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GlobalFoundries, Mulling NY Expansion, Lands DoD Deal

Feb. 15, 2021
The Defense Department formed a strategic agreement to source chips from GlobalFoundries' Malta, New York, semiconductor foundry.

GlobalFoundries, a U.S. semiconductor manufacturer, announced February 15 it had formed an agreement to supply the U.S. Department of Defense with microchips produced at its Malta, New York, chip foundry.

The Santa Clara, California, chip manufacturer, which already sources chips to the Defense Department from a factory in Vermont and another location in New York, purchased an option on additional land around its Malta location last year as it mulled an expansion. The company had let a previous purchase option expire.

The chips to be supplied to the Defense Department are specialized 45 nanometer “SOI” chips, or silicon-on-insulator chips.

SOI chips are less prone to electrical interference that can lead to glitches in other chips, especially for applications related to wireless radios and sensitive equipment.

“We are proud to strengthen our longstanding partnership with the U.S. government, and extend this collaboration to produce a new supply of these important chips at our most advanced facility, Fab 8, in upstate New York,” said GlobalFoundries CEO Tom Caulfield in a statement. He went on to say that his company was “taking action” to meet a growing demand for U.S. made semiconductors.

GlobalFoundries currently employs almost 3,000 people in Fab 8 and says it has invested more than $13 billion in the factory. In addition to its New York and Vermont locations, the company also has U.S. locations in Texas and California.

The Department of Defense said that the agreement with GlobalFoundries was “just one step” the Department would be taking to sustain U.S. microelectronics manufacturing.

Caulfield also thanked New York Senator Chuck Schumer for his part in passing federal semiconductor manufacturing incentives in a defense bill passed last year. Schumer, in a statement, called GlobalFoundries “a critical part of a domestic semiconductor manufacturing industry that is a requirement for our national security and economic competitiveness.”

Upstate New York is also home to other semiconductor manufacturing operations. Cree Inc. is also building a new factory for building silicon carbide chips in Marcy, New York, about 90 miles away from GlobalFoundries’ location in Malta.

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