Mercury Systems, Inc. is investing $15 million in microelectronics to help fill a government need for trusted components.

The Department of Defense has raised concerns in recent years over foreign-built microelectronics, noting that adversaries with access to foreign-built microelectronics could install malware and bugs on those products. The nightmare scenario, according to Bill Conley, Mercury’s senior vice president and chief technology officer, would be a kill switch that would allow that government to shut down those microelectronics at the start of a conflict, rendering a weapons systems useless or unreliable.

DARPA’s Electronics Resurgence Initiative is an attempt to address this growing concern by creating a more specialized, secure, and automated industry for the domestic commercial and defense sectors. According to Mercury, their spending is one of the first commercial applications of that effort.

“This investment directly addresses the DoD requirement for made-in-USA microelectronics and equips the warfighter with a state-of-the-art military-grade product, leveraging the most advanced commercial technologies,” said Mark Aslett, Mercury’s president and chief executive, in a statement.

The $15 million will be used to expand a facility in Phoenix, Arizona, so the company can build the custom microelectronics for the government at scale. Mercury began investing in the field three years ago with the company’s acquisition of Microemi’s custom microelectronics business.

“In Phoenix, where we have our microelectronics advanced state of the art center, we’re expanding the clean rooms there in order to take all these disparate capabilities from the commercial industry and defense and integrate them into those packages,” said Thomas Smelker, Mercury’s vice president and general manager.

Conley said the company’s aim is to become the first that can provide trusted chip-scale to system-scale processing solutions.

Nathan Strout covers space, unmanned and intelligence systems for C4ISRNET.

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