Raytheon Research Overview
Maintaining Our Technology Edge
Technology continues to be a key discriminator for Raytheon in delivering value to our customers. Our technology research is done in a highly collaborative environment, with ideas coming internally and from partners in academia, small businesses, large contractors and national laboratories. In today's global economy, research is no longer solely an internally focused activity, but a highly dynamic, collaborative process where good ideas and novel solutions come from many sources. The research enables upgrades to existing products as well as the demonstration of completely new capabilities.
Raytheon combines engineering and scientific research — systematic studies to generate new knowledge or insights — with an emphasis on innovation. Innovation can occur by applying existing knowledge in new ways to deliver novel products, methods or services that add value to our customers. Innovation is part of Raytheon's culture of bringing forward new solutions that add value to all parts of our business, with research innovation primarily focusing on technology development.
This issue of Technology Today highlights some of Raytheon's ongoing research activities and demonstrates the breadth of our partnerships and research areas. The figure on the following page illustrates the sources of new technology ideas and technology funding that Raytheon brings to bear to solve customer problems and maintain our technology edge.
Program-Funded Technology Development
One path for technology funding comes within the context of ongoing acquisition programs, whereby our customer reaches out to Raytheon to help develop a key technology, often in partnership with subcontractors, to address a program need. An example is the work done under our radar, electronic warfare, communications and missile programs. We have successfully developed and delivered technologies such as advanced signal processing algorithms, new computing architectures, advanced monolithic microwave integrate circuits (MMICS), and new waveforms to meet the system specifications for the U.S. Missile Defense Agency, Army, Navy, Air Force and Intelligence community.
Contracted Research and Development
Technology research is also done under Contracted Research and Development (CRAD) programs, which align with our core and growth markets. In response to customer solicitations, Raytheon forms teams that maximize the value and impact of the proposed solution. Depending on the nature of the research, Raytheon may be the overall team leader or integrator, a primary subcontractor, or a mission transition partner. Often, over the course of a technology research program, the role Raytheon takes on evolves to ensure that the developed capability becomes available for the end user. Several examples of ongoing CRAD programs are discussed in this issue, including Standoff Radiation Detection System (SORDS), Compound Semiconductors on Silicon (COSMOS), and Photon Counting Arrays (PCAR).
The SORDS program is developing a new concept based on a Trimode Imager (TMI) for nuclear material detection with a team that brings together a small-company expert in nuclear detection (Bubble Technologies, Inc.) with nuclear physicists from Los Alamos National Lab; academic experts in imaging and detection from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Michigan; and the systems engineering, design and testing expertise of Raytheon. The team is pioneering the trimodal imager approach that exploits two imaging technologies, along with spatial information, to achieve unsurpassed effectiveness in detecting nuclear and radiological threats while driving down false alarm rates. This program is funded by the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
The COSMOS program, funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's (DARPA) Microsystems Technology Office, is changing the paradigm of how mixed signal circuits (combined analog and digital circuits such as analog-to-digital converts) are designed and built. The COSMOS program is enabling close integration of different semiconductor materials within the same circuit to allow the designer to pick the "best junction for the function," thereby improving circuit dynamic range, bandwidth and power performance. Raytheon is leading a multidisciplinary team to demonstrate manufacturable high-performance, mixed-signal circuits.
The DARPA-funded PCAR program extends the capability of infrared (IR) imagers for the warfighter by developing detectors able to measure single photons in the short wave IR (SWIR) band. The SWIR wavelength band, nominally from 1 to 3 microns, has gone largely unused because of inadequate detectors and a lack of understanding of the imaging phenomenology in this band. The Raytheon PCAR research team has developed high speed, high sensitivity SWIR sensors, along with low noise readout electronics and novel scene integration algorithms, to dramatically improve the image dynamic range, allowing low-light images to be resolved in the same scene as a bright object.
Internal Research and Development
Raytheon maintains an Internal Research and Development (IRAD) program that includes projects executed within individual businesses, as well as cross-company enterprise campaigns that are collaborations between several Raytheon businesses. The portfolio of IRAD projects addresses improvement of existing products, as well as disruptive new solutions, for our core and growth markets. These projects bring to bear the full capability of Raytheon's technologies to address the most pressing customer needs. Raytheon's IRAD investment is defined by developing technology road maps and quantifying the technology gaps that need to be addressed to deliver capabilities that meet customers' needs.
There are two articles in this issue covering research primarily funded by IRAD. The first, about computational materials, discusses leveraging advances in computational power and understanding of quantum physics to analyze potential replacement materials for lead (Pb) in lead/tin solder without compromising the electronic integrity of the solder. Taking this computational approach has allowed a more rapid analysis of material combinations than could be done experimentally.
The second featured IRAD program describes how Raytheon is pulling from university research in adaptive control algorithms to develop robust, adaptive flight control algorithms that will enable higher performance missiles or UAVs.
IRAD and CRAD Synergies for Longer-Term Initiatives
While the above discussion suggests research is done solely under either CRAD or IRAD projects, many longer-term, high-payoff research efforts span many years and benefit from the contributions of multiple investments addressing specific aspects of a technology. A noteworthy example of this is presented in the article on the status of gallium nitride (GaN) microwave amplifiers.
For more than 30 years, the wide bandgap semiconductor GaN has been theoretically identified as ideal for producing high-powered, high-frequency transistors. However, until the late 1990s, research on GaN was largely limited to a few university research groups and small companies, because the quality of the material was insufficient to support high-performance devices. The article presents an overview of the history of GaN electronics along with current work that is preparing to insert GaN MMICs into U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) systems. This research effort began at Raytheon in 2000 and has benefited from funding from multiple agencies — including the Office of Naval Research, the Missile Defense Agency (formerly the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization) and DARPA — as well as significant IRAD investments from Raytheon to address various aspects of the development.
Another example of a research effort that spanned more than 10 years and required several investments is presented in the article about the Monarch processor. This effort — initially funded under a DoD study for a high performance processing system, then continued under IRAD investment before winning support from DARPA under the Polymorphic Computing program — demonstrates new records for microprocessor performance and computational efficiency. As discussed in the article, the Monarch chip is now being leveraged for real-time data analysis in DARPA's Seismic and Acoustic Vibration Imaging (SAVi) program.
A third example of the payoff of long-term investment is presented in the article about recent work on nanoparticle ceramics to produce low-loss optical ceramic gain media for slab lasers. The current work leverages a long history of leading optical materials research by this group and will enable more efficient, high-power slab lasers.
Beyond the topics covered in feature articles in this issue, Raytheon is also pursuing several other longer-term research investments in high-power laser technology and multifunction radio frequency (RF) systems. Under the DARPA-funded Adaptive Photonic Phase-Locked Elements (APPLE) program, Raytheon is leveraging a long-term investment in liquid crystal modulators to demonstrate an optical phased array to realize an electronically steered, high-power laser with adaptive optics for atmospheric correction. In the area of multifunction RF systems, Raytheon is leveraging long-term investments in beamsteering, laser-based frequency sources and high-speed sampling to develop ultra broadband systems that enable multifunction capabilities. This area is discussed in more detail in the Eye on Technology article "Next-Generation RF Systems."
Partnerships and Alliances with Universities and Small Businesses
In all of its research, Raytheon actively partners with leading technologists to bring the best minds to bear on problems. Raytheon has active university research partnerships, both through directed research projects and through membership in university centers. An example of our university partnerships is presented in the article about Raytheon's collaborative work in the area of knowledge technology, with the University of Texas at Dallas and Penn State. The field of data analysis has moved from searching data for key terms to focusing on approaches that extract knowledge — as opposed to data — from large, often unrelated databases. In this context, knowledge refers to the association of multiple elements of a data set to develop additional insights into meaning that could not be determined when the individual data is considered alone.
Raytheon has also joined the DARPA sponsored Focused Research Center Program (FCRP), a consortium of six research centers and more than 40 universities formed to address critical challenges in microelectronic technology and applications. As a member of the FCRP, Raytheon receives royalty-free rights to intellectual property generated under the program, gets access to top engineering students, and gains early insights into emerging research areas that impact Raytheon systems.
Similar to universities, small businesses offer a wealth of novel technologies, and Raytheon proactively engages with the government's Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program to find technologies that address our customers' needs. The article on the DoD SBIR program highlights multiple SBIR success stories for Raytheon. Another example of partnering with a small business is shown in the article "The Convergence of Virtual Reality and Warfighter Training to Counter Improvised Explosive Devices." This article discusses research Raytheon has done with Motion Reality, Inc., and BreakAway, Ltd., to combine motion capture technology, simulation- based realism and battlefield domain expertise that puts warfighters into a fully immersive environment for training before they deploy into a war zone.
Mergers and Acquisitions
The final method of establishing technology capability is to acquire companies that are pioneering new fields important to Raytheon's markets. Raytheon uses targeted acquisitions to expand our technology capabilities in our core and growth markets. Examples include acquisitions of several cyber technology companies and the recent acquisition of BBN Technologies. BBN's diverse portfolio encompasses a range of technologies, including advanced networking, speech and language technologies, information technologies, sensor systems and cybersecurity. The history of innovation at BBN — from its start as a leader in acoustics to seminal work on the Internet and language translation — is discussed in the article "Raytheon BBN Technologies: Persistent Innovation." A BBN accomplishment currently supporting warfighters in the field is the sniper detection system, Boomerang, shown mounted on the top of a vehicle on the cover of this issue. The ultrasensitive directional microphones detect the shock wave of a flying bullet, even when the vehicle is moving, and are used to identify and report the position of the shooter.