What trends are you seeing in the A&D market?
Qorvo’s customers are designing smaller system platforms with increased functionality for harsh environments and requesting more competitive pricing.
These types of demanding requirements require us to push our design teams, foundry process and heterogeneous integration capabilities and manufacturing organizations to think of new and innovative product ideas.
We also see an increase in the number of system designs intended to operate over broader bandwidths, increases in linearity and higher power-added efficiency in the same form factor as previous systems.
As an example, we have seen growing interest for our Spatium® family of compact solid-state power amplifiers that operate across the entire frequency spectrum.
Qorvo has a tradition of being the leading GaN power amplifier supplier. How do you maintain your leadership position in this competitive market?
Qorvo’s leadership position in GaN power amplifiers is based on our core value pillars of product leadership, innovation, scale and speed. We have been able to consistently deliver on each one of these, year after year, without compromise.
Our design teams consist of the best engineering talent available, which fuels our innovation engine that drives our product leadership. This, in conjunction with our world-class manufacturing network and patented GaN processes, have made Qorvo the preferred GaN supplier to the Department of Defense (DoD) and most of the defense primes in the U.S. and abroad.
We are extremely proud to offer our customers the best performing and most reliable GaN products available today and for decades to come.
How is Qorvo addressing the push for SWAP-C improvements and how does this benefit both commercial and defense applications?
Higher levels of functionality, both in a single chip and heterogeneously integrated in a package.
We are committed to continual foundry process improvements that set us apart as a world leading semiconductor manufacturer, which is at the center of any successful SWAP-C initiative. Qorvo recognized this years ago and has methodically built a design/manufacturing infrastructure to support the evolution to more complex and feature-rich RF and mmWave solutions.
By integrating more functionality into a single circuit or package, Qorvo is helping system integrators, whether it be a phased array radar or a mobile handset, make the most out of available design space without sacrificing features and/or performance.
In addition to smaller size, these new revolutionary devices use surface-mount technology that improves overall yield and reduces manufacturing cost.
How have Qorvo’s recent strategic acquisitions expanded your A&D product offerings?
Qorvo has been prudent, yet aggressive, at identifying and acquiring companies that we believe enhance our current product portfolios.
As an example, the recent acquisition of Custom MMIC provided Qorvo with an extensive portfolio of high performance GaAs and GaN products, like low noise and low phase noise amplifiers, mixers and other RF building blocks that help to complete the entire RF signal chain, something Qorvo did not have prior to the acquisition.
The other acquisition of note is Active Semi. These products benefit not only commercial applications but can be used to simplify and improve the performance of defense programs by reducing SWAP-C.
With these new products and capabilities, we can engage with customers earlier in the design cycle, enabling us to work system-level trade-offs to improve overall system performance. In many cases, we can make changes to our products or recommend products or a combination of products that will enhance overall system performance.
Another benefit to having such a broad portfolio is that our customers do not have to juggle multiple suppliers; they only need to work with one trusted source.
How does the breadth of your semiconductor and assembly capabilities provide a foundation for expansion and growth into high performance integrated modules?
Qorvo has the broadest portfolio of foundry processes and standard products — in terms of frequency and function — in the world. Combined with decades of manufacturing and packaging experience, we have built a world class integrated module business.
The recent RF State-of-the-Art (SOTA) Heterogeneous Integrated Packaging (RF-SHIP) program, awarded to Qorvo from the U.S. DoD, will help us acquire the right assembly equipment, set up highly accurate package models and then develop best-in-class highly integrated modules.
The other advantage Qorvo has is how we manufacture for both the commercial and defense markets. The needs that drive the commercial markets are high volume, low cost and high levels of integration. Compare this to the defense industry, which requires superior performance and high reliability. To better serve all our customers, we can combine best practices from both market categories to produce the smallest, best performing products, which are scalable and cost-effective.
Congratulations on the RF-SHIP award. How did Qorvo win such an important contract?
Qorvo’s unique model of supporting both the commercial and defense industries provided us with an advantage over our competition.
For instance, the commercial market drives product and packaging innovation in the form of high performance, low cost and very high volume — and you have a short amount of time to move from development to full rate production. The defense industry requires high performance and high reliability, but with a slow ramp to production. Both business models complement each other and drive us to be world class.
The U.S. DoD has implemented several new initiatives to move future system acquisitions from development to production quicker than in the past. We believe we can help the DoD do that because of our current business model and capabilities.
What are your plans for future products?
Our product roadmap includes many of the same types of products we develop today: new products with higher frequencies that cover broader frequency ranges and, in some cases, have higher RF output power. We continue to push the design envelope by developing products with high power-added-efficiency, linearity and in a smaller form factor.
The RF-SHIP award will help to accelerate our packaging roadmap. Our customers will benefit from an open access, state-of-the-art packaging facility. They will also benefit from state-of-the-art heterogeneous packages that will reduce SWAP-C.