PHILADELPHIA--The American Competitiveness Institute (ACI) has received the 2000 Defense Manufacturing Techno-logy Achievement Award for its work to develop a flexible manufacturing process for microwave vacuum devices.

The award is given each year to a government or private sector organization most responsible for a specific innovative manufacturing technology achievement. The award is given by the Joint Defense Manufacturing Technology Panel and Delores M. Etter, Ph.D., deputy undersecretary of defense for science and technology.

The ACI's work has greatly reduced the cost and increased the yield of traveling wave tube devices for critical military applications. It has also created a U.S. source for the devices, which were previously imported from Europe.

Microwave devices are used in more than half of the U.S. Defense Department's weapon systems. Even if new weapon systems did not use microwave devices, the Defense Department would still need a sustained supply of the parts to maintain existing systems. Because the overlap of commercial and defense markets is less than 20 percent, the Defense Department cannot obtain off-the-shelf microwave devices from commercial suppliers.

The ACI led a research team that included representatives from the Office of Naval Research, the Naval Surface Warfare Center, CPI Microwave Power Products Div., Northrop Grumman and Teledyne Electronic Technologies.

The ACI is a scientific research corporation dedicated to the advancement and integration of leading-edge technologies in electronics manufacturing.