ATE Synthetic Instrumentation Insertion – Phase II

NCMS Project #: 140375

Problem: Depot avionics test stations typically remain in service beyond 20 years.  In the past few years, a niche of COTS equipment has evolved by synthesizing the capability of multiple instruments and leveraging common core functions frequently replicated across a test system.  In part, this evolution has resulted from the needs of the military customer to reduce total ownership costs associated with acquisition, operation, maintenance, obsolescence, and support of the ever-growing number of test systems in DoD inventory. Specifically, the USAF is experiencing a lack of repair throughput and supportability issues with the latest F-15 avionics Line Replaceable Unit (LRU) support platform. F-15E avionics LRU repair capacity must be increased to avoid impact to mission capability.

Benefit: By reducing the quantity of instruments needed to perform a given task, the corresponding burden associated with storage, documentation, mobilization, personnel training are also reduced.  Also, technological advances have made it possible to achieve performance characteristics that previously could only be achieved with dedicated instruments, such as digital multimeters, oscilloscopes, counters, spectrum analyzers, etc.

Phase 1 of this project demonstrated the capabilities of the system with several F-15 avionics LRU test program sets (TPS) integrated on the synthetic instrument (SI) based test system.  A successful formal user trial was conducted with USAF maintenance and Boeing engineering personnel at Elmendorf AFB.

Phase II of this project expanded the SI suite to demonstrate the capability of testing a broader range of military electronics thereby enhancing the overall value to the DoD Services.  These synthetic instruments were incorporated in the CTMA test station to expand the parametric stimulus and measurement envelope of the equipment and enable testing through the X‑Band (12.4 GHz) frequency spectrum.  Several additional F-15 LRU TPSs were designed and integrated on the SI system to demonstrate the capability expansion.

This equipment was relocated to Seymour Johnson AFB where a 60-day user trial was conducted with USAF maintenance and Boeing engineering personnel.  The user trial demonstrated the performance of the SI equipment relative to existing test systems on several key performance parameters.

Solution/Approach: Use of the SI system for the initial F-15 LRUs was certified by Elmendorf.  Additional LRU TPSs were developed and tested during the User Trial at Seymour Johnson AFB.

Impact on Warfighter: As demonstrated at Elmendorf AFB and Seymour Johnson AFB once totally implemented, the system is more effective in the fault location, increased repair throughput (reduced mean-time-to-repair), simplified user interface, expanded use of on-line electronic documentation, increased reliability thereby decreasing the number of platforms out of service for repair.

DOD Participation:

  • U.S. Air Force (Seymour Johnson AFB)
  • U.S. Air Force (Hickam AFB, HQ PACAF/A4MYB)
  • U.S. Air Force (WR-ALC)
  • U.S. Air Force (Elmendorf AFB)

Industry Participation:

  • Boeing
  • Teradyne
  • NCMS