee has just released a year long report in the use of counterfeit parts in military equipment whose findings are simply shocking.

The report unveils the presence of some 1,800 cases of fake parts (worth more than a million components) than a in SH-60B helicopters and in C-130J and C-27J cargo planes as well as the US Navy’s P-8 Poseidon.

The report highlighted that more than 70 percent of the counterfeit parts were traced back to China, but it blamed weaknesses in the U.S. supply chain, and China’s failure to curb the counterfeit parts manufacturers.

U.S. servicemen rely on a multitude of sophisticated electronic parts found in all sorts of systems, from GPS to Night Vision equipment and these counterfeit parts have not passed through the rigorous testing that the real parts have.

Indeed, whilst the report laid the blame squarely at the feet of the Chinese it said: “U.S authorities and contract companies contributed to the vulnerabilities of the defense supply chain by not detecting the fake parts or routinely failing to report suspected counterfeiting to the military.”

The report did however praise the National Defence Authorization Act, signed into law on Dec 31, 2011, by President Barack Obama, whose intention is to stop the flood of these counterfeit parts into the U.S. even by reducing sourcing from unknown supplier.

Just think to what would happen if China tried to intentionally flood the U.S. military with counterfeit parts: a failure could put the lives of U.S. service personnel in danger at the wrong moment both in combat and during normal training activities.

That’s why integrity of the supply chain must be considered a national security matter.

Image credit: U.S. Navy