AES Semigas


15 May 2024

BAE Systems awarded $12m THREADS contract to boost effectiveness of RF-based applications

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has awarded BAE Systems’ FAST Labs R&D organization in Merrimack, NH, USA a $12m contract for the program THREADS (Technologies for Heat Removal in Electronics at the Device Scale).

The DARPA THREADS program aims to overcome the temperature limits at the transistor scale inherent to power-amplifying functions. With new materials and approaches to diffusing the heat that degrades performance and mission life for monolithic microwave integrated circuits (MMICs), THREADS aims to resolve the thermal management challenges of existing gallium nitride (GaN) devices.

Many military systems leverage radio frequency (RF) electronics and have historically operated at powers well below their theoretical limits because the GaN transistors get too hot. Solving this challenge will improve the range of RF-based systems by nearly threefold, expanding engagement distances for warfighters.

“Excessive heat in electronics has been a long-standing challenge in the aerospace and defense industry,” says Caprice Gray, director of Device Materials and Manufacturing Research at BAE Systems’ FAST Labs. “With material and process enhancements, we are on the verge of overcoming this challenge and doing so will unleash the hidden potential in mission-critical electronic warfare and other RF-based systems.”

BAE Systems will leverage its expertise and track record of developing and manufacturing advanced microelectronics for the program at its Microelectronics Center (MEC) in Nashua, NH. The MEC is an accredited DoD Category 1A Trusted Supplier and manufactures GaN and gallium arsenide integrated circuits in production quantities for critical Department of Defense programs.

Work on the THREADS program includes collaboration with Modern Microsystems, Penn State University, Stanford University, University of Notre Dame, and University of Texas at Dallas.

See related items:

First US CHIPS and Science Act funding to modernize BAE Systems’ Microelectronics Center

BAE Systems awarded $5m ONR contract for COALESCE program

BAE collaboration with AFRL speeds development of next-gen radar, EW and communications technology

Tags: GaN MMIC



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