Suja Ramnath, President and CEO, Integra Technologies
MPD: The 2019 defense budget is chock full of EW, radar, and other programs with lots of RF and microwave content, so, if your company serves the defense market, what are your thoughts about how this will affect your business in the coming years?
Integra Technologies has a long heritage of supplying to the defense market, and we are very optimistic for the near term growth opportunities in the sector. With the release of the 2019 defense budget, new spending is being allocated to accelerate the development of next generation platforms that had been paused due to sequestration in years past. The macro technology trend we see in this budget is a heavy focus on next generation solid state platform requirements that demand more bandwidth and power, as well as greater sensitivity and efficiency to address the complexities of an ever-changing modern battlefield. These systems must be capable of executing multi-mission requirements in a cost effective way. Another trend we are seeing is a need to shore up aging platforms which are in jeopardy as semiconductor suppliers consolidate and accelerate the rate of part obsolescence. Integra’s commitment to developing new technologies for high performance defense applications and supporting multi-decade product lifecycles uniquely positions us to meet the needs of our radar customers in the defense market.
Integra has spent the last decade focusing on R&D investments in GaN/SiC and delivering products to various radar applications around the world. Our products range from UHF up through Ku band and are ideally suited to enable the systems supported by the 2019 defense budget. Some of our most advanced GaN/SiC products are capable of delivering kilowatts of power with efficiencies >85%. In addition to GaN/SiC, Integra is one the last domestic suppliers of Si Bipolar technology. We are seeing an increase in U.S. Primes coming to us and requesting Integra develop products for legacy systems which need to remain operational for the next decade or two. Integra is here to address and support all our customers’ needs.
MPD: Overall, how would you compare the health of the industry compared with years past?
The industry overall is healthier today than years past. Industry consolidation has allowed companies to massively scale and position themselves to address exciting, new, high volume commercial applications like IoT, 5G and autonomous vehicles. These commercial applications are all driving the need for more wireless connectivity and semiconductor content, creating the next wave of growth for the industry. The defense sector is also experiencing a similar upcycle in growth and innovation, as detailed in the 2019 defense budget.
There is a cloud of uncertainty that looms due to the ongoing trade war and US/China relations, particularly in commercial markets. Assuming these geopolitical tensions will ease, the underlying fundamentals of the applications and technologies driving the markets are strong.
MPD: What RF and microwave technologies will be driving the industry in 2019?
GaN will continue to proliferate in the RF and microwave defense and commercial markets in 2019. Having already established itself as mainstream technology, GaN’s penetration into these markets will only accelerate and potentially overtake traditional GaAs sockets within the next 5 years. 5G and satellite communications will be a major driving force pushing GaN into higher millimeterWave frequencies. RF silicon is another technology that will continue to proliferate in the industry. Silicon technology has continued to improve RF performance with every new generation and relentlessly pursued the digitization of traditional RF functions, leading to lower cost radio integration for high volume commercial applications. These technologies will drive applications in 2019 and for years to come.