Military and aerospace programs require standardized testing in accordance to various military specifications for quality assurance. This means that all parts need to be screened before integration. This often includes upscreening and specialized application-based tests. While competent in the assembly area, this component-level minutia can oftentimes be the Achilles heel of a busy RF/microwave production team or an inexperienced outsource. A robust engineering and production test lab is an expensive department to install and maintain.

Equipment, such as vector network analyzers (VNA) for S-parameter analysis, spectrum analyzers for noise figure and IP3, power meters for P1dB and specialized environmental and thermal test chambers, must be operated and maintained by expert personnel in order to deliver the promised fidelity of measurement required by military standards (MIL-STDs). Additionally, a test department typically requires a wide variety of tests, test setups, lab equipment and lab space. For example, a high frequency space application that includes an assembly operating at Ka-Band would require the entire test bench and its respective set of connectors and adapters to operate at that frequency as well.

If testing and upscreening might be your Achilles heel, look for an RF/microwave outsource partner that is fully committed to high frequency assembly and testing. They should be able to convincingly demonstrate the breadth of bands they can test to and the caliber of their testing capabilities. When they are as good as or even better equipped than your own internal testing team, they can become an incredible asset in helping you reach your delivery goals.