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HomeTips & GuidesMilitary Cable Harness: Everything You Need To Know

Military Cable Harness: Everything You Need To Know

In certain applications, standard cables are not enough. Sometimes, you need something better protection and stronger, like a military cable harness. The article below will discuss everything there is to know about military cable assemblies.

What are Military Cable Assemblies?

Military wire harnesses and cable assemblies are designed, fabricated, and engineered to meet Mil-Spec requirements. Furthermore, to make Mil-Spec cable assemblies you must use cables, wires, connectors, components, and terminations specified and approved for military applications.

Although standard wire and cable configurations are enough for many systems, extreme conditions in aerospace and military applications require reliability and higher quality.

Mil-Spec Wire and Cables

Mil-Spec wire is unique because it’s the only wiring product with its own designation, unlike high-temperature or hook-up wire. Similar to CSA and UL, Mil-Spec has specific standards your product must adhere to gain legitimacy.

You can use Mil-Spec wires for internal wiring of electrical equipment, panels, and components in military vehicles. Such applications range from bonding moving parts, airframe wiring, point-to-point wiring, and antennas to where durable shielding is necessary. 

Mil-Spec wiring is ideal for high-temperature and medium-wiring installations for optimum performance under mechanical stress and high-frequency applications subject to high temperatures. Also, it offers stable, excellent electrical characteristics with minimal power loss.

Today, you can use most Mil-Spec standards to differentiate cable and wire assemblies. Most have been grouped into separate standards by organizations such as SAE, NEMA, and ANSI. Therefore, you can refer to such standards to decide the construction and material of wires and cables for specific applications.

Mil-Spec wire standards

Lately, you can use different standards to differentiate every wire’s attributes with ETFE, PTFE, or polyimide tape, enabling options for high-strength conductors or high-abrasion-resistant insulation for maximum performance under mechanical strength.

M16878

This category is capable of withstanding extreme voltage ratings and temperatures and uses insulation materials like PTFE, ETFE, PVC, and polkalene PVC. Such wires are specially designed for all products and are available in various slants.

SAE AS 22759 (M227559)

This wire’s design is ideal for extreme aerospace conditions. Therefore, you can use it for electronic systems and aircraft engine controls that need to operate in areas prone to moisture and harsh weather conditions.

M5086

This is a general-purpose wire with various applications in industrial electronics, aerospace, and military applications. It uses a tin-plated copper conductor with a nylon jacket and PVC insulation. Therefore, it’s ideal for applications undergoing constant abrasion, cut-through exposure to chemicals, and impact.

M13486

You can use this cable in low-tension cables. It’s ideal for military tanks, trucks, and various other ground vehicles. Also, it’s available in various slants for various product needs. It’s flexible at low temperatures and resistant to abrasion and moisture.

M25038

It’s designed to operate in harsh environments undergoing direct flame exposure and vibration. Therefore, it is ideal for application in important circuits that aircrafts use.

Mil-Spec Pin

Mil-Spec Pin

Mil-Spec Connectors

Military Spec connector design is a shell type made for military specifications. The design considers the need to protect connections from environmental factors, therefore enabling you to use them in aerospace and military applications. 

Military-specified connector standards

Connectors normally consist of a plug, receptacle, and mating pair, each consisting of a female (socket) and male (pin) contact. Connections are normally made of phosphor bronze or beryllium copper and then plated with gold or a noncorrosive high-conductivity metal. 

Certain military specifications that military-spec connectors can meet include;

MIL-C-5015

This is the most popular cylindrical connector standard for use in interconnection systems. Therefore, you can use such connectors in commercial and military applications. 

MIL-C-26482

Such connectors cover a general requirement for two series of quick disconnect, environment-resistant, and miniature circular connectors. Each series has hermetic receptacles. However, the two series are intermateable when using power contacts and aren’t when using shielded contacts.

MIL-C-22992

This is a multi-contact, quick-disconnect, heavy-duty receptacle and plug connector for military and industrial applications. It’s made to support high power levels and has a rating of -550C—+1250C.

MIL-C-27599

It covers a 2 series of high-density, miniature, quick-disconnect, environment-resistant bayonet coupling connectors capable of continuous operation in temperatures ranging between -650C and +1750C. Such connectors are intractable with ideal series I and II connectors of MIL-C-38999.

MIL-C-26550

It covers an environment-resisting family of circular, miniature connectors (receptacles and plugs) made to meet the needs of advanced rockets, space vehicles, aircraft, and missiles. The connector’s physical characteristics include a series of receptacles and plugs where the socket inserts have a resilient face and mating insert pins have a hard or resilient face.  

MIL-C-38999

It covers a 2 series of high-density, miniature, quick-disconnect, environment-resistant bayonet coupling connectors capable of continuous operation in temperatures ranging between -650C and +1750C. Such connectors are interminable with ideal series I and II connectors of MIL-C-27599.

MIL-C- 81703

It covers 3 series of miniature, circular, environment-resting connectors with non-removable solder contacts or removable crimp connectors.

MIL-DTL-32139

This is a joint service specification brought forth by the DSCC that covers both metal and plastic nano miniature connectors. 

MIL-DTL-5015

This is a connector for the Mil-Spec aerospace industry that combines the best features of the solder 5015 with the rear accessories of the MIL-C-83723 and MIL-C-26482.

MIL-DTL-38999

It covers four series of threaded, bayonet, high-density, miniature or environment-resistant, circular breech coupling connectors. They use fixed hermetic solder or removable crimp contacts and can operate in temperatures between -650C and +2000C. 

MIL-DTL-83723

It covers the general needs for circular, environment-resisting connectors and their respective accessories and contacts. Such connectors utilize solder or crimp contacts and are capable of operating within a certain range.

RoHS Compliant

This is a European directive requiring manufacturers to demonstrate that their products contain minimal levels of cadmium, lead, polybrominated biphenyl, mercury, etc. 

ARINC Other

This is a standard for avionic applications. You can use this connector for the interface of avionic equipment.

Features of Military Cable Harness

Aerospace and military specifications need exceptional electrical wiring and cable assemblies for dependable and safe equipment operation. Therefore, your connectors and cables possess the following features:

Ruggedization

Automotive military-spec wiring is from certified and standardized wiring used in aerospace and military applications. Therefore, the construction of actual Mil-Spec wiring is under certain circumstances to ensure reliability, purity, and robustness in materials. 

Miniaturization

Mil-Spec wiring factors in space and weight savings. The wires are smaller to enable smaller wire looms, meaning a lighter wiring harness. Most bulkhead Mil-Spec connectors on OEM applications are bigger rectangular connectors.

Automotive bulkheads are available in aluminum, plastic, and steel. Mil-Spec wiring has become the common choice for off-road trucks, racing boats, and expensive car builds.

Microwave and RF

Military-spec wires mostly have a Teflon coating to shield against RF signals and prevent EMI. However, the pins are gold to ensure optimum electrical signals. 

High Cost

Although automotive Mil-Spec wiring improves efficiency, it comes at a price. Furthermore, there’s no legitimate certification, which doesn’t help reduce the cost.

Applications of Military Cable Assemblies

Military and aerospace wire and cable assemblies enable dependable and safe operation of a number of critical applications such as;

  • Space force systems
  • Avionic systems
  • Remote weapon control
  • Military ground equipment
  • Space shuttles and satellites
  • Field and inter-shelter equipment
  • EMI sensitive equipment
  • Airborne navigation and communication systems
  • Submersibles, ships, and other marine systems 

4 Key Factors to Determining Whether You Need Mil-Spec Cable Assembly For Your Application

Below are some factors to help you determine whether you need Mil-Spec cable assembly for your application.

  1. Is your application critical – consider whether if your application fails, it will affect your entire process. If your application significantly impacts your entire process then you should opt for Mil-Spec cable assembly to ensure continuity of your application and enhance durability.
  2. The environment of your application – the design of  Mil-Spec cable assemblies is able to withstand harsh environmental conditions. Therefore, they are able to withstand extreme temperatures, and they’re abrasion/corrosion resistant. If you plan on installing your cable in a demanding environment, then you should opt for Mil-Spec cable assemblies.
  3. Vibration and motion impact—Mil-Spec cable assemblies are the ideal choice if your application involves constant vibration and motion. 
  4. RFI/EMI radiation—If you plan on exposing your application to such radiation, you should opt for Mil-Spec cable assemblies, which offer RFI/EMI shielding

Conclusion

There you have it—all you need to know about military cable assemblies, from the various military-spec wires and cables to the different connectors. For all your military cable harnesses, feel free to contact Cloom Tech.

I am Lillian Yang, having been a sales manager for over 10 years.

I have received many positive reviews from customers. They have praised our excellent service, on-time delivery, and high-quality cable assemblies.

For your projects, please provide cable assembly files/images/smples, etc., so that I can send you a quotation within 24 hours.

Contact me now and let’s get started on building your wire harnesses!

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