High-speed 1553: a promising technology wasted by the military

By John Keller
Editor in Chief

Most would agree in this day and age that the U.S. government—particularly the Department of Defense (DOD)—no longer can afford to waste money. Hundred-dollar hammers and thousand-dollar toilet seats simply MUST become things of the past. With federal budgets and the global economy as tight as they are, every dollar has to count.

Nevertheless, over the past several years, the U.S. Air Force walked away from a high-speed avionics databus program after spending millions. Almost everyone concerned with this program thought it was a great idea, but the Air Force killed the program anyway because it didn’t have high enough priority.

The project involved Air Force and U.S. Navy avionics researchers and avionics databus specialists at Edgewater Computer Systems in Ottawa. The idea was to develop a military-standard, high-speed version of the widely installed MIL-STD-1553 databus, which required little rewiring or other modifications to existing aircraft with 1553 already installed.

The program, called Extended 1553 (E1553), proposed to move data through existing 1553 wiring at speeds as fast as 200 megabits per second—a two-hundred-fold increase from 1553’s 1-megabit-per-second speed. You probably haven’t heard much lately about E1553 because the Air Force has pulled the plug on the program after spending in the neighborhood of $40 to $50 million.

This program wasn’t just sandbox research in its early stages. Scientists at Edgewater had flight-tested the technology with encouraging results aboard an Air Force F-16 jet fighter. The Navy also sponsored tests of E1553 aboard an F/A-18 fighter-bomber, also with encouraging results.

A competing high-speed 1553 technology from Data Device Corp. in Bohemia, N.Y., called HyPer-1553, had interest from the Pentagon, although it never received military backing as an official research program. DDC’s HyPer-1553 technology was demonstrated on a Boeing F-15E Strike Eagle jet fighter-bomber in 2006, but never received the necessary government funding or program of record to make it a viable product.

The beauty of E1553 and HyPer-1553 lies in the ease of installation, ease of maintenance, and economical costs of installing high-speed networking on a wide variety of military platforms—not only aircraft, but also others that use 1553, like the M1A2 Abrams main battle tank and other vetronics programs.

These two modes of high-speed 1553 require no rewiring to upgrade from conventional 1553 to high-speed 1553 because the data moves equally well over the same wiring. The high-speed databus on these platforms could function not only as a control bus, as 1553 was designed to be, but also as a high-speed data pipe carrying sensor data, imagery, and video.

This kind of technology potentially could lead to affordable sensor- fusion systems on legacy aircraft, such as the F-16, F/A-18, and F-15, similar to those in more modern aircraft, such as the F-22 and F-35. In armored combat vehicles, this technology could facilitate installing affordable self-protection systems to safeguard vehicles from threats, such as missiles and rocket-propelled grenades.

For the time being, it’s all about upgrading existing systems economically. Let’s face it, this is what the U.S. military faces over the next several years. There is very little money available for new starts like the F-35, and we’ve already seen the massive Future Combat Systems program cancelled due to budget issues and capability issues.

If the U.S. military is going to maintain itself as a viable fighting force over the next decade, technology insertion and systems upgrades to existing weapon systems will be crucial.

More Military & Aerospace Electronics Current Issue Articles
More Military & Aerospace Electronics Archives Issue Articles

Get All the Military Aerospace Electronics News Delivered to Your Inbox or Your Mailbox

Subscribe to Military Aerospace Electronics Magazine or email newsletter today at no cost and receive the latest information on:

  • C4ISR
  • Cyber Security
  • Embedded Computing
  • Unmanned Vehicles

Get All the Military Aerospace Electronics News Delivered to Your Inbox or Your Mailbox

Subscribe to Military Aerospace Electronics Magazine or email newsletter today at no cost and receive the latest information on:

  • C4ISR
  • Cyber Security
  • Embedded Computing
  • Unmanned Vehicles

Military & Aerospace Photos

Most Popular Articles

Related Products

Custom and OEM Camera Design

We provide custom designs for both modifications to existing systems and development of new produ...

Nano-D Bi-Lobes® Connectors Dual Row Horizontal SMT (Type AA)

Horizontal SMT Bi-Lobe® nanos offer an extremely low profile package that is well suited to pick ...

Nano-D BiLobe® Connectors -(COTS)

Sizes are 9, 15, 21, 25, 31, 37 , 51 & 65 pin, at .025 Mil. Pitch(Currently Available), mating pi...

Hybrid Micro-D Connectors

Omnetics high reliability Micro-D connectors are available withmixed power/signal contact layouts...

Micro-D Connectors

Highly rugged and compact designs in shell styles from 9 to 51 contacts. The Micro-D connectors i...

Omnetics Nano-D Bi-Lobe® Latching Connectors

Bi-Lobe® connectors utilize rugged and reliable flex pin contact system. Spaced on 25 mil (.64mm)...

Latching Micro-D Connectors

Omnetics high reliability Micro-D connectors are available with Quick Latch System. For applicati...

XTend7103 | COM Express® Carrier for COM Express® Type 10 Mezzanine Modules

The XTend7103 is a COM Express® carrier card designed to provide a low-cost and compact platform ...

XPedite7575 | 5th Generation Intel® Core™ i7 Broadwell-H Processor-Based Conduction- or Air-Cooled 3U VPX-REDI Module

The XPedite7575 is a high-performance, 3U VPX-REDI, single board computer based on the 5th genera...

XPort6173 | 3U VPX Carrier for Two 2.5 in. Solid-State Drives (SSDs)

The XPort6173 supports two, standard, 2.5 in. Solid-State Drives (SSDs) in a single 0.8 in. or 1....

Related Companies

Southwest Antennas

Designs and manufactures high-performance RF and Microwave antennas and accessories designed for today’s communicatio...

Interface Displays & Controls Inc

Certified ISO-9001/AS9100, veteran-owned, small business. Interface specializes in designing, reverse-engineering and...

Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions

About Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions (CWDS) is a long established techno...

Omnetics Connector Corp

Omnetics Connector Corporation – Micro and Nano Connectors and Interconnect Systems for Military & Aerospa...

United Electronic Industries Inc

UEI is a leader in the PC/Ethernet data acquisition and control, Data Logger/Recorder and Programmable Automation Con...

GE Aviation Systems

Designs and manufactures high reliability microelectronics for aerospace and military applications. Thick film hybrid...

Cobham AvComm (formerly Aeroflex Test Solutions)

Is a global leader in avionics, communications, and synthetic test, monitoring, and control for commercial, governmen...

Astronics Ballard Technology

Manufactures avionics databus interfaces, embedded computers, and software for aerospace, military and commercial use...

Henniker Plasma

Plasma Treatment Equipment - Plasma Cleaners, Plasma Etchers, Plasma Coating & Plasma Surface ModificationWe are the ...

KAMAKA Electronic Bauelemente Vertriebs GmbH

One of the leading Hi-Rel suppliers in Central Europe for more than 23 years. The quality of our products and the tec...


Harsh Environment Protection for Advanced Electronics and Components

This webinar will offer an opportunity to learn more about ultra-thin Parylene conformal coatings – how they are applied, applications they protect today, and the properties and benefits they offer, includin...

New Design Tools That Help You Develop Radar That Sees the Un-seeable and Detects the Undetectable

Xilinx EW/ISR System Architect, Luke Miller, has new tricks and he’s going to tell you all about them in a new Xilinx Webinar—for free. His Webinar will cover new ways to implement Radar functions including ...
Sponsored by:

Press Releases


Curtiss-Wright Corporation today announced that its Defense Solutions division has received a contract from Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) to supply its small form factor ...

Innovative Integration Announces the FMC-Servo

Camarillo, CA June 19, 2015, Innovative Integration, a trusted supplier of signal processing and data acquisition hardware and software solutions, today announced the FMC-S...


Curtiss-Wright Corporation today announced that its Defense Solutions division has further enhanced its innovative VRD1 high definition (HD) video management system (VMS) w...

All Access Sponsors

Mil & Aero Magazine

August 2015
Volume 26, Issue 8

Download Our Apps




Follow Us On...


Military & Aerospace Electronics

Weekly newsletter covering technical content, breaking news and product information

Cyber Security

Monthly newsletter covering cyber warfare, cyber security, information warfare, and information security technologies, products, contracts, and procurement opportunities

Defense Executive

Monthly newsletter covering business news and strategic insights for executive managers

Electronic Warfare

Quarterly newsletter covering technologies and applications in electronic warfare, cyber warfare, optical warfare, and spectrum warfare.

Embedded Computing Report

Monthly newsletter covering news on embedded computing in aerospace, defense and industrial-rugged applications

Unmanned Vehicles

Monthly newsletter covering news updates for designers of unmanned vehicles