As is true in the telecommunications field more generally, fibre optic products have come to play an integral role in military operations across the world. And that role is only set to grow larger in the years and decades to come. According to a report just published this month by Absolute Market Insights, "the global fibre optic cable market is estimated to reach a market value of US$ 6,783 million in 2019 and is forecast to reach US$ 10,140 million by 2027" representing a compound annual growth rate of more than five per cent. And that same report listed the military and aerospace sectors as being among the most key market segments of the fibre optic cable market.
Over the past few years, the use of fibre optic cable technology in the Australian military, specifically, has similarly grown at an expansive rate. An example of that is this video posted online by the Royal Australian Navy itself, which profiles sailors at the Fibre Optic workshop located at the Fleet Support Unit (FSU) in Western Australia. The video gives a close look at the very first dedicated fibre optic support team created in that sector of the military although, of course, many more have and will continue to follow, mainly because the use of fibre optic technology is only becoming more central within domestic military operations.
"Everyone within FSU has been very supportive of what we're doing in establishing this capability," says POET Brad Barr, of the Fibre Optic Seg I/C division, in the video. "They can see that what we're doing saves money and gives skills to our sailors. The new capabilities that we've established within FSU will enable us to fight when at sea in the communications and I.T. fields."
What military applications is fibre optic technology utilised for?
Given that fibre optic technologies are now regularly used for utilities such as telephone and internet communications, it goes without saying that the military uses fibre optic products throughout their land-based facilities. However, perhaps even more importantly, there are many military-specific purposes for which fibre optic cables and products are ideally suited.
For instance, some applications for which fibre optic products can provide unrivalled security and stability include shipboard communications, ship to shore communications, and deployable tactical communications. The increased speed of data transmissions allowed by fibre optic products, for example, can be a very major factor contributing to their use for military purposes. When every second counts, and every piece of data is invaluable, it's necessary to use the product which provides the highest and most consistent level of performance and when it comes to data transmission, that level can only be provided by fibre optic.
Additionally, fibre optic cables have been found in many cases to be physically stronger than most alternatives, and more resistant to the kinds of hazards and traffic which might be present in a military space. It's just one more reason, among many others, that the defence sector was an early adopter of fibre optic technologies, with its usage only becoming more integral in the years since.
Are some fibre optic products built specifically for military purposes?
Since many of the benefits they offer are ideal for military purposes, it stands to reason that fibre optic products would be made specifically for use in those sectors. And indeed, at Interconnect Systems, we offer various fibre optic-related products that are custom-made specifically for a particular military use. One example is the MIL-PRF-28876 shipboard connector, an interconnect that has become truly standard for Navy shipboard applications.
Offering precise optical alignment for ideal performance, environmental protection that ensures connectivity no matter the circumstances, and corrosion resistance to ensure that functionality remains constant in the long term, the MIL-PRF-28876 has been proven to provide high performance without ever faltering.
It's that rare level of steadiness which has led military services, both nationally and abroad, to adopt fibre optic technologies as a baseline. And as military services themselves continue to evolve, innovate, and grow in their own right, their utilisation of fibre optic technologies is only likely to grow further: "Growth in the fibre optic cables market for military and aerospace can be attributed to the increasing commercial adoption of fibre optics and growth in platforms, such as unmanned systems, space launch vehicles, and satellites," according to a study of the industry published last month by ResearchandMarkets.com. "Modernisation programs of armies and increasing adoption of fibre optic cables for C4ISR applications for high-speed communication are expected to drive the market for fibre optic cables for military and aerospace."
What are some other fibre optic products available for military usage?
The MIL-DTL-3899 is an excellent example of the fibre optic products available for military usage because, like so many others within that category, it has been made available with an extremely wide range of customisable options. It is currently available in many forms, with various options available for both materials (such as aluminium alloy, composite, and stainless steel) and finishes (including electroless nickel, cadmium, and passivated, among many others).
There are also many different backshells and accessories available for the product, as well as test probes and test adaptors, and turnkey cable assemblies. A wide range of customisation options has been made available to ensure these fibre optic products are an ideal fit for an equally wide range of military purposes.
Interconnect Systems has a comprehensive background in aerospace and defence engineering, and has helped to outfit military ships, vehicles, and facilities with fibre optic products throughout its 20-year history. For more information on the fibre optic interconnection systems currently available, as well as on the larger catalogue of products currently being distributed by the company, please contact Interconnect Systems today.