DND says Canada's Hercules jets are safe despite fake parts



OTTAWA - After a media report Thursday claiming counterfeit parts in some of Canada's 17 Hercules jets could put the lives of uniformed men and women at risk, National Defence was left less on the defensive and more on a clarification mission.

A CBC report says knock-off microchips originating in China could compromise equipment so badly that pilots could find themselves facing blank screens mid-flight.
National Defence says Lockheed Martin, the producer of the Super Hercules C-130S aircraft, assured them there are no safety concerns.

"Lockheed Martin, in co-operation with DND, has completed a full safety analysis that revealed there are no safety concerns or operational limitations to the affected aircraft," said Peter Simmons, spokesman at Lockheed Martin, told QMI Agency.

A DND spokesperson said there are "no immediate plans to replace knock-off electronics," and that "there are already appropriately rigorous processes in place" to ensure equipment is safe.

Opposition MPs aren't mollified.

"Forcing soldiers to fly these planes knowing full well they're endangering their lives is stunningly negligent behaviour on the part of the Conservative government," NDP Defence critic Matthew Kellway said.

Former head of procurement at DND, Alan Williams, is more offended by the government's handling of the issue than the reality of counterfeit electronics.

"It's insulting and it trivializes important issues. They're either getting incompetent PR advice or they're not taking the good advice," he said.

Peter Toren, an American lawyer and expert on counterfeit law, says the real problem is that avoiding the Chinese market - especially in electronics - has become impossible.
"We have no choice anymore," he said.

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