Abbreviated Test Language for All Systems

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ParadigmMulti-paradigm: structured, imperative (procedural), generic, array
Designed byARINC
Final release
C/ATLAS (1995) / 16 March 1995; 29 years ago (1995-03-16)
Typing disciplinestrong, static, manifest
Filename, .lu, .tpsi
Influenced by

Abbreviated Test Language for All Systems (ATLAS) is a specialized programming language for use with automatic test equipment (ATE). It is a compiled high-level computer language and can be used on any computer whose supporting software can translate it into the appropriate low-level instructions.


ATLAS Test Language[edit]

The original language was developed by Aeronautical Radio, Incorporated (ARINC) and standardized under ANSI/IEEE-Std-416 and released on December 22, 1983[1] Its purpose was to serve as a standard programming language for testing and maintenance of electronic systems for military and commercial aerospace applications. The language was designed to be platform-independent.

The ATLAS language is oriented toward the Unit Under Test (UUT) and is independent of the test equipment used. This allows interchangeability of test procedures developed by different organizations, and thus reduces costly duplication of test programming effort.

The first ATLAS specification developed by the international committee was published in 1968. The basic document has been revised several times.

An ATLAS implementation typically consists of an online compiler (OLC), test executive (TEX or Test Exec), and file manager and media exchange (FMX) packages. ATLAS is run in TEX mode on test stations while testing electronic equipment.

Syntax and Structure[edit]

The structure of an ATLAS program is very similar to FORTRAN. standard ATLAS program structure consists of two elements: preamble structure and procedural structure. The language makes extensive use of variables and statement syntax.[clarification needed] An ATLAS statement consists of these fields:

F STATNO VERB,variable field$
  • FLAG: single character flag
  • separator (space)
  • STATNO: statement number
  • separator (space)
  • VERB: verb
  • separator (comma)
  • variable field: format depends on VERB
  • statement terminator ($)

Sample ATLAS Statements:

 000250 DECLARE,DECIMAL,'A1'(4)$
 000300 FILL, 'A1', 'NUM',
         (1)    1,     5,
         (2)   20,    87,
         (3)   15,    12,
         (4)   $30,    18

Comments may be included with a 'C' in the FLAG field.

These ATLAS statements apply a voltage to a pin (stimulus) and verify the presence and characteristics of a voltage at a pin:

  010200  APPLY, AC SIGNAL, VOLTAGE-PP 7.5V, FREQ 3 kHz, CNX HI=P1-$1 
          SYNC-VOLTAGE 2 MAX 5, SYNC-NEG-SLOPE, MAX-TIME 0.5, GO-TO-STEP 400 IF GO, LL 0.5 UL 50, 
          CNX HI=P2-4 LO=P2-5, SYNC HI=P2-8 LO=P2-$5  


ATLAS has been used in the U.S. Air Force primarily on test stations for testing the avionic components of the F-15 Eagle, F-16 Fighting Falcon, C-5 Galaxy, C-17 Globemaster III, and B-1 Lancer. The U.S. Navy uses ATLAS-based programs for testing avionics systems of the P-3C Orion, UH-1Y Venom, AH-1Z Viper, SH-60 Seahawk, E-2C Hawkeye, F-14 Tomcat, F/A-18 Hornet, S-3 Viking, A-6 Intruder, EA-6B Prowler, AV8B Harrier, and V-22 Osprey. The U.S. Navy and Marine Corps used a version called Super Atlas for its AN/USM-484 hybrid test set (HTS) test benches. The AN/USM-247 VAST (Versatile Avionics Shop Test) was used by the Navy onboard aircraft carrier and shore stations. It has been used in testing the F-14, S-3, E-2, A-7 Corsair II, A-6, etc. VAST is considered by many to be the grandfather of modern avionics test equipment.

In the years that followed the cold war, ATLAS found uses on many dual-use aircraft[clarification needed] for the U.S. and NATO, as well as commercial business, regional, and general aviation aircraft. ATLAS test program sets (TPS) allow porting older programs to new hardware, providing some protection against hardware obsolescence. Although a standard, many adaptations, customizations, and flavors exist that impede full portability. Because most ATLAS toolsets are custom, on custom hardware, with a custom software load for the platform, it is not as prone to some types of issues that plague other languages that are more prevalent in the industry; the down side is that training is not available to the general public, so it also requires an extensive investment in personnel.

ATLAS generally can be configured to run "stand-alone", or "stand-alone – monitored only" which can help limit many of the tampering and other concerns with mainstream commercial software. Other languages, such as BASIC, C/C++, Python, and Perl, are also used on commercial and military programs for testing of systems; ATLAS typically requires another computer system to either optically scan test results, or read a tape, disk, or locked memory stick/data key from a test station and then perform statistical analysis on test results for a variety of uses.


Subsets include:

  • ATLAS-ARINC-626-3
  • ATLAS-B1-B
  • ATLAS-B2
  • ATLAS-F2/1989
  • ATLAS-IEEE-416-1984
  • ATLAS-RADCOM-1991 (AN/USM-467)
  • ATLAS-TETS (Marines)
  • C/ATLAS-IEEE-716-1982, 1985, 1989, 1995
  • C/ATLAS-ATSE-IFTE-1993, 1996


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "IEEE Standard ATLAS Test Language". IEEE Standards. IEEE SA. Retrieved 3 April 2022.
  2. ^ "PAWS Developer's Studio for ATLAS". Astronics Corporation. Retrieved 1 July 2019.
  3. ^ "UCC Net to Get 'Atlas'". Computerworld. 15 (28): 58. 13 July 1981. Retrieved 1 July 2019.
  4. ^ Nissim, Mike (15 May 1985). "A-Series gives power and flexibility to ATS/1000" (PDF). Computer News. 10 (14). Hewlett-Packard: 36 (PDF:53). Retrieved 1 July 2019.
  5. ^ "Integrated Family of Test Equipment (IFTE)". U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center. June 2016. Archived from the original on 10 February 2017. Retrieved 1 July 2019.
  6. ^ McBurney, Charles E. (November–December 1975). "ECOM-Developed EQUATE Electronic Test System Proves Tri-Service Capabilities". Army Research and Development. 16 (6). Alexandria, VA: U.S. Army Materiel Command: 29. ISSN 0004-2560. OCLC 2061490. Retrieved 1 July 2019.

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