The Microwave Electron Tube Market Once Again at Over US$1 Billion

27 Feb 2020

While microwave and millimeter wave high-power vacuum electron devices (VEDs) remain “below the radar” of many industry observers, the total available market (TAM) for this segment is once again over US$1 billion, as it has been for the last several years, according to a new market data report from global tech market advisory firm, ABI Research.

“Despite its size, and although these tubes remain essential elements in specialized military, scientific/medical, and space communications applications, this market is generally under-reported by the electronics industry at large and poorly understood by those not directly involved in it,” explains Lance Wilson, Research Director at ABI Research.

Essentially, this continues as a stable industry after several rounds of consolidation in the past decade. There is some potential for further consolidation, but, there are no signs that more is yet to come. “However, one new RF semiconductor technology – gallium nitride – will soon change the competitive landscape. While it is not yet near monopolizing the microwave RF power industry, GaN is advancing steadily and is a technology that should be closely watched, as it will be a threat to some aspects of the lower-power microwave and millimeter wave VED marketplace,” Wilson says.

The size of this historic market continues to surprise everyone and its longevity and firm resistance to RF power semiconductor encroachment is equally surprising. However, that will be changing to some degree as GaN devices move up in frequency and power. Despite all this, microwave and millimeter wave VEDs are showing some growth, in part being driven by larger and more stable defense spending in the United States.”

“These specialized vacuum electron devices may at first seem anachronistic. But in some cases, there is no other way to generate such high levels of RF power within an acceptably small space. Certain microwave and millimeter wave VEDs can generate megawatts, and it would take tens of thousands of transistors to do that,” concludes Wilson.

These findings are from ABI Research’s Microwave and Millimeter Wave High-Power Vacuum Electron Devices market data report. This report is part of the company’s 5G & Mobile Network Infrastructure research service, which includes research, data, and ABI Insights. Market Data spreadsheets are composed of deep data, market share analysis, and

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