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Dual-Band, Multi-Platform High Power Amplifiers for SATCOM Uplinks



OBJECTIVE: Develop dual-band, linear-efficient high power amplifiers for cost-effective, multi-platform satellite communication uplinks. 

DESCRIPTION: The Air Force is interested in developing a new generation of dual-band, linear-efficient high power amplifiers to replace airborne and ground platform amplifiers that singularly address either Ka-band or Q-band operation. This development complements a current dual-band Ka/Q-band low noise amplifier development for the space segment. The innovatively-designed, multi-band power amplifier is expected to have applicability to cost-effective, multi-platform SATCOM uplink transmitter applications. This includes future frequency hopping applications for airborne platform-based uplinks in advanced SATCOM concepts. The performance goal for the dual-band HPA is power gain optimized in the 29.0-31.0 GHz band, as well as 43.5-45.5 GHz frequency band, with suppressed gain at the interim frequencies. Potential millimeter-wave power amplifier approaches may include solid-state power amplifiers (SSPAs) or traveling wave tube amplifiers (TWTAs). At the subcomponent level, various solid-state transistor, power combiner, and traveling wave tube approaches are feasible towards the integrated SSPA or TWTA. The research conducted under this topic should address the dual-band Ka/Q-band performance goals of greater than 100-watt output power, greater than 30% power-added efficiency (PAE), a minimum of 30 dB power gain and an operating temperature range of -40° to + 80° Centigrade. In general, power amplifier efficiency translates to dc power consumption requirements for electronics, as well as additional hardware to address corresponding cooling requirements. Further, linear performance should, at a minimum, address QPSK and 8PSK operation. 

PHASE I: Design dual-band Ka/Q-band high power amplifiers consistent with the performance goals and objectives identified above. Perform additional validation of the designs through modeling and simulation. 

PHASE II: Fabrication of the Phase I-designed subcomponents and their assembly into integrated high power modules, either solid-state power amplifier or traveling wave tube amplifier prototype(s). Evaluation and characterization of the prototype(s) for all relevant performance parameters. 

PHASE III: Military: Military high power amplifier applications include Ka-band and Q-band communications uplink electronics for Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS) and Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) systems. Commercial: Commercial Ka/Q-band high power amplifier applications include ground/airborne electronics where millimeter-wave power sources are required. 


1. G. Berlocher, SSPA versus TWTA: Is There Room for Both?, Via Satellite, October 2014.; 2. J. Browne, TWTAs Power Satcom Systems, Microwaves and RF, April 2012.; 3. N. Escalera, et al., Ka-Band 30 Watts Solid State Power Amplifier, Microwave Symposium Digest, 2000 IEEE MTT-S International, pp. TUIF-42:561-563, 2000.; 4. X. Yu et al., "A Milimeter Wave 11W GaN MMIC Power Amplifier", Proc. Asia-Pacific Conf. on Antennas and Propagation (APCAP), pp. 1342-1344, 2014.

KEYWORDS: Traveling Wave Tube Amplifier, Solid-State Power Amplifier, Satellite Communications, Ka-band, Q-band 

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