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24 October 2013

Pulsed RF power semiconductor device markets to exceed $250m by 2018

Markets for pulsed RF power devices up to 18GHz are expected to show continued solid growth over the next five years - exceeding $250m by 2018 - despite the current economic turmoil and cuts in defense spending, according to the study ‘Pulsed RF Power Semiconductors’ (part of ABI Research’s High-Power RF Active Devices Research Service).

The study forecasts the market through 2018 for devices that have greater than 5 watts of peak output power and operating frequencies up to 18GHz (examining the avionics, sub-1GHz, L-band, S-band, C-band, X-band and Ku-band radar markets). While the volatility of many global electronics markets is fueled by their association with consumer spending, markets for pulsed RF power devices are supported by quite different priorities, notes the market research firm.

“Many RF power semiconductor manufacturers are on a quest to find markets unrelated to mobile wireless infrastructure,” notes ABI Research director Lance Wilson. “Device prices in wireless infrastructure are falling, and the total available market is shrinking.”

Some markets that use pulsed RF power devices, such as transportation safety and the military, are seeing good solid growth even in the midst of today’s economic downturn, says ABI Research. These devices are used in radars for military, weather and marine applications, and in the current worldwide upgrade of the air traffic control system. There is also a market segment devoted to the avionics transponder and air navigation market, which is also lifted by the air traffic control upgrade.

Intrinsically less ‘optional’ than many consumer markets, these segments are therefore less sensitive to economic upheavals than consumer-driven markets, although they are not totally immune to the macro-economy.

Understanding this, many semiconductor manufacturers are attempting to enter this market. However, some factors may complicate their efforts, believes ABI. Pulsed RF power device markets are becoming very competitive technologically: gallium nitride (GaN) and silicon carbide (SiC) devices are vying for market share along with the more established silicon-based technologies. There are so many companies rushing into these markets that there will probably not be sufficient market size to support them all, reckons ABI. “Undoubtedly, some consolidation will occur,” says Wilson. “While not guaranteed success, those companies that have a track record working with government agencies and defense contractors are going to have an advantage over those that are new entrants,” he adds.  

Tags: ABI RF power semiconductors GaN

Visit: https://www.abiresearch.com/research/service/high-power-rf-active-devices

Visit: www.abiresearch.com

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