Microwave Journal

Qorvo GaN PA Upgrades U.S. Army's Q-53 Radar

September 20, 2019

Lockheed Martin has selected a Qorvo S-Band GaN on SiC power amplifier (PA) for the transmitter of the U.S. Army’s AN/TPQ-53 radar, according to Qorvo.

The AN/TPQ-53 radar is a solid-state phased array radar used to detect, classify and track the location of enemy fire. Lockheed Martin won the development contract for the Q-53 in 2007 and has produced more than 100 radar systems. The radar was deployed in combat beginning in 2010. In 2017, the U.S. Army awarded Lockheed Martin a full-rate production contract for additional Q-53 systems, which will increase the number of radars to more than 170.

The new radars will replace the first-generation GaAs MMIC PAs with GaN, which will provide greater power density, output power, efficiency and reliability and reduce lifecycle cost. Qorvo’s GaN PA will deliver more than twice the saturated output power with a 15 point improvement in power-added efficiency.

“The Q-53 radar system exemplifies just how closely Qorvo works with its defense customers to bring commercial technology to military applications that operate across the spectrum with the highest levels of reliability and functionality.” — James Klein, president of the infrastructure and defense segment of Qorvo

Qorvo began volume production of GaN transistors and MMICs in 2000.

Lockheed Martin uses an open GaN foundry model, developing relationships with commercial suppliers like Qorvo. This business model leverages the volume from commercial markets and the investment semiconductor companies make in the technology.