Electrical connectors are commonly used for military and defense operations worldwide. They can include various applications such as vehicles (including tanks, Humvees, and armored personnel carriers) and aircraft, helicopters, and drones. Such applications require circular connectors that are incredibly reliable. Fortunately, specific military standards exist to ensure that connectors will successfully perform in the demanding environments that warfare implies.
History of Military Circular Connector Standards
In the 1930s, the U.S. Department of Defense developed several specifications that outlined how specific electrical connectors should be designed and built for military applications. Because these standards are military-focused, the connectors constructed in compliance with them are often called Military Standard, MIL-STD, or, more informally, Mil-Spec connectors.
Over the years, military specifications have evolved with the advancements in technology. Plus, Mil-Spec connectors are often used in markets outside of military use, including industrial, marine, and even commercial applications. Many of the top manufacturers in the connector industry offer product series in compliance with military standards, such as Amphenol, TE Connectivity, Souriau, ITT Cannon, and Conesys.
Types of Military Standards for Electrical Connectors
Many military specifications cover a particular connector type to meet harsh environmental factors. Four common military connector standards are MIL-DTL-38999, MIL-DTL-26482, MIL-DTL-5015, and MIL-DTL-26500.
MIL-DTL-38999, formerly known as MIL-C-38999, applies to four series of high-density miniature circular connectors. Each of these series possesses unique design features and is engineered for use in extremely harsh environments:
- Series 1: bayonet coupling mechanism with scoop-proof design
- Series 2: bayonet coupling with a low-profile design to meet weight and space restrictions
- Series 3: self-locking threaded coupling mechanism
- Series 4: breech-lock coupling mechanism
In addition, MIL-DTL 38999 connectors can also operate within a temperature range of -65°C to 200°C.
The MIL-DTL-26482 standard, formerly MIL-C-26482, describes two series of quick-disconnect circular connectors with a bayonet coupling mechanism and applicable accessories such as backshells and plating options. These environmentally sealed quick-disconnect connectors have an operating temperature range of -55°C to 125°C. Note that the MIL-DTL-26482 standard is equivalent to the European VG95328 standard.
The MIL-DTL-5015 standard, formerly known as MIL-C-5015, was superseded in 2009 by the SAE-AS5015 standard. These are heavy-duty circular connectors with either a threaded or bayonet coupling mechanism available with either solder or removable crimp contacts and front or rear release. Their operating temperature range is −55 °C to 200 °C.
The MIL-DTL-26500 quick-disconnect circular connectors and terminals provide excellent environmental shielding and fluid resistance. These low-profile Mil-Spec connectors offer an operating temperature range of -65°C to 200°C and, in addition to military use, are found in telecommunications and industrial environments. They are available in a bayonet coupling option or a threaded option for high-vibration environments.
PEI-Genesis: Your Source for Mil-Spec Connectors
PEI-Genesis is an authorized value-added distributor for many top manufacturers that develop connectors to meet these military standards. Because of this, we are approved to build high-quality custom and standard connectors for all four of the Mil-Spec connector series just described.
PEI-Genesis cuts supplier lead times significantly and provides an MOQ (minimum order quantity) of just one piece. With our unique proprietary automation and a massive inventory of connectors and accessories, we offer faster connector assembly than other distributors who wait weeks to receive the basic product from industry manufacturers. Turn to the experts at PEI-Genesis for your Mil-Spec connectors needs.