Old Crows don't fade away; they continue to gather each year at several events sponsored by the Association of Old Crows (AOC), including this week's meeting in Washington, DC. The event underlined the strength of business in many areas of military electronics, in particular in the signal intelligence (SIGINT) and electronic-warfare (EW) systems supported by many of the vendors on the exhibition floor. Much thanks to the hospitality afforded to this writer by the many exhibitors and attendees at the AOC; in appreciation, a number of key products from the show will be highlighted in the next several issues of this newsletter.
Hard to miss on the exhibit floor was the number of high-power amplifier suppliers, based on both vacuum tubes and solid-state electronics. Although many of the high-level defense contractors were proudly exhibiting on the show floor, along with a number of government agencies, the amplifier manufacturers represented the single largest technology segment, and probably for good reason. Two applications in military electronics have strong growing needs for amplifiers and other high-frequency components, in systems that support counter improvised explosive device (IED) efforts as well as platforms that increase the range and information-gathering capabilities of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). High-power-amplifier suppliers face an uphill climb in providing units with increased output levels but in smaller packages to support these applications, but all were willing to accept the challenge.