PHILADELPHIA – U.S. Navy avionics experts needed electron tubes for a variety of electronic subsystems aboard the F/A-18 jet fighter-bomber. They found their solution from Stellant Systems Inc. in Torrance, Calif.
Officials of the Naval Supply Systems Command Weapon Systems Support activity in Philadelphia announced a $9.4 million order to Stellant Systems last week for 22 electron tubes used on the F/A-18 aircraft.
Electron tubes rarely are used in advanced electronics these days, as they largely have been replaced by digital circuitry. The analog electron tube -- an electronic device that usually consists of a sealed glass or metal-ceramic enclosure -- still is necessary on some high-power avionics subsystems like radar, signals intelligence (SIGINT), and electronic warfare (EW).
Electron tubes control the flow of electronics in some military electronics systems -- particularly for amplifying weak electric currents, rectifying AC or DC power, oscillating RF power for radio and radar systems, and creating images on avionics displays.
These types of components also are relatively common in high-power, high-frequency RF and microwave subsystems that require hundreds of Watts of power and operate at frequencies above 8 GHz. The kinds of electron tubes typically used in these kinds of applications are klystrons, magnetrons, and traveling-wave tubes.
On this order Stellant Systems will do the work in Torrance, Calif., and should be finished by December 2026. For more information contact Stellant Systems online at https://stellantsystems.com/traveling-wave-tubes-defense/, or the Naval Supply Systems Command Weapon Systems Support activity-Philadelphia at www.navsup.navy.mil/NAVSUP-Enterprise/NAVSUP-Weapon-Systems-Support/Welcome-Philadelphia.