Raytheon has received approval from the US Government to export a gallium nitride (GaN) based active electronically scanned array (AESA) sensor to Patriot air and missile defence system’ partner nations.
The GaN-based AESA technology is already used in the design of the US Navy’s new air and missile defence radar and a number of US Air Force systems. It cuts operational costs, while enabling future capability upgrades.
Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems business integrated air and missile defense vice-president Ralph Acaba said: "GaN-based AESA technology can bring customers of the combat-proven Patriot optimised 360-degree coverage, while setting the stage for future capability improvements.
"GaN-based AESA technology improves Patriot’s already high-reliability rate, and significantly reduces the radar’s annual operation and maintenance costs beyond what has already been achieved with other recent Patriot radar improvements."
The company successfully demonstrated a GaN-based AESA prototype Patriot array in February 2014, using GaN manufactured in its department of defense-certified manufacturing readiness level (MRL) 8 foundry.
The GaN foundery was the first to secure DoD MRL 8 certification, indicating its readiness to enter production after having demonstrated proven manufacturing and quality processes.
To date, Raytheon has demonstrated GaN-based AESA technology’s maturity in a number of ways. This includes exceeding the reliability requirement for insertion into the production of military systems.
Since starting the development of GaN 15 years ago, the company has invested more than $150m to quickly bring the technology to the soldier, at a lower cost and risk.
Patriot is jointly manufactured by Raytheon and Lockheed Martin. It is a long-range, all-altitude, all-weather air defence system designed to protect soldiers against advanced threats such as aircraft, tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, and unmanned aerial vehicles.
The missile is used by 13 countries worldwide, including Egypt, Germany, Greece, Israel, Japan, Kuwait, the Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Korea, and Taiwan, as well as the UAE and the US.
Image: A Patriot air and missile defence system of the German Air Force. Photo: courtesy of Darkone.