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How China got its EMALS

By Saurabh Misra - posted Thursday, 7 December 2017


The division of Motorola which would eventually become Freescale Semiconductor, supplied thousands of semiconductor devices, ground-based tracking and checkout equipment, and 12 on-board tracking and communications units to NASA. They also supplied Semiconductors and other equipment to the US defence establishment.

1999: Based on research in the 1990s preliminary contracts awarded to two prime contractors -Northrop Grumman and General Atomics, both teamed with numerous subcontractors, for independently developing demonstration systems for the next generation aircraft carrier with EMALS capability.

2004: Freescale Semiconductors became autonomous by the divestiture of the Semiconductor Products Sector of Motorola. General Atomics was awarded a System Development and Demonstration (SDD) contract that will include the design, fabrication, delivery, integration, test and support of one full scale, full length, shipboard representative Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) for NAVAIR at Naval Airforce Engineering Station, Lakehurst, N.J.

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2006: Ownership of Freescale Semiconductors changed hands and was taken over by a consortium led by US based Blackstone group. Name of Freescale Semiconductors remained unchanged and it continued being a supplier, contractor, subcontractor, vendor or a licensor for various entities charged with developing systems for application in defence and space industry.

2009: Due to hurdles and delay in development of EMALS a hearing of the US Congress Oversight Committee on Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System was held.

2011: Multicore for Avionics (MCFA) working group was established of avionics companies and Freescale. The group consisted of Freescale, BAE Systems, BARCO, Boeing, EADS, ELBIT, GE Aviation, Hamilton Sunstrand, Honeywell, Rockwell Collins and Thales as they used Freescale commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) embedded multicore processor and other systems. Most of these companies are prime contractors for United States Airforce. Freescale Semiconductor entered into a strategic alliance with Fuji Electric Co Ltd to collaborate on developing improved insulated-gate bipolar transistor (IGBT) technology. Insulated-gate bipolar transistor (IGBT) chips are a key component of the high-efficiency electric energy conversion systems used in variable-speed drives, trains, electric and hybrid electric vehicles, power grids,renewable energy plants and EMALS.

2014: Freescale Semiconductor's (US semiconductor company) 20 employees disappeared along with flight MH370.

2015: Freescale Semiconductor (US) was acquired by NXP Semiconductor (Netherlands). Joint Venture of NXP Semiconductors and Beijing JianGuang Asset Management Co. Ltd (JAC Capital) was formed and named as WeEn Semiconductors, China. Jianguang Asset Management formed a new company called Ampleon out of the RF Power Division sold to it by NXP Semiconductors for $1.8 billion. China gained access to all products produced by RF power division and NXP stops producing them.

2016: NXP sold its Standard Products business ("Nexperia") to a consortium of financial investors consisting of Beijing Jianguang Asset Management Co., Ltd ("JAC Capital") and Wise Road Capital LTD ("Wise Road Capital") for $2.75 billion. Nexperia is a stand-alone, world-class leader in Discretes, Logic and MOSFETs.

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Thus China got all the expertise, manufacturing resources and key personnel of the former NXP division which no longer had any right over these products as they now will have to be sourced from China's Nexperia.

After total divestment from it RF Power Division (Ampleon) and Standard product bussiness (Nexperia) and after formation of joint venture(WeEn) NXP has laid off a total of 25000 employees worldwide including US.

2017: Qualcomm (US) has agreed to buy NXP Semiconductors or in other words whatever remains of it after sale of its businesses (Nexperia, Ampleon, WeEN to China) for $39 billion.

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About the Author

Saurabh Misra is a legal professional practising as an Advocate in the Supreme Court of India, New Delhi who occasionally writes on matters concerning the economy, defence and foreign policy.

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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