REDONDO BEACH, Calif., March 25, 2003 (PRIMEZONE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) has developed and successfully tested an innovative, high-performance solid-state power amplifier for use in the communications payloads of Advanced EHF satellites.
The U.S. Department of Defense is developing Advanced EHF as the next-generation system to provide assured communications to strategic and tactical users worldwide, with Northrop Grumman providing the satellite payloads under a $1.3 billion subcontract to prime contractor Lockheed Martin.
In tests, power output from a prototype of the amplifier exceeded design requirements by more than one-third. The new solid state amplifiers, which boost the strength of transmit signals that will be sent from satellite to satellite in the Advanced EHF system, will be used instead of the conventional traveling wave tube amplifiers (TWTAs) generally used on satellites.
"The internally redundant design of this solid-state unit not only provides high performance, but also very high reliability, at about one-tenth the weight of equivalent TWTAs. It also requires less space and costs less," said Clayton Kau, Space Technology sector vice president and Advanced EHF payload program manager. "These kinds of advances in high-performance payload hardware will enable the Advanced EHF system to deliver 10 times the performance of today's Milstar satellites, while reducing overall satellite size to decrease launch costs."
"Multiple power modes enabled by solid state electronics let us deliver high-fidelity, lower-power transmission levels to ensure compatibility with legacy satellite systems. That control of output power while maintaining channel fidelity is not feasible with TWTAs," Kau added.
The Advanced EHF satellite payloads will ensure highly protected, survivable communications via onboard digital processing, inter-satellite links, and the use of autonomous nulling antennas, capable of detecting and countering enemy signal jamming. Advanced EHF satellites will interoperate compatibly with the Milstar constellation in orbit today.
Each satellite offers more than 50 communication channels and multiple downlinks, with data rates as high as eight megabits per second. Inter-satellite links and the onboard processor enable the system to route messages directly from satellite to satellite, without the need for an intermediary ground station.
Northrop Grumman Space Technology is a leading developer of satellite systems for the military and civil space markets.
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CONTACT: Jack Prichett Northrop Grumman Space Technology (310) 812-5227