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Recognized for durability and reliability in the precision testing of electronic warfare (EW)/radar suites; electronic surveillance/countermeasures; radar warning systems; missile approach warning systems; and navigation/communication systems, W L Gore & Associates’ PHASEFLEX microwave/RF test assemblies provide the critical testing capabilities necessary for accurate and reliable testing.

Precision testing is critical in these complex environments, filled with electronic components and often difficult to manage in anything other than ideal conditions. Making accurate and reliable measurements requires microwave/RF cable assemblies that can be used in a controlled test lab and also in the field, directly on the aircraft’s flight-line test system. GORE PHASEFLEX microwave/RF test assemblies meet the most rigorous environmental challenges, including temperature changes, moisture, shock, vibration, mechanical stress and flexure. These cables endure constant coiling and uncoiling as well as being dragged, pulled, stepped on or even run over by carts. They have survived sharp edges, hinges, fuel, water and hydraulic fluids. In addition, during this exposure, they might be routed to, over, under and through the aircraft to connect to the device under test (DUT) without harm. They are available with assembly lengths up to 120ft, which is also necessary to reach many systems on the aircraft.

You can’t trust the product performance if you can't trust the test results. Testing must identify problem components and detect performance issues which may lead to intermittent failures in theater,” observed Gore’s product specialist, Chris Ericksen. “For example, when a pilot has identified a unit that has failed, the maintainer runs a check from inside the cockpit. If this self-test indicates a bad module or component, the technician will replace it as part of the troubleshooting process. However, that component may not have actually failed. The problem could be with the test cable assembly and not the DUT itself. This can create a multitude of problems, including replacing a perfectly good component (swaptronics), taking an aircraft off the flight schedule for longer than necessary, and wasting valuable troubleshooting time. The reliable electrical performance of our cables makes troubleshooting easier, faster, more efficient and, most importantly, more accurate. If test equipment issues are suspected, often it's due to the cable assembly, not the testing unit itself. And if you are testing with an inferior cable, you could be clearing aircraft for flight with components/systems that are out of spec. Alternatively, you may be delaying flights and missions, even though the components/systems are in-spec. The test cable isn’t going to impact the capability of the system under test, but it will allow you to get an accurate and reliable representation of that system […] We have been making RF cables for over 40 years. Within the last few years there has certainly been an increase of RF cable suppliers. Some even trying to make their cables look like ours. This really speaks to how much these assemblies are valued […] Also, we have heard from customers that these assemblies have proven to be long-lasting, providing precise and repeatable measurements which decreases their total operating cost by reducing cable replacements, retesting and recalibration. Our customers have shared that most of the alternative RF cables fail within one year, leading to the need to constantly replace them. In critical aerospace and defense testing environments, this is unacceptable and introduces serious questions around test data reliability/integrity," he concluded.

GORE PHASEFLEX test assemblies offer enhanced reliability and therefore credibility as far as the complex testing environment is concerned. (Photo: W L Gore & Associates)

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