High-Speed Data Cables for Fighter Aircraft

Harbour Industries LLC
Shelburne, VT

Harbour Industries LLC (Harbour), a Marmon | Berkshire Hathaway company announced that it has been approved as a manufacturer for a number of low-loss coax and high-speed data cables used on Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Lightning II 5th generation fighter aircraft.

Declared "combat ready" by the commander of the US Air Combat Command, this next generation aircraft provides all of the capabilities needed on the modern battlefield. The F-35 provides air superiority, interdiction, suppression of enemy air defenses and close air support with unprecedented situational awareness of the battle space that will be more extensive than any single-seat platform in existence.

Harbour's data and coaxial cables were chosen based on the use of a composite fluoropolymer insulation ensuring lightweight and high-speed transmission. Harbour has a reputation as a supplier that has the product and process engineering expertise to ensure the highest quality cables will be manufactured in exact accordance with Lockheed's demanding physical and electrical requirements, a necessity when equipping one of the world's most technically advanced combat aircraft.

The F-35 combines 5th Generation fighter aircraft characteristics — advanced stealth, integrated avionics, sensor fusion and superior logistics support — with the most powerful and comprehensive integrated sensor package of any fighter aircraft in history. The F-35's advanced stealth allows pilots to penetrate areas without being detected by radars that legacy fighters cannot evade.

Advanced electronic warfare (EW) capabilities enable F-35 pilots to locate and track enemy forces, jam radars and disrupt attacks with unparalleled effectiveness. Advanced avionics give the pilot real-time access to battle space information with 360-degree coverage and an unparalleled ability to dominate the tactical environment. Data collected by sensors on the F-35 will immediately be shared with commanders at sea, in the air, or on the ground, providing an instantaneous, high-fidelity view of ongoing operations – making the F-35 a formidable force multiplier while enhancing coalition operations. This system allows F-35 pilots to reach well-defended targets and suppress enemy radars.

The F-35's very low-observable (VLO) stealth allows it to safely enter defended airspace areas without being seen by radars that 4th Generation and earlier legacy fighters cannot evade. The combination of stealth features, active electronically-scanned array (AESA) radar technology, and the aircraft’s ability to carry its full component of weapons stores and fuel internally allows F-35 pilots to engage ground targets at longer ranges without being detected and tracked, using precision-guided munitions and air-to-air radar-guided missiles to successfully complete air-to-ground missions.

The F-35’s integrated sensors, information and weapons systems give pilots an advantage over potential threat front-line fighter aircraft. Compared to 5th Generation fighters like the F-35 and F-22, legacy aircraft have a larger radar cross-section (RCS), which means they can be more easily detected by enemy radar. In aerial combat, legacy aircraft have relatively equal opportunities to detect and engage one another, while a 5th Generation fighter pilot can see enemy aircraft first and take decisive, lethal action from a stand-off distance.

Much of the F-35’s electronic warfare and ISR capabilities are made possible by a core processor that can perform more than 400 billion operations per second. This core processor collects data from the classified electronic warfare suite, developed by BAE Systems, to identify enemy radar and electronic warfare emissions and, as happens with the eight sensor Electro-Optical Targeting System (EOTS) providing the pilot 360-degree coverage, recommending which target to attack and whether he or she should use either kinetic or electronic means to counter or negate the threat.

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