White Paper

The New SiP Device Drives a Leap in RF Edge Processing

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WHITE PAPER The New SiP Device Drives a Leap in RF Edge Processing mrcy.com 2 mrcy.com 2 The 21st century electronic battlefield is a rapidly evolving arena; this is especially true for systems operating within the RF spectrum. We face adversaries who are using stealthy techniques and deploying advanced weapons systems. Countering those techniques and weapons requires extremely low-latency responses driven by intelligent, adaptive applications. At a practical level, that means there must be a quantum leap in RF processing inserted at the tactical edge. An injection of new technology is needed, but it is not sufficient. Long-term success demands a continual process that moves innovations from the broad world of commercial electronics into the defense domain. Sustained success also requires that the technology innovations delivered to defense programs come from trusted and secure sources; security threats posed by semiconductor tampering are equal to those posed by software breaches and are more difficult to detect. There is a dynamic new answer to the RF edge processing challenge, an adaptation of system-in-package (SiP) technology: the RFSiP. The RFSiP combines powerful, multi-function processing with industry-leading analog- to-digital and digital-to-analog (ADC/DAC) capability. Our technology partnerships, with Xilinx and others, helped us create a high-end mixed signal solution that is packaged in a form factor one fifth the size of a small printed circuit board. This paper focuses largely on the RFSiP, discussing details of why it 's needed, how it functions and where it fits. However, the larger issues of accessible technology and trusted sourcing will also be presented, as they are vital considerations when developing the RFSiP approach. NEXT-GEN RADAR AND EW NEED HIGH-PERFORMANCE RF EDGE PROCESSING Electronic warfare is moving to a new level of complexity. High-frequency radars now use pulse widths that last only nanoseconds. In addition to single frequency bursts, frequency-hopping signals are showing up across the RF spectrum. Other techniques include dynamically changing waveforms and patterns. To reliably detect these stealthy signals, our EW systems must use higher and higher sampling rates so ever-expanding bandwidths can be continuously monitored. Five GS/sec was recently considered a very high sampling rate; now the bar is set at 50 GS/sec. Detection is just the first step. Effective responses must then be made with extremely low latency, which requires powerful real-time processing for signal analysis and countermeasure generation, all tightly coupled with the ADC/DAC function. A new generation of applications needs very high rates of data conversion and powerful processing that can keep up with those data rates.

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