MIL-STD-461F (G) Test Methods and Compliance


Military and Aerospace Systems must comply with Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) requirements. MIL-STD-461F is applied to Department of Defense (DoD) procurements for equipment and subsystems. MIL-STD-461F test and evaluation methods will be presented, including system requirements, general requirements, test article configurations, and documentation. This course offers critical information for military compliance professionals, testing industry professionals, and developers involved with electronics systems development. Instruction for each of the test methods in MIL-STD-461 test and measurement methods along with analysis of the test results will be covered. This 3-day course provides detailed focus on performing the testing, reducing and understanding the data and managing test problems. It features practical methods to address the complexity of the standard configuration along with concepts to manage the unusual product types. Courses are presented at our facilities and on-site for multiple government and industrial clients.

What you will learn:

  • Details on test methods, purpose, test execution, data reduction and analysis
  • How to prepare for the test and configuration management
  • Tailoring the test approach to meet unique product evaluation needs
  • How to assess operation of automated test equipment for proper operation
  • How to develop alternative approaches to overcome technical obstacles
  • How to obtain data to guide design changes to resolve compliance issues

Course Outline:

  1. Introduction. Basic concepts of EMI/EMC, how problems affect mission operations, understanding the electromagnetic environment, relating the military and commercial evaluation methods and measurements with a primer on decibel units and conversion.
  2. MIL-STD-464. System level requirements are specified with a direct call-out for MIL-STD-461 evaluation for sub-assemblies and functional components. System level requirements including ESD and Lightning must be understood to support the MIL-STD-461 test methods.
  3. Data Item Descriptions. Details on plans, reports and analysis documents are associated with both MIL-STD-464 and MIL-STD-461 with content defined. Document preparation is such a vital part of the overall EMI/EMC evaluation including the variations used, tailoring requirements and communicating conditions for integration or issue resolution that is an essential element of this course.
  4. Test Requirements. The general and facility requirements are examined to support “standard” test and measurement methods are used. These critical parameters form the basis for all test locations to obtain comparable results. Failure to consider these elements renders the test results as not useable.
  5. Emissions. Emissions tests are normally well defined with pass/fail based on signal measurements. Test article operation can impact measurement instrument settings, compensation for intentional radiators to prevent overload and measurement error from saturation require an understanding of receiver operation. Antenna and probe placement and the use correction and conversation factors impact the results.
  6. Susceptibility. Evaluation on how the Electromagnetic Environment affects system operation is the basis of susceptibility testing. Generation and control of interference at test levels with multiple control parameters are used for susceptibility tests. The use of automated tools have lead many test engineers and technicians into a lack of understanding the test – this course returns into understanding what is being accomplished by the automation and how to obtain data outside of the automation. The course material includes sample Excel spreadsheets to ease the math burden while providing insight into the data measurements – student handouts include the spreadsheets.
  7. Open Forum: Although the course material provides for an intense presentation, time is allotted to work with specific student issues and questions. The instructor is versed on accomplishing the tests, developing procedures and design support for compliance so questions are addressed.
  8. MIL-STD-461G: MIL-STD-461G has been out for review and public comment and is currently back in the committee’s hands with release expected this year This course will include discussion regarding the new test methods and updates to existing methods.


If this course is not on the current schedule of open enrollment courses and you are interested in attending this or another course as an open enrollment, please contact us at (410)956-8805 or Please indicate the course name, number of students who wish to participate. and a preferred time frame. ATI typically schedules open enrollment courses with a 3-5 month lead time. For on-site pricing, you can use the request an on-site quote form, call us at (410)956-8805, or email us at


  • Steven G. Ferguson is an Executive V.P. of a testing lab and has been working in the compliance test arena for over 35 years at test laboratories and manufacturing companies designing products, developing procedures and performing tests. He presents various courses on EMI/EMC compliance including EMC for Nuclear Power Facilities, Architectural Shielding, a hands-on course MIL-STD-461 testing, Electrical Safety evaluations and Environmental testing. He is an iNARTE Certified EMC Engineer and administers the iNARTE approved testing center.

    Contact this instructor (please mention course name in the subject line)

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