Cable maintenance is a critical aspect of the safety and reliability of tactical aircraft.
Power, communication, weapons, and other critical tactical aircraft systems all rely on cable and wires assemblies. Proper maintenance of these mission-critical components ensures that they function effectively, thus reducing the risk of serious in-flight malfunctions.
In this guide, we’ll cover the basic guidelines of cable maintenance for tactical aircraft. While every aircraft model has its own standards and specs, this general info is presented to help bring non-experts up to speed in this key area of aircraft maintenance.
Types of Tactical Aircraft Cables
Cables are used throughout an aircraft to connect different parts and systems. Most cables in an aircraft are “control cables” that control the movement and stability of parts and systems. These are typically made from flexible steel wires that have been bound together in bundles.
Cable assemblies in a tactical aircraft may include:
- Power cables that provide connections to an aircraft’s power supply
- Communications cables for transmitting communication data
- Fiber optic cables used in communication systems
- Sensor cables for data transmission
- Battery cables for electrical systems
- Coaxial cables for transmitting radio frequency signals
- Ignition cables for starting the aircraft
- Ethernet cables for data communication systems
Cables and wires in tactical aircraft are varied, complex, and essential to many vital systems. Each cable assembly must be durable, reliable, and made in accordance with the strictest design and production standards.
Maintenance Procedures for Tactical Aircraft Cables
Maintenance for tactical aircraft cables involves standard aircraft inspection and care procedures along with adherence to applicable MIL-SPEC standards. Maintenance involves the following procedures, performed in accordance with your organization’s regulations and standards.
Follow a Consistent Maintenance Schedule
Cable and wire assemblies are affected by frequency of use as well as environmental conditions such as humidity and temperature. A typical maintenance schedule for tactical aircraft should include regular inspection and testing of cables. Cables should be replaced according to a schedule that prevents the possibility of use after the part’s functional lifespan has ended.
Perform Visual Inspections and Functional Testing
Visual inspections are typically the primary quality control measure for an aircraft’s cable and wire assemblies. During these inspections, aircraft maintenance workers check the cables for obvious signs of damage, such as fraying, corrosion, and kinks. Any detected problems are immediately reported up the chain of command and may result in a temporary shutdown of the aircraft.
Functional testing may also be employed. Functional testing involves examining a cable’s performance under its designed load conditions to confirm that it can withstand its expected stress levels.
Double Check All Labeling
When working within complex cabling environments like military aircraft, many wires are running in countless different directions. To perform effective repairs in the hangar or out in the field, knowing which cables serve which purposes and where they connect can have a significant impact on maintenance turnaround times.
Carefully label all of your cables at the point of installation. As part of regular ongoing maintenance, double-check their labels to ensure they have not been removed or damaged when the aircraft is in use. If you find any that are missing or illegible, replace them immediately for future reference.
Cable Repair and Replacement
Cable and wire repair and replacement for military aircraft involves working with a contractor that can build custom parts and meet MIL-SPEC standards. Expert cabling assembly developers, such as Midcon Wiring Solutions, have lengthy experience in the defense sector and can offer MIL-SPEC, build-to-print, or entirely customized parts.
Benefits of Custom Cables
Custom cables can be built to the precise specifications that meet an aircraft’s needs, while also incorporating extra design features.
Custom cables come in unique sizes and lengths, and custom endpoint configurations allow for more seamless connections to optimize the use of space in tight spots.
Colors can be customized as well, making it easier to track and organize your cables. Depending on the application, the material used to make the cable may also be customizable, although many of an aircraft’s cables must be made from steel.
Custom Cable and Wire Solutions From Midcon
At Midcon Wiring Solutions, we’ve been serving the aerospace and defense markets since 1972. We’re an employee-owned, NADCAP-certified company with facilities in South Carolina and Missouri.
No matter how complex your cable and wiring needs are, we can help. We offer full design, documentation, qualification, and production services.
Our engineers use advanced design techniques and the best available materials to create custom assemblies for high-stakes applications. Our cable and wire solutions are cost-efficient and fully customizable. We’ll work closely with your team until we’ve developed the exact solution that meets your project’s needs. Contact Midcon Wiring Solutions today to request information or to schedule a discussion with one of our sales representatives.