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Chinese counterfeit electronics found in U.S. missiles

Ashley Dace

Michigan Senator Carl Levin says the United States needs to crack down on counterfeit electronic parts coming from China.

Levin says thousands of fake parts have been discovered in the U.S. military’s supply stream.  Some missiles even had to be stripped apart to remove counterfeit parts from China.

He says it’s dangerous – and China won’t do anything to stop it.

Levin has proposed an amendment to require inspections of parts coming from China.

He says it’s not part of a China-bashing campaign. 

"We want a good relationship with (international) companies, legitimate businesses are more than welcome, illegitimate businesses -- we’re gonna try and stop ‘em."

Levin says a cottage industry in China employs people to strip down old, scrapped computers and wash the electronic parts.  The parts are then painted to look new, and official-looking part identification numbers are affixed.

Sub-contractors to the U.S. military then buy the parts, often without knowing they are counterfeits.

Levin tried to send a team of U.S. investigators to China to witness the activities, but the team was refused entry into the country.  

Levin hopes to place his amendment in the defense authorization bill when it comes before the Senate in the next couple of weeks.

He says the amendment has bipartisan support, most notably, from Senator John McCain.


Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.