RF & Microwave

GaN technology to upgrade U.S. Army radar system

27 September 2019

Qorvo, a provider of RF technology solutions, announced that one of its gallium nitride (GaN) power amplifiers has been selected by Lockheed Martin for production of the U.S. Army’s Q-53 radar system. The insertion of GaN technology into this multi-mission mobile radar will provide superior efficiency, power density, reliability and lifecycle cost over the gallium arsenide amplifiers currently used in the system.

The S-band monolithic microwave integrated circuit, high-power amplifier (HPA) is built on Qorvo’s GaN on silicon carbide (GaN-on-SiC) technology. The GaN HPA delivers more than twice the saturated output power and a 15 percentage point improvement in power-added efficiency over the GaAs predecessor.

These capabilities support needed functions of the phased-array Q-53 radar, such as long-range counterfire acquisition. The amplifier’s compact size and exceptional performance supports a wide range of challenging operating conditions. GaN-on-SiC technology has the added benefit of increasing system reliability and reducing lifecycle ownership costs.

Lockheed Martin has used an open GaN foundry model leveraging relationships with commercial suppliers, like Qorvo, that utilize the power of the expansive telecommunications market. This process takes advantage of the commercial industry’s investment in GaN, enables competition and ultimately reduces costs.

To contact the author of this article, email engineering360editors@globalspec.com

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