Let's Get Tough on Counterfeiters

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  • Author: Scott L. Spencer Publisher
A new U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services report documents the extent to which counterfeit electronic parts have infiltrated U.S. military systems. According to the report, counterfeits have flooded the supply chain, risking the performance and reliability of critical defense systems. These parts made it into the Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance Systems (TCAS), the Special Operations Forces’ A/MH-6M helicopter, the Navy’s Integrated Submarine Imaging System, the Army’s Stryker Mobile Gun, and more. Bogus parts in the U.S. military supply chain are nothing new, although their pervasiveness seems to be on the rise. Two incidents related to personal experience come to mind. While I was working for a major defense contractor we received a shipment of diodes from a supplier. They were accompanied by all the required Certificates of Compliance and were marked with the appropriate JANTX V designation. The parts easily moved through incoming inspection and onto the assembly floor. When infant-mortality failures attributed to these diodes began to surface during board level screening, the QC department went to work. Their conclusion alleged that the supplier had simply re-marked the suspect parts to suggest that they had undergone Group A, B, and C testing with profit and sales goals driving the deception.