Photonics, Power and RF Packaging Forum 2022 – powered by Yole Group and CITC
- 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Automotive & Mobility
EXPLORING LOCAL AND COSMIC BORDERS FOR DEFENSE AND AEROSPACE TECHNOLOGY
Conflict is as old as time – but the ways it is being resolved and defense is developing have been profoundly changed by technological leadership. States around the world have learned that influence, power and authority in the international technology environment are now the bedrock of military strength. The aerospace market, for its part, is developing around four main activities: space exploration which could lead the way to rare material mining; telecommunication satellites, which remain an important source of activity, space tourism, which is developing rapidly through initiatives from private companies and also space presence, which could push the production of new products and materials.
The relationship between semiconductors and the defense and aerospace sector has changed dramatically over the past several years through the trade wars that have been implemented as well as multiple real wars that are happening.
Semiconductors are no longer just key components enabling superiority on the battlefield. The industry itself has become a national security issue, with all nations (or alliances of nations) trying to be self-sufficient along the supply chain, from semiconductor devices to key systems.
Radar components (with GaN innovative devices), imaging devices (visible, thermal, SWIR…,) radio communications, counter electronic systems, inertial measurement units, localization systems, optimized batteries: all these are now the key building blocks of the defense industry, and they all rely on electronic and semiconductor devices.
The military and defense market has always been the launching pad of world-changing technology. With global defense spending having been multiplied by almost 100 since the end of the Second World War, the market was valued at $1,870 billion as of 2019. Unsurprisingly, the US accounted for 39% of this spending, with China trailing behind at 14% and all other countries below 5%.
The defense and aerospace industrial landscape is characterized by the presence of large conglomerates, usually linked to local governments. They are complemented by small companies offering cutting edge technological defense and aerospace specializations, and other businesses limited to their home nation.
The aerospace field, long limited to national agencies, is now shifting part of its business to private companies. In the US, aerospace has witnessed the rise of private companies like SpaceX, Virgin Galactic, Blue Origin and Rocket Lab. The opening of space to private companies is accompanied with an increase in the countries represented: Russia, China and India have numerous activities and ambitions, and even New Zealand is collaborating with Rocket Lab.
The military operational environment is also evolving. With the dawn of the 21st century, the information and space domains are gaining importance over the traditional land, sea and air domains, stimulating the semiconductor industry with needs in the electromagnetic spectrum, cyberspace, and informational dimensions.
In addition to their own specific developments, military organizations are using more and more consumer electronic components – and even devices and software – in what is called dual-use technologies.
This synergy implies more scrutiny from defense agencies into such technologies, but also a lot of opportunities from defense players to use existing supply chain and almost off the shelves products in order to militarize them for different uses.
RF communication, radar systems, multimodal imaging, electrical airplanes, Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU), data processing and affordable space-grade electronic modules are among the key semiconductor trends of aerospace and defense that we are keeping tabs on at Yole Group.
At Yole Group, we have been tracking visible and thermal imaging (as well as SWIR,) RF evolution for communications and radar functionalities, navigation systems, and field data processing for quite some time.
Increasingly, we are also taking heed of the impact of sensors and edge computing in the evolution of defense and aerospace products.
Combining this with our knowledge of the consumer and automotive electronics, we are able to make links between innovations as well as understand and track the re-use of products and technologies. We offer you a comprehensive vision of the next developments in these industries.