Intel Partners With Pentagon Once Again to Produce Cutting-Edge Chip

In a recent development, Intel, along with the Pentagon and the national security accelerator program funded by the CHIPS Act, have joined forces. They aim to collaborate on producing initial test samples of advanced chip manufacturing processes, exclusive to Europe or Asia.

In a press release issued today, the chip manufacturer revealed that through RAMP-C, the U.S. government will gain access to cutting-edge chip manufacturing technologies for the first time.

In the upcoming phase three of the RAMP-C program, Intel’s forthcoming 18A manufacturing process will be utilized to create prototypes. These advanced chip manufacturing techniques are commonly employed in consumer processors, as they require substantial power to support intensive computing and graphics applications.

As Intel collaborates with its DIB (defense industrial base) clients, it’s manufacturing 18A chips for national security uses. This partnership involves contractors like Northrop Grumman and Boeing. Moreover, leading consumer companies such as Microsoft, NVIDIA, and IBM are part of a wider group of clients working with the California-based chip manufacturer to enhance the 18A chip manufacturing technology.

Intel’s upcoming technology represents its next-generation process node. According to statements from company executives, the predecessor, the 20A process, is slated to begin production in 2024. Last year, Intel disclosed significant details about the 18A process. CEO Patrick Gelsinger mentioned that the 18A process was progressing ahead of schedule.

The CEO compared Intel’s advanced power management capabilities of its 18A process to TSMC’s 2nm technology. Intel has switched up its naming scheme to the Angstrom level ever since its Intel 3 process. This would mean that, purely in terms of marketing names, the Intel 18A is equivalent to 1.8nm. When talking about chip processes, smaller numbers are better since smaller circuits can conduct electricity better, improving power efficiency and performance.

Pentagon expects to showcase prototype production of Intel 18A chips in 2025, according to the Department of Defense’s microelectronics engineering lead, Dr. Dev Shenoy. This means processors based on this technology should be expected sometime later in 2025.

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