Primary Arms

RAMP-C DoD Program Successfully Prototyping Microelectronics

The Strategic and Spectrum Missions Advanced Resilient Trusted Systems (S2MARTS) OTA, powered by NSTXL, is managing multiple programs for the Department of Defense (DoD) that are advancing specific microelectronics capabilities. The Rapid Assured Microelectronics Prototypes ā€“ Commercial (RAMP-C) project was created by the DoD in January 2021 through the S2MARTS OTA vehicle to find partners for reshoring microelectronic fabrication and was originally awarded to two prime contractors – Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and Intel Technologies ā€“ with multiple subcontractors in August of 2021. Since the original award, multiple additional phases have been implemented to this project due to its success in delivering prototypes to the DoD in initial phases.

This program is critical in ensuring the DoD has assured access to the next generation of leading-edge (<7nm) semiconductor design and manufacturing. These chips will be intricately complex, enabling huge system performance increases, while decreasing size, weight, and power (SWaP), critical for many of the DoD modernization priorities. RAMP-Cā€™s objective is to enable DoD assured access to leading-edge semiconductor technology through U.S. located sources of custom and dual-use leading edge integrated circuits. This will enable implementation of complex, computation intensive Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithms for DoD AI, Electronic Warfare (EW), Radar and Autonomy applications. It will also facilitate use of integrated robust cyber-security methods, cryptography and authentication in DoD hardware and utilization of the complex computational capability required for 5G Radio access network (RAN) and Internet of Things (IoT) systems.

Currently, most domestic semiconductor companies are fabless, meaning they design and sell integrated circuits by outsourcing their fabrication to offshore foundries. With many of the cutting-edge innovators surrounding microelectronics located in America, the DoD sought to close the long-standing tradition of outsourcing this production. The RAMP-C opportunity was developed to bolster the U.S. microelectronics industrial base and encourage semiconductor manufacturing capabilities.

RAMP-C is complimented by two other programs launched by the Office of Under Secretary Defense Research & Engineering (OUSD R&E) to promote U.S. chip manufacturing including, Rapid Assured Microelectronics Prototypes using Advanced Commercial Capabilities (RAMP) and digital State of the Art Heterogeneous Integrated Packaging (SHIP). S2MARTS is also managing the Microelectronics Commons program, a CHIPS and Science Act-funded national network for onshore, microelectronics hardware prototyping, lab-to-fab transition of semiconductor technologies and semiconductor workforce training. All four programs will bring more access to advanced capabilities in U.S. facilities while improving the integrity and confidentiality of intellectual property (IP) of commercial and DoD designs by using Quantifiable Assurance methods.

Leave a Reply