Components > Defense Blog

Defense and 5G to Propel RF GaN Market past $1 Billion Milestone

by Asif Anwar | Aug 01, 2018

RF Gallium Nitride (GaN) market growth continued to accelerate in 2017, with revenues growing at over 38 percent year-on-year as the semiconductor technology is adopted across a range of RF applications. The rollout of commercial wireless infrastructure coupled with demand from military radar, electronic warfare and military communications applications will provide the primary drivers for growth. The Strategy Analytics Strategic Component Applications (SCA) group report, “RF GaN Market Update: 2017 - 2022,” forecasts that RF GaN revenues will push past the $1 billion milestone by the end of the forecast timeframe.



RF GaN demand from the military sector grew by 72 percent year-on-year in 2017, and this will grow at a CAAGR (compound annual average growth rate) of 22 percent through 2022. The military radar segment will remain the largest user of GaN devices for the defense sector. Substantial production activity in AESA radars for land-based and naval systems in particular is driving increasing demand for RF GaN, as many systems previously in development move to production.  

As well as demand from military radar, operational requirements to operate in contested and congested environments, as well as being able to counter modern agile radar and communications, will drive opportunities for RF GaN for the electronic warfare (EW) market. Communicating voice, data and video simultaneously and securely over wider and higher bandwidths in an increasingly complex spectrum environment will underpin military communications system design trends, which will see the associated component demand increasingly underpinned with RF GaN.

Wireless base stations continue to be the single largest revenue segment for RF GaN, with increasing penetration translating to year-on-year growth of more than 20%. While the big lift from Chinese LTE deployments is over, the wireless industry has done a very good job of maintaining and in some cases, compressing the 5G deployment schedule. The resulting 5G base station deployment will become a primary commercial growth driver for RF GaN.

GaN improves high frequency, instantaneous bandwidth, linearity and environmental performance capabilities and this allows equipment manufacturers to develop higher capacity, higher power and higher performance radios. 5G deployment will drive opportunities for GaN on multiple fronts, with demand coming from both fixed and mobile applications, operating below 6 GHz, as well as in Ka-band and higher millimeter wave frequency bands. Opportunities are also growing for RF GaN devices in wireless backhaul and VSAT, and we are seeing traction in the adjacent RF Energy market also.

Analysis of the competitive landscape showed good growth for Qorvo in their defense-related GaN revenue, allowing the company to maintain the market leader spot, and widen the gap over rivals competing in the defense sector including captive suppliers such as Raytheon and Northrop Grumman. Sumitomo Electric Device Innovations (SEDI) continued to be the leading supplier of the overall RF GaN market in 2017, based largely on its dominant position in the base station market, with Wolfspeed, A Cree Company, maintaining second place.

The future continues to look promising for RF GaN adoption, even as growth drivers outside of the primary markets discussed remain in flux. Strategy Analytics forecasts RF GaN revenue will grow at a CAAGR of over 16% through 2022 to cross the $1 billion barrier, with defense sector demand slightly greater than commercial revenue.

Feel free to contact me if you’re not a client of Strategy Analytics Advanced Defense Systems (ADS) service and would like to learn more about this research as well as our extensive coverage of the defense sector and how we can support you.

RF GaN Market Historical Segmentation 
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