At this week’s 2011 International Symposium on Electromagnetic Compatibility in Long Beach, CA, Fred Heather of the US Navy in Patuxent River, Maryland, gave an overview on the proposed addition of electrostatic discharge (ESD) and lightning testing to MIL-STD-461.  Heather is the Electromagnetic Environmental Effects (E3) Lead for the U.S. government’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Program.

Currently, MIL-STD-461 is at revision F, so the new standard version will be MIL-STD-461G.

The changes propose to add four additional tests:

  • CS106
  • CS117
  • RS107
  • RS108

These tests are primarily based on the requirements from RTCA/DO 160 sections 22 and 23. 

These changes are largely being driven by the use of composite materials in airframe construction, including that used in the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and Airbus A380.  Many composites don’t conduct lightning currents the way metal airframes do, leading to the possibility of higher voltages and currents affecting aircraft equipment.

The changes were proposed for revision F, except the Navy and Air Force reportedly couldn’t agree on pin injection testing, thus delaying its implementation.

Read more about the requirements of MIL-STD-461 and other military EMC tests.

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