Lightning Testing

The Worldwide Leader in Lightning Testing & Simulation

NTS is the world’s foremost authority in lightning testing. With the industry’s top thought leaders, you get to work side-by-side with experts who shape industry standards, sit on advisory boards, and author textbooks. Trusted by NASA and the FAA, NTS delivers best-in-class lightning testing at different locations throughout the United States.

Explore Lightning Testing at NTS

NTS uses generators capable of producing over 250,000 amperes and 2.4 million volts. Click on the interactive experience below to see the scope of NTS’s lightning testing and simulation services.

Built for the Modern World

Lightning takes many forms, each of which has different effects on electronic devices. As the modern world becomes dependent on more electronic devices and systems, NTS is leveraging its advanced lightning capabilities to ensure electronic equipment operates as intended when exposed to lightning phenomena. This is important because any electronic component is potentially susceptible to lightning damage. As sophisticated navigation and communication systems come to play a larger role in maintaining safe flight operations, for example, lightning testing becomes an increasingly important part of quality control for both military contractors and avionics equipment manufacturers. Accurately replicating the effect a lightning strike will have on a device is the only surefire way to measure its durability.

The Ultimate One-Stop Shop for Lightning Simulation 

Key lightning capabilities at NTS include:

Direct & Indirect Effects of Lightning

Lightning can affect avionics systems in two ways: directly, causing physical damage due to heat or shock, and indirectly, as a result of earth voltage rises occurring in the aftermath of a strike. Proper testing to ensure lightning strike protection must take into account both factors. NTS is uniquely prepared to ensure you are compliant with DO-160 Section 22, MIL-STD 461/464 and other relevant standards.

  • Direct Effects: NTS uses direct testing equipment, which consists of high voltage Marx-type impulse generators that are capable of producing up to 2.4 million volts, and high-current generators specially outfitted to produce over 200,000 amperes of current. Our Lightning Center of Excellence in Pittsfield, MA includes a high-bay laboratory measuring 40 by 120 feet, suitable for testing smaller aircraft and larger individual components.
  • Indirect Effects: Earth voltage rises can cause equipment failure in devices up to a kilometer away from the impact site. For this reason, it is essential to test sensitive electrical and electronic components against the indirect effects of a lightning strike. To do this, we employ specialized devices for complete field and transient analysis, so we can perform pin injection, transformer injection and other tests.

Near Strike

Cloud-to-ground lightning strikes can impact equipment as a result of the rapidly changing magnetic and electric fields present in the equipment’s vicinity. In order to determine the effects of this electrical charge, NTS has the capability to apply simulated electric and magnetic fields at the maximum field rates of change at 10 meters, in accordance with MIL-STD-464.

Electrostatic Discharge

Electrostatic discharge (ESD) is the sudden flow of electricity between two electrically charged objects caused by contact, an electrical short or dielectric breakdown. A buildup of static electricity can be caused by tribocharging or by electrostatic induction. The ESD occurs when differently-charged objects are brought close together or when the dielectric between them breaks down, often creating a visible spark. NTS can apply ESDs at ranges of 8 to 300 kV, satisfying requirements of MIL-STD-331, MIL-STD -464, DO-160, and more.

Static Electricity

Static electricity on airplanes can cause shocks that exceed 100,000 volts. Testing equipment against these possible events can be as important as ensuring proper lightning strike protection. We perform many types of static electricity tests. These procedures simulate the range of static effects: from those occurring on aircraft that can exceed 100,000 volts to the small, but potentially hazardous voltages, produced by manufacturing and material handling operations.

Field Testing

We regularly perform a wide variety of indirect-effects verification testing at customer facilities around the world for equipment that is too large or prohibitively expensive to transport to our facilities.

Compliance Management 

Do you need help with compliance management? Our team can devise a complete testing protocol that simplifies your road to compliance with DO-160, Sections 22 and 23. The NTS lightning test capabilities also meet requirements outlined in EUROCAE / ED-84, Boeing D6-16050-5, Airbus ABD0100.1.2, and FAA Advisory Circular 20-136.

To learn more, explore this fascinating interactive lightning simulation or speak to a lightning expert today.


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