Military and aerospace companies ensure electronic systems with test and measurement tools

Military & Aerospace Electronics

By Courtney E. Howard

The test and measurement of electronics is an important part of any development and production process, yet testing for military and aerospace applications is especially critical because failures might put lives and missions at risk, recognizes John Barfuss, aerospace &defense program manager at test giant Agilent Technologies Inc. in Palo Alto, Calif.

“If a business person’s phone stops working it is an inconvenience but if a soldier’s radio quits working, it could leave him in grave danger,” continues Barfuss. “If a cellular base station breaks it may cost the provider thousands of dollars. If a satellite payload breaks it could cost millions.”

With military and civilian lives and billions of taxpayer’s dollars potentially on the line, test and measurement is at the forefront in the minds of systems designers, systems integrators, and end users in the military and aerospace market. Makers of test and measurement solutions serving the mil-aero community continue to advance the technology, keeping pace with electronics technologies and the standards and deadlines to which they must adhere.

Time is of the essence

Much has been written about warfighters in the field waiting for armaments. In an effort to deliver ample electronics systems and supplies rapidly that are safe and reliable, industry organizations are partnering to speed and perfect test and measurement processes and procedures — and they are accomplishing these goals through automation.

Engineers at Agilent Technologies, Raytheon Co. in Waltham, Mass., and the U.S. Navy have teamed to develop an automated test system for Raytheon’s system missile business. The joint efforts of these three organizations culminated in the Presidio Automated Test Line, considered a breakthrough in testing automation and used in the production of Raytheon’s Standard Missile 2.

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