Export restriction free travelling
wave tubes materials

Horizon 2020 space research and innovation action

  • TH 4816RC - Thales
    TH 4816RC - Thales
    The European ERFTM project aims to research and develop innovative components for future power amplifiers based on Travelling Wave Tubes (TWT) to be used within both space and ground applications, especially based on new materials which are not governed by Export Restriction rules.

The « Export Restriction Free Travelling Wave tubes Materials » (ERFTM) project is an HORIZON 2020 SPACE Research and Innovation Action, within the frame of “Technologies for European non-dependence and competitiveness” (COMPET-01-2015), starting on April 1rst 2016, with a three years duration.

The ERFTM project aims to develop new European manufacturing processes for preparing material components of power amplifiers based on Travelling Wave Tubes (TWT) for space and ground applications, using raw materials not governed by Export Restriction comprising an helix made with flat ribbon maintained by ceramic support rods.

The studies will advance work from Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 3 (corresponding to experimental proof of concept) to TRL 6 (technology demonstrated in industrially relevant environment), in compliance with the non-dependence action “U7 – Power Amplification TWT materials” as described in the Joint Task Force (European Commission, European Space Agency, European Defence Agency) document upon the Critical Space Technologies for European Strategic Non-Dependence Actions for 2015-2017.

The main applications of these power amplifiers are Space Satellites and ground applications such as Telecommunications.

The ERFTM project will specify, develop, test and qualify the helix wire materials and the dielectric materials for helix support rods. Both will be subject to a complete qualification process for space TWT and terrestrial communication TWT.
The ERFTM consortium is purely European and includes 2 Thales entities, worldwide leaders in space TWT development and production, 3 industrial technology providers for the raw materials and key involved components and 1 research laboratory for materials characterization.