Considerations For Military EMC Testing


Companies that are entering bids to work on products, components or parts for the military and the Department of Defense may be surprised at the very strict requirements in military EMC testing.

The testing requirements and the performance requirements for parts, components and devices are much more rigorous and stringent than will be found in the same parts sold anywhere else. There is a good reason for this these devices may need to continue to function in extreme environments where human life is at stake. Equipment failure is not an option, particularly when it comes to the electronics that may be used in controls, communications and equipment.

EMC or electromagnetic compatibility in military EMC testing will be required to meet specific standards. These will typically be designated as MIL STD 461 or MIL STD 464, but it may also correspond to other standards that are applicable outside of the strict requirements for military equipment.

The Issues

One important consideration with the military EMC testing is to ensure that each component in a device meets these standards through testing. Unfortunately, even small components that are added to a device as commercial off the shelf or COTS components can create problems for OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturer).

It will be critical when contacting to provide components, parts or devices to fully understand the general standard and then any subcategory for testing. These subcategories for testing apply to specific environments or issues with EMC in the type of environment that the component will be used.

For example, a device used on land in a fixed location, such as a military base, will have different requirements for operating with regards to the limited EMC issues in that area compared to a device that will be used in a land vehicle or on a ship at sea.

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