An expert drives home the criticality of connector quality and resiliency in aerospace and defense applications.
Do some system designs sacrifice longevity in favor of lower cost?
Designs should be built to survive, and this includes fiber optics and copper. Affordable solutions are possible within both commercial and military applications where we see the same demands for increasing bandwidth while decreasing weight and power consumption.
How critical is it that a connector on mil-aero platforms be rugged?
It is very critical. Rugged interfaces must maintain operational up time. With the desire to field to the 'Agile Process' within military applications and the implementation of commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) solutions, we see seemingly ruggedized solutions fielded with mil circular metal shells wrapped around a fairly delicate commercial-grade interface. The net result is increased maintenance costs that drive up cost of ownership. With thought and design intent, affordable solutions are available to enable the item for survival and consistent service.
How can connector selection aid in meeting various requirements?
Connector selection should be coupled with a systems design approach that considers the overall end-to-end solution rather than selecting each part of the interconnects as a separate entity. One can achieve a much more balanced design and, in the long term, confirm these designs are built to survive the intended environment, as well as pick the appropriate style/type of interconnect to meet the requisite performance demands.
Our series of high-bandwidth solutions for inside the box like VITA 66.1 optic and 66.7 RF help expand capability with other card-level interfaces. We also have input/output (I/O) interfaces that are small and high performance, such as our CeeLok FAS-T connector and D-Max connector for up to 10 Gb/s. These solutions help serve the imperative to get size and weight down without compromising on performance and cost of ownership and affordability.
What is the biggest challenge mil-aero systems designers and systems integrators face today?
A significant challenge is transitioning into the Agile Process from the heritage approaches of design for applications/programs. Gone are the days of large multi-year, program-level buys. This is the era of rapid deployment-getting technology into the warfighters hands sooner and at an affordable price for all involved. The speed at which the solution travels is merging with a more commercial electronics model.
If you could lend one piece of advice, what would that be?
When looking at higher speeds, make sure the solution being provided has the performance data to back up the claims. We are fortunate to have many opportunities to fix ill-prepared designs for our end customers.
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NAME: Earle Olson
TITLE: Business Development Manager, Aerospace Defense and Marine business unit, TE Connectivity
ROLE: Specializes in high-bandwidth solutions