The CapTech Technologies for Components and Modules’ (TCM) main objective is to promote collaborative projects and activities in strategic electronic and photonic components as wells as modules (building blocks). The CapTech history includes extensive activities on enabling technology innovation and securing critical European value chains. Its work involves close and constant collaboration with the other EDA CapTechs as well as other international institutions, having a joined task force with the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Commission (DG DEFIS, DG Connect, HaDEA executive agency, ECSEL JU).
All aspects of our lives are impacted by semiconductor technologies and related integrated circuits which form the physical foundation of today’s information society. Defence capabilities as well rely on components and their related technologies for embedded electronics. In this context, the concern for ensuring their availability, access and continued development is increasingly recognized by the European defence community.
Overall technologies covered:
- RF Microwave
- Digital Processing
- Mixed Signal Processing
- Power Supply Electronics
- Transversal Technologies (Packaging, Thermal management, PCB & interconnection)
Overall objectives include:
- Performance enhancement
- Miniaturization (Size, Volume & Weight)
- New/enhanced functionality
- Reliability & Robustness
- Strategic EU non-Dependence
The work of the Technologies for Components and Modules CapTech is generally of TRL in the ranges of 2 to 7. To bring critical TCM technologies for Defence from low TRL research close to applications, strategic investment is needed in long term programs, e.g., through consecutively following projects that build on each other and provide intermediate as well as final measurable results.
The strongest European coordinated action in place is the effort toward creating a Radio Frequency (RF) Gallium Nitride (GaN) European supply chain. Additional investments should also extend to IR detectors, System on chip for Defence including Crypto processors and anti-tamper technologies, Microwave Photonics.
The European Defence Programme (EDF) within the next Multi-Annual Financial Framework (2021-2027) is a real opportunity for TCM to address the European security of supply for critical defence technologies, as a key area for investments.
The TCM CapTech’s meetings are held three times per year, with a maximum duration of two days. The relevant information sharing, and coordination activities take place in its workspaces. Prior, or right after a CapTech meeting, a workshop or seminar might take place.
Requests for membership to the CapTech can be submitted to the CapTech Moderator and granted by the respective CapTech National Coordinator. Be aware that your request will be forwarded to your national authorities, in the person of the relevant CNC. The approval of the CNC will be needed to become a Governmental Expert (CGE) or non-Governmental Expert (CnGE), and for your participation in a CapTech event. To become a member of the CapTech (CGE or CnGE), please contact us at: Cap.Tech.Components@eda.europa.eu
The activities of the CapTech TCM are guided by the Technologies for Components and Modules CapTech Strategic Research Agenda (SRA). The CapTech started by identifying and investigating the future critical defence technologies, the related risks, gaps, challenges, and required European collaborative R&T measures in the area of electronic and photonic technologies for components and modules. The work of the CapTech revealed that the main gaps regarding specific military system requirements are technical and supply chain related. In view of facilitating the establishment of future development/procurement programmes or systems for TCM technologies, the CapTech developed technology roadmaps for the Strategic Research Agendas (SRA). Resulting from this analysis, 60 technologies in electronics and opto-photonics were found to be specific to defence and requiring attention from the military stakeholders. These technologies are critical and require sustained investment in innovation and supply chain sources for Europe.
In line with the OSRA methodology, they have been grouped in 6 domains and 12 Technology Building Blocks (TBBs):
- TBB01 - RF photonics
- TBB02 - IR imaging Detector & Sources
- TBB03 - Terahertz detectors & sources
- TBB04 - Microwave Power
- TBB05 - RF Transceiver modules
- TBB06 - Enabling Components for Advanced Antennas
- TBB07 - ADC and DAC
- TBB08 - Signal Generation and Time Reference
- TBB09 - System-On-Chip
- TBB10 - High voltage SiC devices and related energy storage for pulsed power applications
- TBB11 - Defence critical technologies supply chain
- TBB12 - Advanced Packaging, PCB and Thermal Management Technologies
These TBBs have been mapped with the EDA Capability Development Plan (CDP) for the system related functions and their key performances with expected impact on CDP priorities.
As an implication for military stakeholders, the CapTech distinguished a need for a strategy on European Technology non-Dependence (ETnD), to secure the European long-term position in the defence supply chain and to achieve the EU's level of ambition. It will then be possible to gain global competitiveness in several of these technologies and related defence capabilities.
Another proposed direction is to expand the synergies with civilian dual-use technologies. Developing core technologies and a shared supply chain with coordinated initiatives should provide a higher European leverage for European stakeholders and TCM users.
Based on the SRA, any CapTech member can propose ideas for new activities (projects, workshops, seminars, etc.) at any meeting. The active involvement of non-governmental members in proposing solutions for governmental needs, with a consistent and systematic ground for dialogue, can definitely encourage cooperation.
TCM CapTech Portfolio:
- Optronics: the project PICTURE is dealing with Photonic Integrated Circuits (PICs) for RF front End; the OB study FUTURE helped to prepare the next generation of components and architecture for RF Front End (radar, EW) with roadmaps and gap analyses.
- TeraHertz: The TIPPSI project demonstrated the capability to detect IEDs at a certain distance using a new generation of compact TeraHertz devices.
- RF Front End: The EuGaNIC project aims at the validation of the European GaN supply chain and ecosystem. The new MUSTANG project extends the use of GaN-on-SiC technology up to Ka Band. The project METALESA II brings the METALESA development on metamaterials for antennas to higher TRL.
- Digital: EDA SoC 2 project brings the EDA SoC development on System on Chip integration to a higher TRL. This also includes development of the new processor, eFPGA and memory components in the FD SOI 28nm technology from STMicroelectronics. Additional aspects like trusted chip with anti-tamper and embedded encryption engines are explored.
- Mixed Signal: New projects are in preparation to develop a new generation of Analog-to-Digital and Digital-to-Analog converters, following the gap analysis done with the previous CeeDees study and the THIMS project.
- Power Supply and Energy Management: A project on SiC and GaN for pulsed power applications (HPEM, rail gun…) is in discussion with MS.
- Thermal management and Packaging: The Packool project aim to develop the packaging of components (SiP) requested by GaN chips and of subsystems to optimise the thermal, electrical and SWAP performances. The project PERU demonstrated several advanced packaging and assembly technologies combined together to optimize several new miniaturized sensors & devices.
Ongoing / planned activities with the other transverse CapTechs:
- CapTech Materials on metamaterials and 3D printing
- CapTech Radar on RF GaN, metamaterials and Photonic ICs
- CapTech Electro-Optic on IR imaging sensors
- CapTech Guidance & Navigation on inertial miniaturized sensors and compact ultra-stable atomic clock
- CapTech Missiles & Munitions on g-hardened electronic for ammunition, components for precision guided ammunitions and a joint OB study on High Power Electromagnetic Munition (HPEM)
The CapTech Components has coordinated activities with ESA for the Critical Space Technologies and with the European Commission to harmonize developments of components and technologies for dual use applications.