The US Air Force Research Laboratories has awarded a contract to develop new gallium nitride (GaN) modules for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

Under the contract, TriQuint Semiconductor will develop a new GaN module, which will include include 20W and 50W devices.

It will extend the range and capabilities of UAVs that are used for reconnaissance missions in Afghanistan and Iraq.

TriQuint will fit new 20W amplifiers into the same space now occupied by the fleet’s existing 1W devices.

The devices will also reduce the need for thermal mitigation and extend the battery life in each vehicle.

In the air force’s UAV programme, the first phase will include developing an appropriate high-power GaN amplifier MMICs.

In the second phase MMIC amplifiers and other components will be integrated into single packages to provide 20W and 50W Ku-band power amplifiers.