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5 May 2008


TriQuint shipping MMICs to Lockheed Martin for battlefield radar

TriQuint Semiconductor of Hillsboro, OR, USA has begun shipping production gallium arsenide monolithic microwave integrated circuits (MMICs) to Lockheed Martin Radar Systems for the manufacture of EQ-36 Counterfire Target Acquisition Radars being developed for the US Army. TriQuint devices are being used as chipset components in the new phased array radar, which is designed to identify, track and help neutralize threats posed by mortars, artillery and missiles under rapidly changing battlefield conditions.

The new devices are the latest products to be developed for Lockheed Martin Corp in a relationship that has also included work on radar programs for ship-borne and aircraft systems, according to TriQuint’s director of Military Products Marketing, Dr Gailon Brehm. The die-level products in Lockheed’s transmit/receive (T/R) modules will support the initial production of five mobile systems being developed along an aggressive timetable.

Lockheed Martin demonstrated a fully operational prototype of the EQ-36 Counterfire Target Acquisition Radar at last October’s Association for the United States Army (AUSA) 2007 exposition. Lockheed Martin Radar Systems’ VP Carl Bannar subsequently said that the firm was on the ‘fast track’ to design and produce the system, having rolled-out a field-tested, operational prototype within nine months. The first completed radar is expected to be delivered to the US Army by mid-2009.

The new phased array system (the US Army’s Enhanced AN/TPQ-36 radar) contains T/R modules described by Lockheed Martin as being at the heart of the overall system. “We’ve enjoyed the challenging work of optimizing TriQuint’s advanced MMICs for Lockheed Martin’s T/R modules,” says Brehm. “TriQuint has been a consistent technology leader in developing amplifiers and related devices for phased array radar systems and it’s gratifying to see us extend such leadership into battlefield radars.”

The new EQ-36 Counterfire Target Acquisition Radar is advanced compared to battlefield radars currently deployed, which include TPQ-36 and TPQ-37 systems dating back to the Cold War era. A key difference in the new EQ-36 system is its ability to rotate, offering a 360º view that enables operators to more easily and rapidly identify hostile mortar, artillery and missile fire. Threats from any direction can therefore be detected and the danger neutralized more quickly than before.

TriQuint is now in its initial production phase for the EQ-36 program, which will deliver devices throughout a multi-year cycle. Lockheed Martin indicated last October that its first five production units were part of a contract worth about $120m awarded by the US Army. While fulfilling its contract for MMIC products, additional TriQuint components are being reviewed for use in other phases of the on-going program, Brehm says. “Our products’ performance has earned TriQuint an important role in the program and we look forward to other opportunities to work with Lockheed Martin Radar Systems,” he adds.

See related item:

AWR and TriQuint launch Project JumpStart for GaAs MMIC designs

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