Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Russian chip makers. Part 1.

After repeating questions in my blog and BRForum I decided to make a brief review about Russian chip-makers. Generally the situation with electronic parts the Russian military authorities characterize as 'far from to be satisfying'. They complain on growing foreign components and rising prices. However, their complaints must be taken in proportion. The current world trends, exponential multiplying of the hardware nomenclature, the market globalization objectively pushes to international cooperation in military production even between the former rivals. Recently even in US they raised the authorities' attention to dependence from Chinese electronic parts and the poor quality of China-made components. So the situation reflects rather a global problem then specifically Russian one. 

Indeed, even in USSR era Russia lagged 5-10 years after US in silicon technology. Despite 10 years of crisis and following 'high oil price era', the situation is not much different. Russia has only recently started 130-180 nm process line while USA are already operating with 32-45 nm silicon technology. However, the positions of the European countries and China were significantly improved from the late 80th. Then, the goal to accelerate the technology development is still actual for Russia if Kremlin really wants to keep the country with its world power status.

Till 2015 the declared government's aim of development is limited by keeping pace after US, Japan and EU, together or slightly ahead of China. Only after 2015, when the current investments in the nano-dimension  (10 nm and less) electronics would give fruits, Russia (per domestic experts) has a chance for jumping ahead of the competitors.

 Contrary to silicon technology the system developers are traditionally strong in Russia. The most prominent fab-less design Russian enterprises for military are MCST, Elvees and Module. They are developing scalar and digital signal processing chips for all kind of military applications , from ABM defense super-computers to infantry laptops and terminals.  For the military the relatively backward silicon technology is not a problem while they can ensure great reliability and low energy consumption. Due to their sophisticate parallel processing on the same frequency the Russian processors usually can make times more operations, than the American. Their power consumption is extremely good too. Fully Russian design guarantees no American back-doors will be installed in critical Russian military installations including radars and communications.

 The current situation with serial production is following: the chips for which the 180-500 nm technology is enough, are fully producing in Russian electronic facilities in Zelenograd (Moscow district), while the 130-90 nm chips were producing in Taiwan or Israel according to  Russian design.

 One of the most prominent Russian fabless chip-design house is 'Sciense-technology center Module'. It was created in 1990 by NII Radio-devices building and TsNPO 'Vympel'. Its specialization initially was the digital signal processing of big massive radar row data. Despite economically downturn they succeeded in developing their own processor architecture and their first fully authentic L1879BM1 DSP chip controller in late 90th. Then the original NeuronMatrix architecture was licensing in Russia and abroad.

 One of the buyers was Fujitsu Microelectronics, who has Licensed RC Module 's NeuroMatrix(R) Core in 1999.  Since then, this very progressive architecture was used in a number of Fujitsu's chips including its   ARM 1176JZF-S processor which features an integrated floating point NeuroMatrix coprocessor, which makes it particularly suitable for embedded 3D-graphics applications. This chip ARM 1176JZF-S is used for the SD/HD H.264 TV-Decoder, now proposed on the Russian market for government-sponsored digital TV development program.

In next years NTTs Module has followed to develop a new line of DSP/RISC systems-on-crystal, integrating them for different space, aircraft and military applications. The chips and whole blocks developed by 'Module' are used on MiG-35 fighter, satellites ('Yamal-100/200', Victoria EKS and others), on a number of the International Space Station subsystems (Zarya, Zvezda blocks). R3081E chip is used in MTsP-9/MTsP-15 processor module of the inertial navigation system INS-2000 for fighters, more than 70 units were made. It takes part in 5th generation fighter development too. 

On the civilian market the enterprise produces the 'Traffic-Monitor' family of different transport controlling systems. The last development is 1879BM4 (Nm6405) digital signal processor with VLIW/SIMD architecture based on 64-bit NeuroMatrix core. It has 32/64 RISC core with 1-64 digital signal co-processor.  2Mb cache, 1.28 Gb/sec interface, 2 byte-ports up to 3 Gb/sec, JTAG port. The chip is intentionally projected on relatively backward 250 nm silicon technology for producing on the currently available in  Russia chip manufacturing capacities. The working frequency is 150 MHz, although the performance is rather good: 2 MAC for 32-bit, 224 MAC for 2-bit vector operations and 150 MIPS, 450 MOPS for 32-bit scalars.

The chipsets of 'Module' are fully supported by originally software. The different programs for students and the cooperation with Universities occur. One of the continual 'Module's partner is Indian Institute of Technology.
Sources: OEM materials.


  1. to igorr

    here is link,can you please translate this url english please


    and also copy psate option doesn't work as usual

  2. to anon:

    Your link is about an automatic daylight camera (50 - 100000 lux). It hardly looks as a military application. A civilian most probably. Have you additional info what is this?

  3. yes i have more info ,but just translate this please

  4. Hi Igorr,

    Do you have any idear about our development in chip making for military applications? Also, where is our stand in seeker developments for missiles? I think we are still importing them dont we?

  5. to Rudra:

    Seems to me VinRZ5110 is the first Indian 32-bit RISC processor which produced in 2009 and intended for military applications including military DSP.

    About seekers yes, they are still imported from Russia. Donno about plans to change them to domestic.

  6. Igorr

    Please check Altis Semiconductor. They have been recently acqired by the a Russian investor. I do not know if this is defence related.

    From someone@BRF

  7. to anon November 5, 2009 11:26 AM

    It was in 2007, and this is a commertially important deal for smartcards mostly with 350 nm technology. Much more advanced is current (month ago) agreement with French STMicroelectronics for creating 90 nm infrastructure in Russia. It will be really a breakthrough for the military applications including fully indigenous super-computers on domestic chips (Elbrus-3).

  8. Elbrus-3M CPU developed in Russia. Video info: http://www.ontoinfo/?p=342

  9. Igor,

    I never expected russian silicon industry is such advanced. My best wishes to russia towards their efforts to realise better military supercomputers.

    How is the progress of nano technology in russian and any military applications?

    Thanks, Hari

  10. to Hari:

    The Research level is very high. In Russia they are producing may be the best world nanofabrics:

    The problem is how make money from this and success replication in economy. More government attention is needed for this IMHO.

  11. Igor,

    Thanks for the update. But any possibility to have access to th english version of the document as its in russian language.


  12. Hari, try here please: http://www.ntmdt.com/

  13. Sorry, forgot the com. I have to type, because of the cut and paste issue. Here it is again:

    Russian Elbrus-3 64-bit CPU, 130nm. Made in Russia.


  14. @Igor
    Shocked!Didn't know Russia is doing so well in semiconductor research!But seriously semiconductor is all business and i don't think Russia will be successful. Anyway,Good luck Russia

  15. Hi Igor,

    That was really awesome. Long way to go for India....

    Thanks Hari

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