Wire and Cable Connections just as Crucial as Hardened Hardware on the Battlefield: Part 2

Posted on Wednesday, July 2, 2014 by

Satellites are also a part of the communications spectrum, which provides a direct link to soldiers on the ground. Both the satellite and accompanying SAT phones need to be not only case hardened but radiation-hardened to ensure proper operation. The satellites themselves are subjected to constant radiation (ionizing, particle, and HE-electromagnetic) bombardment, which require every electronic component and the subsequent wiring to be shielded against those harmful rays. The same is needed for the mobile devices on the ground that work with their orbiting cousins, as working around nuclear reactors often pose problems with those devices (not to mention that they need to function during nuclear accidents and warfare).


The same can be said for RADAR systems that have become so advanced and precise that the electronic components and wiring/cabling need to be shielded to reduce the electronic noise they produce to provide the desired accuracy. Automatic weapons control systems are either transported by air or ground vehicle to the AO (area of operation) where they’re needed or are ship-mounted weapons platforms, and as such are subject to some pretty hostile or harsh conditions that conventional electronics can’t cope with and eventually fail. This is on top of the constant jarring they are subject to while firing the associated weapons for those systems.


Most all of those platforms have intriguing targeting systems that can acquire and track targets out to great distances, even OTH (over the horizon), such as BGM-109 Tomahawk cruise missiles, M270 MLRS (multiple launch rocket system), and the Mark 45 ship-mounted gun (capable of striking targets at over 20 nautical miles). Those systems simply won’t function without hardened electronics and wiring, and as such, more DOD-contracted and even civilian companies are developing more robust components for harsh and demanding environments.


While most of those contractors focus primarily on the electronics components alone, others are focused on the connections of those components to keep them running in top condition. Alpha Wire is one of those who have developed cable and wiring for military and civilian agencies alike that can handle the rigors of functioning no matter the environment. The company’s Xtra-Guard line of wiring and cabling offers many levels of performance for the application needed.


The five levels of progression in the company’s Xtra-Guard line include a specially formulated PVC coating that prevents and limits heat build-up for command/control and communications cable. Level two provides a specialized polyurethane jacket that’s oil and abrasion resistant for use in mechanics. Level four (yes, they do not have a level three) features a TPE (Thermoplastic Elastomer) coating for chemical and high-speed applications and Level five offers the top of the line FEP (Fluorinated Ethylene Propylene) coating for the most demanding of environments. Suffice it to say, even the sometimes overlooked components that make up military and space-based electronics, the wiring, need to be engineered to handle anything thrown at them, including a nuclear blast.


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