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July 2008 edition

BAE Systems uses PXI and NI LabVIEW to develop an efficient RF cable test suite for the Eurofighter aircraft

By A. Kane, TBG Solutions Ltd. and J. Duncalf, BAE Systems

The challenge: Creating a new test suite for BAE Systems to efficiently characterise RF cables within major units of the Eurofighter aircraft.

The solution: Using the PXI/ CompactPCI platform and National Instruments LabVIEW software to design a simplified test system that increases productivity by facilitating more flexible testing.

The Eurofighter Typhoon is a state-of-the-art combat aircraft developed in cooperation with Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK. This sophisticated, next-generation fighter has been engineered to meet military needs for generations to come. BAE Systems, a leader in these types of joint programs, has been working with other leading aerospace companies to make sure the Eurofighter Typhoon is unparalleled in design and performance.

Developing an effective test suite for RF cables

BAE Systems needed a new test suite for more efficient RF cable characterisation within major units of the aircraft. These units, produced at BAE Systems Samlesbury, have high-performance coaxial cables that require testing prior to delivery to ensure that no damage has occurred during installation. Every cable has different operating frequency, cable length and routing characteristics, and each of these characteristics impacts performance.

The original method required specialist engineers to conduct testing, but this was expensive and it limited testing to a small window of time. However, a system in which shop operators conducted the tests would mean ....

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