The Department of Defense's Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) yesterday
signed a $12,129,612 cost-shared agreement with The Consortium for Vehicle
Electronics to design and develop material and process technologies for low
cost packaging technologies for automotive and aerospace electronics. The
government's share of funding is $5,384,329; the balance is funded by industry.
This project is sponsored under the Technology Reinvestment Project (TRP)
Consortium members are: Chrysler Corp., Huntsville, Ala.; Delco Electronics,
Kokomo, Ind.; Allied Signal, Tucson, Ariz.; Amp Akzo, Greenville, S.C.; AVEX
Electronics, Huntsville, Ala.; and Auburn University, Auburn, Ala.
In this collaborative effort, the high-volume manufacturing and assembly
process being developed for automotive electronics will be enhanced to meet the
needs of the military. This resulting process will be documented and qualified
as producing highly reliable components for harsh environments at a fraction of
the costs involved in producing similar functionality from the low-volume,
specialized processes typical of procurement to military specification today.
As DoD moves away from strict adherence to military specifications, it must
find alternative commercially-viable approaches to ensure the level of quality
and reliability essential in military systems. The automotive industry
requires its electronic components and substrates to be ultra-reliable,
withstand harsh environments and yet be low cost, all of which are also needed
in military applications. With the enhancements planned under this effort,
consortium members hope to qualify a low-cost reliable manufacturing process
capable of producing modules acceptable for use in military vehicle
applications. If successful,
DoD contractors and suppliers will then be able to produce reliable, low-cost
products from this high-volume, commodity manufacturing process that meet DoD
needs, thus avoiding the added cost of using only military specification
components and processes.
Technology developed in this program will also be applied to the design and
qualification of a full authority digital electronic engine control (FADEC).
FADECs can be used by a variety of military platforms, including subsonic and
supersonic aircraft, helicopters, and tanks. FADECs using the type of
multi-chip module packaging technology being developed under this effort have
the potential to reduce the cost, size, and weight of specific applications
while meeting the Department's standardization and commercialization needs.