US and UK missile destroyers put out of action by microchips

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Vladimir Putin’s long “special military operation” has taken on toll on the Russian military, both in terms of the number of soldiers dead, and equipment destroyed and exhausted. As supplies diminish, Russian troops have begun relying on stocks of Soviet-era munitions, while Ukrainian forces, armed to the teeth with Western weapons, push back in a counteroffensive to reclaim areas captured by Russia.

As Putin seeks to replenish his weapons, Ukrainian Intelligence has reportedly warned that Russia is desperately seeking chip technology built by European and American companies.

According to a report from POLITICO, Russia has been looking to acquire Western semiconductors that are built by Nexperia.

Nexperia is a subsidiary of Chinese technology company Wingtech, which purchased the UK’s largest microchip factory, the Newport Wafer Fab in Wales.

A procurement document seen by POLITICO revealed that the Russian military is looking for high-tech components for its war machine, which includes microchips, diodes and transistors built by Nexperia.

The “shopping list” also includes chips made by US companies such as Texas Instruments, along with parts sourced from German and Taiwanese companies.

Last month, the Telegraph reported that components made by Nexperia had been discovered in a Russian missile that was recovered from the battlefield by researchers at the Royal United Services Institute.

Tom Tugendhat, chairman of Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, said the disclosure “reminds us of the importance of protecting our industry from exploitation by our enemies”.

He added that “with Nexperia’s plan to buy Newport Wafer Fab, it also shows why we need to defend our key strategic assets from those who could use them against us”.

Nexperia has not been accused of foul play, however, Russia would likely try to acquire their technology through intermediaries or by stripping down non-military technology and recycling their chips.

While Nexperia technology bought the Welsh factory last year, the deal is currently undergoing a national security investigation

Under the National Security and Investment Act, he may be able to block the sale on security grounds.

A Nexperia spokesman noted that none of the components that were identified in the procurement document is manufactured ar the UK site.

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They added that their components were not made for military use.

The spokesman said: “Nexperia utterly condemns Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, we support and have abided by all international sanctions.
“We have no Russian customers and do not sell into Russia.

“Unfortunately, like other chip companies, we have seen incidents of our products being used in military applications for which our chips were neither developed nor sold, including in Russia where we do not even do business.”

Denys Shmyhal, Ukraine’s prime minister, noted that Russia was beginning to run low on critical weapons, and currently has just “four dozen” hypersonic missiles left in its arsenal.

He said: “These are the ones that have precision accuracy due to the microchips that they have.

“But because of sanctions imposed on Russia, the deliveries of this high-tech microchip equipment have stopped and they have no way of replenishing these stocks.”

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