The Essentials of Military Standard EMC Compliance: What Electronic Manufacturers Need to Know

In the world of military electronics, where the reliability and functionality of equipment can have life-or-death consequences, ensuring electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) is not just good engineering practice — it's imperative.

EMC signifies the ability of electronic equipment to operate within its environment without causing or succumbing to electromagnetic interference (EMI). For military applications, this encompasses a broad spectrum of operations, from the desolate silence of a submarine’s control room to the electrically chaotic deck of an aircraft carrier.

The MIL-STD-461G Standard

MIL-STD-461G standard is the latest version and defines the stringent requirements for EMC in military equipment.

“This standard establishes interface and associated verification requirements for the control of the electromagnetic interference (EMI) emission and susceptibility characteristics of electronic, electrical, and electromechanical equipment and subsystems designed or procured for use by activities and agencies of the Department of Defense (DoD).”

Adherence to this standard helps ensure that electronic components will not only tolerate operational conditions but also prevent EMI that could compromise the performance of nearby devices or systems.

Common Types of EMC Tests in MIL-STD-461G

MIL-STD-461G includes a suite of tests each aimed at a specific potential EMC issue:

  • Radiated Emissions (RE101/RE102): These tests measure the electromagnetic energy emitted by equipment to ensure that it doesn't exceed specified limits.

  • Conducted Emissions (CE101/CE102): These tests assess the electrical noise that equipment can generate onto power and signal lines that might affect the performance of other systems.

  • Radiated Susceptibility (RS101/RS103): These procedures test an item’s ability to operate when exposed to strong electromagnetic fields, which could otherwise cause malfunctions.

  • Conducted Susceptibility (CS101/CS106/CS114): These tests challenge the equipment's resistance to disturbances, such as surges and transients, on power and signal lines.

Preparing for Compliance

Compliance with MIL-STD-461G is not a trivial endeavor and should be integrated into the product's design phase:

  • Design Considerations for EMC: Manufacturers should incorporate EMC considerations early in the design process, including the selection of components, layout, shielding, filtering, and grounding.

  • Pre-Compliance Testing: Early and ongoing testing can identify and mitigate potential compliance issues before formal testing, saving time and expense.

  • Documentation and Record Keeping: Detailed records of design decisions, test results, and corrective actions are essential for demonstrating compliance efforts.

  • Understanding the Role of Accredited Testing Laboratories: Accredited testing laboratories, like Green Mountain Electromagnetics (GME), play a crucial role in providing unbiased testing services and authoritative results for certification purposes.


Achieving EMC compliance under the MIL-STD-461G standard is not just about meeting a regulatory requirement; it's about assuring the functionality and dependability of military electronics in the field.

Electronics that pass these rigorous tests gain a significant competitive advantage, proving their reliability and robustness under the most challenging conditions. Implementing best practices for EMC compliance ensures that electronic products will stand up to the high-stakes demands of military operations.


For manufacturers aiming to meet the exacting demands of military-grade EMC compliance, the journey is complex but crucial.

With over 30 years of industry experience, Green Mountain Electromagnetics is your expert partner in navigating the intricacies of MIL-STD-461G.

Don't leave EMC compliance to chance; contact us today to ensure that your products meet the highest standards of electromagnetic compatibility