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EMC, radio, environmental simulation and safety - RTCA DO-160

Mankind’s dream of flying has inspired an enormous amount of research into aviation – and led to today’s highly developed commercial and military aerospace industries.

As technology has advanced, so have the qualitatively and regulatory requirements imposed on aircraft, avionics and aviation as a whole. The main issues range from electromagnetic interference (EMI) to environmental factors such as air pressure, temperature and the direct and indirect effects of lightning, to vibration stresses on materials, components, and entire systems. In addition, the market now demands the use of novel materials in aircraft hulls. These offer higher stability combined with lower weight, and drive down costs in comparison to metals.

The three main causes of EMC (electromagnetic compatibility) issues are:

  • Thunderstorms
  • Heavy electromagnetic interference in air and space
  • Mutual electromagnetic interference between parts of a system

Due to the increased use of carbon fibre, the fuselage no longer acts as a Faraday cage, protecting against direct and indirect effects of lightning. Furthermore, system reliability under any conditions is of paramount importance – for example, during thunderstorms or heavy electromagnetic interference. Flight safety cannot be guaranteed unless all airborne equipment – from components to entire systems – has passed stringent tests.

Electromagnetic environmental effects (E3)

Our teams consist of internationally recognised experts in electromagnetic environmental effects (E3). We offer customers one-stop solutions from certification, consulting, engineering, research and development, to seminars and testing services. Tests are conducted at our comprehensively accredited test labs, or on-site at customer facilities anywhere in the world.

Core EMC (electromagnetic compatibility) tests include:

  • EMP: Electro-Magnetic Pulse
  • HERF: High Electric Radiated Fields
  • HIRF: High Intensity Radiated Fields
  • Indirect and direct effects of lightning
  • LEMP: Lightning Electromagnetic Pulse
  • NEMP: Nuclear Electromagnetic Pulse

Key developments and innovations behind our EMCC services include: 

  • Ability to generate (and simulate) direct lightning strikes greater than 200 kiloamps
  • Electrostatic discharge tests for discharges exceeding 300 kilovolts
  • HIRF tests with electric field strengths up to and exceeding 40,000 volts per metre

We conduct the following environmental simulation tests: 

  • Acceleration
  • Air pressure
  • Dust
  • Explosive decompression
  • Humidity
  • Rain
  • Salt spray and fog
  • Sand
  • Shock
  • Solar radiation
  • Temperature changes (high-to-low)
  • Vibration

Relevant standards

EMCC is a recognised expert and holds a wide range of accreditations. We offer comprehensive services in accordance with manufacturers‘ specifications and/or the following standards: 

  • DEF-STAN
  • EUROCAE
  • GAM
  • IEC 61000-4-25 and similar EMP specifications
  • MIL-STD
  • SAE
  • RTCA/DO-160
  • NATO-AECTP-250/500
  • VG

On request, we also provide testing in line with customer-specific requirements. Further standards are listed in the appendix to our ISO 17025 accreditation: Accreditation

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