New Chip Enables Electronic Warfare & Communication Radio Systems to Adapt in Nanoseconds

To address the need for radio systems that can adapt to changing environments on the fly and that can be easily reconfigured once they’re in the field, the engineers at BAE Systems have developed a Microwave Array Technology for Reconfigurable Integrated Circuits (MATRICs) chip to address the future requirements of communications, electronic warfare, and signal intelligence systems.

The MATRICs (Microwave Array Technology for Reconfigurable Integrated Circuits) chip enables engineers to develop customized radio systems without the need for application-specific chips that are expensive and time consuming to develop.

Because it operates over a very wide spectrum of radio signals, systems based on this chip can benefit from reduced size, weight, and power (SWaP) without the long development cycles and expensive engineering costs typically associated with customized chips. The reduced SWaP of this chip makes it ideal for critical applications including unmanned aerial platforms and man-portable radios, where light weight and low power are at a premium. This chip also lets engineers create rapid prototypes and working systems that can be fielded faster and that can accelerate the speed of delivery for new technology.

The MATRICs is effectively a radio frequency toolbox on a chip. It covers a broad range of radio waveforms so that many different types of systems can be designed around it, including ones that need wide spectrum awareness and adaptability to dynamic and challenging signal environments.

This technology was developed and matured with funding from the DARPA, as part of their Adaptive RF Technology program. The ART program aims to advance the hardware used in radios that can reconfigure themselves under a range of environmental and operating conditions.

The speed of delivery from concept to the field is a critical component of the U.S. Department of Defense’s Third Offset Strategy, which has created a demand for agile systems that can efficiently address changing conditions in real-time as new advanced technologies emerge. The DoD strategy also focuses on the need for accelerated development and the rapid fielding of new technology by modifying existing systems, concepts that are at the core of MATRICs’ flexible design.

Lear more about BAE Systems cognitive RF processing technology.