31 January 2012

Testing completed on Next Generation Jammer array transmitters using GaN-based PAs

As part of the US Navy Next Generation Jammer (NGJ) program’s technology maturation phase, a team led by defense contractor ITT Exelis of McLean, VA, USA has completed testing of critical components of array transmitter technology that incorporate gallium nitride (GaN)-based devices.

Observed by US Navy representatives, the testing demonstrated multiple critical technology elements, including digital beam-forming and mid-band and high-band power amplifiers (PAs). The demonstrations were accomplished in accordance with program objectives to achieve a high-technology readiness level deemed critical to reducing future technical risk to the Navy’s Next Generation Jammer program.

The digital beam-forming technology demonstrated recent advances made in broad-band electronically steerable antenna arrays. The technology developed for the mid-band and high-band PA displayed the high technical maturity and performance of gallium nitride semiconductors, as well as the packaging and cooling required for a future NGJ array transmitter, says ITT Exelis.

“Our receiver exciter expertise, coupled with these recent successes, enables a low-risk transition to an integrated operational system,” says Bob Ferrante, VP & general manager of the airborne electronic attack business of ITT Exelis Electronic Systems in Clifton, NJ. “Our technology efforts are highly focused to ensure we address the evolving NGJ requirements,” he adds.

The Next Generation Jammer will help to ensure that US forces have complete dominance of the electronic spectrum, providing a comprehensive capability to disrupt and disable enemy communications and radars. Teamed with Boeing, Exelis leads one of four industry teams in competition to develop the final NGJ system.

Valued at more than $2bn, the NGJ program will replace the existing inventory of aging ALQ-99 jamming pods on the Navy’s newest airborne electronic attack aircraft, the Boeing EA-18G Growler. The NGJ pod will also be a stepping stone to electronic attack capability on other advanced platforms.

Tags: GaN PAs

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