The volume of counterfeit parts in the supply chain is increasing, necessitating that mitigation plans be developed and implemented, according to a new report by the Aerospace Industries Association.
“The use of counterfeit parts in the aerospace industry may have life or death consequences,” said AIA President and CEO Marion Blakey. “Reducing their proliferation and potentially harmful effects requires increased diligence and active control measures from both industry and government.”
While the prevalence of counterfeit parts is difficult to quantify, in fiscal 2009, the Customs and Border Protection Service seized nearly $4 million in counterfeit critical technology components, including networking equipment and semiconductor devices that the aerospace industry uses. The new report, “Counterfeit Parts: Increasing Awareness and Developing Countermeasures,” seeks to raise awareness of the issues associated with counterfeit parts, according to association officials.
“Regardless of how counterfeit parts enter the aerospace and defense supply chain, the ramifications can be significant,” said Blakey. “They can jeopardize the performance, reliability and safety of our products.”
While profit is the primary incentive for counterfeiting, the long lifecycle of aerospace products also contributes to conditions that make aerospace and defense equipment susceptible to counterfeiting. Aircraft developed in the 1950s, such as the B-52, are still in active inventory while parts from original equipment, component manufacturers or authorized aftermarket manufacturers or distributors may no longer be available.
The report has more than 20 recommendations that encourage further discussion on how to most effectively reduce counterfeit parts in the supply chain. The recommendations were prepared by AIA’s Counterfeit Parts-Integrated Project Team and include:
- Scrutinize the purchasing process to limit the use of automated systems, which increases the risk of counterfeit products.
- Develop an Approved Suppliers list for use by government and industry.
- Conduct training for employees in the areas of procurement, detection, reporting and disposition of counterfeit parts.
- Create standards in the area of mechanical parts and materials.
“Our industry makes the best aerospace products available and has an unsurpassed safety record,” said Blakey. “We feel the recommendations will allow industry and government to address the issue before it threatens that record.”
The report is available on AIA’s website