Projects   /   Completed

A2147 — SiGe-Based System-On-Chip Low Cost / Weight Phased Array Antennas Phase A & B

PERIOD OF PERFORMANCE: July 2006 to May 2010


This project will demonstrate three phased array antennas—receive, transmit, and combined transmit / receive (T/R)—for development. Boeing is providing the multi-beam Ku-band Communications Data Link (CDL) Phased Array Antenna (PAA) system to DDG 1000. These antennas will be designed for operation in the Ku-band which is suitable in both surface and airborne applications. For several years, Boeing has been doing research into new technologies that promise a breakthrough in phased array antenna cost, with significant improvements in size and weight. This work has helped prove feasibility of many necessary technology building blocks, but the building blocks have not yet been integrated into a comprehensive demonstration. The primary new technologies involve the use of flip-chip and chip-on-board interconnect technologies to replace current wire-bonding and multi-chip-module technologies and the development of a highly integrated system-on-chip (SOC) using silicon-germanium (SiGe) process technology to replace current gallium-arsenide (GaAs)-based Microwave Monolithic Integrated Circuit (MMIC) chipsets.


The main benefit of this project is to provide smaller, lighter T/R modules using a system-on-chip technology that can also reduce cost due to integration savings. A cost avoidance of 50-65% and a size and weight reduction of 15-25% compared to current phased array antenna technology can be achieved using Boeing’s chip-on-board approach based on the use of GaAs technology. The use of SiGe technology can further reduce semiconductor chip-set costs by up to 90%. In addition, the chip-on-board technology currently in development at Boeing is limited to ~15-20 GHz due to the lattice spacing requirements and the size of GaAs chips necessary to perform the module functions. SiGe has the potential to reduce the chipset footprint, thus extending the practical frequency range for this architecture to 40 GHz or beyond. Cost avoidance starts at $600K per ship set for the DDG 1000. This reduction is obtainable by reducing the chipset die element parts such as RF distribution, array system components, element assembly, and test labor.


In Phase 2 of this project, Production Readiness Phase, the technologies developed and demonstrated in Phase 1 will be tooled up and made ready for DDG 1000 production insertion by the Boeing DDG 1000 program.

The technologies developed as a result of this work will have potentially wide applicability to Navy programs. Based on the current generation of technology, the following applications can be addressed: multi-chip module (MCM), brickstyle antenna packaging, and MMIC chipsets. These basic proven technologies can be adapted to meet a diverse range of antenna requirements. The basic packaging architecture can also be adapted, depending on number of elements, number of beams, radio frequency band, and many other application-specific requirements. The underlying package design and manufacturing approach as well as the underlying SiGe technology design and fabrication methods will be proven and common between applications.

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