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A tutorial discussion is presented on selected surface acoustic wave (SAW) devices for the use of engineers and electronic systems designers. Currently practical components for use in radar systems, communications systems, and as frequency domain filters are described. Emphasis is placed on nondispersive and dispersive delay lines, devices for generating and detecting various radar waveforms, devices for generating and detecting fixed and programmable biphase and multiphase codes, and broad-band and narrow-band filters. The device possibilities of several new approaches are described, including multistrip couplers, nonlinear convolvers, reflective structures, and overlay films. It is concluded that, while SAW devices have found many applications in large radar systems because of their size, cost effectiveness, and reliability, wide-scale applications, for example as frequency domain filters, will be needed to justify continued research in this field. Wide-scale applications will come as systems engineers realize the potential of these devices and confidently design them into their systems.