Long-suspected, it's now been confirmed that fake Chinese electronic components have found their way into several types of US military aircraft and a host of weapons.
Carried out by the Senate Armed Services Committee, a 12-month study into the proliferation of counterfeit parts from China discovered no less than 1,800 examples, with the aircraft types concerned including USAF Lockheed C-130J Hercules and Alenia C-27J Spartan transport aircraft, US Navy SH-60 Seahawk helicopters and brand-new US Navy Boeing P-8 Poseidon maritime reconnaissance platforms.
Aircraft aside, fake components were also reportedly discovered in missile interceptors, thermal night-vision sights, the Stryker Mobile Gun design produced by General Dynamics and the GPS-based Excalibur shell made by Raytheon.
Fake US Military Parts
Overall, the committee's fake US military parts research linked back to China the majority of a suspected one million questionable components. US supply chain weaknesses and China's limited action against counterfeiters are both to blame, the researchers said, adding that if one of these electronic components failed, United States security could become severely compromised.
Over 650 companies had some involvement in the 1,800-strong list of counterfeit parts. With the sheer number of related supply networks involved, end users could no longer tell exactly where there parts had come from originally, the study reported.
Fake Chinese Electronics
Fake Chinese electronics dominated the Senate Armed Services Committee's counterfeit military components research on a per-country basis but also seen, a lot of the time, were Canada and the United Kingdom.
‘Counterfeit electronic parts are sold openly in public markets in China', said the researchers, adding: ‘Rather than acknowledging the problem and moving aggressively to shut down counterfeiters, the Chinese government has tried to avoid scrutiny.'
US warfighters are reliant on a wide range of ‘small, incredibly sophisticated electronic components' integrated into a variety of systems technologies, they stressed. Just one of these malfunctioning could, potentially, have disastrous consequences.
Boeing P-8 image copyright US Navy