As foreshadowed last week by the Osceola County government, BRIDG, the technology consortium working out of the NeoCity campus, has officially been awarded its first federal government contract to provide “next generation microelectronic multi-chip systems,” the group announced Tuesday.
The contract, from the U.S. Department of Defense’s Industrial Base Analysis and Sustainment (IBAS) office, is valued at up to more than $20 million to provide cyber resiliency that will strengthen national security.
At last week’s County Commission meeting, County Manager Don Fisher spoke of a possible smaller award that would be used to perform advanced packaging functions – essentially taking microelectronics and combining them to make better, cheaper, faster products.
“The Center for NeoVation played a key role in this process, and the advanced packaging provides a key advantage when it comes to reducing the size and weight of microelectronics, and requires additional microelectronic machines that we call tools … that we don’t have,” Fisher said on Oct. 21. “This is a very important part to the Department of Defense when it comes to national security. This is a conversation about parts (currently) being made in other countries, the federal government by executive order is directly at the heart of this.”
County Commission Chair Cheryl Grieb said this contract is a sign that the county, through the work done at BRIDG, is an emerging leader in U.S.-made microelectronics supply.
“The work we do here will not only help our service members by providing them with advanced technology that was completely and securely built in the United States but will also create new high-tech jobs right here in Kissimmee and Central Florida.”
In their release announcing the IBAS contract Tuesday, BRIDG said securing this new microelectronics supply chain was a priority of the Department of Defense, and that this could be the first step in series of other efforts the federal government may take at the NeoCity advanced microelectronics fabrication facility.
“The capabilities enabled by this contract will allow us to assist the defense industrial base to achieve performance levels that consume 80% less power and are five times faster than conventional electronics,” stated Chester Kennedy, BRIDG CEO. “This positions BRIDG to be at the forefront of protecting our nation’s technical leadership and global competitiveness.”
Central Florida’s representatives weighed in on Tuesday’s news.
“I’m proud to have worked in a bi-partisan manner with Senator (Marco) Rubio to support BRIDG and their efforts to achieve federal recognition for their advanced microelectronics work,” U.S. Congressman Darren Soto (D-Kissimmee) said. “This contract will strengthen our national security and continue to bring high tech jobs home to Central Florida.”
“In order to retain the leading edge for our warfighters, we must take the necessary steps to increase domestic development and manufacturing capacity for critical emerging technologies. BRIDG is very well positioned to provide the Defense Department with this critical, next-generation technology that will strengthen national security and cyber resiliency for the United States defense industrial base,” Rubio said. “I am proud to have worked with Congressman Soto to help ensure Florida companies receive full and fair consideration for federal contracts.”
At that county meeting last week, Fisher spoke of re-establishing a technology development incentive fund for the East 192 Community Redevelopment Association (CRA), in order to install tools BRIDG already owns. He noted an unnamed international corporation based in Germany, but who has a manufacturing site in California, that would install those tools.
This company, which Fisher said would relocate its Corona, California sales center and its key staff to Osceola County center – a “tool showroom” of sorts for the industry — would install those tools and use the intellectual property of imec, a Belgian tech consortium already doing business at NeoCity to assemble new microelectronics.
It’d all put BRIDG and the county in line for a possible $125 million pipeline of work.
“But it’d take a couple years to set up and demonstrate,” Fisher said at the meeting. “Once it happens, we’ll be inundated by the private sector trying to take advantage of this technology, according to a Department of Defense deputy.”
But, based on this positive news, it may not take that long.
Photo Cred: Osceola County