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What are Aerospace Cables?

Aerospace cables are data cables used for signal transmission, data applications, and in-flight entertainment aboard an aircraft. Commonly used data cables on an aircraft include fiber channel, Ethernet, USB, Digital Video Interface, and Serial ATA cables. They differ from normal data cables due to the extra specifications and standards they have to meet.

What are some of the standards organizations that regulate wire and cable used in the aerospace industry?

The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) create guidelines for wire and cable used in a wide range of aerospace applications.

Military specifications (MIL-specs), developed by the U.S. Department of Defense and Boeing Material Specifications, are also important industry standards.

What are the main things to consider when choosing aerospace cable or wire?

First, you should consider the cable’s primary function, environment, and possible challenges it may face (e.g. temperatures, exposure to liquids, required movement). This is especially relevant for aerospace cables as they will likely need to function in a wide variety of temperatures and air pressures and will face a lot of movement and vibration during take-off and landing.

Second, you will need to consider any industry specifications required and make sure your selected wire/cable meets those guidelines. The quality, safety, and performance of different materials used in the cable are particularly important to look at.

Third, there may be extra precautions you want to take if an aircraft is carrying passengers. Low Smoke Zero Halogen (LSZH) cables are standard for any manned aircraft. These cables will emit little to no smoke and no dangerous gases formed by halogens if a fire occurs. Since most aircraft are enclosed and have limited ventilation, LSZH cables can make possible evacuations easier and safer.

Considering these standards and requirements will help with choosing the most appropriate cable and reducing possible replacement and repair costs.

Why is cable weight important in aerospace applications?

Cable weight can greatly impact the performance of the wire, the specific application, and the entire aircraft. Some applications may require heavyweight wire and cable, but using a lightweight cable when possible can reduce the overall weight of the aircraft. This reduces the aircraft’s drag and increases its speed.

What does it mean if both MIL-spec and SAE or NEMA labels are on a product?

Select MIL-specs are being released to non-governmental organizations. SAE and NEMA are translating those MIL-specs into their own standards. Military specifications are still used in the industry and MIL-spec numbers are still widely used, so NEMA or SAE specifications are often listed alongside them. Double-check both sets of standards meet your application’s needs.

What are the BMS specifications?

BMS stands for Boeing Material Specification. There are several BMS specifications, and they cover products ranging from databus cable to aerospace optical fiber cable. BMS cables vary in type, insulation, conductor, shield, jacket material, and temperature rating.

What is Raychem Spec 44??

Tyco Raychem Spec 44 is manufactured by TE Connectivity, which was formerly Raychem before being bought by Tyco. This cable was originally designed only for military and aerospace applications but is now widely used. Raychem Spec 44 wire features a dual-wall construction, low smoke generation, a temperature range up to 150°C, and is rated from 600-2500 volts. Raychem spec 44 also directly crosses to MIL-W-81044 Mil-Spec wire and NEMA WC 27500 Mil-Spec cable.

Is Allied Wire and Cable affiliated with any national and/or international aerospace organizations?

Allied Wire and Cable has been a certified member of the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) and the Helicopter Association International (HAI) since 2016.

The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) is an organization that represents over 11,000 companies and provides services to businesses in the aviation industry. The Helicopter Association International (HAI) is a not-for-profit organization that provides services, support, and programs that help advance the helicopter community.

What Aerospace Cables does Allied Wire and Cable carry?

We carry a wide variety of aerospace cables that meet MIL-specs, NEMA, SAE, and BMS specifications. We also offer Tyco Raychem Spec 44 and Tyco Raychem Spec 55, as well as in-flight entertainment cables. For in-flight entertainment cables, Allied Wire and Cable stocks DataMaster® Cables, which includes network quad cables, data cables, and network twisted pairs cables.