Technology Transfer SSC Pacific
System and Method for Improved Efficiency of High Power Microwave Tubes

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Allows for the monitoring of vacuumed electronic devices using internal and external sensors

The U.S. Navy seeks to commercialize a suite of four U.S. Patents 6,667,711; 6,697,014; 6,823,736; and 7,891,078, the latter of which focuses the technologies on the primary use of acoustic emission sensors.


The 190,000+ high-power MWTs that can cost in average of $80K each are used in more than 270 different RADAR, communication, and electronic counter measure (ECM) systems. Having minimal condition-based maintenance capability and no means to identify specific component failures, MWTs are often inadvertently replaced when, in fact, another component of the system is at fault.

The Technology

SSC Pacific has developed a system comprised of non-intrusive, electrically isolated, compact, and inexpensive, shielded acoustic emission sensors. These sensors can identify specific MWT component failures by detecting anomalous RF pulses within the acoustic emission signal. The signals can then be analyzed and interpreted using the already existing Integrated Condition Assessment System (ICAS), providing  an easily accessible software platform. In lieu of replacing high cost MWTs, individual units can now be refurbished at an approximate cost of $20K - $50K, thereby decreasing operating expenses and increasing system readiness. Applications include communications, displays, electro-optical devices, medical equipment, and avionics.

Key Benefits

  • Avoids unneeded replacement of high-value MWTs (e.g. klystrons)
  • Has in-situ prognostic capabilities providing  an advanced warning for system failures and malfunctions
  • Can be easily integrated into new or existing microwave transmitters
  • Increases system readiness and reliability
  • Decreases operating expenses associated with maintenance and repair
  • Development Status

  • Four U.S. Patents issued: 6,667,711; 6,697,014; 6,823,736; 7,891,078
  • Total R&D: $1 million and 5 years
  • DoD 5000 Series Technical Readiness Level 4: Component validation in laboratory environment
  • For more information on technology transfer, please contact us at (619) 5535118 or email
    SD 610, Rev. 1 July 2011. SSC Pacific, San Diego, CA 921525001. Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited.

    SSC Pacific
    Updated: 10/25/2011 10:47 AM EST   Published