A strong showing at this week's MILCOM 2010 event (San Jose Convention Center, San Jose, CA, October 31-November 3), attended by Microwaves & RF's own Gene Roberts, reinforced some of the design trends in evidence at last month's 47th Annual International Association of Old Crows (AOC) Symposium & Exhibition. And it is safe to say that those trends are "guided" by the requirements of these military and aerospace customers, who are racing to find solutions for growing markets in such applications as counter-improvised-explosive-device (C-IED) systems as well as transceivers and radars for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs). At both shows, system integrators were asking for more power, less loss, smaller size, and lighter weight from suppliers of microwave hardware.
TriQuint Semiconductor's response (see story below) was to announce a robust new transistor based on gallium-nitride (GaN) semiconductor technology. It does provide more power in a small package, and does so efficiently for C-IED applications. But for most suppliers, particularly in the area of high-frequency passive components, the challenge of shrinking the size of components such as power combiners and filters while getting them to handle higher power levels (without themselves becoming an explosive device) represents a difficult trade-off. But some solutions are in the works and will be part of the continuous reporting of technology in next year's issues of Microwaves & RF and Defense Electronics.