Astronics Test Systems, the Future of Tactical Radio Test Solutions

ATS-3100 RTS
The ATS-3100 RTS enables seamless transition from depot to field due to a common test executive and software framework.

Astronics Test Systems provides a unified radio testing experience that enables you to migrate seamlessly from a portable field solution to a bench top solution.

With a similar look and feel, the user environment is simplified and creates an intuitive experience moving between platforms. The portable and bench instruments provide the ability to conduct automated test applications and manual testing giving technicians the flexibility needed depending on the job.

Communication is essential when failure could put lives at stake. In these scenarios, tactical radios are the backbone. Their ability to securely and reliably communicate and exchange data anytime, anywhere is key to operational success.

For mission critical communications over the past few decades, the United States and its allies have used SINCGARS radios. Although the use of SINCGARS radios is still common, many are now migrating to the next generation of the tactical radio ecosystem. New Software Defined Radios (SDR) and waveforms such as TrellisWare, provide additional performance and capabilities to aid in the ever-advancing battlefield.

Radio testing continues to be mission-critical for troops throughout the world and is a requirement to ensure operational readiness. To achieve this goal, it is necessary to support multiple types of radios and waveforms in an automated manner and create a test strategy to meet the complexities faced in modern theater.

Historically, the soldier in the field experiences a fault and returns the tactical radio to the depot (or highly specialized repair facility) or the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) facilities for repair. Once received, the tactical radio must undergo standardized test to assess pass/fail before a repair is initiated. This test assessment frequently produces a no-fault-found (NFF) or cannot duplicate (CND) result.

The NFF and CND problem is costly, especially when considering that >20% of tactical radios returned for repair are defect-free. The asset downtime is also significant, in some cases taking 9 months or longer to be put back in the field. As complexity increases in next generation tactical radios, the number of NFF and CND’s will increase. As an example, with 20,000 fielded radios, it would cost $5k or more for an assessment per radio, creating costs of $100M per year. This creates further logistical pressure due to turn-around times and impact on spares analysis.

By forward-deploying instrumentation to screen returns before they’re sent back to the depot, it is easy to justify the business case for an investment in a test strategy. Astronics Test Systems can help you define that strategy.

CTS 6010
The CTS-6010 enables seamless transition from depot to field due to a common test executive and software framework.

The CTS-6010 combines 16+ instruments into a portable tester for over-the-air and connected TPS execution for field testing of communication systems. This comprehensive solution provides capabilities that save time, cost, and dramatically reduce the number of “no fault found” radios. Additional benefits are in the total cost of ownership over the product lifecycle through maintenance and calibration savings.

The ATS-3100 RTS is a PXIe-based, benchtop solution that is a software-defined platform, handling the work of multiple instruments to verify the functionality of both legacy radios (e.g. SINCGARS) and modern wideband radios (e.g. AN/PRC-117G, AN/PRC-163, AN/PRC-148C) from virtually any Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM). Developed with the user in mind, the ATS-3100 RTS and the portable, CTS-6010 share a common software framework and test executive. This synergy from depot to field allows the user to focus on the task at hand and increase overall operational efficiency.

Astronics Test Systems, with its next generation of the ATS-3100 RTS, has been down selected by the US Army to move forward in production as the preferred bidder for the TS-4549/T program. This program will replace the aging GRM-122 radio test equipment for tactical radios in the U.S. Army.

The CTS-6010, ATS-3100 RTS, and TS-4549/T systems will be on display in booth 8307 at AUSA 2022 along with additional Astronics Test Systems products that include the ATS-6100 Wire Fault Tester and PinPoint circuit board diagnostics tester.

Learn more about military radio test solutions from Astronics Test Systems.