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Mil Tech Trends TEST AND MEASUREMENT TRENDS

Test and measurement tackling demand for higher frequencies and wider bandwidth By Mariana Iriarte, Associate Editor Just as software-defined radios (SDRs), signals-intelligence systems, radars, and sonars are challenged by reduced size, weight, and power constraints, so are the test and measurement systems used to ensure their effectiveness.

Modern radio architectures for military applications are driving the demand for higher frequencies, digital modulation, and wider bandwidths. Couple that with the push toward reduced size, weight, and power (SWaP), and you are adding tons of complexity to designs.

and measurement equipment that is available as commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) to the broader radio industry.”

Test and measurement solutions have been following the industry on this ride by continuing via open industry-standard modular architecture and expanding software-defined architectures that enable “mission-specific channel, capacity, and range needs,” says Darren McCarthy, Marketing Manager for Rohde & Schwarz in Beaverton, Ore. “We have seen a steady increase in demand for highperformance products to support the different technology insertions. The test methodology incorporated to test individual radio waveforms is different than the efficient test methodology to test new software-defined radios. This creates a demand away from radio-specific testers to more general-purpose test

“Radio frequencies (RF) and microwave instruments need to be flexible – to be upgradeable by simply substituting or adding a new module; to make new measurements just by downloading a new software application. This approach also keeps a lid on the costs of documentation, training, spares, and maintenance. Additionally, industry standardization promotes competition, ultimately improving performance at a reduced cost,” says Satish Dhanasekaran, General Manager, Mobile Broadband Operation, for Keysight Technologies in Santa Rosa, California.

48 September 2015

Common test assets define a universal test platform As military systems add complexity they must also add flexibility to enable commonality, which reduces training and maintenance costs and speeds up product development. In other words, users want a universal test system.

“In both a development and manufacturing environment, for over a decade we have seen a continued effort from our customers to move from a radio-specific test architecture to a ‘universal test platform’ strategy,” McCarthy says. “Rather than developing and using radio-specific test platforms for each radio waveform, customers that need to combine the multiple technologies into a single radio are designing the radios and test platforms for testability with common test assets.” Test assets range differently in each platform, “A software-defined radio can produce an unlimited number of radio waveforms. Let’s say the three different radio formats are planned to be fielded by a UHF radio for one customer using the same SDR,” he

MILITARY EMBEDDED SYSTEMS Resource Guide

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Military Embedded Systems September 2015 Resource Guide  

Military Embedded Systems September 2015 with Resource Guide, Navy SEWIP Program Leverages COTS, Military Electronics Market Overview, An in...

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