Thales UK Creates GaN MMIC PA for MAGNUS Program

For the MAGNUS program, Thales UK, an aerospace, defense, and space industry company, created a GaN monolithic microwave integrated circuit (MMIC) power amplifier (PA). MAGNUS is a European Defence Agency project targeting the development of European-sourced application technologies for advanced radar, communications and electronic warfare systems for the electromagnetic (EM) spectrum from 2-18 GHz.

Thales UK designed 10 W GaN monolithic microwave integrated circuit (MMIC) power amplifiers based on the United Monolithic Semiconductors (UMS) 0.25 µm foundry process.  Also, Thales UK was responsible for packaging and thermal analysis tasks. After the MMICs had been fabricated and packaged, they were used to create a demonstrator unit, which Thales UK then employed to design a 30 W microwave power module (MPM).

This design targeted a frequency range of 6-18 GHz, with 10 dB gain, and 10W output power. The design used a non-uniform distributed amplifier topology. A distributed amplifier topology is suited for broadband operation because it is inherently stable.

The company wanted to integrate two distributed amplifiers on a chip between a pair of splitter/combiner networks. Thales combined the amplifiers off chip for the first foundry run and combined them on chip for the second run.
The company created the designs using Microwave Office circuit design software and simulated the passive structures using AXIEM 3D planar EM simulator. Then, Analyst 3D finite element method EM simulator was used to analyze the package.