Electrostatic discharge (ESD), or static electricity, as it is commonly known, can be potentially devastating to sensitive electronics. To ensure that weapon systems are hardened against damage from ESD, WSMR has the capability to perform both personnel-level (25,000 volts direct current [VDC]) and helicopter-level (350,000 VDC) ESD testing. Both tests are performed in accordance with TOP 1-2511.
The personnel-level ESD simulator used at WSMR is hand portable, which allows for discharge at any point on a system under test. Helicopter-level tests are performed by placing the item under test on nonconductive blocks, attaching one pole of a DC power supply to the item, and bringing a ground wand near enough to the test item to discharge the electrical charge.
Both personnel-level and helicopter-level ESD testing is done on a go/no-go basis; i.e., a system passes if it remains operational and safe after exposure to the ESD; otherwise, the system fails.
These helicopter tests are critical because helicopters and the items they transport can build up large charges of static electricity, as high as 350,000 VDC, as they fly through dust storms, winds, and clouds. When the helicopter lands, this electricity can discharge and cause extensive damage.
Electromagnetic Survivability Division(505) 678-8341 or (505) 678-5070DSN 258-8341