Durham, N.C. — Cree, Inc. (Nasdaq: CREE), a leader in gallium nitride (GaN) RF devices, has earned the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) manufacturing readiness level eight (MRL 8) designation. Awarded for its production of GaN monolithic microwave integrated circuits (MMICs), this designation verifies Cree’s ability to provide assured, affordable and commercially viable production capabilities and capacities for items essential to national defense. The designation was granted upon Cree’s successful completion of the DoD’s Defense Production Act (DPA) Title III Gallium Nitride on Silicon Carbide Production Capacity Program.
"Cree exemplifies the mission-ready capability of a company that the DPA Title III office seeks," said Mark Buffler, director, Defense Production Act Title III Program within the Office of the Secretary of Defense. "The key objective of these public-private partnerships is the creation of assured, affordable and commercially viable production capabilities and capacities for products and materials essential for our national defense while strengthening the economic and technological competitiveness of the U.S. defense industrial base."
Led by an integrated program team (IPT) and jointly funded through a public-private partnership effort, the three-year, multi-phase GaN on Silicon Carbide Radar/Electronic Warfare MMIC Production Capacity Project was structured to assess and refine manufacturing processes necessary to support a full-rate MMIC production capability. The IPT was comprised of Air Force Research Laboratory Materials and Manufacturing Directorate (AFRL/RX) personnel, Cree engineers and manufacturing experts and select government consultants. The program was managed by the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, Manufacturing and Industrial Base Policy (MIBP) and administered by the U.S. Air Force, the executive agent within the DoD. Funded with $18 million in direct government funds and $3.5 million in Cree funds, the national defense program accounted for a total public-private partnership effort of $21.5 million.
Since 2010, Cree has shipped more than five million MMICs and devices, making it one of the largest U.S. suppliers of advanced GaN technology for both the DoD and commercial markets. During this time, approximately four billion device hours in the field have been accumulated with an associated, industry-leading FIT rate of less than 10 failures per one billion device hours, which validates the outstanding robustness of Cree’s manufacturing process and resultant devices under fielded conditions.
"We are pleased to have been allowed to participate in the DPA Title III Program and are honored to have subsequently earned MRL 8 designation," said Dr. John Palmour, co-founder of Cree and chief technology officer, Power and RF. "This achievement clearly demonstrates the level of production-readiness that Cree’s GaN manufacturing processes are capable of and is a testament to our leadership in the RF GaN industry."
Cree offers foundry services for development and production using GaN HEMT MMIC processes, providing design and test services on a case-by-case basis. Please visit www.cree.com/foundry to take advantage of Cree’s RF GaN MMIC foundry processes.