MIL/aero industry contends with commonality, modularity, and software

Sept. 22, 2015

Autotestcon convenes November 2 in National Harbor, MD, and will give test-equipment makers an opportunity to demonstrate how they are supporting emerging trends. Steve Sargeant, CEO, Marvin Test Solutions, commented on several of these trends. First is consolidation, or commonality, of test solutions. “Whether it’s on the flightline or at I-level or depot level, test engineers and maintainers are looking for test solutions that are applicable to a range of aircraft, weapons systems, avionics, etc.,” he said.

A second trend Sargeant identified is the move toward modular instruments. “We continue to see the adoption of test systems based on modular platforms—particularly PXI,” he said.

Yet a third trend addresses software tools. “The complexity of systems and subsystems continues to drive the complexity of test programs,” he said. “Software tools and the associated infrastructure that can simplify and speedup the test development and deployment process can help address this challenge.”

Sargeant listed several products Marvin Test Solutions will demonstrate at Autotestcon to help engineers deal with the challenges presented by these emerging trends:

  • The MTS-3060—an advanced, multifunction flightline tester for armament. It combines over 30 measurement channels with audio, video, and 1553/1760 test capabilities in a handheld instrument and supporting both legacy and “smart” armament for multiple aircraft;.
  • MTS-2xx platform—an ultrarugged, PXI based test system supporting I-level and flightline test and deployed in over 20 countries supporting multiple aircraft. The platform addresses advanced test needs for avionics and armament test using the open architecture of PXI. It is used as the baseline platform for the MTS-206 Maverick Field Test Set, MTS-209 Common Armament Test Set, MTS-235 F-35 AME Test Set, AN/TSM-205B Hellfire System Test Set, and the USAF’s PATS-70 test system for the A-10.
  • GENASYS—a PXI-based platform for performance functional test. Selected by two of the four major M-A Primes for testing satellite systems, subsystems, and advanced display systems, GENASYS incorporates an innovative switching subsystem with an advanced digital subsystem, providing users with high channel count (over 4,000 connections) and hybrid signal routing (any pin to any resource). With these capabilities GENASYS is suited for supporting both system and multiple types of UUTS with a common test interface. Sargeant said it is a proven replacement for the Teradyne L200/300 and GenRad 2750.
  • ATEasy software—award-winning test development and test executive suite and, Sargeant said, the only such product with comprehensive simulation capabilities for both the test system resources and UUT. With software simulation, the user is able to fully simulate his test system and UUT (not just low level driver code), allowing the test developer to debug and verify his test program without hardware and without modifying the test program, expediting the program development and verification process.
  • Advanced digital subsystems—GX5296, offering timing per pin, a PMU per pin, and the highest channel density in the industry. With this subsystem, up to 512, 125-MHz digital channels can be synchronized in a single PXI chassis, supporting the testing of complex digital devices, SoC devices, and board-level products with capabilities that, Sargeant said, have until now only been available in proprietary ATE systems.

In addition to Marvin Test Solutions’ exhibit floor demonstrations, the company’s Michael J Dewey and David Manor will present a paper titled “PXI-Based, High Performance, High Density Switching Architecture.”

As noted in the Autotestcon Advanced Program description of the paper, “Virtually all ATE systems employ a switching subsystem in order to route test system resources to multiple test points on the UUT. The challenge for any switching subsystem is multi-dimensional and involves many considerations/trade-offs including footprint, performance, flexibility, maintainability, and reliability. Additionally, if the application needs to address legacy test needs, there can be the additional challenge to support not only current and future switching requirements, but also legacy test requirements. This paper reviews current switching architectures employed today and discusses the benefits/limitations of current COTS switching subsystem offerings. The paper will then review the switching requirements associated with addressing high complexity/high performance functional test applications and how the development and implementation of PXI-based switching architecture can meet these requirements.”

In addition, Loofie Gutterman, president of Marvin Test Solutions, will participate in a panel discussion, moderated by Louis Y. Ungar, Advanced Test Engineering (A.T.E.) Solutions, titled “Design for Testability.” As the Advanced Program notes, “While DFT techniques, such as JTAG/IEEE-1149.1 boundary scan, have assisted in board manufacturing test, their system-level applications have been lagging. We know that testability has to be implemented early in the design, but can test and design work together cost-effectively? Whom do we ask to implement it? How? New techniques, such as the IEEE-1687, support hierarchical test, but can we get management backing to design testable systems?”

In addition to Gutterman, panelists include Dr. David R. Carey, Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering, Wilkes University; Craig Stoldt, test engineering manager, BAE Systems; Dr. Russell Shannon, IDATS lead systems engineer, NAVAIR, US Navy, Lakehurst, NJ; Bill Eklow, test engineering manager, Cisco Systems; and Mike Ellis, retired, previously with Northrop Grumman Corp., ATE Associates, and Harris Corp. and also serving as the Autotestcon 2015 technical program cochairman.

Return to our Autotestcon page for updates.

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