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Pulsed RF power device market to reach $250M by 2018

25 Oct 2013

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The pulsed RF power semiconductor device market will reach $250 million by 2018, driven by the growth of gallium nitride. Markets for the devices up to 18GHz are expected to grow continuously over the next five years even with problems in the economy and reductions in defence spending, according to a recent report by ABI Research.

"Many RF power semiconductor manufacturers are on a quest to find markets unrelated to mobile wireless infrastructure," notes ABI Research director Lance Wilson. "Device prices in wireless infrastructure are falling, and the total available market is shrinking."

Some markets that use pulsed RF power devices, such as transportation safety and the military, are seeing good solid growth even in the midst of today's economic downturn. These devices are used in radars for military, weather and marine applications, and in the current worldwide upgrade of the air traffic control system. There is also a market segment devoted to the avionics transponder and air navigation market, which is also lifted by the air traffic control upgrade.

Intrinsically less "optional" than many consumer markets, these segments are therefore less sensitive to economic upheavals than consumer-driven markets, although they are not totally immune to the macro economy.

Understanding this, many semiconductor manufacturers are attempting to enter this market; however, some factors may complicate their efforts. Pulsed RF power device markets are becoming very competitive technologically: gallium nitride and silicon carbide devices are vying for market share along with the more established silicon-based technologies. And so many companies are rushing into these markets that there probably won't be the market size to support them all. "Undoubtedly some consolidation will occur. While not guaranteed success, those companies that have a track record working with government agencies and defence contractors are going to have an advantage over those that are new entrants," adds Wilson.

A new ABI Research study titled "Pulsed RF Power Semiconductors" forecasts the global market for devices that have greater than 5 watts of peak output power and frequencies of operation up to 18GHz. It examines the avionics, Sub-1GHz, L-Band, S-Band, C-Band, X-Band, and Ku-Band radar markets, and contains forecasts through 2018. It forms part of the firm's High-Power RF Active Devices Research Service.

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