Finalist: Northrop Grumman, Electronics & Systems Integration Division

Location Rolling Meadows, Illinois, USA

Achievement Weight and cost savings through a miniaturised radio-transmitter unit. Northrop Grumman's highly miniaturised C-Band Microwave Power Module (MPM) is already offering significant weight savings in use on the US Navy's E-2C Hawkeye patrol aircraft. The unit is also promising to save millions of dollars for satellite applications.

The C-Band MPM is a complete narrow-band radio frequency (RF) power amplifier/transmitter, but with dimensions of only 180 x 150 x 25mm. The unit's novel travelling-wave tube booster is the smallest in the world - only 170mm long at 170W RF power output and with more than 60% efficiency.

The E-2C application, is just part of the US Navy's Co-operative Engagement Capability (CEC)programme, which could see 32 MPMs replace some 216 solid-state 13.5W transmitters, producing overall savings of 375kg in weight and 65,500cm3 (4,000in3) of volume. The unit also provides twice the power output and system efficiency of the previous units.

With the average cost of launching a satellite at $44,000/kg, the MPM has clear applications in space. Northrop Grumman has already sold the unit for a satellite synthetic-aperture-radar application. With 40 MPMs per satellite, based on the US Navy experience, the savings would be nearly 70kg, or $3 million for each satellite.

Source: Flight International