EMC Laboratory: MIL-STD 461

MIL-STD 461: EMC test laboratory

What is MIL-STD 461?

MIL-STD 461 is a military standard established by the U.S. Department of Defence that defines electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) requirements for electronic and electrical systems and equipment. This standard establishes specific limits on the allowable electromagnetic emission and immunity of equipment to ensure that it operates safely and efficiently without being affected by or causing electromagnetic interference (EMI).

What types of tests are performed?

MIL-STD 461 defines a series of EMC tests that target various aspects of electromagnetic emission and immunity. The specific tests may vary, depending on the specific operating conditions and requirements of the equipment under test, but may include the following:

  • Emission tests: These tests measure the amount of electromagnetic energy emitted by a device or system to ensure it remains within specified limits.
  • Immunity tests: these tests evaluate the ability of a device or system to function properly even when exposed to electromagnetic fields above normal operating conditions.
  • Antenna Scanning Tests: These tests evaluate the ability of an antenna to receive and transmit a signal without being affected by electromagnetic interference.


Examples of practical use of MIL-STD 461 in defense applications

An example of the application of MIL-STD 461 might be the testing of a radar system in a combat aircraft. This system would have to pass emissions tests to ensure that it does not emit excessive electromagnetic energy that could interfere with other systems. Similarly, it would be subjected to immunity tests to evaluate its ability to function properly even when exposed to strong electromagnetic fields. Another example might be the testing of communications equipment used by ground troops. These devices must be able to communicate clearly and efficiently, even in an environment with high electromagnetic noise or interference. MIL-STD 461 testing would ensure that these devices can perform their function under these conditions. Underwater Communications Systems: In the Navy, communications systems are used that must function underwater. Here, MIL-STD 461 testing would be important to ensure that the system can function effectively despite the surrounding water serving as a conductor for electromagnetic energy. The tests would assess, among other things, immunity to electromagnetic interference and the emission of interference that could interfere with other systems. Medical equipment used in military applications: medical equipment used in military applications must also comply with MIL-STD 461. These devices, such as mobile x-ray equipment or medical monitoring systems, must ensure that they can operate reliably under all environmental conditions without causing or being affected by electromagnetic interference. Compliance with MIL-STD 461 would help ensure the functionality and safety of these critical devices.

Who needs MIL-STD 461?

Manufacturers of electronic and electrical systems intended for defense use must comply with MIL-STD 461. This covers a wide range of equipment and systems, including radar systems, communications equipment, weapons systems and more. In addition, compliance with MIL-STD 461 may also be relevant to manufacturers in civilian industries, particularly in areas where electromagnetic interference may be a concern, such as aerospace, healthcare, and telecommunications.

Conclusion / Summary:

MIL-STD 461 is a comprehensive electromagnetic compatibility standard that plays a central role in ensuring the safety and efficiency of electronic and electrical systems. It ensures that these systems can operate safely and effectively without being affected by or causing electromagnetic interference. As a testing laboratory, we offer comprehensive services to verify compliance with MIL-STD 461. We can help you prove the quality of your products and meet the stringent requirements of this standard. This can help build your customers' confidence and improve your competitive position, especially in markets where compliance with EMC standards is critical.

Head of EMC Laboratory, Carsten Möller

Carsten Möller

Carsten Möller

Head of EMC Laboratory

Carsten Möller
B. Sc.

Contact us! Phone: +49 (0)40 709 73 76 - 0 or e-mail: