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For decades, the automatic test community has worked to develop hardware standardization and interface protocols that aid in mitigating the impact of equipment obsolescence on the repair and maintenance mission. The traditional view of Test Program Set (TPS) transportability in this environment has always been one of migrating a legacy TPS to a new hardware architecture design born out of a need to replace aging technology or provide new test capability. The Department of Defense (DoD) has recognized the benefit of standardizing automatic test systems (ATS) through policy guidance whose intent is to drive the services to a common configuration test environment, thereby reducing life cycle sustainment costs for all DoD systems. Today, hardware standardization has advanced to the point that many ATS look and function very similar to one another. However, there are two major hurdles that continuously thwart our efforts to develop a standard core test system, the lack of a standard UUT interface and the lack of an open architecture software design that facilitates operations in any environment and on any test system architecture. Automatic Test Markup Language (ATML) provides promise with regards to the development of standardized test software interfaces. Developing a standard hardware configuration for all test requirements is ultimately achievable with the technology currently available today except for one simple but hugely significant hurdle, the cost involved in re-hosting the myriad of test program sets currently in existence. Therefore, any significant advance in common interface design has to take into account the need to minimize the impact to existing test program sets. This paper will seek to explore the various technological possibilities for overcoming the barriers to true TPS transportability that exist in today's automatic test community.
AUTOTESTCON, 2009 IEEE
Date of Conference: 14-17 Sept. 2009