TriQuint Semiconductor, a leading RF front-end product manufacturer and foundry services provider, announced that it has begun shipping production gallium arsenide (GaAs) monolithic microwave integrated circuits (MMIC) to Lockheed Martin Radar Systems for the manufacture of EQ-36 Counterfire Target Acquisition Radars being developed for the US Army. TriQuint devices are used as chipset components in the new phased-array radar designed to identify, track and help neutralize threats posed by mortars, artillery and missiles under rapidly changing battlefield conditions.
TriQuint’s director of military products marketing, Gailon Brehm, said 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 shipborne and aircraft systems. 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 the Association for the United States Army (AUSA)’s 2007 exposition in October. Following that demonstration, Lockheed Martin Radar Systems vice president Carl Bannar previously said that the company was on the ‘fast track’ to design and produce the system, having rolled-out a field-tested, operational prototype within nine months. The first of the completed radars are expected to be delivered to the US Army by mid-2009, the company added.
The new phased-array system, also known as the US Army’s Enhanced AN/TPQ-36 radar, contains T/R modules that Lockheed Martin described as being at the ‘heart’ of the overall system. These technologically highly-mature transmit/receive modules are “…ensuring the performance capability on which the Army relies,” the company said.
“We’ve enjoyed the challenging work of optimizing TriQuint’s advanced MMICs for Lockheed Martin’s T/R modules,” said 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 quite advanced compared to battlefield radars now deployed that include TPQ-36 and TPQ-37 systems that date to the Cold War era. A key difference in the new EQ-36 system is its ability to rotate, offering a 360-degree view. This enables operators to more easily and rapidly identify hostile mortar, artillery and missile fire. With this capability defenders can detect threats from any direction and neutralize the danger more quickly than ever before.
TriQuint is now in its initial production phase for the EQ-36 program that will deliver devices throughout a multi-year cycle. Lockheed Martin indicated in October its first five production units were part of an approximately $120 M contract 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, noted Brehm.