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Modeling Platform Level Electromagnetic Compatibility Performance Based on Component Level Testing






OBJECTIVE: Develop a simulation tool that will evaluate the risk to a platform given a component that has failed to meet its electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) test requirements (e.g., MIL-STD-461; [Ref 1]).


DESCRIPTION: In order to work toward successful platform level integration, there is a long-established workflow for EMC. In this procedure, individual electronic modules are designed and tested to certain standards, usually based on MIL-STD-461 [Ref 1], which impose limits on radiated and conducted emissions and radiated and conducted susceptibility. Any unit that passes those tests is assumed to be ready for integration onto the platform for its application with the expectation that it will not interfere with neighboring equipment and will operate in its intended electromagnetic environment.


As long as this process has been in place, there were countless examples of modules that failed to pass the mandated requirements. Each time this happens the standard process step was to instruct the supplier to redesign the module until it meets the specified requirements. However, there are often counter arguments that these redesigns can add cost, weight, and potentially jeopardize schedules. Engineers are often left to evaluate the potential risk of allowing a given noncompliant module to waive certain requirements based on past experience, personal judgement, and general heuristics.


The goal of this STTR effort is to give engineers in that position a tool that will allow them to take component-level testing data and model the potential effects when that module is placed in a realistically modeled platform. This involves developing a program to read in radiated emissions or susceptibility data from a test report. It would then create a model of a source or victim by backwards propagating the test data (usually taken at 1 m separation distance). That source or victim unit would then be placed in a model of the full platform with realistic grounding, bonding, and cable routing. A simulation would then be run to determine if emissions from the offending unit had negative impacts on neighboring systems or the external environment, or to see if the exterior electromagnetic environment would be likely to cause susceptibility upsets in the unit. The end result would not be to achieve an exact simulation result to compare to future testing, but instead to give engineers an analysis to show that the units’ behavior will likely be severely noncompliant, marginal, or very benign. This will allow for more accurate data-driven risk assessments in the cases of noncompliant modules seeking waivers to requirements. An objective is to identify at least 90% of severely non-compliant situations using this simulation.


PHASE I: Develop a workflow that ties together all the necessary steps for the analysis: reading in test report data; converting it to a usable format; mathematically back-propagating the source or victim that yields the emissions or susceptibility profile; assigning those properties to a module that can be placed in a CAD model of a full platform with worst-case assumptions about grounding, bonding, and cable-routing; and running a simulation to compare the unit’s performance to platform level requirements. The Phase I effort will include prototype plans to be developed under Phase II.


PHASE II: Develop a prototype new user interface and computational engine for the simulation capabilities and integrate the capabilities into an existing simulation product. Validate the workflow developed in Phase I with historical data sets that show measurements of noncompliant components and full platforms tests performed with those components installed. Demonstrate the prototype in a lab or live environment.


PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Complete development and perform final testing of a commercial grade application for use by platform level EMC engineers.


The simulation tool is suitable for electromagnetic compatibility evaluation of any civilian or military electronic system. Such system would be present on aircraft, ships, armored vehicles, space craft, automobiles, trucks, trains or even factories.



  1. AFLCMC/EZSS. (2015, December11). MIL-STD-461G: Department of Defense interface standard: Requirements for the control of electromagnetic interference characteristics of subsystems and equipment Department of Defense.
  2. Joint Committee. (2010, December 1). MIL-STD-464C: Department of Defense interface standard: Electromagnetic environmental effects requirements for systems. Department of Defense.


KEYWORDS: electromagnetic compatibility; electronic vulnerability; electromagnetic interference; radiated emissions; radiated susceptibility; modeling and simulation.

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