The Missile Defense Agency seeks new techniques to weed out fake electronic parts in weapons systems, a small business solicitation reveals.
The call for proposals highlights a distressing problem the Pentagon faces: The incidence of counterfeit parts appearing in military supply chains has risen in recent years. When authorized dealers or original makers run out of obsolescent parts to replace the military’s aging equipment, contractors turn to unaccredited middlemen for supplies, where counterfeits tend to be mixed into the pool.
Counterfeiters try to disguise used or fake components as new ones by polishing their surfaces or using sandblasting equipment to remove any ink markings. Such tricks are difficult to detect. The Pentagon wants to fund the development of methods to mark and coat parts at the time of manufacture, so customers at later stages in the supply chain can confirm that the surfaces of the parts have not been tampered with, according to the document.