Interview: Achim Soelter, Skyworks 

skyworksWe were given the opportunity to speak to Achim Soelter is Director and General Manager of Skyworks Solutions Inc’s Defense and Space business. Skyworks Solutions will be exhibiting at Space Tech Expo USA in May.

Achim has 25 years’ RF and microwave experience in both engineering and business roles, with over a decade specifically in the military and space market. In addition, Achim has component-level design expertise with transmitters, receivers, synthesizers, VCOs, LNAs, mixers, power amplifiers and antennas, and has led engineering teams or worked directly on the design and development of navigation aids for TACAN/DME systems, 915MHz non-line-of-sight radios, 2.4GHz point to multi-point and tri-band radios for 5 to 6GHz, and power amplifiers for 5.8GHz subscriber units.

Please tell us about your current role. What are your key focus areas and responsibilities?

In my role with Skyworks, I am tasked with developing and providing a wide range of optoelectronics and RF/microwave solutions for military and space markets. Our broad product portfolio includes high-reliability diodes, switches, amplifiers, mixers and optocouplers geared toward meeting our customers’ most demanding designs and applications.


What inspired you to join this company?

I joined Skyworks because it allowed me to combine my strong interest in RF engineering for components and system-level designs with my passion for providing customers with the most advanced solutions for the military and space markets. I see a plethora of opportunities, especially for our RF portfolio in the areas of radar, EW, ISR and military/satellite communications.


What do you think sets your company apart from your competitors?

A few key areas that set Skyworks apart from our competitors are our optocoupler and RF design engineering expertise, our 30 years’ experience serving the military and space markets, our premium product quality and our broad RF product portfolio, which spans the entire RF transmit and receive signal chain. We also have extensive knowledge of hi-rel design, manufacturing and quality/reliability standards. As a result, we are able to offer best-in-class single-chip and multi-chip integration capabilities to deliver compact, efficient and space-saving RF and optoelectronics solutions.


What are the key opportunities and challenges your company faces at present?

Our key opportunities include RF, microwave and optoelectronic solutions for radar, ISR, EW and milcom/satellite applications, as well as solutions for constellations that utilize large numbers of small LEO satellites. Not unlike others, our challenge remains adapting commercial technological advances to better serve the space and military markets. We are also seeking ways to uniquely address solutions for the reusable and reconfigurable space vehicle segment.


Are there any new technology developments that you are working on at the moment? Can you tell us about them?

We are integrating RF components and peripherals in a single ceramic package to offer plug-and-play space- and weight-saving connectivity solutions for our customers. We are also developing robust packages and designs for multi-channel optocoupler products. Simultaneously, we are leveraging vast reliability data from Skyworks’ commercial product portfolio to offer single or multi-chip solutions for military and space customers.


What would you say most excites you about your role?

I am thrilled to be able to leverage our RF solutions to bring technological advancements to the military and space markets. I also really enjoy interacting and engaging with our space and military customers to help resolve their technological issues.


How do you think the industry will develop within the next five years? Can you tell us about the key trends emerging?

Modern military operations are conducted in a complex, multi-dimensional, highly dynamic and disruptive environment, sometimes with unanticipated partners and irregular adversaries. The key is to gain differentiation through technology advancement, which in turn drives architectural changes in military and space electronics. We anticipate these changes will include smaller, lighter systems such as handheld radios and compact satellites (mini, micro and nano), as well as modular, multi-purpose, reconfigurable solutions that will require multi-band, multi-mode, broadband performance and higher operating frequencies.

These architectural changes will result in increased demand for RF and microwave technology with a higher emphasis on enhancing capabilities across systems used in radar, EW and military/satellite communication applications. We are also seeing the rapid adaptation of the latest commercial technology, especially with the rebirth of large constellations using small satellites and the potential use of the solutions for Internet of Things (IoT) within the military market. The space segment seems to be evolving toward smaller satellites. We recognize how military satellite end users are adapting to this change and are analyzing how smaller satellite architectures will drive future capabilities and requirements.

We expect that modern military equipment will include processing and communication capabilities. As a result, the military segment will need to draw from all possible sources to ensure that the most complete and relevant picture of the situation can be created real-time. One response to these challenges is to introduce and leverage IoT advancements for more efficiency and effectiveness.


What do you hope to achieve at the show this year, and what connections do you hope to make?

During Space Tech Expo, our focus is on forming and solidifying relationships with space and military customers to overcome their challenges in areas of RF components and optoelectronics engineering. We are also looking to increase awareness of Skyworks’ capabilities and availability of connectivity solutions as we fulfill our vision of “Connecting Everything and Everyone, All the Time”.

Skyworks Solutions Ltd will be exhbiting at Space Tech Expo 2018 at Booth 5000