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The Radio Frequency and Microwave sources (RFM) domain of Thales Electron Devices was created in 2006 to consolidate the Vélizy and Thonon plants in France, and the Ulm plant in Germany.

The creation of domain reflects the greater need for synergies between the three sites, to more efficiently capitalize on our industrial capabilities and develop joint tools, technologies and expertise that will create maximum value for our company.

RFM is dedicated to the development and production of electron tubes and associated subsystems. These tubes function as the radio-frequency and microwave power sources in a number of systems used for many different applications: space, telecommunications, defense, radio and TV broadcasting, scientific research, healthcare and industry.


The Vélizy plant has 760 employees and 32,000 square meters of floorspace, including 3,000 square meters of clean rooms. It designs and produces traveling wave tubes (TWT), generators, space amplifiers, defense transmitters, klystrons, gyrotrons, energy storage systems and atomic clock tubes.

The Vélizy plant was built in 1975 to handle the microwave tube operations of Thomson and CSF, which had just merged. Shortly afterwards, CSF's power microwave tube laboratory in Corbeville was also transferred to Vélizy. While it mainly supplied the booming defense market at the beginning, Vélizy quickly expanded its scope of business to the telecommunications and space markets, and in general to high-tech civil and military applications.


The Thonon plant has 380 employees and 25,000 square meters of floorspace, including 200 square meters of clean rooms. It produces grid tubes, X-ray sources, traveling wave tubes and various subassemblies.

With the growth of the tube business at Compagnie Française Thomson Houston in Paris, the company decided to transfer these operations to a former Pathé Marconi factory in Thonon. The new plant was inaugurated on June 12, 1964. As the business kept growing, the plant expanded as well, and soon added klystron production. Thomson and CSF merged in 1968, leading to the consolidation of tube operations at Thonon. In 1993-1994 Thomson Tubes Electroniques acquired the grid tube businesses of Siemens and ABB, adding Siemems' power tube operations in July 2000.


The Ulm plant has 420 employees and 13,400 square meters of floorspace, including 1,300 square meters of clean rooms. It designs and produces traveling wave tubes, space amplifiers and ion propulsion systems.

In 1996 Thomson Tubes Electroniques acquired AEG's tube business, creating TTE GmbH. At the time, the plant made traveling wave tubes for space, defense and telecom applications, as well as cathode ray tubes (CRT) and X-ray generators. The CRT business was sold to the Indian company Samtel in 2000.