Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) has received a contract from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop electronic components made from gallium nitride, a next-generation semiconductor material system that provides vastly improved communications, radar and intelligence capability to the warfighter.

“This new contract will enable us to transition gallium nitride technology from development to production, just as we have previously transitioned gallium arsenide and indium phosphide technologies from research through development to flight-qualified production for critical government platforms,” said Dwight Streit, vice president, Foundation Technologies, at the company’s Space Technology sector.

The three-year, $16.5 million contract for the Wide Band Gap Semiconductors for Radio Frequency Applications initiative is potentially valued at $53.4 million if all program options are exercised. Northrop Grumman began developing this technology in 2002 under a $5.1 million Wide Band Gap Semiconductors Phase 1 contract.

Work for the DARPA program will be performed at the Northrop Grumman Space Technology facility in Manhattan Beach, Calif., and Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems in Baltimore, Md.

Northrop Grumman develops a broad range of systems at the leading edge of space, defense and electronics technology for U.S. government and civilian customers. These products contribute significantly to the nation’s security and leadership in science and technology.