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Bringing commercial innovations in chip design to national security

Semiconductors and microelectronics are one of the most important components in building cutting edge capabilities for our national security and defense technologies, from satellites and radar to vehicles and communications equipment.

Semiconductors and microelectronics are some of the most important components in building cutting-edge capabilities for our national security and defense technologies, from satellites and radar to vehicles and communications equipment. Ensuring these components are developed with the utmost regard for security is a critical, yet challenging task. Historically, the security requirements associated with developing microelectronics have limited the U.S. Department of Defense’s (DoD) ability to leverage the latest innovations.

Through a recent DoD-sponsored project, Rapid Assured Microelectronics Prototypes (RAMP) using Advanced Commercial Capabilities, the goal is to leverage commercial best practices to help accelerate the development process and bring reliable, secure state-of-the-art microelectronic design and manufacturing to national security and defense applications. The DoD recently announced it has selected Microsoft to support the second phase of this project.

This project builds on a 40-year history of collaboration between Microsoft and the U.S. DoD, to bring commercial innovation to the national security community. Microsoft previously led a coalition of partners in collaborating with the DoD on the first phase of this initiative: to develop design capabilities that achieve the department’s mission priorities. In this second phase, Microsoft and our partners will build on these successful designs and begin to develop custom integrated chips and System on a Chip (SoC) designs using a secure, collaborative design flow that provides access to advanced manufacturing processes. These new designs will achieve lower power consumption, improved performance, reduced physical size, and improved reliability for application in DoD systems.

Microsoft has engaged microelectronics industry leaders across the commercial and defense industrial base (DIB) to develop this phase of the RAMP project, collaborators include Ansys, Applied Materials, Inc., BAE Systems, Battelle Memorial Institute, Cadence Design Systems, Cliosoft, Inc., Flex Logix, GlobalFoundries, Intel Federal, Raytheon Intelligence and Space, Siemens EDA, Synopsys, Inc., Cycuity (formerly known as Tortuga Logic), and Zero ASIC Corporation.

The RAMP solution will provide an advanced microelectronics development platform for mission-critical applications, with cloud, AI, and machine learning-enabled automation, security, and quantifiable assurance. This solution will be hosted in Azure Government, offering the broadest range of commercial innovation for governments with services available across all U.S. data classifications.

RAMP is a critical initiative that will enable the DoD to leverage a secure, scalable microelectronic supply chain, while also ensuring the design and manufacturing meets its stringent security and compliance requirements. By leveraging cloud-based secure design capabilities, RAMP will expand the number of foundries available to DoD, enhance resiliency, and foster growth of the domestic semiconductor supply chain. The success of RAMP will also enable the department to be more agile with technology developments, quickly adapt to evolving needs, and adopt the latest technological capabilities. We look forward to continuing our work with the DoD and our industry partners to deliver groundbreaking, transformative solutions to secure the microelectronic supply chain.