The US Senate Armed Services Committee said its researchers had uncovered 1,800 cases in which the Pentagon had been sold electronics that may be counterfeit.
In total, the committee said it had found more than a million fake parts had made their way into warplanes such as the Boeing C-17 transport jet and the Lockheed Martin C-130J “Super Hercules”.
It also found fake components in Boeing’s CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter and the Theatre High-Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) missile defence system.
Well what’s wrong with this ?
In Chinese bazaars, “military grade” microchips are openly advertised, although these chips are often commercial chips that have been modified and relabelled.
Military grade chips are designed to withstand far greater extremes of temperature and humidity, and there are fears that the fake Chinese parts could suddenly fail.
“We cannot tolerate the risk of a ballistic missile interceptor failing to hit its target, a helicopter pilot unable to fire his missiles, or any other mission failure because of a counterfeit part,” said John McCain, the senior Republican Senator on the committee.
Experts said the problems are not new, and have dated from a decision in the 1990s by the Clinton administration to cut costs by asking the Pentagon to buy “off-the-shelf” electronics, rather than designing its own systems.
As electronics manufacturing migrated to China, the US has been less and less able to control the quality of its military hardware. Some of the fake chips are bought by the Pentagon on the open market in order to maintain its fleet of older vehicles, which have outdated circuitry. These chips are often salvaged by Chinese scrap merchants from the dumps of electronic waste that have accumulated in the south of the country.
In 2008, an investigation by the US Commerce department found nearly 7,400 incidents of fake electronics in military hardware, while in 2005, internal Pentagon documents suggested that there had been equipment malfunctions because of fake parts.
The problem is that the parts are far too often of poor quality. And I can tell you from my own personal experience that this is the case. So much so that I now shy away from nearly anything that is made in China unless it has gone under very rigorous testing. But this is getting more and more difficult to do. I have been looking for some power tools for myself. In the process I read any all consumer reviews that are posted. In fact I won’t even consider an unknown product/manufacturer unless it has been reviewed. And far too many of the products I had looked at had two things in common. That they were made in China and had a large reputation for early failure. IE they fell apart.
I remember when Japanese products started to show up here. The general conscientious was that they were of much inferior quality to ours. But this attitude very quickly was changed as within a few years their products quality improve markedly. To the point that by the late 1960s were considered in some areas to be superior to ours. And as we all know eventually took over the market. Now China may get it’s act together at some point. I do hope so.
Now this does not mean that American equivalents are not available, they are in a lot of cases. But they are often price prohibitive for most people to purchase. Not because or just because they are priced so high do to greed on the part of the manufacturers. I would say that in the majority of the cases this is not so. NO…it’s because people do not make enough to begin with. That incomes are so low all they can afford is the junk made in off shore slave labor sweat shops.
There simply is no reason for this except that those who import and rebrand and sell this stuff care not on bit about what they sell, the people who buy it and how it’s made. All they care about is how much they can get for it. Totally bereft of any personal integrity what so ever. So completely self centered and greed based they would embarrass Al Capone, Pretty Boy Floyd and Harold Hill.
Before writing this post I was watching RT news and there was an interview with a young lady that suggested that maybe we needed to return to the days when for a corporation to be chartered, it had to prove it was of value to the society. I think she was right.
As a side note – I quite often purchase radio and electronic parts from the auction sites that are Russian made of the Soviet era and have rarely (if ever) been disappointed in the quality and useability of them. Finding them often to be conservatively rated. I have use these parts in a number of projects and they perform beyond expectation.