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January 29, 2020

BAE Systems wins DARPA contract to develop mixed-signal electronics

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has awarded a contract to BAE Systems to build the next generation of mixed-signal electronics.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has awarded a contract to BAE Systems to build the next generation of mixed-signal electronics.

Under the $8m contract, BAE Systems FAST Labs research and development team will design and develop wafer-scale technology on a silicon foundry platform in collaboration with programme foundries.

The technology could enable new Department of Defense (DoD) applications, including high capacity, robust communications, radars and precision sensors.

Furthermore, it can lead to solutions that improve situational awareness and survivability for troops.

DARPA created the Technologies for Mixed mode Ultra Scaled Integrated Circuits (T-MUSIC) programme to enable disruptive radio frequency (RF) mixed-mode technologies with the development of RF analogue electronics integrated with advanced digital electronics on the same wafer.

A mix of wide spectral coverage, high-resolution, large dynamic range, and high information processing bandwidth are next-generation capabilities that could be made possible with this programme.

These capabilities are expected to provide leap-forward mission-critical performance.

Developments can be integrated into electronic warfare, communications, precision munitions, and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platforms.

BAE Systems FAST Labs Radio Frequency, Electronic Warfare, and Advanced Electronics product line director Chris Rappa said: “T-MUSIC will incorporate analogue and digital signals on a single chip for high-performance data converters and digital processing and intelligence.

“The advanced electronics we are developing under the T-MUSIC programme could create the foundation for greatly enhanced Department of Defense capabilities in advanced RF sensors and high-capacity communications.”

The T-MUSIC contract is based on investment on various programmes with the Air Force Research Lab (AFRL), US 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) programmes.

BAE Systems will complete the work for the contract at its US facilities located in Merrimack, New Hampshire; Lexington, Massachusetts; and Manassas, Virginia.

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