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Electron Devices (formerly Electron Dynamics Division (EDD), was a division of the Industrial Electronics Group of the Hughes Aircraft Company) is a technology company specializing in the manufacture of microwave devices for ground-based, airborne and satellite communications and radar. EDD began operations at their Torrance, California, facility in 1967. They are known for their traveling-wave tubes (TWTs), traveling-wave tube amplifiers (TWTAs), microwave power modules (MPMs) and electronic power conditioners (EPCs) as well as xenon gas ion propulsion systems (XIPS).[1] Since its inception, EDD has produced tens of thousands of TWTs.[2] They are the only U.S. supplier of space-qualified TWTs and TWTAs.[3]

L3 Technologies, Electron Devices
IndustryAerospace and defense
FateAcquired by General Motors, Boeing and L3 Communications, Merged with former Litton Industries, Electron Tube Division
PredecessorHughes Aircraft Company, Electron Dynamics Division (EDD)
FounderHoward Hughes
ProductsTraveling wave tubes, TWTAs, xenon ion propulsion systems


Legacy HughesEdit

In the early 1950s, Hughes secured a military contract for the XF-108 Rapier interceptor's AN/ASG-18 fire control system and radar. At the end of the Korean War, the F-108 program was canceled, but Howard Hughes chose to keep the program going on company money. By 1959 Hughes Microwave Tube Division was operating in Culver City, California. Hughes was developing TWTs suitable for airborne radar and eventually won the contract for the F-14 radar system. By the time the F-14 program went into production, the tube division had outgrown the Culver City facility. Hughes moved the operation to Torrance, California, and it became Electron Dynamics Division (EDD) within the Industrial Electronics Group.[4]

General Motors purchased Hughes Aircraft Company in 1985. The Boeing Company purchased GM's satellite operation in 2000, acquiring EDD in the process, and renamed it Boeing Satellite Systems, Electron Dynamic Devices, again maintaining the initials EDD. Boeing sold EDD to L3 Communications, Inc. in 2005. L3 already owned another company using the initials EDD, thereby prompting a name change to L-3 communications, Electron Technologies, Inc. or ETI for short. Boeing sold the property in Torrance to RREEF America REIT III Corporation (RREEF) in October 2006.[5]

L3 ConsolidationsEdit

In 1947, Varian Associates started the modern microwave tube industry and by 1958 there were some 30 U.S. companies involved with microwave tubes. Consolidations began during the mid-1960s and continued through the 1980s. Four California companies, Litton, Varian, Hughes and Teledyne emerged as the survivors. Varian became Communication Power Industries (CPI). Litton was acquired first by Northrop Grumman which continued operating the company as Litton and months later sold it to L-3 communications. Hughes was acquired by GM, Boeing and finally L-3.[4] In 2012, L3 announced the closure of its California Tube Labs division in Watsonville, CA and moved the assets to their San Carlos and Williamsport, PA facilities.[6] In mid-2016, L3 announced they were again consolidating their microwave products companies with most of the Electron Devices, San Carlos, CA facility as well as the name moving to the former Hughes facility located in southern California.[7] The new company would be known as L3, Electron Devices Division, thereby returning the initials EDD to the Torrance facility and closing the legacy Litton Electron Tube factory. On 31 December 2016, L3's company name changed from L-3 Communications Holdings, Inc. to L3 Technologies, Inc.[8] With the consolidation of the legacy Hughes and legacy Litton factories, L3 technologies houses parts of the original Hughes, Litton, Raytheon, Sperry, GE, RCA, MA-COM and Huggins microwave tube businesses in their Torrance, CA and Williamsport, PA plants.[4]

Legacy LittonEdit

In 1932, Charlie Litton started his own company in Redwood City, CA. By 1945 his company, known then as Litton Industries, had about 60 employees about 20 of which were working on vacuum tubes. By 1948 the business had grown to be about half manufacturing equipment and half tubes. After receiving a contract for a magnetron designated the 4J52, as well as follow-on contracts, the company became a major competitor to Raytheon and very profitable. In 1953, Charlie Litton sold Litton Industries. Litton Industries, Electron Tube Division grew rapidly due to the basic philosophy that had been espoused by Charlie Litton, expressly that achieving good microwave characteristics required a high quality vacuum. That philosophy led the company to select materials and manufacturing techniques that gave Litton the ability to compete with larger companies. In the early 1970s Litton Industries bought Sylvania's plant in Williamsport, PA and moved all magnetron production there. During the 1990s Litton developed tubes and became second source for most of the Hughes EDD's airborne radar tubes. In 2001, the Northrop owned company became Litton Electron Devices. With the purchase by L-3 communications in 2002 the company became known as L-3 Electron Devices.[4]

L3Harris MergerEdit

In October 2018 Harris Corporation announced an all-stock "merger of equals" with New York-based L3 Technologies, closing in mid-2019. The new company, called L3 Harris Technologies, Inc., would be based in Melbourne, Florida, where Harris was headquartered.[9] The Torrance plant continues to operate as L3Harris Electron Devices.


  1. ^ "ELECTRON TECHNOLOGIES, INC. - OVERVIEW". Archived from the original on June 30, 2011. Retrieved July 14, 2011.
  2. ^ "Traveling Wave Tubes (Military & Telecommunication)". Archived from the original on December 20, 2007. Retrieved July 14, 2011.
  3. ^ "Jane's Space Systems and Industry". Archived from the original on April 26, 2012. Retrieved July 8, 2011.
  4. ^ a b c d Pond, Norman H. (2008). The Tube Guys. West Plains, Missouri: Russ Cochran. pp. 125, 187, 202 & 322. ISBN 978-0-9816923-0-2. Archived from the original on 2010-06-19.
  5. ^ "Draft Statement of Basis" (PDF). Retrieved 2015-03-13.
  6. ^ "L-3 EDD Merges CTL with San Carlos and Williamsport Factories". Retrieved 2017-03-10.
  7. ^ "L-3 Communications to Consolidate San Carlos Operations". Retrieved 2017-03-10.
  8. ^ "L-3 Communications to Change Name to L3 Technologies, Inc" (Press release). L-3 Communications, Inc. December 6, 2016. Retrieved December 6, 2016.
  9. ^