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Sustainment of legacy automatic test systems: lessons learned on TPS transportability

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1 Author(s)
Kennedy, C. ; Syst. & Electron., Inc., St. Louis, MO, USA

Sustainment of legacy automatic test systems (ATS) saves cost through the re-use of software and hardware. The ATS consists of the automatic test equipment (ATE), the test program sets (TPSs), and associated software. The associated software includes the architecture the TPSs run on, known as the control software or test station test executive. In some cases, to sustain the legacy ATS, it is more practical to develop a replacement ATE with the latest instrumentation, often in the form of commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware and software. The existing TPSs, including their hardware and test programs, then need to be transported, or translated, to the new test station. In order to understand how to sustain a legacy ATS by translating TPSs, one must realize the full architecture of the legacy ATS to be replaced. It must be understood that TPS transportability does not only include translating the original TPS from an existing language (such as ATLAS) to a new language (such as "C") to run on a new test station, but includes transporting the run-time environment created by the legacy ATS. This paper examines the similarities and differences of legacy ATE and modern COTS ATE architectures, how the ATS testing philosophy impacts the ease of TPS transportability from legacy ATE to modern-day platforms, and what SEI has done to address the issues that arise out of TPS transportability.

Published in:

Aerospace and Electronic Systems Magazine, IEEE  (Volume:20 ,  Issue: 4 )