Raytheon Missiles & Defense improves GaN technology

Source: Raytheon Missiles & Defense

Raytheon Missiles & Defense, a Raytheon Technologies business, has further enhanced its semiconductor foundry’s process for producing military-grade Gallium Nitride, known as GaN. The improved GaN, produced under the Defense Production Act Title III contract, performs better and costs less than previous versions.

Raytheon Missiles & Defense’s GaN process improvements have been awarded with a 2022 Defense Manufacturing Technology Achievement award. This award is selected by the DoD Manufacturing Technology Program and the Joint Defense Manufacturing Technology Panel. Awards are granted to programs that “look beyond the normal risk tolerance of industry and to help provide the crucial link between technology invention and industrial applications.”

“GaN is foundational to nearly all the cutting-edge defense technology that we produce,” said Colin Whelan, president of advanced technology at Raytheon Missiles & Defense. “By enhancing this process, we are developing superior products for the United States and our allies with increased capabilities, from threat detection to lethality, on faster timelines.”

This upgraded version of GaN is made at Raytheon Missiles & Defense’s compound semiconductor foundry in Andover, Massachusetts, has earned a Manufacturing Readiness Level 9 assessment and is ready for full rate production. The military-grade GaN has verified performance increases in gain and efficiency, while maintaining its proven reliability. Its use has already resulted in reduced costs for the Navy’s Next Generation Jammer program.

“The Title III program allows us to target investments that develop and improve critical domestic industrial base capabilities for the American warfighter,” said John Blevins, Title III GaN program manager, Air Force Research Laboratory. “GaN fulfills exactly that.”

GaN is a semiconductor material that can efficiently amplify high power radio frequency signals at microwave frequencies, thereby enhancing a system’s range and radar resource management handling, while reducing size, weight, power and cost. It is used in a broad spectrum of military radars and defense systems from Patriot to the GhostEye and SPY-6 family of radars.

In 2016, the AFRL’s Materials and Manufacturing Technology Directorate, acting as executive agent for the DPA Title III Program, awarded Raytheon’s Advanced Technology team a Title III contract to enhance the GaN production process.



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