WASHINGTON – Fake electronic components from China have been discovered in thermal weapons sights delivered to the U.S. Army on mission computers for the Missile Defense Agency’s Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, missiles and on military aircraft, including several models of helicopters and the P-8A-Poseidon, according to federal investigators.
Suspected electronic parts were found in the Forward Looking InfraRed, or FLIR, Systems being used on the Navy’s SH-60-B. The counterfeit parts were delivered by Raytheon, which alerted the Navy.
The military aircraft that have been affected include the SH-60B, AH-64 and CH-46 helicopters; and the C-17, C-130J, C-27J and P-8A Poseidon airplanes
A defense subcontractor in Texas had sold the components to Raytheon. The components prior to that sale traveled through four states and three countries, originating with a company called Huajie Electronics Ltd in Shenzhen, China.
Suspect parts also were found in the C-130J and C-27J, two military cargo planes equipped with display units that provide the pilot information on aircraft performance, engine status, fuel use, location and warning messages, according to documentation from Senate investigators.
The display units were manufactured by L-3 Display Systems, a division of L-3 Communications. L-3 Display Systems manufactures the display units for Lockheed Martin, which is the prime contractor for the C-130J. For the C-27J, L-3 Display Systems manufactures the display units for Alenia Aeronautica, a subcontractor to L-3 Integrated Systems.
Display Systems, however, learned that a memory chip used in the display units was a suspect counterfeit. By the time it was noticed, however, the company had installed counterfeit components in more than 500 display units, including in units for the C-27J, the C-130J and C-17 aircraft, and the CH-46 helicopter used by the Marine Corps.
Vast numbers of counterfeit Chinese electronic parts are being used in US military equipment, a key Senate committee has reported.
A year-long probe found 1,800 cases of fake parts in US military aircraft, the Senate Armed Services Committee said.
More than 70% of an estimated one million suspect parts were traced back to China, the report said.
It blamed weaknesses in the US supply chain, and China’s failure to curb the counterfeit market.
The failure of a key part could pose safety and national security risks and lead to higher costs for the Pentagon, the committee said.
US servicemen rely on a variety of “small, incredibly sophisticated electronic components” found in night vision systems, radios and GPS devices and the failure of a single part could put a soldier at risk, the report said.
It highlighted suspect counterfeit parts in SH-60B helicopters used by the Navy, in C-130J and C-27J cargo planes and in the Navy’s P-8A Poseidon plane.
After China, the UK and Canada were found to be the next-largest source countries for fake parts.
Rather than acknowledging the problem and moving aggressively to shut down counterfeiters, the Chinese government has tried to avoid scrutiny”
The committee criticised China for failing to shut down counterfeit manufacturers and said that committee staff wanting to travel to China for the investigation had not been granted visas.
“Counterfeit electronic parts are sold openly in public markets in China,” the report said.
“Rather than acknowledging the problem and moving aggressively to shut down counterfeiters, the Chinese government has tried to avoid scrutiny,” it added.
But the report said that use of Department of Defense programmes such as the Government-Industry Data Exchange Program (GIDEP), designed to log suspected fake parts, were “woefully lacking”.
Between 2009 and 2010 the GIDEP only received 217 reports relating to suspected fake counterfeit components, the majority of which were filed by just six companies, it said. Only 13 reports came from government agencies.
Full article: China fake parts ‘used in US military equipment’ (BBC)