Proceedings PaperSystem parameters germane to relativistic klystron amplifiers: how the utility of pulse energy depends on pulse duration, the target, and the atmosphere
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Relativistic klystron amplifiers (RKAs) at a variety of carrier wavelengths and pulse durations appear feasible to supply microwave pulses to an array of antennas acting as a beam weapon against targets at or above 100 km in altitude. In order to avoid voltage breakdown in the atmosphere, the array area must be large enough to converge the beam, producing a higher energy flux on target than at intermediate altitudes susceptible to breakdown. The area required depends on the physics of atmospheric ionization and on the pulse duration and the carrier wavelength of the RKA. A quantitative statement of the dependence of array area on relevant parameters is presented. The energy per RKA pulse that is usable without delay lines is determined here as a function of RKA pulse duration and wavelength. Changing the pulse length from 160 ns to 1 microsecond(s) and shortening the wavelength raise the energy usable without delay lines by a factor of 1000.