What are MIL-DTL-55116 connectors?

By Amy Goetzman | September 19, 2023

Meet the Connector: MTL-DTL-55116 Connectors

The MIL-DTL-55116 connector is an electrical connector that has been used for more than five decades to connect audio and radio frequency (RF) devices in military and aerospace applications. It was introduced by the United States Department of Defense (DoD) in 1969 to meet the military’s need for robust and reliable connectors for communications equipment used in harsh environments. Although refinements have been made over the generations, MIL-DTL-55116 connectors continue to be vital components in military and aerospace applications.

The MIL-DTL-55116 is a mainstay in headsets, radios, and microphones used by military personnel and ground-based command posts. They also play a role in land vehicles, aircraft, and naval vessels, where they are used to facilitate communications between pilots, crew members, and command centers. Beyond communication equipment, MIL-DTL-55116 connectors are utilized in various aerospace and defense electronic systems, including radar systems, navigation equipment, and electronic warfare systems. This connector has been selected for the Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS), the next-generation voice and data radio for U.S. military field operations and has been used on the SINCGARS (Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio System.

In addition to military applications, MIL-DTL-55116 connectors are also used by firefighters, and civil-defense agencies.

Amphenol PCD’s 164 Series Audio Connectors, qualified to MIL-C-55116, are ideal for use in audio frequency circuits at 60V maximum potential and 0.5A maximum current. These connectors can use either crimp sleeve or solder cup contacts. Connector options, such as shielding, filtering, right-angle connectors, and miniaturization of M55116 products are available.

Design Notes

Standardization: This connector type meets the United States Department of Defense (DoD) MIL-DTL-55116 standard. Updated versions include MIL-DTL-55116 QPL and an intermateable advanced-performance high-performance MCOTS. In addition to the MIL-Spec call out, the connectors are also often identified with a UG number.

Variations: MIL-DTL-55116 are available in many configurations, including QPL, NSA, lightweight, and specialized/custom designs. They may be specified as in-line and panel-mount connectors, with EMI/RFI filtered receptacles, with feedthroughs, and as extended length, bulkhead connectors.

CDM Electronics offers Amphenol Nexus MAP and MAJ Series of 10-contact miniature M55116-Type TAC audio connectors; miniature 6- and 7-contact designs are further available by special order.  These in-line and panel-mount plugs and receptacles are 50% smaller than standard MIL-DTL-55116 parts to meet the size, weight, and performance requirements of soldier-worn and ruggedized public safety communications applications.

Water-Resistant: These connectors are IP68 rated, making them suitable for use in harsh and outdoor environments commonly encountered in military operations.

Coupling: MIL-DTL-55116 connectors usually feature a three-point bayonet coupling mechanism for quick, yet secure and reliable coupling. The three-point system also allows for self-wiping of the contact area. Versions with extended bodies are available to facilitate attachment on either side of a panel or bulkhead.

Compatibility: Various sizes and configurations are available to accommodate different types of audio and RF devices.

Shielding: MIL-DTL-55116 connectors often incorporate shielding to minimize electromagnetic interference (EMI) and ensure signal integrity in RF applications. Filtered versions that incorporate low pass, pi network, ferrite-ceramic capacitors are also available for maximum protection.

Robust Construction: These connectors are built to withstand rugged conditions, including exposure to dust, moisture, and shock and vibration and are generally IP68 rated. Contacts in the plug connector are rigidly captured and mate with spring-loaded pogo-pin contacts in the receptacle.

Pins: Available in 5- or 6-pin configurations

Shells: Available in a variety of shell and pin materials, most commonly passivated stainless steel, with gold-plated pins.

Custom solutions: Cable assemblies, wiring harnesses, and high-pin-count connectors that utilize MIL-DTL-55116-style shells are among the common customizations.

Markets, Sectors, and Applications

Military, Aerospace, and Industrial

The MIL-DTL-55116 connector is used in a wide variety of communications applications.

Amphenol PCD, CDM Electronics, Amphenol Nexus (PEI Genesis), Glenair (Mouser Electronics), Eaton

Related products:

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Amy Goetzman
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