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RF Micro Devices Inc. (RFMD), a leader in the design and manufacture of high performance semiconductor components, announced it has signed a 12-month contract with the United States Department of Defense (DoD) valued at $1.4 M for the development of Gallium Nitride (GaN) technology and high-power RF solutions.
The contract award (#FA8650-05-C-5411) represents an extension to previous contracts with the DoD and is in support of RFMD's ongoing GaN RF power technology project. The goals of the program include reliability verification, passive element development and technology qualification of a manufacturable 48 V GaN RF power process for amplifiers and switches. In addition, the current program supports the demonstration of wideband, high power GaN MMIC amplifier and switch circuits targeting L, S and C-band applications.
RFMD has recorded contract revenue in excess of $1 M over the last six months. Furthermore, RFMD expects to receive additional DoD contract awards in calendar year 2009. Beyond the current program, RFMD currently has $5 M in contract backlog to expand the capabilities of its GaN RF technology over the next 18 months and has received nearly $10 M in DoD contract funding since 2004. This additional funding is intended to extend the cut-off frequency of RFMD's GaN process up to 90 GHz.
Jeff Shealy, vice president and general manager of RFMD's Aerospace & Defense Business Unit, said, "We are very pleased to receive continued DoD support for our GaN high power RF technology targeting military and civilian radar systems and multi-band radios requiring wideband, high efficiency amplifiers up to 500 W. Looking forward, we are also fortunate to have future program support to expand the frequency capability of our GaN process into millimeter-wave frequencies, enabling us to target new radar, electronic warfare (EW) and SATCOM radio applications."
Bob Van Buskirk, president of RFMD's Multi-Market Products Group, said, "Our recent award and strong DoD contract funding backlog highlight our growing presence in the Aerospace & Defense marketplace and underscore our leadership in the development and manufacture of advanced compound semiconductor technologies. RFMD anticipates its efforts in GaN RF power technology development will support multiple advances across a range of applications including Aerospace & Defense, wireless infrastructure and CATV infrastructure."
RFMD anticipates its GaN RF power technology will deliver configurable wideband, high power amplifiers with improved efficiency and ruggedness, versus currently available high power RF technologies. Configurable wideband amplifiers enable radio architecture convergence with reduced bill of materials (BOM) complexity, while improved ruggedness adds further protection in challenging operating environments. RFMD expects to offer GaN at very competitive pricing as it is produced internally by the world's largest GaAs manufacturer and given the company's high-volume supply chain. The addressable market for GaN RF power technology is expected to be approximately $172 M by 2012, driven by Aerospace & Defense, 3G-BTS, WiMAX infrastructure and CATV. GaN for WiMAX will depend strongly on the LTE market penetration and on the related frequency in use.
Separately, RFMD announced that its GaN process technology, fabricated in the company's high-volume commercial wafer fab, has been released for production designs for a broad range of Aerospace & Defense and commercial applications.