Defense Microelectronics Activity
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Replacing Obsolete Microelectronics

Image: Replacing chip When an electronics system fails and threatens the operational capability of the warfighter, rapid response is necessary. In some cases the only option available is to replace the failing device, or if the problem is larger, replace an entire system or subsystem. In any case, DMEA has the resources to bring a solution to the table before it is too late.

DMEA first tries to find any existing stock or a suitable substitute to a weapons system. If we can’t find it, we make it. Even if supplied with nothing more than the original part and no information about it, DMEA can duplicate the device through its reverse engineering process.

Sometimes an entire system is involved. It might be preferable to redesign and replace a whole system or subsystem rather than the individual obsolete devices, especially if there are significant obsolescence problems or if a capability upgrade is required.

Evaluating the Problem

To help our clients define the extent of their electronics obsolescence problems, DMEA uses:

  • Automated data search tools
  • A complete library of applicable military standards and specifications, including both proprietary and non-proprietary tool sets
  • Life-cycle maturity estimation tools
  • Reverse engineering

The initial analysis involves the up-front work required to define the extent of the obsolescence. This analysis starts with matching the data from all existing sources with data from the device under examination. DMEA researches the technical information associated with the problem electronics and identifies any applicable standards.





Keeping the C-5’s Flying

“We would like to commend DMEA for the outstanding support that has recently been provided to the C-5 Program Office. A critical operational amplifier on our Go-Around Attitude System (GAAS) computer was determined to be obsolete and impacting asset availability. DMEA helped our engineers and logisticians solve the problem by reverse engineering and building a form, fit and function equivalent.

The organic expertise of your organization to reverse engineer, design, manufacture, test and qualify microelectronics, and provide a source of supply for a variety of obsolete parts, has been highly significant in helping us to keep C-5’s available to the warfighter. With many legacy systems still dependent on older technology and dwindling sources of supply, DMEA, through efforts such as this, has demonstrated their vital importance as a government last resort source of supply. We applaud your efforts to provide this unique organic capability in support of our warfighter.”

Frank M. Bruno, Colonel USAF, C-5 System Program Director

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