A GlobalFoundries employee working on the production floor in Essex Junction
Updated at 5:34 p.m.
Using its plant in Essex Junction, GlobalFoundries will partner with Raytheon Technologies to develop and commercialize new semiconductor technology for mobile and wireless uses.
In a joint statement on Wednesday, the companies said that Raytheon will license its proprietary technology and work with GlobalFoundries to make a new semiconductor “that will enable game-changing radio frequency performance for 5G and 6G mobile and wireless infrastructure applications.”
Raytheon makes gallium nitride, a component of high-performance semiconductors that can handle significant heat and power levels, the two companies said.
“This makes it ideal to handle 5G and 6G wireless signals, which require higher performance levels than legacy wireless systems," the prepared statement said.
Semiconductor chips are used in an array of electronic devices and are big business globally. The Semiconductor Industry Association said the industry employs more than 277,000 people in the U.S. Its members are pushing for a $50 billion federal investment program to incentivize domestic semiconductor manufacturing and raise the country's share of global semiconductor manufacturing.
The New York-based GlobalFoundries, which has plants in the U.S., Europe and Asia, said it employs about 2,000 people at its Vermont plant. A company spokesperson said the new agreement will not create more local jobs nor will it require changes to the workspace at what is known as the "Fab 9" plant.
Raytheon, based in Waltham, Mass., is a major weapons and aerospace manufacturer. GlobalFoundries, owned by the sovereign wealth fund of the United Arab Emirates, Mubadala Investment Company, is the third-largest chip manufacturer in the world.
Globalfoundries is Vermont's largest private employer. Its Essex Junction plant, which prints microchips that power consumer and commercial electronics, was purchased from IBM in 2015. It includes 30 buildings with 3.5 million square feet of clean rooms, labs and office space. The campus also hosts commercial tenants.
Company officials said GlobalFoundries has invested $15 billion in U.S. semiconductor development in recent years and is doubling its planned investment in 2021 to expand global capacity and support growing demand from the U.S. government and industry customers.
The Abu Dhabi-based Mubadala says in company materials that the investment fund manages a portfolio of assets valued at $229 billion and has interests across six continents.