BAE Systems was awarded a contract from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop the next generation of mixed-signal electronics that could enable new Department of Defense (DoD) applications including high capacity, robust communications, radars, and precision sensors, and lead to solutions that enhance situational awareness and survivability for the warfighter.
Recognizing that the DoD has performance demands that far exceed the capabilities of the commercial world in terms of speed, fidelity, capacity, and precision, DARPA created the Technologies for Mixed mode Ultra Scaled Integrated Circuits (T-MUSIC) program to enable disruptive radio frequency (RF) mixed-mode technologies by developing high performance RF analog electronics integrated with advanced digital electronics on the same wafer.
The next-generation capabilities that could be made possible with this program include a combination of wide spectral coverage, high resolution, large dynamic range, and high information processing bandwidth. These capabilities, which can cut through the electronic signal clutter, provide leap-forward performance that is mission critical as services rely on electronic sensors in highly congested environments. The new developments could be integrated into electronic warfare, communications, precision munitions, and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platforms.
“T-MUSIC will incorporate analog and digital signals on a single chip for high-performance data converters and digital processing and intelligence,” said Chris Rappa, product line director for Radio Frequency, Electronic Warfare, and Advanced Electronics at BAE Systems’ FAST Labs. “The advanced electronics we are developing under the T-MUSIC program could create the foundation for greatly enhanced Department of Defense capabilities in advanced RF sensors and high capacity communications.”
As part of the $8 million contract, BAE Systems FAST Labs research and development team – working closely with program foundries – will design and develop wafer-scale technology on a silicon foundry platform that can enable U.S.-based production of next-generation DoD electronics.
The T-MUSIC contract adds to BAE Systems’ advanced electronics portfolio and is based on many years of investment on various programs with the Air Force Research Lab (AFRL), U.S. Army, and DARPA, including DARPA’s CONverged Collaborative Elements for RF Task Operations (CONCERTO) and DARPA’s Radio Frequency Field Programmable Gate Arrays (RF-FPGA) programs. Work for the contract will be completed at the company’s facilities in Merrimack, New Hampshire; Lexington, Mass.; and Manassas, Virginia.