Military Embedded Systems

GaN MMIC process is focus in AFRL, BAE Systems agreement


September 18, 2018

Mariana Iriarte

Technology Editor

Military Embedded Systems

GaN MMIC process is focus in AFRL, BAE Systems agreement

NASHUA, N.H. U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) and BAE Systems officials signed a cooperative agreement for Phase 1 of a technical effort to transition gallium nitride (GaN) semiconductor technology developed by the U.S. Air Force to our Advanced Microwave Products (AMP) Center.

As part of the effort, BAE Systems will transfer and further enhance the technology, and scale it to 6-inch wafers to slash per-chip costs and improve the accessibility of this defense-critical technology. Under the agreement, the company will work with AFRL to establish a 140-nanometer GaN monolithic microwave integrated circuit (MMIC) process that will be qualified for production by 2020, with products available to Department of Defense (DoD) suppliers through an open foundry service.

GaN technology provides broad frequency bandwidth, high efficiency, and high transmit power in a small footprint, making it ideal for next-generation radar, electronic warfare, and communications systems.

“Millimeter-wave GaN technologies today are produced in research and development laboratories in low volumes at high associated costs or in captive foundries that are not broadly accessible to defense suppliers,” says Scott Sweetland, Advanced Microwave Products director at BAE Systems. “This effort will leverage AFRL’s high-performance technology and BAE Systems’ 6-inch manufacturing capability to advance the state of the art in GaN MMIC performance, reliability, and affordability while providing broader access to this critical technology.”

The work on this project will primarily take place at the company's Microelectronics Center (MEC) in Nashua, New Hampshire. The MEC has been an accredited DoD Category 1A Trusted Supplier since 2008, and fabricates integrated circuits in production quantities for critical DoD programs.

As part of the project, the AMP Center team will work closely with the company’s FAST Labs research organization and MMIC design experts from ENGIN-IC.


Radar/EW - RF & Microwave
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