Raytheon Co. is developing transmit-receive modules based on the advanced semiconductor gallium nitride (GaN) for use in future radar upgrades.

“This transmit-receive module demonstration and parallel reliability testing show that GaN will soon be ready to take over where increased power and advanced capabilities are needed,” said Mark Russell, vice president of engineering at Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems (IDS). The development is part of an on-going 42-month, $11.5 M Next Generation Transmit Receive Integrated Microwave Module (NGT) contract funded by the Missile Defense Agency’s Advanced Technology Directorate.

Raytheon is demonstrating that the transmit-receive modules using GaN-powered monolithic microwave integrated circuit amplifiers have a significant performance advantage in that they produce significantly higher radio frequency power with greater efficiency than current modules. The NGT program leverages GaN technology being developed under the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s Wide Bandgap Semiconductor program as well as company-funded efforts. Russell said that GaN technology significantly extends the warfighter’s reach into the battlespace by increasing radar ranges, sensitivity and search capabilities. Alternatively, the technology enables reduction in the acquisition and lifecycle costs without sacrificing performance.

“The NGT program is important because it is the first significant government-funded contract to address the use of the more capable GaN semiconductors in a relevant environment,” said Steve Bernstein, IDS’s program manager on NGT. “This recent demonstration shows that GaN technology performs better in transmit-receive modules representative of those used in modern radars.”