A major problem in fielding state-of-the-art military and space electronic systems is the lack of militarized electronic components and their swift obsolescence.1
This article describes a brief history of commercial product use by government man- dates, industry solutions and the obstacles encountered in the development of high- reliability products.
Rapidly evolving RF microwave products, the back-and-forth with hermetic/non-her- metic packaging and new military/NASA “Class Y” initiatives are recent examples.
Almost 20 years ago, Dr. William Perry, Sec- retary of Defense at the time, introduced the famous (or infamous) “Perry Memo/ Mandate.”2
The primary motivation behind this memo was the perception that ICs purchased to military specifications (MIL-Spec) add to the cost of doing business.
In addition, substantial economies of scale could be realized by taking advantage of lower cost commercial ICs. The use of commercial ICs was seen as a way to obtain better access to the newest technologies, both in state-of-the-art availability and lead-time to acquire.”3
IC Market Forecast to Reach ~2.68B
As shown in Figure 1 (above), the government/military IC market is forecast to reach ~$2.68 billion in 2017. This would then represent only ~ 0.8% of the total IC market (~$350 billion), the same percent- age as in 2011.4
This trend is the reason many semicon- ductor vendors are exiting the military and space products markets. The economics cannot support the infrastructure to deal with these products in low-volume and low- revenue content.
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