Defense Speak Interpreted: Intel Is Now Making a ‘SHIP’

Perhaps you recently saw that Intel was awarded a contract for a SHIP by the U.S. Department of Defense. However, this one will not float on the water since SHIP stands for state-of-the-art heterogeneous integration prototype. Since that is a mouthful, let’s get a definition of heterogeneous integration [1]:

“Heterogeneous integration (HI) refers to the assembly and packaging of multiple separately manufactured components onto a single chip to improve functionality and enhance operating characteristics. Heterogeneous integration allows for the packaging of components of different functionalities, different process technologies, and sometimes separate manufacturers. The combined devices can vary in functionality (e.g., processors, signal processors, cache, sensors, photonics, RF, and MEMS) and technologies (e.g., one optimized for die size with another one optimized for low power).”

I had mentioned the acronym SHIP in one of my previous columns titled “PCB-related OTAs From NAVSEA Crane,” published on October 29, 2019, just as SHIP Phase 1 was awarded. That work has been completed, and Phase 2 of the planned four phases has now been awarded. Also, the SHIP program contains two emphases: digital and RF. The digital portion will be led forward by Intel Federal with help from Xilinix, and the RF portion by Qorvo (Texas), Northrop Grumman, Keysight, and General Electric as partners. All were participants in the Phase 1 award. While Phase 1 was estimated at roughly $25 million, Phase 2 is reportedly for $172.7 million [2].

While the first phase was mostly planning and feasibility, the second phase will have at least one part of considerable interest to the PCB community—to develop prototypes of multichip packages. Besides making actual devices, Phase 2 will advance interface standards, protocols, and of utmost importance, concentrate on the security for heterogeneous systems [3].

The SHIP project is working hand-in-glove with the DARPA CHIPS effort focused on chiplets. In fact, frequent defense updates talk about the DARPA CHIPS effort and this SHIP program at the same time. SHIP prototypes will use some of the highly secure DoD “dielets” or chips and marry those to Intel’s advanced, commercially available silicon products, such as field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs), application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs), and central processor units (CPUs). The hope is that this combination of some secure dielets with proven commercial known-good-die (KGDs) will make up for the loss of huge specialized defense ICs from sources such as IBM Fishkill (sold to Global Foundries over five years ago).

Of special interest to the printed circuit community is the near-PCB technology of Intel’s heterogeneous packaging technologies, including embedded multi-die interconnect bridge (EMIB), 3D Foveros, and Co-EMIB (combining both EMIB and Foveros) [4]. These interconnection technologies are coming from Intel facilities in Oregon and Arizona.

Lest you think there is no rhyme nor reason behind these defense semiconductor efforts, the SHIP effort was mentioned in work sessions following the August 2020 Electronics Resurgence Initiative (ERI) from DARPA [5]. Both Ellen Lord, undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment, and Nicole Petta, principal director of the DoD’s Microelectronics Office, gave overviews of the both DARPA CHIPS and related activities like SHIP. I enjoyed watching the virtual presentations since I knew what I was listening for. (You may recall my January 2019 column on the DARPA ERI.)

As a further incentive, both House and Senate have 2020 proposals to secure even more funds for semiconductors and interconnection systems. As most readers of this column relate more to PCBs, I will only point out that the Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (CHIPS) for America Act, in the U.S. Senate would allocate $5 billion to establish an Advanced Packaging National Manufacturing Institute under the Department of Commerce to establish U.S. leadership in advanced microelectronic packaging and, in coordination with the private sector, promote standards development, foster private-public partnerships, create R&D programs to advance technology, create an investment fund ($500M) to support domestic advanced microelectronic packaging ecosystem, and work with the Secretary of Labor on establishing workforce training programs and apprenticeships in advanced microelectronic packaging capabilities [6].

I know, another defense acronym using chips. Can you imagine an appropriation of $500 million when the combined value of all PCBs produced in the U.S. each year now is only $3–4 billion? Don’t spend those development dollars yet, as the U.S. defense budget (NDAA) has still not passed Congress, and the DoD is operating on a continuing resolution. Consider all this additional expenditure on semiconductor and interconnection technology, in light of the election results and the almost sure COVID-19 stimulus package, which should each have an impact on the hopeful electronics interconnection appropriation.

The SHIP Project with Navy Crane, Intel, and others should pave the way for the rapid integration of these future Congressional appropriations into a modernized defense supply chain for secure, world-class electronics.

References

  1. WikiChip, “Heterogeneous Integration (HI).”
  2. United Press International, “Pentagon awards $197M to Microsoft, Intel, others for microelectronics,” Gephardt Daily, October 16, 2020.
  3. David Manners, “U.S. DoD gives Intel packaging contract,” Electronics Weekly, October 5, 2020.
  4. Intel, “Up Close With Lakefield: Intel’s Chip with Award-Winning Foveros 3D Tech,” February 11, 2020.
  5. George Leopold, “DARPA Chip Effort Pivots to Securing U.S. Supply Chain,” Enterprise AI, August 20, 2020.
  6. Mark R. Warner, “Bipartisan, Bicameral Bill Will Help Bring production of Semiconductors, Critical to National Security, Back to U.S.” July 10, 2020.

Editor’s note: For more information on roadmaps, including the Heterogeneous Integration Roadmap (HIR), check out the October issues of SMT007 Magazine, Design007 Magazine, and PCB007 Magazine.

Dennis Fritz was a 20-year direct employee of MacDermid Inc. and is retired after 12 years as a senior engineer at (SAIC) supporting the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Crane, Indiana. He was elected to the IPC Hall of Fame in 2012.

 

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2020

Defense Speak Interpreted: Intel Is Now Making a ‘SHIP’

11-10-2020

Perhaps you recently saw that Intel was awarded a contract for a SHIP by the U.S. Department of Defense. However, this one will not float on the water since SHIP stands for state-of-the-art heterogeneous integration prototype. Denny Fritz explains.

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Defense Speak Interpreted: Rad-Hard Electronics

10-13-2020

Have you ever seen electronics described as “rad-hard,” or radiation-hardened, and wondered what that meant and how that was done? Did you like me just assume that “rad-hard” and “expensive” were synonymous? Did you think that this was a Defense Department term since they deal with nuclear weapons? Denny Fritz explores this and more.

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Defense Speak Interpreted: The Defense Innovation Unit

09-22-2020

Many of Denny Fritz's columns are about new defense technologies and innovations, but what about an organization with “innovation” in its name? Here, he describes the history and purpose of the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU), as well as some of its programs.

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Defense Speak Interpreted: Unpacking the NDAA

08-25-2020

What is this NDAA stuff you keep hearing on the national news all the time, and why is it important to PCBs? Denny Fritz explains what is going on with the National Defense Authorization Act, which authorizes programs and lays out the priorities and policies for the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD).

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Defense Speak Interpreted: DMEA

07-14-2020

A June 17 article announced a supply chain award of $10.7 billion to eight defense companies for semiconductors. Dennis Fritz explains how the Defense Microelectronics Agency (DMEA) administers this contract and keeps the technology secure.

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Defense Speak Interpreted: C4ISR

06-16-2020

Only the U.S. Defense Department would lump together seven concepts—command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance—into a single acronym: C4ISR. Denny Fritz explains how C4ISR has been called the “nervous system” of the military.

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Defense Speak Interpreted: What’s an RCV, and What Do Electronics Have to Do With It?

05-12-2020

In "Defense Speak," RCV does not stand for ranked-choice voting, a remote control vehicle, a riot control vehicle, or a refuse collection vehicle, although the second one is close; it stands for a remote combat vehicle. Denny Fritz explores this concept and its defense applications.

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Defense Speak Interpreted: Why Is Defense Hyper Over Hypersonics?

04-14-2020

Perhaps you have noticed that the term “hypersonics” is now a buzz phrase in a big part of the Department of Defense research effort. What does hypersonic mean, and why is so much work needed in this weapons field? Dennis Fritz explains.

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Defense Speak Interpreted: Be Prepared for CMMC

03-24-2020

If you are a current or future Defense Department contractor or subcontractor, you need to be prepared for the next cybersecurity requirements coming online during 2020. This is the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification, or CMMC, in Defense speak. Dennis Fritz explains how there will be five levels of cybersecurity requirements for various amounts of Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) you handle, with increasing requirements from one (least) to five (most).

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Defense Speak Interpreted: The Missile Defense Agency

02-25-2020

The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) has its roots in the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), known as 'Star Wars' in the 1980s as proposed by President Ronald Reagan. In this column, Denny Fritz provides an overview of how the MDA operates and describes types of missiles and phases.

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2019

Defense Speak Interpreted: The Continuing Resolution

12-10-2019

The topic of the continuing resolution (CR) has been sneaking past other hot Washington topics, such as impeachment, candidate debates, and why the Redskins are so bad. Dennis Fritz provides an update concerning a CR and the 2020 fiscal year.

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Defense Speak Interpreted: Executive Agent

11-12-2019

After reading my previous column, you may have realized that electronics packaging technology development came from the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Crane, Indiana. One of its core responsibilities is the assignment of “executive agent” for PCBs and electronic interconnects. But what is this “executive agent” thing, frequently shortened to EA? Dennis Fritz explains.

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Defense Speak Interpreted: PCB-related OTAs from NAVSEA Crane

10-29-2019

In my previous column, I described how Other Transaction Authority (OTA) projects were speeding up the development of new technology for the Defense Department. Much of this improvement has to do with the speed of contracting and the less restrictive selection and payment process involved. Specifically, I would like to call out projects under the National Security Technology Accelerator (NSTXL).

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Defense Speak Interpreted: Other Transaction Authority

09-19-2019

DIU grants contracts under a joint OTA and a parallel process called commercial solutions opening. Most of the five DIU focus areas depend on electronics: artificial intelligence (AI), autonomy, cyber, human systems, and space. At the end of 2018, DIU had funded 104 contracts with a total value of $354 million and brought in 87 non-traditional DoD vendors, including 43 contracting with DoD for the first time.

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Defense Speak Interpreted: DARPA ERI

01-29-2019

DARPA ERI stands for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the Electronics Resurgence Initiative. This tongue-twisting acronym is the latest Department of Defense (DoD) effort to catch up and surpass world semiconductor technology for the secure IC chips needed by advanced defense electronics systems.

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2018

Defense Speak Interpreted: PERM—Pb-free Electronics Risk Management

12-18-2018

In this column, we explore PERM—the Pb-free Electronics Risk Management Consortium. No, the group members do not all have curly hair! The name was chosen around 2008 by a group of engineers from aerospace, defense, and harsh environment (ADHE) organizations.

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Defense Speak Interpreted: Defense Electronic Supply Chain Issues

10-18-2018

On October 5, 2018, the Department of Defense (DoD) highlighted issues with the release of the 146-page report “Assessing and Strengthening the Manufacturing and Defense Industrial Base and Supply Chain Resiliency of the United States” from President Donald J. Trump

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