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Broadband GaN Transistors Power EW, Tactical Radios

May 12, 2016
These half-dozen new RF power transistors are extremely rugged and reliable, with generous output-power levels over broad bandwidths—ideal for demanding battlefield requirements.
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Electronic warfare (EW) systems have commonly been broadband, with operating frequencies extending well into the millimeter-wave region and requiring components capable of handling broad bandwidths—often under hostile operating conditions. In contrast, improvised explosive devices (IEDs) make it necessary for jammers to operate at much lower frequencies, down to the high-frequency (HF) range.

Military communication systems are also operating over wider frequency ranges for effective operation in diverse environments. To meet so many different requirements, NXP has expanded its portfolio of broadband gallium nitride (GaN) RF power transistors with six new driver and output-stage devices for use at frequencies from 1 to 3,000 MHz.

The model MMRF5021HR5 GaN-on-SiC RF power transistor delivers as much as 250 W CW output power with 58% efficiency from 1 to 2,700 MHz.

The new transistors are designed using GaN-on-SiC technology that provides high power density, along with ruggedness and very flat frequency response over wide bandwidths. All six models are input matched to optimize operating frequency range, and can withstand VSWRs greater than 20:1 with 3-dB overdrive without degradation. All but one operate from a +50-V dc supply, with the other requiring +28 V dc. NXP’s proprietary low-thermal-resistance, over-molded plastic packaging houses five of the transistors. To help designers, application circuits are available in support of continuous-wave (CW) circuits from 200 to 2,500 MHz.

Models MMRF5011NR5 and MMRF5013NR5 operate between 1 and 3,000 MHz, delivering broadband RF output power of 10 W CW and narrowband RF output power of 12 W CW. The MMRF5011NR5 is a +28-V dc device with high 60% efficiency, while the MMRF5013NR5 operates from a +50-V dc supply with 60% efficiency. The MMRF5013N is designed to drive the MMRF5015NR5, an output-stage device which delivers 100 W CW broadband output power and 125 W CW narrowband output power across a total frequency range of 1 to 2,700 MHz with 64% efficiency.

The MMRF5019NR5 operates between 1 and 3,000 MHz with RF output power of 20 W CW broadband and 25 W CW narrowband output power and 66% efficiency. It is designed to drive the MMRF5021HR5 output-stage device, which operates between 1 and 2,700 MHz and is tailored for wideband applications, delivering 250 W CW with 58% efficiency (see figure).

Finally, model MMRF5023NR5 also operates between 1 and 2,700 MHz, producing 50 W CW broadband and 63 W CW narrowband output power with 60% efficiency. Additional specifications are shown in the table.

All of the devices have a broad frequency range from HF to S-band, making it possible to reduce the number of RF power transistors required for broadband amplifiers in EW systems and battlefield radios. The result is a reduction in design complexity, as well as in the bill of materials (BOM) for those systems.

Since the company increased its support of defense applications in 2013, it has expanded its range of RF power transistors for EW and communications applications—as well as for HF, VHF, UHF, and L-band radar; identify-friend-or-foe (IFF) transponders; and avionics systems. In addition to GaN devices, the firm offers more than 40 LDMOS transistors between 1 to 3,000 MHz, from low power levels to 1,500 W CW—currently the highest RF output power available from a single device over its operating frequency range of 1,030 to 1,090 MHz. The six new GaN transistors are either sampling or in production.

David Lewicki, Military Products Manager, RF Power

NXP Semiconductors, 1300 North Alma School Rd., Chandler, AZ 85224

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