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17 April 2008


Raytheon demos GaN in radar components

Raytheon Company of Waltham, MA, USA says it is developing gallium nitride based transmit-receive modules for use in future radar upgrades. “This transmit-receive module demonstration and parallel reliability testing show that GaN will soon be ready to take over where increased power and advanced capabilities are needed,” says Mark Russell, VP of engineering at Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems (IDS) in Tewksbury, MA.

The development is part of an on-going 42-month, $11.5m ‘Next-Generation Transmit Receive Integrated Microwave Module’ (NGT) contract funded by the US Missile Defense Agency’s Advanced Technology Directorate.

Raytheon says it is demonstrating that transmit-receive modules using GaN-powered monolithic microwave integrated circuit amplifiers (MMICs) have a significant performance advantage in that they provide significantly higher RF power with greater efficiency than current modules.

The NGT program leverages GaN technology being developed under the Wide Bandgap Semiconductor program of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) as well as company-funded efforts.

Russell says that GaN technology can increase radar ranges, sensitivity and search capabilities in the battlefield. Alternatively, the technology can enable a reduction in the size of the antenna, improving transportability and reducing acquisition and lifecycle costs without sacrificing performance.

“The NGT program is important because it is the first significant government-funded contract to address the use of the more capable GaN semiconductors in a relevant environment,” says Steve Bernstein, IDS’ program manager on NGT. “This recent demonstration shows that GaN technology performs better in transmit-receive modules representative of those used in modern radars.”

See related item:

Raytheon’s next-generation GaN MMICs complete 8,000 hours of operational testing

Search: Raytheon GaN MMICs Radar