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The U.S. Senate last night approved an FY 2022 spending package that contains $7.5 million for further research and development on lead-free electronics in defense and high-performance applications, sending the measure to President Biden for his expected signature.
“With lead-based electronics becoming more difficult and expensive for the U.S. Defense Department to procure – and with other nations now leading the world in electronics manufacturing – greater U.S. reliance on lead-free electronics is imperative to improve military readiness and innovation,” said Chris Mitchell, IPC vice president of global government relations.
“The migration of the commercial electronics industry to lead-free technology has created supply-chain concerns for the defense and high-performance sectors that can only be overcome through public-private R&D,” he added. “These funds will support an ongoing, collaborative effort that will help ensure that mission-critical systems have full access to cutting-edge electronics from a robust global supply chain.”
“It’s also important to realize that the lead-free electronics R&D project is both consequential as a stand-alone project and as a test of American resolve to reassert leadership in electronics,” Mitchell added. “We thank the congressional leaders who understand this issue, and we call on Congress to keep funding this project to completion over the next three years,” he said.
Participants in the two-year-old R&D program include Auburn University, Binghamton University, Purdue University, the University of Maryland, BAE Systems, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Plexus, Raytheon Technologies, and many others. The R&D is being carried out under the auspices of the Defense Electronics Consortium of the U.S. Partnership for Assured Electronics (USPAE).