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23 August 2007


BAE wins $8m US defense contract to develop GaN amplifier

UK-based aerospace and defense contractor BAE Systems says that its Electronics & Integrated Solutions (E&IS) business in Merrimack, NH, USA has been awarded an $8m contract from the US Army Communications-Electronics Command to develop a 160 Watt gallium nitride power amplifier for communications, electronic warfare, and radar applications. Partnering BAE Systems on the program are materials supplier Rohm and Haas of Blacksburg, VI, USA and the University of Colorado.

The solid-state technology will replace the older traveling-wave vacuum tubes that are currently used to produce high-power radio frequency signals, and are intended to aid warfighters by more effectively disrupting enemy communications and radar signals, while protecting friendly communications.

“DARPA [the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency] has identified BAE Systems’ GaN technology as an important material for future military applications in electronic warfare, radar, and air-to-ground, air-to-satellite, and ground-to-ground communications systems,” says Dr John Evans, the manager for DARPA’s Disruptive Manufacturing Technology program (through which it solicits proposals to reduce cost and time for production of military components). BAE Systems was chosen from among 40 bidders.

“Using this technology, we can develop systems that are significantly less expensive, more reliable, and lower in weight,” says Tony Immorlica, program manager of microwave device programs at BAE Systems. The first prototypes could be deployed by the end of the decade.

The DARPA agent for the program is the US Army Communications-Electronics Research, Development, and Engineering Center in Fort Monmouth, NJ, USA.

See related items:

RFMD ships second RF382X GaN PowerIC broadband PA to military supplier

Nitronex teams with Rockwell Collins to develop GaN-on-Si power transistor manufacturing for military use

RFMD receives first order for its GaN PAs

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

GaAs defense market to grow at 9% to 2010 before shift to GaN