Intel Foundry Services authored by the US Department of Defense for the needs of next-generation factories
Over the past couple of years, many concerns have grown around the future of semiconductor manufacturing, both in terms of total capacity and where the next generation of factories will be housed. The current chip crisis has underlined that the current capacity of factories is too small for a world where there is a silicon chip in virtually everything, and meanwhile, geopolitical issues have made countries increasingly worried about the location of today’s high-tech factories – mainly in Taiwan and South Korea. . Therefore, we have seen governments launch initiatives to entice manufacturing companies or otherwise induce the nation-building of next-generation factories, including the United States Department of Defense, which today assigns to Intel. an agreement to provide commercial foundry services for the DoD. .
As announced by Intel this morning, Intel’s Foundry Services group has entered into an agreement with the US Department of Defense to provide manufacturing services for the Rapid Assured – Commercial microelectronic prototypes (RAMP-C) program. RAMP-C is one of several US government programs to encourage domestic chip production, with that program focused on the production of chips for defense purposes. In short, the DoD wants to make sure it can get its chips (and any other necessary commercial hardware) manufactured in the United States on a state-of-the-art commercial manufacturing node, and it is bringing in a consortium of companies led by Intel to develop the necessary foundry ecosystem.
Besides Intel, the consortium also includes IBM, Cadence, Synopsys and other companies, who will all bring their expertise and relevant technologies to the project. These companies will be working together on what is a fairly forward-looking service agreement, as the DoD examines manufacturing requirements over several years. Ultimately, the group is tasked with establishing an IP semiconductor ecosystem around Intel’s upcoming 18A process – the most advanced process in their development roadmap – which shouldn’t start to climb. in power before 2025.
At this point, Intel and DoD are not announcing the value of the service agreement. There is no doubt that coverage is underway and that Intel & co will have to complete several milestones by 2025 as part of its participation in the RAMP-C program.
But in the meantime, even being able to claim DoD as a major customer for Intel Foundry Services is a big win for the group, which is still in the early stages of customer alignment and proof. which he learned from his past mistakes, both in offering contract foundry services and in operating a cutting-edge manufacturing ecosystem. As a reminder, Intel previously announced that it would spend around $ 20 billion to build a pair of new factories in Arizona, so IFS’s success depends on finding big customers like DoD to fill those factories with orders.