PHILADELPHIA, 22 Feb. 2006. The Electron Devices Division of L-3 Communications in San Carlos, Calif., won a $7.4 million U.S. Navy order Feb. 21 for 66 newly manufactured output traveling wave tubes (OTWTs) for the band 4 transmitter on the EA-6B Prowler aircraft ALQ-99 electronic warfare system.
The band 4 transmitter helps the EA-6B jam enemy radar and communications. The OTWT is the final output stage of the band 4 transmitter's radio frequency (RF) amplifier chain. The ALQ-99 band 4 transmitter relies on OTWT with a unique hollow-beam design. This broadband, high-power OTWT is packaged in a demanding form factor and must operate in a harsh airborne environment.
A traveling-wave tube is a specialized vacuum tube that amplifies or generates microwave signals. Inside the TWT, the regions of high and low electron concentration move along or around the tube in waves. When the tube is properly operating, some of the energy from the electrons is imparted to the signal in the coil. The result is amplification of the signal.
Navy officials placed the OTWT order under contract number N00104-04-G-A402. Work will be in San Carlos, Calif., and should be finished by June 2008. Awarding the order were officials of the Naval Inventory Control Point in Philadelphia.