Creating a Highly Accurate Missile Launcher Test System with Streamlined Bustec LXI Carriers

The U.S. Army Ralph Scott/Missile Defense Agency/U.S. Department of Defense, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Company: Lockheed Martin Space Systems
Industry: Aerospace Test
Challenge: Developing a system to test missiles, ensuring fire control so that missiles fire only when launched and that the correct launch signals are directed to the corresponding missiles.
Solution: Using ProDAQ LXI function card carriers and function cards to create a compact missile launcher test system with highly accurate data acquisition and sampling.


The Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD), designed by Lockheed Martin, is a key element of the Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS) designed to defend U.S. troops, allied forces, population centers, and critical infrastructure. The ground-based missile defense system is rapidly deployable with high mobility, providing proven capability to commanders worldwide. In the system, Lockheed Martin powers up the THAAD missile and takes data using the missile power monitor. They then power down the missile, perform analysis on the data, power up the missile a second time and then launch the missile.

Lockheed Martin chose Bustec products in order to ensure quality testing of their missiles. Lockheed Martin has been using Bustec for six years prior to this application. Initially, Lockheed Martin based their system VXI, but since has made a simple switch to LXI to take advantage of the platform’s reduced size and cost while achieving the same performance.

By using the small form factor of the ProDAQ 6100 LXI function card carrier, Lockheed Martin is able to perform the launcher testing for thousands of dollars less than it would using a similar system with PXI or VXI. The LXI test system is compact, using only one carrier rather than the traditional PXI rack and chassis.

In addition, Lockheed Martin uses the ProDAQ 3416 16-channel, 24-bit, sigma-delta function card to achieve better accuracy and sampling at lower cost than other, similar products.

Lockheed Martin is using 96 channels in total monitoring of voltages and currents. They have implemented two ProDAQ 6100 function card carriers containing a total of four ProDAQ 3416 function cards, which totals 64 available channels in the missile power monitor. This system monitors voltages and currents to ensure the system is receiving power and operating properly. A third ProDAQ 6100 function card carrier contains two ProDAQ 3416 function cards with 32 total channels to function as the flight termination system that will disengage the system in the case of an emergency.

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