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.
Who are supplying these counterfeit or forged parts? The authorized distributors? Also, is it not the rigorous qualification/audit process followed by the defense organizations, which should catch these poor quality part before these slips into the vital defense equipments? Who should be blamed? :)
99% are most likely from China..just last year thankfully the Military discovered IC Chips with hidden back-doors which could be deactivated via a particular signal. And who supply these IC's our friends in China, "ALL" IC's or any other electronic part used in our defense, power or any other sensitive section should use only Made in U.S.A. parts verified and inspected. Case closed.
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.
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.
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?
It is highly likely some of these parts are not easily detectable by nondestructive means. They can produced by foreign equivalents of the CIA, very masterfully done. Most semiconductors are no longer made in the USA, so this not an answer. Long ago some brilliant politician had the COTS idea so their military contractor friends could make more money. If for example you only put in 10 special chips per 100, the odds of being caught are low but the effect can be very high. Another reason to bring more manufacturing back to the USA that will be ignored.
This is not the first time substandard parts have been faked for demanding applications. A few years ago there was a scandal where "ordinary" bolts were falsely labeled as Grade 5 or 8. If I remember correctly, they came from overseas manufacturers. I therefore must agree with Rod that it is worth the extra cost to buy parts of a known brand from an established manufacturer, even if the project is not safety critical. This is not nationalism but just good practice. Turn out just one lot of junk and at the very least your reputation is wrecked.
This problem of counterfeit components winding up in equipment purchased under military contracts is coincident with the establishment of the first American offshore manufacturing facilities.
Consider today the advancement of computer hardware where the logical architecture is built on compiler generated chips such as FPGAs and ASICs and many other megadensity silicone devices. Numerous strategies have beeen devised to facilitate in-system testing such as BIST (built-in-self-test) and Boundary Scan.These QA techniques worked reasonably well when the advanced chips were being manufactured here in the U.S. due to the ease of arranging engineering conferences between companies to resolve particularly nasty internal or interactive hardware bugs in a given system. However when these devices were sent out to be manufactured offshore such information sharing became non-existent. In most instances QC procedures are completely unknown in Chinese manufacturing facilities.
Finally, virtually all of the advanced test methods for these megadensity devices are not capable of detecting modifications to the device's computerized model that could be in the form of Trojan horse robotic procedures. Gaining access to any such "pirate" substrate most likely would not be possible through the normal addressing facility of the device, as some obscure access scheme might be used to access the respective functions. Currently the semiconductor parts situation is in a mess. IMHO the only solution is for the Pentagon to review the entire semiconductor parts problem vis-a-vis ALL systems and establish an entirely new set of guidelines for American manufactures/vendors of military systems. Obviously the first rule that needs to be codified for the purchase of new systems is that all manufacturing MUST be done within the states of the United States of America.
if we are stupid enough to wage war with china, we will very rapidly discover that we are totally unable to make many of the parts. How many years to bring a semi fab and package facility on line.
Even "simple" stuff like connectors, capacitors, resistors, how long before we have enough.
We have lost before we start.
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.
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 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.
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 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.