Military and aerospace cables and harnesses require the utmost performance and reliability. In these applications, they are literally making the difference between life and death. It’s as simple as that.
That means not only that our custom fiber optic cables and our entire range of custom cables need to meet rigorous military specifications, but also that this same level of detail and conformance to specifications infuses our entire cable manufacturing operation.
What is Mil-Spec Cable?
A Mil-Spec cable has been built to one or more rigorous military standards that are created by several U.S. Government organizations.
As just one example, MIL-DTC-83420P is a 29-page document that specifies the details for flexible wire for aircraft control. The specified operating temperature range is -65 degrees F to +250 degrees F. There are eleven ASTM standard test methods specified for testing the cable. It also specifies required tensile strength, elongation, water absorption, brittleness, stiffness, heat deflection, melting range, and burn resistance.
A further example is that type of cable’s nylon jacket needs to be resistant to several types of hydraulic fluid and jet fuel as well as lubrication oil, deicing fluid, and cleaning compound. This Mil-Spec goes on to specify each individual test to assure that the cable meets these standards.
Military and Aerospace Cable Demands
From that description, you can get a feel for the demands around manufacturing military and aerospace cables that meet these extensive specifications. Here’s a quick breakdown of those critical demands.
- Quality. A cable or connector failure can easily lead to failure in the field. Whether that’s a weapon or an aircraft failure, it can either save lives or lose lives. That requires meeting specifications for high voltage, vibration and contact force, extreme temperatures, and more.
- Strength and Reliability. Failure isn’t an option in military and aerospace applications. To ensure strength requirements are met testing can range from impact survival, vibration extremes, high pressure, as well as abrasion and wear.
- All Environment Operations. From military applications in the arctic, the desert, as well as on and under the ocean to space applications in orbit around the Earth or even the Sun, cables need to handle it all and keep working. The design of cables in these environments must take in all the relevant factors from temperature extremes to radiation exposure.
- Complex Applications. The list of applications in the military and aerospace industries runs from field communication equipment and surveillance drones to satellites and complete weapons systems. That requires a great deal of expertise and experience to manufacture the custom cables needed to fit these applications and meet the rigorous quality specifications.
Importance of Quality Control
It’s one thing to work through all those military specifications in the design and construction of custom cables. It’s yet another to implement all the rigorous testing that ensures that the cables meet those requirements. It’s not always the case that once the cable is built to the specifications that it will also perform to those same specs.
That’s why Cables Unlimited is certified under the AS9100 Standard from the Aviation, Space, and Defense (ASD) industry. This standard requires, “creating and maintaining a comprehensive quality system for providing safe and reliable products to the ASD industry.”
The AS9100 is not a product or personal standard, rather it asks the company to control processes, so the end product meets customer requirements and satisfaction. The benefits of obtaining the certification are extensive, the least of which is an endorsement by all major aerospace regulators including the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), US Department of Defense (DoD), and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
You’ll also find that our organization brings those same skills and attention to detail acquired producing military and aerospace cables to everything they do.
We Can Help
We produce military fiber optic cable assemblies for a variety of air, navy, ground, and aerospace applications:
- MIL-SPEC connectors.
- Mil-Spec cables from quality manufacturers.
- Harsh environmental/tactical/military connectors.
- TFOCA. TFOCA II, 38999, 28876, and standard commercial optical connectors.
- MIL-C 27500 cables and military, and aircraft cables.
If you are in the design stages of your cabling solution, we can provide engineering assistance and prototyping. If your requirements are already specified and ready for a quote, we are uniquely positioned to meet your deadlines and pricing targets, due to our extensive in-house services and advanced manufacturing capabilities.
With production facilities on both coasts of the United States, Cables Unlimited can assist customers here and worldwide with their most challenging custom wire harness and assembly requirements.
But we offer much more than state-of-the-art manufacturing – our dedicated team is also known for going to great lengths to meet the needs of our customers, including working round-the-clock to meet tight turnaround time requirements.
Our sales representatives are standing by to assist you with product questions and quotes Monday – Friday, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm Eastern. You can also send us an email or complete our contact form and we’ll get right back to you.