1) What is the elevator speech for Marvin Test Solutions?
It’s pretty simple. Our motto is “we make test easy.” It’s been the focus of the company since its founding in 1988, and it’s still our guiding principle today.
At Marvin Test Solutions, we make test easy for military, aerospace and manufacturing organizations globally by creating innovative test solutions, often employing both our ability and willingness to customize solutions to meet our customers’ demanding requirements.
Our expertise delivering military-aerospace precision underpins our manufacturing solutions, enabling us to quickly meet our customers’ requirements with high performance solutions ranging from our software to full turnkey systems, backed by our unrivaled long-term customer support.
2) Give us a brief history of the company. Was it independent before becoming part of the Marvin Group?
Since its founding as Geotest, Inc. in 1988, the company's singular focus has been to make test easy for automated functional test customers, by creating innovative solutions combined with unrivaled long-term support.
Early integration projects included an environmental monitoring system for NASA’s Spacecraft Assembly Building at JPL and a test system for water heaters to calculate the products’ annual energy consumption. ATEasy, the company's flagship software product and the test industry's most advanced test development and test executive suite, was introduced in 1991, followed by many high performance PC-based test instruments in 1992.
The founders of Geotest recognized both the emergence of PC-based instruments as the ideal future test platform and the advantages of a modular approach to designing test solutions. Our commitment to industry standard modular architectures led to early participation in the PXI Systems Alliance. By 2004, the company’s PXI portfolio exceeded 100 products.
Early in its formation, the founders demonstrated expertise in the field of military armament test, often supporting the Marvin Engineering Company. In fact, they designed and developed the first PC-based field armament test set for Hellfire Missile Launchers in 1992. Ultimately, the U.S. Army deployed the system worldwide by the mid-1990s. And the company’s first depot-level test set was deployed in 1994.
The company was acquired by the Marvin Engineering Company in 1997 and renamed Geotest – Marvin Test Systems. That name remained until the company rebranded in 2013 to the name known across the globe today: Marvin Test Solutions (MTS). As a member of The Marvin Group, an award-winning group with more than 58 years of experience in the defense and aerospace industries, Marvin Test Solutions has test systems deployed worldwide in support of most major military aircraft and munitions.
Today, MTS designs and develops some of the most advanced armament turnkey test solutions and automated test equipment (ATE) systems available on the flightline, in the back shop and at the depot, supporting the lifecycle sustainment of advanced armament and munitions.
3) What markets do you serve?
We serve military, aerospace and manufacturing organizations, including semiconductor manufacturers. We’ve found that our deep mil-aero expertise has been invaluable creating solutions for the semiconductor industry.
While the overwhelming majority of our business over the decades and today results from serving military and aerospace customers, today our semiconductor business is rapidly growing, especially in 5G production test systems.
4) Give us a few examples of your fielded systems and what they test.
On the military side, our products and services are being used worldwide by domestic and international military forces to support mission-critical armament and munitions systems. For example, we are the sole supplier of Maverick Missile and Launcher test equipment (various MTS-206 and MTS-916) at the organizational and intermediate levels since 2004, with systems deployed in over 30 countries. And since 2011, our most versatile and easy to use MTS-3060A handheld flightline universal armament test set is now deployed in 12 countries, and that number is growing rapidly.
MTS tailors solutions to meet the requirements throughout the lifecycle of armament, from production to the flightline and field, to the back shop and to the depot. Our test sets are designed to support our customers’ test requirements for maintenance and sustainment of smart weapon systems, including LGB, JDAM, SDB and Hellfire and Maverick Missiles, as well as their armament for F-35, A-10, F-16, F-15, F-18, F-5, Hawk, Air Tractor aircraft and AH-64, as well as other helicopters.
When it comes to aerospace, we offer a wide selection of modular test instrumentation and systems based on the PXI architecture. Our GENASYS series of test solutions includes benchtop and rack-based PXI configurations that can address test requirements ranging from avionics test and repair to the production testing of the world’s most advanced satellites.
We are rapidly fielding our GENASYS Semiconductor Series of test solutions to meet the demanding and constantly evolving 5G mmWave requirements of design and production.
5) Are your test systems all designed for specific programs?
MTS designs and develops a wide range of test systems to address both specific end user applications, as well as for general purpose use. We embrace modular open systems architecture (MOSA) based on the PXI standard. Therefore, we design and develop individual 3U and 6U instruments and switching cards that are general purpose in nature. For example, the GX2065 DMM, GX3104 multi-channel SMU, GX5295 dynamic digital I/O and the GX6188 high density matrix switch cards can then be utilized by a wide variety of customers to meet specific test applications.
We also offer preconfigured functional test solutions for analog, digital, mixed signal and avionics applications. The GENASYS Benchtop Series is a preconfigured, modular test platform that meets these test needs. Based on the GX7102A PXI platform, the TS-700 series of testers offers test engineers a preconfigured, compact, 3U/6U system which includes all of the required functionality needed to support the development of a functional test application including a system self-test and a high pin count tester interface. The TS-700 system is “application ready” from day one, allowing customers to focus on developing applications rather than developing the test system.
MTS also designs and manufactures test systems for specific end user applications such as 5G
mmWave semiconductor test. The GENASYS Semiconductor TS-900e-5G provides proven 44 GHz signal delivery to the device under test, while meeting the high throughput production demands of outsourced semiconductor assembly and test. It combines gap-free RF measurements with a high performance receiver interface to achieve unrivaled production test throughput, for packaged and wafer mmWave devices. Similarly, the TS-323 GENASYS test system addresses a broad range of mil-aero and mission-critical products that require high performance functional testing.
We deliver military and aerospace turnkey test solutions that are purpose built, employing commercial off-the-shelf products to the maximum extent possible. MTS is extremely customer-centric and ensure we build expansion and upgrade capacity into our solutions. Our focus on growth and sustainment stems from the fact that we are an aerospace test and measurement company and realize that militaries are continuously modernizing and expanding their capabilities. We ensure we will support them throughout the entire lifecycle of their weapons systems.
For example the MTS-3060A SmartCan is the most advanced handheld flightline armament test set available, capable of testing all Alternate Mission Equipment (AME) and Aircraft Armament Equipment (AAE), including pylons, bomb racks and launchers. Additionally, the MTS-235A is the only production and depot-level test set deployed supporting F-35 Lightning II AME. It is both rugged and portable, designed for back shop use if the F-35 program evolves beyond the current O&D level of armament maintenance test.
6) Tell us more about your 5G mmWave semiconductor test systems. What makes them unique?
Our 5G mmWave solutions are leading the market for beamforming device test. We understand the challenges that customers face in moving from lab to production test, including the speed and throughput requirements that they need to be successful, in addition to reliability and scalability to meet evolving requirements. Our MOSA approach allows us to configure the ideal system for a customer’s most demanding test needs.
7) In addition to your 5G mmWave test systems, do you provide other products and systems for the semiconductor market?
In addition to our modular off-the-shelf PXI instrumentation and chassis products for customers who prefer to configure their own systems, we developed the MTEK (Marvin Test Expansion Kit) series, a PXI-based, cost-effective, open architecture add-on solution that can be readily integrated with a legacy ATE platform, providing advanced digital, analog or RF test capabilities to extend the life of the system and preserve existing test assets for both packaged and wafer test applications. Designed to support both engineering and high volume production installations, MTEK is easy to integrate and features a suite of included software tools, as well as an optional file import tool for importing and converting STIL, WGL, VCD, eVCD and ATP file formats.
8) Reducing development time and designing in agility for upgrades of technology are major goals for new military systems. Does your product development strategy also support this? For example, do you use common hardware or software platforms to reduce development time and cost for your customers?
The best example is the MTS-3060A SmartCan. The SmartCan possesses great expansion capability beyond the currently fielded smart munitions and associated armament, as well as being the most cybersecure armament test solution on the flightline today.
ATEasy provides the operating system for the SmartCan and allows our customers to rapidly build new TPSs as new capabilities are added to their weapon systems. Its cybersecurity tools and capabilities include user account control and encryption options to guard against unauthorized access, hacking, code corruption and malicious changes. ATEasy complies with all applicable requirements of the DoD’s Application Security and Development Security Technical Implementation Guide.
9) How do you support your systems once they are fielded (e.g., calibration and maintenance)?
MTS deploys all of our military test solutions with built-in calibration checking capability and, often, the ability to be calibrated at the user’s location. However, many of our customers prefer for us to perform required periodic calibration and maintenance for them, as we provide in-depth troubleshooting and rapid repair and return of their systems. MTS has an extensive portfolio of extended warranties available to meet our customers’ requirements, ranging from the work being performed in our facility to on-site at the customer’s location.
MTS has also developed an innovative online support tool, M@GIC Tech Support that has been deployed for over 20 years. M@GIC provides access to a wide range of technical support tools to simplify many of our customers’ interactions, including incident reporting and tracking, licensing, installation, RMA creation and tracking and bug reporting. Importantly, M@GIC is built on a process of direct communications with technical support engineers and sales professionals as required. We also provide our customers with an extensive knowledge base repository of white papers and technical documents, as well as user forums.
MTS developed CalEasy, a full-featured calibration executive software package to support the verification and calibration of Marvin Test Solutions instruments. The software is intended for use by users that prefer to perform in-house calibration and verification for their Marvin Test Solutions instruments. By calibrating or verifying the instrument in-house, the time and cost associated with returning an instrument to Marvin Test Solutions for calibration service can be eliminated or reduced.
CalEasy is also used internally by Marvin Test Solutions’ production to perform initial calibration and to recalibrate the instrument when received for service. This ensures that user and factory calibration performance is similar. Depending on the specific instrument, standards instrumentation supported for calibration/verification includes a DMM and a frequency standards module.
10) A major challenge for long-running military programs is replacing obsolescent components. How do you address the same issue with your test systems?
As an aerospace test and measurement company, MTS understands the long-term availability and support requirements of military and aerospace users, and we strive to deliver products and solutions that satisfy their lifecycle requirements.
Supporting our customers is a primary goal for MTS. Our dedication, expertise, responsiveness and long-term availability and maintainability are all part of our customer-centric approach. We recognize that support is a long-term commitment and includes obsolescence and diminished manufacturing sources management, providing our customers with unrivaled long-term support for all of our products and test solutions. We do not let our customers’ solutions go obsolete and have proved it over the decades.
Unlike other suppliers, MTS does not discontinue products after a few short years. Our goal is to quickly deliver full spectrum, successful test solutions. We make test, maintenance and sustainment of the most mission-critical systems easier and faster. Therefore, we have made the simple, yet invaluable, decision to continue producing and supporting our products as long as our customers need them.
All PXI instruments introduced by MTS since 1999 are still available today, despite the typical lifecycle of PXI products from other manufacturers of only three to five years. MTS is legendary for supporting our customers and delivering spares and engineering support for our test solutions deployed over the decades, providing unprecedented peace of mind to our customers worldwide.
ATEasy Test Executive and Development Studio, first introduced in 1991, continues to lead the industry in features and performance. Version 10 is the current release and it also illustrates our commitment to unrivaled long-term support, including backward compatibility with all prior versions. Sustained development activities continue to push the boundaries in test development software incorporating advanced cybersecurity and support for multiple operating systems.
Customers also rely on MTS to help manage and extend the life of legacy ATE systems without costly test program set (TPS) re-hosting and requalification. MTS has established a reputation for being the 100 percent form, fit, function drop-in replacement experts. By delivering drop-in replacements for complex instrumentation—including signal sources, synthesizers, pulse generators and arbitrary waveform generators—MTS is often able to extend test system service life, avoiding large capital refresh investment.
11) Your business is part of Marvin Group. Do you work closely with other segments in the group?
12) Tell us about your background and what led you to join Marvin Test Solutions.
I served in the USAF for nearly 34 years and had the opportunity to develop deep and wide operational expertise across the Joint Warfighting spectrum of capabilities. During my final years on active duty, I commanded the Air Force’s Operational Test and Evaluation enterprise. In that capacity, I oversaw the operational test of over $765 billion worth of military programs for both domestic and international warfighters. Therefore, I developed strong relationships across many aerospace and defense companies and the militaries they served. That led Marvin’s long-time business partner, Mr. Jerry Friedman, to invite me to join the Marvin Group in 2012, shortly after I retired from military service.
13) Describe your leadership philosophy and how it facilitates the culture you want to develop with your team.
I am a people first, mission always, servant leader who focuses on empowering the individuals that make up our team with the resources and support they need to be able to grow and develop, while propelling MTS to greater heights—while always maintaining focus on making our customers successful. I treat our team and customers with respect. All the while, never forgetting to have fun as we go.