In an aircraft, even the slightest amount of electromagnetic interference (EMI) can cause serious problems, potentially putting human lives at risk.

To prevent EMI, fiber optic cable assemblies are used to create secure and reliable communication systems between different components within an aircraft.

Compared to copper cables, fiber optics can carry data faster, further, and more securely.
In this guide, we’ll discuss the EMI shielding benefits of fiber optics for aircraft. First, let’s take a closer look at how EMI occurs and causes problems in communication systems.

What Is Electromagnetic Interference?

Electromagnetic interference refers to any sort of unwanted signal that interferes with an electrical circuit or device. EMI can come from manmade sources (external electrical devices or circuits) or from natural sources such as lightning, auroras, and solar flares.

In an aircraft, EMI-causing signals may come from transformers, motors, or electronic devices. These disruptions can dangerously interfere with navigation and communication systems, resulting in unsafe conditions for everyone aboard.

In military aircraft combat settings, EMI is particularly hazardous. Enemy combatants may use an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack. This type of attack involves sending a burst of energy that can severely disrupt systems, resulting in aircraft crashes or communication problems.

Are Fiber Optics the Solution to EMI in Aircraft?

Fiber optics are becoming more common in military and commercial aviation systems, thanks in large part to their inherent resistance to EMI and EMP activity.

Fiber optic cables are more immune to EMI because, unlike traditional copper cables, fiber optic cables don’t conduct electricity. Rather, data is transmitted via pulses of light. That means there’s a reduced risk of short circuits or electric shocks that could damage other components of an aircraft.

EMI resistance is only one aspect of the overall improved security and efficiency offered by fiber optics. Fiber optic cables have a much higher bandwidth than copper cables, allowing for faster data transmission speeds and superior reliability.

Fiber optic cables are also thin and lightweight, ideal for tight spaces where size and weight are important, such as in the cockpit of an aircraft. A fiber optic cable may weigh as little as four pounds per 1,000 feet. The same amount of copper cable may weigh around 39 pounds.

The lightweight properties of fiber optics also allow for you to run more cables within a space than you might with other metal-based solutions. Because of the significant weight reduction, you can create a more intricate and robust cabling system without having to sacrifice the resources to do so for weight concerns.

Finally, fiber optic cables also provide superior protection against lightning strikes because they don’t conduct electricity as metal wires do. This improves safety and data security during flight operations.

Selecting the Right Fiber Optic Solution for Your Aircraft

Are you preparing to order a fiber optic cable solution for your aircraft design? Here are the key benefits to look for as you search for a provider and prepare your design specs.

Built to Military-Spec Standards

Fiber optic cable assemblies can be built in accordance with all applicable military specifications and standards. MIL spec wiring is used within and outside of the military when consistency and quality are of the utmost importance.

Customizable Assemblies

Customization for fiber optic cable assemblies involves the choice of materials, cable lengths, endpoints, and other details. When working with expert wiring engineers like the Midcon Wiring Solutions team, you can provide exact specifications for your cable solutions, rather than choose from a limited set of options.

High-Volume Production

Custom orders don’t have to be slow or limited in quantity. Once your design is complete, a high-volume production run can be executed so that your organization receives both the quality and the quantity that you need.

Application-Specific Design

Fiber optic cable solutions are designed for specific aircraft systems and parts. Application-specific design enables fiber optic engineers to create optimal assemblies based on size, weight, material, and performance requirements.

Get Custom Fiber Optic Cable Assemblies for Your Military Aircraft

Midcon Wiring Solutions has provided custom cable and wire assemblies for the military and defense industries for more than 50 years. We’re an employee-owned company with facilities in Missouri and South Carolina.

Our team is experienced in collaborating with military leaders to achieve the highest levels of customization and consistency. We reverse engineer cable and wiring solutions to your exact specifications to ensure precise and repeatable results.

To learn more, contact our team of fiber optic cable experts today.