INTERFERENCE Growth in naval systems’ integration demands EMC solutions

Words by Mark Currie, sales and marketing director, MPE W

hilst the technological demands of all defense applications are

constantly increasing, it is within naval platforms that UK EMC, EMP and Tempest filter manufacturer, MPE, has seen some significant developments in recent years. The increasing number of onboard naval command, control and communications systems has given rise to considerable compliance, interoperability and safety pressures, for fear of interference from nearby equipment systems. MPE’s filter solutions look to address these demands. One of MPE’s latest developments has been its ultra-low earth leakage filters within shipborne applications. The risk of electrical shock must be minimised for any personnel who may make contact with exposed phase lines in electrical systems. Such low earth leakage filters mitigate this risk. These filters are designed for use on mains supplies that have a dedicated neutral line and typical leakage current values between 15mA and 100mA. The very nature of naval platforms means that there is no such dedicated neutral line: specific ‘floating earth’ filters are required. In response, MPE has expanded its range of EMC filters with the development of ultra-low leakage powerline filters, possessing no neutral line. This range provides high levels of attenuation, from 100kHz right up to 18GHz, with properties from 6mA to 8mA. Such MPE filters are already utilised on many UK Navy assets, like Type 45 destroyers and Astute Class submarines. Installing satellite-based communications and electronic warfare systems has seen another specific development: the introduction of Tempest protection filters with ‘floating earth’ and low leakage properties.

from 100kHz right up to 10GHz, and with low line-to earth leakage properties from 16.6mA down to 3.6mA.

Mechanically, these filters incorporate

stainless steel enclosures: properties such as their enhanced corrosion resistance in marine environments ensure their strength, incorporating field-proven components as they appear in MPE’s other powerline filter ranges. These ultra-low leakage filters have already been designed into naval platforms like the QE Class aircraft carrier.

QE Class vessels required EMC filters, in

APPLICATIONS FOR TEMPEST Tempest is a code name considered to cover the protection of equipment systems and facilities against the interception of data signals by an enemy’s intelligence services. To prevent such ‘electronic eavesdropping’ of conducted signals, protection filters with suitable insertion loss performance are best utilised. Naval applications with Tempest

protection can typically include briefing rooms, radio rooms, electronic warfare hubs and command-and-control locations. Accordingly, in 2017, MPE developed a range of Tempest protection filters specifically for installation within such operational environments. This range supports system and equipment compliance, whilst meeting the overarching requirements of NATO Tempest SDIP-27 and SDIP-29 standards. Additionally, they meet the line capacitance limitations of DEF-STAN 59-411 and MIL-STD-461, designed to be compatible with a ship’s integral DC leakage detection systems. These filters include models from 16A through to 125A, providing high levels of attenuation


MPE’s ultra-low-leakage filter for defence and naval applications

order to filter the power supplies entering onboard Tempest compartments. In total, MPE supplied ten different designs from MPE’s low leakage performance ranges. Each filter was also mechanically customised with a bespoke earth stud design to suit the application. The future Type 26 frigate has similar needs for Tempest filters; MPE has developed and is supplying further customised filters variants for this platform. Looking ahead, the demand for low leakage Tempest filters, such as MPE’s, is only set to increase. Future communications technologies will require ever larger and more powerful radiating antenna and equipment systems. Therefore, defense suppliers are working toward solutions which consolidate such antennae into single units and integrated communications suites. It is this type of integration that is certain to present increased electromagnetic interference (EMI) issues and electromagnetic radiation, against which MPE hopes to act with its EMC filters.


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