Amphenol buys Teradyne's Aerospace Defense connector and backplane business

By John McHale

WALLINGFORD, Conn. — Amphenol Corp. is taking over the Teradyne Inc. Aerospace Defense connector and backplane business in Nashua, N.H., giving Amphenol a major share of the SEM-E (Standard Electronic Module) form-factor connector business.

Engineers at the Aerospace Defense business — part of Teradyne's Connections Systems division — design and manufacture connectors and backplane assemblies for aerospace and defense applications. Amphenol bought Teradyne earlier this year.

The business is now part of Amphenol's Aerospace division and called Amphenol Backplane Systems in Nashua, N.H., says Richard Paul, marketing manager at Amphenol Aerospace. Teradyne officials kept their building while Amphenol acquired the people, technology, and equipment, he says.

The consolidation gives Amphenol Aerospace officials the opportunity to provide their military avionics customers, such as Lockheed Martin Corp., a one-stop shop for interconnects, backplanes, and other products, Paul says.

Before the purchase, Teradyne and Amphenol Aerospace were the two major suppliers in the niche SEM-E connector market for military avionics applications, Paul says. Teradyne was known for the company's ultra-high-density (UHD) and NAFI connectors, while Amphenol Aerospace made a name with the LRM, or line replaceable module with a brush contact, Paul explains.

The UHD is designed into the U.S. Army RAH-66 Comanche scout/attack helicopter and the LRM is part of the avionics on the U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor jet fighter, Paul says.

The 40-pin NAFI-style interconnect was co-developed by Amphenol and the U.S. Navy in the late 1960s, Amphenol officials say. NAFI is an acronym for Naval Avionics Facility — Indianapolis, and it was together with this organization that Amphenol helped develop the form factor for interconnecting modules and daughterboards through a central backplane.

The products are available off-the-shelf, although Paul says he prefers to call them military-off-the-shelf; calling them COTS, or commercial-off-the-shelf, sometimes indicates a level of cheapness, while military connectors are anything but cheap and must work in many demanding applications, he adds.

While the majority of Amphenol Aerospace's connector products are available out of a catalog, many of the company's military customers want each product tweaked for specific applications, Paul says.

In 2000 Teradyne's Aerospace Defense business supplied about $26 million worth of electronic components to systems integrators, while the Amphenol Aerospace division supplied components worth about $130 million, Paul says.

Amphenol makes electronic and fiber optic connectors, cable, and interconnect systems for voice, video, and data communications in industrial, automotive, and aerospace applications, company officials say.

For more information on Amphenol Aerospace's new Amphenol Backplane Systems group contact the company on the World Wide Web at http://www.amphenol-aerospace.com/aboutABS.html. For more information on LRMs contact the company on the World Wide Web at http://www.amphenol-aerospace.com/products_rectangular.html.


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