Military connectors were developed in the 1930s and originally used for extreme aeronautical and tactical service applications. Setting the standard for modern military circular connectors, the Army-Navy series (Type “AN”) influenced all military connector successors.
These connectors are known as Military Standard (“MIL-STD”), though they are informally called “mil-spec” connectors, and are used in the aerospace, industrial, marine, and automotive industries. The most common types of connectors used in military applications include circular (i.e. D38999) or rectangular connectors (i.e. M24308). And although most military connectors have been designed in the United States, they are sold and shipped to countries around the world.
Reflecting the military’s affinity for uniformity, precision, and strength, military connectors aid the armed services in an array of applications. They are built to military specifications and carry a military part number, which makes them easy to identify and subsequently purchase from a variety of vendors.
Each year, as military technology progresses, new uses for military connectors are born. They are often used in military applications like communication, navigation, radar, airborne and marine guidance control, and electronic warfare, but new demands consistently create new uses and new requirements. Through the years, connectors have become smaller and lighter, increased their bandwidth and security, and reduced energy consumption. They have also responded to the environment and the danger of their respective workplaces, becoming both stronger and tougher. Durable enough to endure sizzling heat, blustery winds, and even flash floods, these connectors are prepared for combat. They are also resistant to shock and vibration conditions so that their connection doesn’t slip during bumpy rides—whether on an airplane facing turbulence, a truck driving through rugged terrain, or a boat swayed by a sea storm.
Specialized infrastructure products are utilized to help military connectors withstand harsh environments. For example, military communications systems often make use of fiber optic technology because it is immune to noise, can support long distances, has high bandwidth capability, and can be utilized in a variety of applications (like voice, video, and data). Plus, with the cost of fiber decreasing as more manufacturers produce it, optical fiber is becoming increasingly more affordable. Fiber optics also come into play with Ingress Protection (IP) rated designs (learn about the IP67 connector). They are offered in custom styles, including armored fiber cable and impact-resistant fiber patch cable.
Air Electro offers a wide range of military connectors. The most popular of these is the D-Subminiature product line and its mil-spec versions, which are sold under the part prefix “M24308.”
These connectors are solid, reliable products with a broad user base and well-understood technologies. The Positronic Qualified Product Listing (QPL) for M24308, offered here at Air Electro, is one of the most extensive in the industry.
Another popular mil-spec connector is the Rectangular Rack & Panel product. The solid-machined offer high-reliability power connector capability in a mil-spec connector. These military connectors also feature a large selection of accessories, including multiple backshell options.