Connectors and Cables for Future Soldier Systems

By Christine Stieglitz | December 04, 2018

This week’s Product Roundup highlights connectors and cables for future soldier systems, including increasingly mobile and mission-critical command, control, communications, computer, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C4ISR) equipment.

TT ElectronicsTT Electronics' mag-Net® Invisible, Garment-Mounted, Power and Data Connectorsmag-Net® Invisible, Garment-Mounted, Power and Data Connectors for harsh-environment military, first-responder, and law enforcement applications are the world’s first and only mil-spec connectors specifically designed for textile mounting. These robust, rectangular connectors are ultra-lightweight and flush-flat, have a self-aligning, automatic latching magnetic coupling system that enables extremely easy, one-handed blind mating, are virtually self-cleaning, and deliver dependable ease-of-use, high reliability, and invisible power and data connectivity. They support scalable C4I2 functionality, improved mobility, and superior human factors and are currently available in four configurations. The mag-Net garment receptacle offers versatile rear entry, the equipment plug eliminates the need for cables, minimizing dangerous snag hazards with direct connections between receptacles and equipment, the cable plug offers various cable entry points, and the garment cage provides clear separation of the electronics from the system and consumes only one MOLLE/PALS strap. The series features aluminum shells plated with RoHS-compliant, non-reflective, low-luster, black electroless nickel, glass-filled thermoplastic inserts, gold-plated copper alloy contacts, and dynamic sealing, and is rated for a minimum of 2,000 mating cycles. It also meets or exceeds the new Generic Soldier Architecture standard (GSA) currently being developed by the UK Ministry of Defense.

ITT CannonITT Cannon’s Rock-in-Lock™ (RIL) small, quick-connect, rectangular connectors ’s Rock-in-Lock™ (RIL) small, quick-connect, rectangular connectors are lightweight, low-profile, and roughly the size of a flash drive, and are capable of transferring significant amounts of power and data within the same layout in military, defense, and first responder applications including helmets, headsets, augmented reality goggles, field-use computer tablets, tactical combat radios, and other communication devices. These single-handed, push-and-plug connectors enable quick, blind, and accurate mating and unmating without the need for a specialized mechanism like a thumbscrew, latch, or coupling tool, are pressure sealed and submersible to 2m, and are tested to MIL-STD-810. They have aerospace-grade aluminum alloy shells with matte black zinc nickel and/or electroless nickel plating, glass-reinforced thermoplastic insulators, and gold over electroless nickel plated copper alloy spring probe and pad contacts, and are rated for 2A continuous, 3A peak, 150VDC test voltage, 28–24AWG, 500 hours salt resistance, 500-cycle durability, and operating temperatures extending from -40°C to +75°C. RIL connectors are currently offered with 11, 16, 20, 22, or 32 signal contacts and can be made to accept additional wire gauges upon request.

Smiths InterconnectSmiths Interconnect’s SnapTac® Series miniature snap-fit connectors’s SnapTac® Series miniature snap-fit connectors are lightweight and robust and offer quick release, IP67 sealing, and full line EMI shielding. Designed to meet the demanding specifications of future soldier systems, including mobile and body-worn communications and identification equipment, the series is available in 7-, 13-, and 19-way circular and 12-, 21-, and 30-way rectangular versions equipped with lightweight aluminum shells and high-reliability, spring-loaded Hyperspring contacts that protect the electrical interface against extreme environmental conditions. SnapTac connector plugs are available with or without overmolding and cabling to accommodate turnkey solutions and easy integration into existing designs and are sealed to IP67 in both their mated and unmated states.

ODUODU’s ODU AMC® HIGH-DENSITY push-pull circular connectors’s ODU AMC® HIGH-DENSITY push-pull circular connectors deliver high-reliability performance, electrical and mechanical robustness, and the highest possible number of contacts in the most compact space to enable significant size reductions and up to 70% weight savings in a wide range of military, security, medical, consumer electronics, and automotive applications. Available with 2–40 contacts in four housing sizes with diameters spanning <10mm to 18.5mm, these compact, high-density connectors also offer signal, power, and data in the same layout, mechanical and color coding to ensure accurate mating, blind mating capabilities, IP68 watertight protection, 360° shielding for trouble-free data transfer, robust housings with non-reflective surfaces, innovative assembly options, extrusion for cable bend relief, salt spray resistance, breakaway functionality for maximum safety, quick and easy unmating, and long lifetimes of more than 5,000 mating cycles. The versatile series is compatible with USB 3.1 Gen 1, USB 2.0, HDMI 2.0, and Ethernet protocols, rated for operating temperatures extending from -51°C to +125°C, and can be supplied with contacts designed to terminate to PCBs, flex layers, and rigid-flex solutions.

Newark element14TE Connectivity’s CeeLok FAS-T small form factor, field-terminable I/O connectors, stocks TE Connectivity’s CeeLok FAS-T small form factor, field-terminable I/O connectors, which are capable of 10Gb/s Ethernet and designed to satisfy stringent size, weight, and power (SWaP) demands in military and commercial aerospace applications including soldier-worn devices, C4ISR equipment, missiles, ground vehicles, ships, fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft, and in-flight entertainment and avionics systems. The series features a rugged, scoop-proof design with RoHS compliant and DOD approved corrosion-resistant electroless nickel or black zinc shells, high-temperature thermoplastic inserts for excellent temperature endurance, 39029-style crimp-snap contacts for easy termination and field repairability, a T-shaped contact pattern that provides noise cancellation and decoupling to minimize crosstalk and improve signal integrity, a robust coupling ring, integral backshells for easy 360° shield termination and strain relief, and compact size eight shells. CeeLok FAS-T connectors are true 100Ω impedance connectors and are compatible with Cat 5e, Cat 6a, and Cat 7 cables and protocols ranging from USB and IEEE 1394 to gigabit and 10Gb Ethernet. They also exhibit high-reliability shielding and vibration performance compliant with MIL-DTL-38999 requirements, provide IP67 protection when mated and IPX6 protection when unmated, and are rated for 500 mating cycles in operating temperatures extending form -65°C to +175°C.

OmneticsMicro 360® ACME Triple-Thread Ratcheting Micro Circular Panel-Mount (RMCP) Connectors are designed to withstand high shock and vibration while maintaining electrical integrity, have environmentally sealed metal housings, are qualified to MIL-DTL-83513 01/02/03/04 specifications, and are available in a variety of shell materials, finishes, and configurations. These versatile miniature connectors are available with 5, 12, 16, 27, or 39 beryllium copper contacts; discrete lead wire or cable terminations, the latter of which are available in sizes up to 26AWG and in both standard (18”) and custom lengths; three shell styles: front panel, rear panel, and protruding panel mount shell styles; and four shell materials and finishes: nickel plated aluminum (standard), black nickel plated aluminum, passivated stainless steel, and black oxide finished steel. Additional options include color-coding, O-rings, IP68 (vs. standard IP67) sealing, and RoHS compliance. Front-panel RMCP connectors measure 0.81–1.02” in diameter, rear-panel RMCP connectors measure 0.82–1.13” in diameter, and panel-mount RMCP connectors measure 0.528–1.13” in diameter. The series is rated for 250VACrms at sea level, 3A per contact, and operating temperatures spanning -55°C to 125°C (or up to 200°C with HTE).

TE Connectivity’s O.C.H. Micro Circular Connectors meet the rigorous mechanical and performance requirements of both MIL-STD-810G and the US Army’s Nett Warrior program, which was developed to connect ground soldiers directly to the Army’s tactical network through instant communication tools. These small, lightweight connectors have a ruggedized design with breakaway coupling, which enables quick connection and single-action disconnection, robust aluminum shells, thermoplastic inserts, and keying mechanisms to ensure proper mating. TE is the second authorized source of Nett Warrior connectors for use in Nett Warrior soldier systems and peripheral devices including soldier vest cables, batteries, antennas, communication and power hubs, radios, and military vehicles.

NicomaticNicomatic’s discrete round wire to flat cable interconnect solution’s discrete round wire to flat cable interconnect solution is comprised of a flat, flexible cable (FFC) crimped with contacts mounted in a housing on a 2.54mm pitch and a 28–22AWG round wire mounted in a housing. The two sides connect to enable the easy replacement of bulky wire cabling parts and achieve up to 30% weight savings compared to round cable solutions in datacom, telecom, energy, medical, and transportation applications, including mobile soldier communications systems. Its tulip contact shape provides compatibility with all market standard 0.635mm pin headers, as well as Nicomatic’s CrimpFlex™ contacts and housings, and its mono-housing provides easy-mating, low-profile connections that resist accidental disengagement. Housings are available in 2–12 ways (1SM/2SL) and 1–20 ways (DFM) and male and female crimp contacts are available in bulk or in reel.

Amphenol Military & AerospaceAmphenol Military & Aerospace’s Stingray Series connectors ’s Stingray Series connectors are optimized for body-worn soldier systems that utilize USB 2.0 and Ethernet protocols and are an excellent solution for audio, power, and data signals in applications including computers, routers, and headsets. These ruggedized connectors are compact and low-profile to prevent snagging and damage, are sealed against rain, dust, dirt, and chemicals to ensure high reliability in harsh environments, and have a magnetic, unkeyed mating system that eliminates pre-alignment and manual coupling requirements and enables quick, easy, and accurate mating. The magnetic mating system also provides semi blind mating performance, allows for easily variable 0–360° cable exit angles for improved routing flexibility, and prevents inadvertent damage if the user forgets to unmate the connector. Stingray Series connectors also have a wipe-clean interface with spring-loaded pogo contacts, last-mate contacts that allow for the hot-swapping of equipment and signals, and IP68 sealing, and are rated for more than 5,000 mating cycles.


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Christine Stieglitz
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