BAE Systems receives US Department of Commerce funding to modernise MEC

Posted on 12 December, 2023 by Advance 

The US Department of Commerce has announced approximately $35 million in initial funding for BAE Systems to modernise the Microelectronics Center (MEC) in Nashua, New Hampshire.

Image courtesy BAE Systems

This is the first funding announcement as part of the CHIPS and Science Act, which was designed to strengthen American manufacturing, supply chains and national security. Modernising BAE Systems’ MEC helps support this aim and the continued development and manufacturing of advanced technology to serve customers’ missions.
BAE Systems’ MEC is an 110,000-square-foot, Department of Defense (DoD)-accredited, semiconductor chip fabrication and foundry facility that produces technology for DoD applications. The MEC develops advanced semiconductor technologies beyond those available commercially to meet demanding military requirements. It is one of the only domestic defence-centric six-inch Gallium Arsenide (GaAs) and Gallium Nitride (GaN) High Electron Mobility Transistor (HEMT) wafer foundries.
“Microelectronics are at the heart of the technology and products we make for our defence and aerospace customers—from next-generation aircraft and satellites to military-grade GPS and secure communications,” said Tom Arseneault, President and CEO of BAE Systems, Inc. “This funding will help modernise our Microelectronics Center and fulfill the promise of the CHIPS and Science Act by increasing our capacity to serve national defence programmes, growing our technical workforce and helping to strengthen the nation’s onshore supply chain. This initiative is the result of a strong partnership with federal, state and local government.”

"We have been clear since day one that the CHIPS for America Program is about advancing our national security and strengthening domestic supply chains, all while creating good jobs supporting long-term US economic growth. As national security becomes as much about the chips inside of our weapons systems as the weapons systems themselves, this first CHIPS announcement shows how central semiconductors are to our national defense," said US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. "Thanks to President Biden's Investing in America Agenda, we have reached preliminary terms to make a substantial investment in New Hampshire's expanding defence industrial base, which will help make our country and supply chains more secure and bolster the economy of the Granite State."

Local and state commitments contributed to the funding application. As a result, both the state of New Hampshire and the City of Nashua are offering workforce incentives through Nashua Community College (NCC). The state of New Hampshire will provide tuition assistance for NCC’s microelectronics bootcamp and the Nashua City Council is providing funds to establish a new clean room training course at NCC.

"This critical funding from the CHIPS and Science Act which I was proud to help pass, will help BAE Systems' Microelectronics Center in Nashua modernise their facility and ensure our military continues to have access to American-made semiconductor technology," said US Senator Jeanne Shaheen, Chair of the US Senate Appropriations Subcommittee that funds the Department of Commerce. "These modernisation efforts will strengthen New Hampshire's integral role in the nation's defence manufacturing industry for years to come."
The approximately $35 million in funding will be coupled with ongoing investment in modernisation and R&D by BAE Systems. The funding will help purchase new, more efficient manufacturing tools to mitigate supply chain risk, increase production capacity and reduce time-to-build product. The increased efficiency will enable a scale-up in production to meet increasing demand for DoD technology and provide critical microelectronics to non-defence industries, including satellite communications and test and measurement equipment markets.