In a rapidly evolving world where the latest electronic gadgets are coveted and upgraded seemingly overnight, the military and aerospace (mil/aero) market faces a unique challenge. While consumers eagerly embrace the next big thing, mil/aero professionals strive to ensure the longevity of their electronic designs, spanning decades rather than mere months.
Take, for instance, the Lockheed Martin F-35 project, initiated in 1995, which expects to operate until the year 2070, boasting a staggering lifespan of 85 years. Similarly, the Javelin missile system, introduced in 1989, continues to see action, with plans extending production until 2050 – a lifespan of 61 years. And then there’s the General Dynamics F-16 Fighter jet, introduced in the 1970s and slated for production through 2026, with projected support reaching out to 2070 – an astounding 100-year lifespan.
According to EPS News, when an EOL notice surfaces for a critical component in these projects, mil/aero buyers often lack the resources to amass years’ worth of stock, let alone secure materials for the full project duration. While the mil/aero market once held sway in semiconductor procurement, accounting for the majority of purchases, it has since seen its influence dwindle, with a mere 2% of the $573.44 billion market spend in 2022.
This challenge extends to other sectors as well, says EPS News. As automobiles increasingly incorporate electronics, OEMs grapple with the task of supporting designs for 15 to 20 years. Likewise, industries such as avionics, medical, energy, and industrial manufacturing, with products characterised by complex designs and extended life cycles, face similar predicaments. Without a trusted partner specialising in EOL and obsolete semiconductors, customers are left with two unpalatable choices: costly redesigns or procurement from the uncertain grey market.
Working with an authorised distributor, like Astute Electronics, that is capable of taking over EOL, excess, and obsolete inventory, including wafer/die and intellectual property can significantly alleviate procurement challenges down the road, ensuring a smooth journey for the OEM.
The key to this success is transparency and communication. Authorised distributors, armed with industry connections and relationships, can bridge the gap, securing residual inventory and conducting last-time buys to support the market. They can also manage wafer/die procurement for future build-out, ensuring a steady supply for the long haul.
Moreover, a select few authorised distributors can even revive products, breathing new life into them through authorised agreements with semiconductor manufacturers, thereby extending their lifespan and securing the future chip supply.
In the grand scheme of things, proactive collaboration with an authorised distributor promises to safeguard the OEM’s product pipeline well into the future. Sharing a bill of materials with a trusted partner enables them to leverage collective demand intelligence, collaborating with semiconductor manufacturers to confront the inevitable challenge of EOL. The reward of risk mitigation alone makes this investment of time and energy worthwhile.
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For more help with looking at supply chain options, contact Astute Electronics