The U.S. Department of Defense has awarded Intel an agreement to provide foundry services in the first phase of its multi-phase Rapid Assured Microelectronics Prototypes – Commercial (RAMP-C) program.
US created the RAMP-C program to facilitate the use of a U.S.-based semiconductor foundry ecosystem to fabricate the custom and integrated circuits and commercial products required for critical Department of Defense systems.
Intel Foundry Services, Intel’s dedicated foundry business launched this year, will lead the work.
“Intel is the sole American company both designing and manufacturing semiconductors at the leading edge of technology,”Pat Gelsinger, Intel CEO, said.
Intel Foundry Services will partner with industry leaders, including IBM, Cadence, Synopsys and others, to develop and fabricate test chips on Intel 18A, Intel’s most advanced process technology.
“The RAMP-C program will enable both commercial foundry customers and the Department of Defense to take advantage of Intel’s significant investments in leading-edge process technologies,” said Randhir Thakur, Intel Foundry Services president.
Intel recently announced plans to become a provider of U.S.-based capacity for foundry customers, including an investment of approximately $20 billion to build two new factories in Arizona. These fabs will provide committed capacity for foundry customers and support expanding requirements for Intel products.
The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) has sought to diversify its approach to securing microprocessors by leveraging technologies developed by U.S. companies. Other than Intel, the majority of U.S.-based chip designers are fabless, which means they design and sell integrated circuits that are fabricated by contract manufacturers called foundries.
Today, 80 percent of manufacturing capacity is concentrated in Asia, leaving DOD with limited onshore access to foundry technology capable of meeting the country’s needs for microelectronics. The RAMP-C program was created to facilitate the use of an onshore foundry ecosystem that will ensure DOD access to technology.