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16 October 2018

Raytheon supplying technology for GEM-T, the first missile to harness GaN

© Semiconductor Today Magazine / Juno PublishiPicture: Disco’s DAL7440 KABRA laser saw.

Raytheon Company of Waltham, MA, USA says that it is providing technology for the first missile to use gallium nitride (GaN).

The Guidance Enhanced Missile – Tactical Ballistic Missile (GEM-T), a mainstay of the US Army’s Patriot Air and Missile Defense system, is used against aircraft and tactical ballistic and cruise missiles. Now GEM-T is packing a GaN transmitter that never needs to be recertified over the 45-year life of the missile.

“GEM-T has been the beneficiary of all those years of Raytheon’s work on GaN technology,” says Christine Walsh, Raytheon program manager for an international Patriot program. Nearly two decades have been spent pushing the limits of power and efficiency of GaN in Raytheon’s Department of Defense-accredited Trusted Foundry, where GaN amplifiers are made.

Transmitters connect the missile with the ground system, allowing it to control the weapon during flight. The GaN version in GEM-T uses a solid-state design to replace the conventional traveling-wave tube (TWT) design, which requires a supply of parts and recertification to match the life of the missile. The new ones with GaN do not.

The new transmitter has the same form, fit and function as the old one. It is also tough, does not require additional cooling, and is ready to operate within seconds of powering up, so GEM-T with the new GaN transmitter will continue to perform in the most demanding conditions.

The technology is ready for the US Army, and is affordable, according to Jason Rathbone, missile integrated product team lead for the Patriot product line: “The legacy transmitters on the current GEM-T missiles need to be periodically rebuilt and recertified, so replacing the old one with the new solid-state transmitter is a smart move.”

Raytheon is ramping up production of the GEM-T missile under a number of international contracts. The new transmitter, which was designed to allow future innovations, is well on its way to completing its qualification programs and will be tested during an upcoming flight test.

The transmitter technology might also see additional testing in other missiles. The Army has shown interest in replacing its entire inventory with these types of long-lasting transmitters, which have reduced recurring costs per unit by 36% in the GEM-T program.

See related items:

Raytheon’s GaN-based AESA upgrade to Patriot radar surpasses 1000 hours of operation

Raytheon's GaN-based AESA Patriot air & missile defense radar completes key milestones

US Government approves export of GaN-based AESA sensor for Patriot radar

Tags: Raytheon GaN MMIC Radar

Visit: www.raytheon.com/capabilities/products/patriot

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