High power SSPAs operating at 94 GHz are needed for a wide range of radars and sensors for atmospheric measurements or environmental monitoring, specifically clouds profiling, mapping light precipitation and snow. Many of these radars are airborne, often on high altitude UAVs. Another application is for mapping super-cooled moist air and wind shear. Dual-frequency cloud-profiling radar is being planned for deployment on the International Space Station. Other ground-based radars for research also utilize high power SSPA. Long-term objective is to completely eliminate the need for any tube-based power amplifiers from the transmitter of these instruments. A very significant application of the W-band SSPA is for the advanced 94 GHz cloud profiling radar in the future Aerosol/Cloud Ecosystem Mission (ACE) to study and measure aerosols, clouds, air quality and ocean ecosystem beyond the scope of prior missions such as CloudSat and EarthCARE. Instrumentation radars which aid in the development of tactical radars in the W-band is yet another application of the proposed high power SSPAs.
Many diverse applications of high power SSPA for W-band transmitters are found in the non-NASA environment, ranging from Helicopter Collision Warning and Brownout Degraded Vision sensor to industrial and military surveillance and security sensors. In addition, airborne and ground-based environmental monitoring instruments would greatly benefit from affordable, light-weight compact power amplifiers at 94 GHz. Some of the governmental agencies involved in this work are: Department of Commerce, Department of Energy, Federal Aviation Administration, NOAA, Department of Defense, to name a few. Measurement and monitoring of clear air turbulence (CAT), severe weather and clouds would significantly gain from the development of a cost effective high power SSPA. Future aircraft landing systems (electronic enhanced vision systems) envision the use of SSPA in their transmitters. Space-based cloud profiling radars are envisaged for deployment in low-earth orbits by many space agencies world-wide. A space-qualified W-band SSPA will significantly increase the economic viability and mission success of these future programs. Security and Surveillance-related applications will also benefit from use of high power SSPAs