Case Study: Future Optical Network Distribution for Aerospace
The FONDA program was a partnership between leading aerospace suppliers to develop and demonstrate the next generation of fiber optic data communication networks to be integrated into future aerospace and defense products.
A portion of the FONDA program was dedicated to the demonstration of an avionic fiber optic cable with the following attributes:
- Low attenuation over operating temperatures of -55° C to 125° C
- High strength and flexibility
- Low weight and small outer diameter, compatible with commercial termini
- Compliance to smoke/toxicity requirements
- Easy to handle and terminate
Components were provided by W. L. Gore & Associates (fiber optic cable), Deutsch UK (fiber optic connectors), and D-Lightsys (optical transceivers). BAE Systems provided system integration.
An optical fiber with a recently developed high temperature acrylate primary buffer was selected. Gore contributed a cable design based on our proven ePTFE buffering for exceptional low-temperature performance. A thermoplastic sheath protected the fiber to provide robustness to airframe routing and minimization of CTE mismatch.
- Cable ties
- Decreasing radius of curvature wraps
- Slot weave
- Knotted bends
- Hard edge loading
According to system integrator BAE Systems, in head-to-head cable testing, the Gore aerospace cable construction has many advantages*:
- The fiber is isolated from temperature changes
- The Gore cable required the most force to produce attenuations up to 3 dB levels. Hard edge loading properties were good.
- The Gore 1.8 mm OD cables look promising
* “Evaluation of Next Generation Avionic Fibre Optic Cables”, G.M Proudley, H.J. White and N.B. Aldridge, BAE Systems Advanced Technology Centre presented at 2006 IEEE Avionics, Fiber-Optics and Photonics Technology Conference