Donald Shepherd, Chairman, AR RF/Microwave Instrumentation
MPD: The 2019 defense budget is chock full of EW, radar, and other programs with lots of RF and microwave content, so, if your company serves the defense market, what are your thoughts about how this will affect your business in the coming years?
AR RF/Microwave Instrumentation (AR), since its inception 50 years ago, has developed amplifiers for military systems and testing of military products. AR sees the 2019 U.S. defense budget as a very encouraging sign that the U.S. Defense Department will continue a path of developing new and more complex products. With the expansive growth in a wide array of military electronic products, so is the need to test these products. AR amplifiers range in power and frequency to meet the requirements of the U.S. Defense Department. AR’s new U-series amplifiers cover 10 kHz to 1000 MHz in a single band, and range in power levels from 1 to 250 Watts with higher power options on the horizon. The ultra-wide instantaneous bandwidth allows for amplification of numerous types of narrow and broadband signals for EW and other applications, as well as allowing for multiple signals to be amplified simultaneously. AR’s linear, Class A design provides clean, distortion-free signal reproduction.
MPD: 5G is already generating revenue for some sectors of the RF and microwave industry, and this should increase next year. How do you think the implementation of 5G will affect business in the coming year?
5G offers such a significant improvement in data transfer, it may have the type of impact that disrupts other industries, as we have seen with other technological breakthroughs. With some sources projecting 5G to affect as many as 90 million users by 2023 (among other projections), AR sees 5G and WiFi products increasing over the next several years, and with them the need for RF amplifiers for component and end-product testing. The usage of wider bandwidths by 5G systems and the need for highly linear amplifiers plays right into AR product offerings. AR’s U series amplifiers operate from 10 Hz to 1000 MHz, and the S-series S1G6 amplifiers across the 700 MHz to 6 GHz band, both providing robust performance. Like the U and S series amplifiers, AR’s W-series maintains AR’s signature linear, Class A design and ultra-wide bandwidths from 80 MHz to 1000 MHz, at a maximum power level of 10,000 Watts.
MPD: Overall, how would you compare the health of the industry compared with years past?
Objectively, AR has seen a significant increase in demand for full turnkey systems in many of the industry’s sectors (military, commercial, automotive, etc.). These customers are looking for complete, hassle-free solutions that are guaranteed to perform upon delivery and well into the future. AR’s highly experienced Systems and Applications Engineering team has designed systems ranging from single-rack IEC 61000-4-3 Radiated Immunity systems to multi-million dollar MIL-STD-464 EMS systems capable of producing some of the highest electric field strengths in the world, and everything in between. AR’s turnkey systems are tailored to each customer’s specific needs and requirements. Full functionality is verified before the system leaves AR’s factory and AR’s engineers install and verify performance again at the customer’s site while providing thorough training to the customer’s engineers and technicians. AR also has vast experience designing, delivering and training on systems that cover tests beyond just Radiated Immunity, such as full-suite MIL-STD-461E/F/G systems.
MPD: What RF and microwave technologies will be driving the industry in 2019?
The driving force for RF and microwave technologies in 2019 and beyond will be a continuation to greater human to human, human to machine, and machine to machine experiences. One example is the continued introduction of Internet of Things (IoT) capable products. Some information points to global IoT expansion at a rate of 20% per year, reaching an estimated $8.9T by 2020. IoT usage will even spread to the most unlikely products and applications. To achieve these lofty goals, acceleration in getting products to market is needed. This will be accomplished through faster product designs and greater efficiency in product testing, validation and compliance. AR understands the need for greater EMC test efficiency and developed the MT06002 Multi-tone tester to meet this objective. This multi-tone system is designed to produce multiple CW/modulated signals, or tones, to reduce conducted and radiated immunity testing time. Testing is shortened by a multiple of the number of tones used. For example, two tones would halve the test time. The multi-tone tester also comes with a complete suite of test and calibration routines already pre-programmed into AR’s unique, proprietary software. This allows the tester to quickly set up and run tests, thereby improving testing throughput, which translates into faster product time to market.