DoD and S2MARTS Impacting the Microelectronics Ecosystem through the Rapid Assured Microelectronics Prototypes – Commercial (RAMP-C) Project

August 30, 2021
Ramp-C Microelectronics

The Strategic and Spectrum Missions Advanced Resilient Trusted Systems (S2MARTS) OTA, powered by NSTXL, would like to announce the award of the Rapid Assured Microelectronics Prototypes – Commercial (RAMP-C) project.  This highly critical project was awarded to two performers, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and Intel Technologies, with impact to our national security and supply chain within the microelectronics ecosystem.  The award will fund a nationally located leading-edge commercial fabrication facility and support U.S. development of chip-related design and intellectual property.

The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) released RAMP-C in January 2021 through the S2MARTS OTA vehicle to find partners for reshoring microelectronic fabrication. Currently, most domestic semiconductor companies are fabless, meaning they design and sell integrated circuits by outsourcing their fabrication to offshore foundries. With many of the cutting-edge innovators surrounding microelectronics located in America, the DoD sought to close the long-standing tradition of outsourcing this production. The RAMP-C opportunity was developed to bolster the U.S. microelectronics industrial base and encourage semiconductor manufacturing capabilities.

Brett Hamilton, Distinguished Scientist for Trusted Microelectronics at NSWC Crane, and Deputy Principal Director Microelectronics, OUSD (R&E) Modernization, serves as the technical execution lead for RAMP-C saying, “RAMP-C is a critical program for ensuring DoD has assured access to the next generation of leading-edge (<7nm) semiconductor design and manufacturing. These chips will be amazingly complex, enabling huge system performance increases, while decreasing size, weight, and power (SWaP), critical for many of the DoD modernization priorities. RAMP-C’s objective is to enable DoD assured access to leading-edge semiconductor technology through U.S. located sources of custom and dual-use leading-edge integrated circuits. This will enable implementation of complex, computation-intensive Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithms for DoD AI, Electronic Warfare (EW), Radar, and Autonomy applications. It will also facilitate the use of integrated robust cyber-security methods, cryptography and authentication in DoD hardware and utilization of the complex computational capability required for 5G Radio access network (RAN) and Internet of Things (IoT) systems.”

RAMP-C is complemented by two other programs launched by the Office of Under Secretary Defense Research & Engineering (OUSD R&E) to promote U.S. chip manufacturing including, Rapid Assured Microelectronics Prototypes using Advanced Commercial Capabilities (RAMP) and digital State of the Art Heterogeneous Integrated Packaging (SHIP). All three programs will bring more access to advanced capabilities in U.S. facilities while improving the integrity and confidentiality of intellectual property (IP) of commercial and DoD designs by using Quantifiable Assurance methods.

“This project is just another example of how the S²MARTS OTA is impacting national security and the warfighter”, said Brooke Pyne, S²MARTS Consortium Director.  “Being able to bring together some of the most innovative entities in the microelectronics ecosystem and fostering a collaborative environment is critical to providing state of the art solutions and teaming arrangements and S2MARTS is excited to be a part of it.”


The Strategic & Spectrum Missions Advanced Resilient Trusted Systems (S2MARTS), managed by NSTXL, is the premier rapid OT contracting vehicle for the Department of Defense (DoD) in trusted microelectronics, strategic & spectrum mission, and other critical mission areas. The Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC), Crane Division created S2MARTS to grow and engage an elite network of innovators, shorten the path to defense prototype development, and advance national security efforts.

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