When you consider the RF applications utilized in mission critical C5ISR environments, your contract manufacturer (CM) must comprehend the issues and challenges related to manufacturing processes in RF, but also have a deep understanding of the failure mechanisms that can cause defects.
RF design is inherently more complex than any other type of design. This is because of the unique issues that must be addressed due to the extremely high frequencies of operation for these applications. For example, there are inherent challenges with power control, grounding structures, printed wiring board (PWB) stack-ups, laminate and surface finish selection, characteristic impedance control, signal path configurations, connectorization, pad geometries, solder mask, conformal coating, surface parasitics, exposure to harsh environments, fabrication effects, via sizing, component selection, and manufacturing process impacts. These numerous issues must be well understood by your CM or the potential for failure is magnified.