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MIL-STD-461G EMC/EMI Product Emissions and Immunity Compliance Testing

As a leader in military electromagnetic compatibility compliance testing, Keystone Compliance assists manufacturers with MIL-STD EMC testing. Meeting the MIL-STD-461 testing requirements can be challenging. Not only do we understand the challenges, but we help guide companies through the process.

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Summary of MIL-STD-461G Lab Testing

MIL-STD-461G establishes interface and associated verification requirements for the control of EMC/EMI emission and susceptibility characteristics. These characteristics come from electronic, electrical, and electromechanical equipment and subsystems designed for use by activities and agencies of the Department of Defense (DoD).

The unintentional radiator MIL-STD-461 standard is most appropriate for items with the following features:

  • Electronic enclosures that are no larger than an equipment rack.
  • Electrical interconnections that are discrete wiring harnesses between enclosures.
  • Electrical power input derived from prime power sources.

MIL-STD 461 EMC unintentional radiator testing should not be directly applied to items such as modules located inside electronic enclosures or entire platforms. However, this standard is useful as a basis for developing suitable requirements for those applications. Data item requirements are also included.

The applicability of emission and susceptibility requirements is dependent upon the types of equipment or subsystems and their intended installation. The test procedures in MIL-461G testing are generic methods and should be adapted as necessary for each application. The standard, however, must maintain its initial implementations.

Scope of MIL-STD 461 Compliance Testing of EMC Devices

Electronic, electrical, and electromechanical equipment and subsystems must comply with the applicable general interface requirements. These interface requirements of unintentional radiators include:

  • Filtering (Navy only)
  • Joint procurement
  • Self-compatibility 
  • Non-developmental items (NDI)
  • Government furnished equipment
  • Switching transients
  • Interchangeable modular equipment

Generic terms are used openly within each RF compliance 461-test and EMC standard. The common terminology may include:

Above deck – All shipboard areas outside the skin of the ship which are continuously exposed to the external electromagnetic environment.

Below deck – Areas in ships that are surrounded by a metallic structure such as the hull or superstructure of metallic surface ships, the screened areas or rooms of non-metallic ships, the screened areas of ships utilizing a combination of metallic/non-metallic material for hull and superstructure or a deck mounted metallic shelter.

Exposed below deck – Areas within the skin of the ship that have electrically large openings which when open expose the equipment and cables in those spaces to the external electromagnetic environment. This can also include spaces that are surrounded by material that does not have at least as much shielding effectiveness as the structure. Examples of these areas may include the bridge, hangar, boat bay, mooring stations, and intakes, and uptake trunks.

External installation – An equipment location on a platform which is exposed to the external electromagnetic environment (EME), such as an aircraft cockpit which does not use electrically conductive treatments on the canopy or windscreen, electronic systems mounted outside of a tactical ground platform.

Flight-line equipment – Any support equipment that is attached to or used next to an aircraft during pre-flight or postflight operations, such as uploading or downloading data, maintenance diagnostics, or equipment functional testing.

Internal installation – An equipment location on a platform which is totally inside an electrically conductive structure, such as a typical avionics bay in aluminum skin aircraft, metallic hull of a tactical ground platform.

Non-developmental item (NDI) – Non-developmental item is a broad, generic term that covers material available from a wide variety of sources both industry and Government with little or no development effort required by the procuring activity.

Safety critical – Unless otherwise defined in the procurement specification, a term applied to a condition, event, operation, process, or item whose proper recognition, control, performance or tolerance is essential to safe system operation or use; for example, safety critical function, safety critical path, or safety critical component. A term also used when a failure or malfunction of a system or subsystem can cause death or serious injury to personnel.

Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) Emission and Susceptibility Requirements, Limits, and Test Procedures

Individual emission or susceptibility requirements and their associated limits and test procedures are grouped together. The applicable frequency range and limit of many emission and susceptibility requirements varies depending on the particular platform or installation. The military standard test procedures included are valid for the entire frequency range specified in the conducted emissions (CE) procedure. However, testing only needs to be performed over the frequency range specified for the particular platform or installation.

Keystone Compliance Offers Expert EMI Equipment and Military Testing

From concept through compliance, Keystone meets all of our customer needs under one roof. Ready to get started? We are. Contact us to see why so many companies work with us to achieve their RF and MIL-STD 461 lab testing needs. Request a quote to find out for yourself about the Keystone difference. 

This partnership approach has helped make Keystone Compliance one of the fastest-growing labs in the industry. Contact us to start a partnership to the best MIL-STD-461 test laboratory in the country.


Included below is a list of some of the specific test requirements in the standard as well as a list of the various versions of MIL-461.

MIL-STD-461 Tests:

CE101: Conducted Emissions, audio frequency currents, power leads.

CE102: Conducted Emissions, radio frequency potential, power leads.

CE106: Conducted Emissions, antenna port.

CS101: Conducted Susceptibility, power leads.

CS103: Conducted Susceptibility, antenna port, intermodulation.

CS104: Conducted Susceptibility, antenna port, rejection of undesired signals.

CS105: Conducted Susceptibility, antenna port, cross modulation.

CS106: Conducted Susceptibility, transients, power leads

CS109: Conducted Susceptibility, structure current.

CS114: Conducted Susceptibility, bulk cable injection.

CS115: Conducted Susceptibility, bulk cable injection, impulse excitation.

CS116: Conducted Susceptibility, damped sinusoid transients, cables and power leads.

CS117: Conducted Susceptibility, lightning transients, cables and power leads.

CS118: Conducted Susceptibility Personnel Borne Electrostatic Discharge.

RE101: Radiated Emissions, magnetic field.

RE102: Radiated Emissions, electric field.

RE103: Radiated Emissions, antenna spurious and harmonic outputs.

RS101: Radiated Susceptibility, magnetic fields.

RS103: Radiated Susceptibility, electric field.

RS105: Radiated Susceptibility, transient, electromagnetic field.