AS9120B, ISO 9001:2015, and FAA AC 0056B ACCREDITED

The Difference Between Commercial and Defense Aircraft Cable Assemblies

Whether an aircraft is designed for commercial applications or defense, most modern models are highly electrified to provide pilots with all the instrumentation data, control, and assistance that they need to efficiently and safely fly. In order for power and data to effectively be transferred between systems and components, various aviation cable assemblies are used. As commercial and defense aircraft are subject to varying levels of stress and atmospheric conditions, the required specifications of the cable assemblies in planes will often differ based on the application. In this piece, we will discuss how commercial and defense aircraft cable assemblies differ from one another, allowing you to have a better idea of each and what is best for your needs.

When discussing cable assemblies, one is simply referring to a group of wires that are bundled together. Usually, bundling is executed with the use of a harness, that of which may vary from a simplistic and small solution to a large and complex assembly. Generally, cable assemblies will vary in size and complexity based on the needs of a particular application, an example being automobile cable assemblies which are much smaller and less complex as compared to cable assemblies in plane designs.

Aviation cable assemblies are fairly complex, featuring thousands of wires and hundreds of connectors. With so many parts bundled together, a single aircraft cable assembly can often reach upwards of 40-50 kilograms. Rather than needing to install individual wires one at a time, aircraft cable assemblies are bundled, which makes them very easy to install and organize. With a bundle, the space taken up is also reduced, adding to their ease of maintenance.

While commercial aircraft cable assemblies and defense aircraft cable assemblies both feature wires, connectors, contacts, and covers, as well as are subjected to many of the same tests, they exhibit a major difference when it boils down to quality. Regulations for defense components are often extremely robust even when compared with commercial standards, and different authorities will overlook such parts when they are sent for inspection. While the FAA may oversee the inspections of a standard commercial aircraft assembly, any defense components will need to be inspected by the Defense Contract Management Agency, or DCMA. Nevertheless, both assemblies will still undergo much of the same continuity and insulation resistance tests, and both must have ample protection.

With the small difference between both aviation cable assemblies, it can be argued that there is no major difference between each. Nevertheless, price points may vary between commercial and defense options, and as such, the choice will generally be based on one’s particular needs, requirements, and target pricing. Despite this, some types of aircraft or operations may necessitate the use of defense cable assemblies in particular, meaning that the option of both may not be available to some. If you find yourself in need of various aviation cable assemblies to carry out maintenance endeavors or flight operations, let the experts at Alpha Purchasing help you secure everything you need with competitive pricing, rapid lead-times, and more.

Alpha Purchasing is a leading distributor of aircraft cable assembly parts and other aviation products, presenting customers access to an unrivaled database containing over 2 billion new, used, obsolete, and hard-to-find items. Explore our vast set of offerings as you see fit, and our team is always ready to assist you throughout the purchasing process however necessary. If you find particular items that you are interested in, fill out and submit an RFQ form at your earliest convenience, and a dedicated account manager will reach out to you in just 15 minutes or less. Experience how Alpha Purchasing can serve as your strategic sourcing partner today when you give us a call or email!


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September 23, 2022
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