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GAO Buys Fake Submarine Parts From China

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Steve

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Remember how the Senate Armed Services Committee held a rather dramaitc hearing on the flood of counterfeit weapons parts coming from China a few months ago?

Well, as part of the committee’s investigation into the problem, lawmakers asked the Government Accountability Office to buy weapons parts from Chinese companies (that U.S. weapons companies sometimes buy from) to see if the Chinese government is doing anything to crack down on the massive problem. A shadow company set up by GAO to buy the parts specifically requested brand new parts for F-15 Eagles, MV-22 Ospreys and two nuclear submarines. What did they get? You guessed it, fake parts from China!

How massive is the problem? Over one million fake weapons parts have been identified as coming from Chinese companies since 2009. You don’t have to be genius to see the safety nightmare presented by fake parts on incredibly complex systems like submarines, fighter jets and tiltrotors.


U.S. government investigators, using a fictitious company, were able to easily find electronic parts for weapons from China on the Internet and every single item they bought was counterfeit, despite China’s pledge to crack down on fake products.

A new report by the congressional Government Accountability Office showed that 334 of 396 vendors who offered to sell parts to the fictitious company were from China.

It said all 16 parts eventually purchased by the fake company came from 13 China-based vendors and all were determined by an independent testing laboratory to be counterfeit.

“These findings should outrage every American,” said Senator Carl Levin, the Michigan Democrat who heads the Senate Armed Services Committee, calling the new report “deeply troubling.”

“The Chinese government’s refusal to shut down counterfeiting that occurs openly in their country puts our national security and the safety of our military men and women at risk. It also costs thousands of American jobs.
Earlier this year, Boeing and the Navy found that the ice detection system on a brand new P-8 Poseidon was defective. The ice detection system is a critical piece of hardware designed to prevent tragedies by alerting pilots to the presence of ice on an aircraft’s control surfaces. Where did this defective part come from? China. A whole batch of a key piece of the ice detection hardware that was sent to the P-8 production line turned out to be used and worn out parts that were badly refurbished and sold to P-8 subcontractor BAE Systems as a new part, according to Levin. Boeing and BAE first became aware of the problem in 2009, he added.

The fake P-8 parts are just one of many examples of how counterfeit parts — often made from 1980s and 1990s-vintage junk computer parts that are sanded down and remarked in China and then sold back to the U.S. as brand new computer chips for advanced weapons systems.

http://defensetech.org/2012/03/28/gao-buys-fake-submarine-parts-from-china/



UPDATE: Levin says he is crafting an amendment to the FY-12 defense authorization bill that would require inspections of all electronic parts coming from China

a better policy would be to not buy parts from China at all...

Ernst estimates that such components are leading to a 5 percent to 15 percent annual decrease in weapon system reliability based on studies by the Aerospace Industrial Association. “I know the Navy spends about $1.4 billion a year on depot level repairables

an article worth reading... with stunning examples...

http://defensetech.org/2011/11/08/counterfeit-parts-found-on-new-p-8-posiedons/
 

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