‘Contractor Counterfeit Electronic Part Detection and Avoidance Systems’ … Part 5

Obsolescence Management and Its Relationship to Counterfeit Electronic Part Avoidance

Defense and aerospace products are particularly vulnerable to counterfeit parts due to part obsolescence. Microelectronics products, in particular, have life cycles far shorter than the defense / aerospace products that use them. When obsolete parts are not eliminated from product designs, suppliers other than the OCM or authorized distributors are often used to obtain components that are no longer in production. While changes to procurement practices will reduce the number of purchases from higher risk suppliers, the prominence of through-life support contracts will make part obsolescence a larger challenge and counterfeits a possibly bigger problem for DOD and defense contractors in the future.

In order to reduce the likelihood of having to purchase parts through riskier supply chains, contractors and subcontractors should apply obsolescence management practices to maximize the availability and use of authentic, originally designed, and qualified electronic parts throughout the product’s life cycle.[1] AS5553 includes guidance in this area and lists government and industry documents describing obsolescence management practices.

Customers are often constrained in their ability to support and fund approaches to eliminate the use of obsolete components. In these circumstances, contractors and subcontractors must (1) assure trustworthy sources of supply for obsolete electronic parts and, (2) when electronic parts must be acquired from other than the OCM or authorized distributors, apply inspections, tests and other methods designed to avoid the procurement and use of counterfeit electronic parts.

Henry Livingston


[1] DFARS 252.246–7007 (c) (12) Control of obsolete electronic parts …

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