Counterfeit parts found on P-8 Poseidon’s ice detection system

Uwe wrote to us about the counterfeit chips used in US Military hardware. It turns out that the ice detection system on a Boeing P-8 Poseidon was defective.  The suspected culprits are used, and refurbished parts that were sold as new.

remember the stories about ATmega328 fakes/duds about 2 years ago … when Seeed and others sold Seeeduinos and Freeduinos with ATmega168s and Arduinos with ATmega328 were hard to get?

Check out this story on  In particular the pics at the bottom ;)

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  1. Did you even READ the article?

    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.

    Yes, counterfeit parts are a big problem, but there is no indication that counterfeit parts were used on the P-8 Poseidon’s ice detection system.

    1. We encounter this problem a lot in my industry, particularly when parts are bought on the “grey market” – i.e. outside of the manufacturer’s normal distribution chain (often to cover a shortfall in production).

      We tend to consider refurbished parts to be counterfeit just the same as parts that were not made by the purported manufacturer, as they are not what they are represented to be – new undamaged parts. This is usually reflected in the field failure rate.

      Another source of “counterfeits” is parts which have failed production test at the manufacturer and been scrapped, which have then been rescued from the scrap pile by some enterprising individual, repackaged, and sold as new. These are also counterfeit parts by my definition, although they were also made by the right manufacturer, they are not what they are purported to be, and usually have high failure rates.

      Whenever parts are bought outside the normal distribution chain it’s a good idea to check with the original manufacturer if they are genuine. Usually their sales office just needs a photo of the package labels and batch codes to check against their records. Obviously this is no help if you are buying small quantities on cut tape or in tubes…

  2. What a stupid expectation of US officials for China to aid in securing high quality military supplies. I really don’t get it.

    1. It’s simple really. The work when to a subcontractor who then sent it out to China to maximize profit. Happens *all* the time.

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