Development of an S-Band 1 kW Pulsed TWT

 

There is significant interest in compact and light weight amplifiers with moderately high-power (up to 1000 W) and wide-bandwidth capabilities for applications such as phased array radar applications. One of the most promising microwave amplifiers that can satisfy the above requirements, specifically at the S-band frequencies, is the MPM due to its unique broadband interaction capability with an extremely compact and lightweight structure.

The MPM consists of solid-state power amplifier (SSA), a vacuum power booster (VPB) traveling-wave tube, and an electronic or integrated power conditioner (EPC or IPC). Due to their small size, light weight, high power, and high efficiency, the MPMs have already found application on mobile and physically constrained electronics platforms. Towed decoys, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), ship-board and airborne EW, and mobile and man-portable ground-based satellite terminals are examples of platforms benefiting from MPM insertions. Therefore MPMs continue to draw strong interest and demand for further improvements in performance for the various communications, electronic warfare, and radar systems that require such attributes. Particularly, there is a growing interest in the MPM that operates in S-band for phased array radar application needs. However the critical roadblock to full exploitation of the S-band MPM is the lack of compact, powerful coherent vacuum power booster TWTs that are reliable, frequency agile, efficient, and relatively inexpensive.

The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs is developing an S-band 1 kW pulsed TWT which offers a solution and significant promise for lighter and more practical MPM systems. This will extend the state-of-the art microwave technology to a new level of high power regime and provide record-shattering performance for bandwidth, noise, efficiency, and compact packaging. It is expected that the TWT will provide unprecedented lifetimes and reliability, as demonstrated by satellite TWTs and space exploration TWTs.

 

* Acknowledgements: This work has been supported by the Defense Acquisition Program Administration and Agency for Defense Development.