Battelle bags $23m US fake electronics contract

Battelle has won two fresh R&D contracts with the US Department of Defense to help keep fake electronics out of the military supply chain.

The $23m in funding has been awarded under the Microelectronics and Embedded Systems Assurance (MESA) scheme and will be used for research projects conducted at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio.

Battelle said the cash injection would help fund basic and applied research on technologies “designed to address the increasing threat and proliferation of counterfeit microelectronics and integrated circuits.”

“All modern defense weapon systems are inherently reliant on microelectronic devices and embedded systems for their operation,” it said. “Any threat to the integrity of these components can result in significant harm to operations, people and systems.”

In 2010/2011 the DoD said it had identified upwards of a million counterfeit components in the military supply chain, while a report from market research firm IHS published in 2013 indicated there had been more than 12m reports of counterfeit electronics parts in the prior five years.

Aside from the security and safety risks associated with including fake electronic components in military hardware, it has been estimated that a single incident of a counterfeit part can cause up to 64 weeks of production line downtime and cost up to $2.1m to resolve.

“Hardware device security is a strategic focus of the Cyber Innovations business unit, and these contract wins continue to build on our expertise in the research and development of technologies for hardware trust and assurance,” said Lisa McCauley, general manager of the unit.

The work, which will occur over the next four and a half years, will be performed with teammates from MacAulay-Brown, Inc. and the BerrieHill Research Division of Applied Research Associates.

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