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HomeTips & GuidesMilitary Wiring: What is MIL-spec Wiring?

Military Wiring: What is MIL-spec Wiring?

Any cable rated as military wiring is bound to withstand the test of time. It is primarily because of the further mile manufacturers go to produce components for military applications. 

So what are the features that make a material mil-spec grade? Also, can you use mil-spec wiring in other applications other than military work? 

We’ll provide clear answers to these queries in detail below. Moreover, we’ll expound on why military specifications are essential. Read on to learn more. 

Table of Contents

What is Military Grade Wiring?

It’s typically a military standard that dictates the quality of the wiring systems suitable for US military work. 

Hence, wiring apparatus/ electrical products under this classification are highly tolerant to military environment exposure. 

So what are some of the critical components of military-grade cable assemblies? 

  • First, they are of the highest quality and support reliable communication. Thus they’re ideal for use in the aerospace industry, where effective communication matters. 
  • Also, they are foolproof against electromagnetic interference. It is primarily due to their electromagnetic shielding feature, usually via a braided shield cover or metallic foil. 

Besides, military-grade wiring doesn’t only apply to military applications. Instead, it’s a standard by bodies such as ANSI, NEMA, and SAE to specify what qualifies for tough use conditions. 

Reasons to Use Military-Grade Wiring

Military Equipment. 

Military Equipment. 

Below are the main reasons you can go for military-grade wiring over other forms of auto-wiring

Superior Durability

US military departments dictate that their wiring statements must be good enough to stay in good shape under all conditions. It means that they are durable even despite an apparent contact with the following: 

  • Extreme temperature fluctuations
  • Harsh Chemicals
  • Harmful rays such as ultraviolet radiation. 

Reliable Performance

Military Vehicles. 

Military Vehicles. 

The rigorous tests manufacturers conduct on this wiring ensure it has excellent performance under all conditions.

 The nature of wire matters immensely in military work. Also, there are chances of failing cable performance. 

Hence, the underscoring factor is that each cable must have superior reliability. 

Increased Efficiency

Things like signal loss and low conductivity are alien to military-grade wires.

 There’s a high necessity for high-performance wiring solutions primarily because these cables must not fail. 

Communication is the most critical thing in military work. With low-grade wires, this aspect is nearly impossible to realize. 

Also, this high-end performance is not necessarily limited to military applications. 

There are other scenarios, such as satellite communications and aircraft works, where efficiency is core. 

Hence, these industries are among the primary users of military-grade wiring and other ware. 

Enhanced Safety

Military ware in use. 

Military ware in use. 

The equipment also guarantees top-level safety. Hence, whenever you’re using military-grade wiring, you’re as safe as a US military officer using a similar component. 

Among the risks that the equipment shields you from include fires and explosions during use. 

Reduce Maintenance

There’s little need for frequent maintenance practices with military-grade, high-quality cables. 

Hence, this helps save on repairs and replacements synonymous with equipment used in rigorous environments. 

Mil-Spec Standards

A Military Ground Vehicle. 

A Military Ground Vehicle. 

There are numerous Mil-Spec standards, each with specific qualities for the respective cables. Let’s look at each one in detail. 

M16878

  • It features quality insulation materials such as ETFE, Polyalkene-PVC, and PVC to withstand rough military work conditions. 
  • Also, the MIL-W-16878 remains stable under high voltage ratings use conditions and extreme temperatures. 
  • Notably, there are numerous grades of this wiring standard. For extreme temperature use electronics, the M16878/5 class is most appropriate. On the other hand, M16878/4 is best for power supply and appliance wiring applications. 

M22759 (SAE AS22759)

Its high tolerance qualities make it the best military-grade wire for aerospace applications. 

Thus, it’s common in aircraft engine control uses. Also, manufacturers use it in electronic systems that need to withstand high levels of moisture exposure. 

M13486

It’s the ideal cable for low-tension military uses and comes in various subclasses, each suited to a specific application. 

You’ll find it in military trucks and ground vehicles thanks to its excellent moisture resistance qualities. 

Also, the cables can withstand abrasion and are extremely flexible under all conditions. 

M25038

An auto-wiring engineer looking for a wire that can withstand direct flame exposure and vibrations should choose M25038.

Its quality is top-notch, so it is a common wiring type in aircraft circuits. 

M5086

It is a general-purpose military-grade wire. The cable comprises a tin-plated copper conductor in a nylon jacket + PVC cover. 

Its applications are extensive, with the wire handy for systems prone to abrasions and chemical exposure. 

Applications of Military Wire Harnesses

Hydraulic lines, cable forms and other technology of a military transport airplane. 

Hydraulic lines, cable forms and other technology of a military transport airplane. 

These are the main general-purpose uses of military-grade wires. 

  • They are essential in Space shuttles, satellites, and other common airborne communication/navigation systems.
  • They are also valuable for military ground equipment and other vehicles that work under harsh conditions. 
  • Thirdly, you can expect them in marine systems like submersibles. 
  • Another use is in EMI-sensitive equipment. These are systems that are prone to electromagnetic wave interferences. 
  • Again, the wire harnesses find use in remote control weapons such as military-grade drones and space force systems. 
  • Finally, they are handy in avionic systems and Microwave/ RF communications equipment. Also, you’ll find them in mobile tactical operations centers. 

Military Cable Assembly Requirements

A military helicopter. 

A military helicopter. 

Manufacturers are guided by a range of factors when designing military cable components that, include the following: 

  • First, the function of the wire harnesses/ Cables matters. When coming up with design considerations, the manufacturer will consider the purpose of the wires. 
  • Also, they make the cables with the use environment in mind. 
  • Thirdly, manufacturers consider military specifications, especially if the components are primarily for military work. Any electronic equipment for military work must meet the MIL-STD-454 standard. 
  • Finally, they must adhere to regulatory standards such as those set by the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA). Other Regulatory bodies include IPC, Wire Harness Manufacturers Association (WHMA), and the Qualified Products List (QPL). 

Summary

Military-grade systems are strict, primarily because there’s no chance of failure. Any system that has imperfections can be highly detrimental to military applications. 

Therefore, the US military has set several standards manufacturers must meet for their equipment. 

Military-grade ware is also necessary for other industries where top performance is handy, such as the aerospace industry. 

Hi I am Christa, sales manager of Cloom.

I have extensive expertise and experience in wiring harnesses and I believe I can help you.

And we have a very professional technical team who can clearly understand the customer’s needs and give professional suggestions and solutions after receiving the drawings.

If you also have wiring harness needs, please send me the drawing so that we can give you our quote and start our business.

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