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A laboratory setup, along with a set of measurement and identification procedures, have been developed expressly for the characterization of the thermal behavior of AlGaN/GaN HEMTs, suitable for microwave high power amplifier (HPA) design. The setup allows the measurement of the drain current time-domain dynamic response to positive drain bias pulses, performed at different temperatures and different dissipated power densities. The proposed measurement conditions discriminate thermal phenomena from electrical dispersive effects for this particular technology. Both the thermal resistance and the “transient thermal resistance” are identified for a single-cell 1-mm device and for a 4-mm power-bar composed of four devices, designed to be used as the final stage of a monolithic C -band HPA for pulsed radar application. Transient data allow to compute the device operative channel temperature as a function of the pulsewidth and duty cycle, which is a crucial feature for pulsed HPA applications, typical for the GaN technology. The measured thermal data point out the nonlinearity of the thermal resistance versus dissipated power and base-plate temperature and the consequent critical thermal issue inherent in physically packing together such devices.