Most of the current counterfeit parts discovered are just cheap substitutes or salvaged waste components that fail to meet strict military and aerospace specifications, said IHS, increasing their risk of potential failure.
Accidental failure aside, there is also a concern that some counterfeit devices like integrated circuits could act as malicious Trojan horses, capable of being disabled remotely to sabotage a mission at a critical junction.
The cost to fix and secure equipment once it has been found to be compromised with counterfeit parts can also be huge. IHS cited an example of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency discovering that its mission computers for Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missiles contained suspect counterfeit parts that could have caused the entire system to fail. Fixing it cost the government $2.7 million.
See the video below for a further explanation of the counterfeit electronics economy and how it’s affecting our lives.
Most of this discussion seems to swirl around one specific source of counterfeit parts. Perhaps the military and Congress should consider a specific restriction to prevent ANY parts from that country until counterfeit issues are resolved there. Similar issues have existed with medical materials from there, as was shown a few years with Heparin quality problems manufactured with organic source materials that were contaminated with WWII-era-developed antibiotics. When will we stop thinking that we "can't afford to have it made in the USA", when our very lives may depend on doing so?
The term "Counterfeit parts" would also require clarification to determine where the solution to the problem lies. If a part does not meet the specifications for the application, but is marked and identified as such, is that considered counterfeit? Or are these parts truly "reverse engineered" and re-manufactured to a lower standard and quality? Solutions could be completely different for each.
Elemental fingerprinting is a fast, non-destructive technique that could provide low cost test method for detecting counterfeit components. This solution is being deployed by some defense contractors. I agree that critical military components should only be manufactured in USA
The Levin-McCain amendment to the 2012 NDAA includes "used" components which are claimed to be "new" within the definition of counterfeit parts. While they certainly are undesirable, potentially dangerous, and cheat the buyer, they don't fit my definition of "counterfeit". "Misrepresented" or "non-compliant" might be better descriptions. Knowing what portion of the statistics are based upon "used" components being misrepresented as "new" might help guide efforts to address the problem.
Thank You EE Times for articles like this ... in the beginning ... when FAB or Not to FAB (???), questions were coming up ... the arguments to keep production close to main company were Control & Quality over what was being produced ... The Experts said that when everything was out-sourced - Control & Quality would NOT be a problem ... The Experts won but i think we were all lied to !
The Russians said their Martian probe crashed before leaving earth's orbit because a counterfeit electronic part from China. But is not realistic to use US made, or Russia made for that matter, parts, lot of things are NOT made in US anymore.
That's probably true for many components within the supply chain of many military products. As the world becomes more interconnected, the superpowers will no longer be those that have the bombs and missiles, etc. It will be those that "manufacture" the products of peace and war.
Although that used to be the case, that is no longer possible. We used to have the facilities to manufacture "security critical" chips at some government-owned facilities, but those have fallen due to budgetary issues. And it would not be possible to currently manufacture ALL "mission critical" IC's in the States, the resources just are not there anymore.
Join our online Radio Show on Friday 11th July starting at 2:00pm Eastern, when EETimes editor of all things fun and interesting, Max Maxfield, and embedded systems expert, Jack Ganssle, will debate as to just what is, and is not, and embedded system.