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Automation: The Means to High Reliability Aerospace Fiber Optic Cables
Keywords: Fiber optics, Automated manufacture, High reliability fiber optic interconnects
Photonics, with its virtually infinite bandwidth, electrical noise immunity, small size, low cost, and increased capacity are being inserted into a number of military platforms to handle higher data rates and larger traffic volumes. Such increased data rates between the various subsystems drive the interconnect solution to be fiber optics. These military fiber optic cables are meant for severe environments, with shock, vibration, and wide temperature ranges not typically required for commercial applications. The Fiber Optic Interconnect Technology (FOIT) program began in 2001 as a Navy ManTech effort at fiber optic cable assembly automation to improve cable performance, reliability and reduce life cycle cost for fiber optic insertion into military applications. Process steps for military and commercial cable assembly manufacturing were systematically identified, partitioned, and optimize within an automated process flow. Five process islands were designed and fabricated at kSaria using systems engineering assistance from Lockheed-Martin. Cable assemblies are presently being produced by this automated system. Independent qualification tests to verify the performance and reliability of the FOIT produced cables within a range of operational environmental conditions are currently ongoing. Results of the system production capabilities and qualification tests will be presented.
Anthony Christopher, VP Engineering
kSARIA Corporation
Lawrence, MA

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