News | March 31, 2010

Aeroflex Introduces World's First Portable RF Radio Altimeter Test Set For Aircraft Flightline Test

Source: Aeroflex

Aeroflex recently introduced the ALT-8000, the world's first RF-based portable radio altimeter flightline test set. The ALT-8000 is a lightweight universal test set for 4.3 GHz FMCW (frequency modulated continuous carrier wave) radio altimeters and pulse radio altimeters with a large 12-inch color touch screen for ease of use.

The ALT-8000 is the first flightline test system of its kind. A breakthrough in avionics test technology, the ALT-8000 is an inexpensive, portable simulator for testing radio altimeters installed in aircraft and UAV (unmanned aerial vehicles). Until now, flightline test sets have not been RF-based and have only tested the analog or digital back-end of the receiver via test port signal injection. Existing RF based test systems have been confined to bench test applications and rely upon heavy, bulky and expensive delay lines to check altitude indications at one or two fixed points.

By contrast, the ALT-8000 is easy to use and can be carried to the flightline. The ALT-8000 may be directly coupled to the radio altimeter transmitter/receiver (TX/RX) ports or may be connected via supplied TX/RX antenna couplers, which accommodate most aircraft antenna variants. As a result, faulty radio altimeter system elements can be identified faster. Problems are identified with a positive diagnosis and a confirmed resolution, reducing NFF (no fault found) occurrences and reducing the airline LRUs (line replaceable units) inventory.

About the ALT-8000 radio altimeter flightline test set
RF simulation of radio altitude from -100 feet to +50,000 feet (+/- 1.5 foot accuracy) is provided and altitude rate may be set to provide a smooth ramping altitude simulation to verify decision heights and altitude trips, for auto-land systems and altitude data feed to EGPWS (enhanced ground proximity warning systems). Up to three ALT-8000 test sets may be linked via an altitude sync line for executing 2- or 3-channel coordinated altitude simulation for dual or triple installation auto-land system testing. The supplied antenna couplers allow the radio altitude system to be quickly verified, without access being required to test ports on the UUT (unit under test). The RF looped test verifies TX frequency, power, sweep rate; the RF level control provides the means to test the UUT sensitivity.

Features of the unique ALT-8000 include:

  • Testing capability for 4.3 GHz FMCW radio altimeters, including CDF (Constant Difference Frequency) types, a universal test set for all system variants, ARINC- 552 or ARINC-707, or custom;
  • Testing capability for 4.3 GHz (non-pulse compression) pulse radio altimeters;
  • Full RF loop test allows TX antenna or feeder faults to be identified by measuring TX power and frequency and sweep rate;
  • Programmable multi-leg climb and descend profiles to test auto-land systems with programmable, repeatable approach flare profile;
  • Altitude path loss simulation to ensure that the test environment replicates actual airborne conditions, allowing antenna bonding issues to be verified and test RX sensitivity.

About Aeroflex
Aeroflex Incorporated is a global provider of high technology solutions to the aerospace, defense, cellular and broadband communications markets. The Company's diverse technologies allow it to design, develop, manufacture and market a broad range of test, measurement and microelectronic products. Aeroflex Incorporated was founded in 1937 and today has more than 2,600 employees worldwide. For more information visit

SOURCE: Aeroflex