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Fischer Connectors logoFuture Soldier Programs
Finally Come True Thanks to Next-Generation Connectors

Fischer Connectors’ expert in military connectivity solutions: Wim Vanheertum, Senior Product Marketing Manager
Fischer Connectors’ expert in
military connectivity solutions:
Wim Vanheertum, Senior Product Marketing Manager

Wim Vanheertum, Senior
Product Marketing Manager, Fischer Connectors

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This summer, Fischer Connectors is launching a ground-breaking connector that will play a major role in lifting one of the most basic roadblocks for Future Soldier Programs: cable management. “No more twists and turns,” says Senior Product Marketing Manager Wim Vanheertum, who tells us here how this rugged, low-profile wearable connector meets dismounted soldiers’ needs: it provides easy 360° mating, is fully cleanable, IP68 sealed and can be integrated into clothing. A totally new connectivity solution that addresses urgent defence & security market needs.

Q: Mr Vanheertum, what does modern warfare call for in terms of equipment in general, and of connectivity solutions in particular?
A: Modern warfare is unpredictable, so it calls for adaptable infantry with soldiers who are focused, fast and flexible. Not only does their equipment need to be safe, reliable and durable, but also compact, light and easy to handle with gloves, in the dark, etc. A key challenge for the military, government and industry is to source and design high-performance connectivity solutions that help make soldiers more agile and flexible.

Q: What’s the main current market trend in connectivity solutions?
A: It’s combining ruggedness with miniaturization. There’s growing demand for innovations that revolutionize dismounted soldiers’ ability to protect themselves and fulfil their missions effectively. The traditional focus on ruggedness in military equipment remains as valid as ever, due to the range of harsh environments where troops operate – like deserts, mountains or jungles. Heavy-duty MIL38999 connectors were designed with waterproof and hermetic sealing, robust mechanical keying and EMC shielding to resist all kinds of extremes – including dust, temperature, humidity, corrosion, radiation, shock, vibration and torque. Used by military forces worldwide, they have a long, excellent track record of high performance. However, since the military needs to stay at the forefront of technological development, these connectors are no longer sufficient to meet all the new challenges, above all in terms of size, weight and cable management. Equipment therefore needs to be adapted to new combat situations.

The LP360 connector meets the dismounted soldier’s needs.
The LP360 connector meets the dismounted soldier’s needs

Q: What are the main equipment design considerations?
A: Design engineers are under pressure to put ever more features into smaller devices, without compromising on safety or ruggedness. There’s an urgent need for smaller, lighter military connectors with faster data transmission speeds to improve communications and facilitate decision making. While legacy protocols like RS232, Mb Ethernet and VGA are still widely used, high-speed protocols like Gb Ethernet, USB 3.0 and HDMI are increasingly prevalent – especially for Dismounted Soldier Systems. In today’s digital battle space, more and more electronics are being used – e.g. radio, GPS, nano computers, night vision, target acquisition. It’s clear that the use of tablets, smartphones and other Internet of Things (IoT) connected sensors and devices will only increase too, so designers need to be proactive and facilitate technology use by soldiers.

Q: How can usability be improved?
A: Leading military contractors are looking for fully robust, wearable solutions for soldiers. These new ecosystems have cabling and connectors built into tactical vests and other protective clothing. Together with devices that share a common data bus and are powered from centralised power packs, they significantly improve integration capabilities and extend soldiers’ freedom of movement. Fischer Connectors’ new wearable connector is the missing link needed to perfect these integrated ecosystems. By eliminating the key code, the new connector can be mated, routed and attached in any direction, which ensures that the cable on the vest can always go straight to the device. No more twists and turns means shorter cables in the kitted equipment, eliminates tangles, reduces clutter and increases usability, making equipment lighter and faster to set up. Integrating full cleanability of both the receptacle and the plug means no more broken pins or stuck pogo-pins. These innovations build on the tradition of robustness in military equipment but dramatically reduce weight, complexity and hassle for the user. Thereby freeing up soldiers to focus on moving and intervening quickly and decisively.

Q: How can manufacturers support their customers better?
A: We believe that, from the outset of any project, you have to focus on designing a complete solution to fulfil the application’s and customer’s specific requirements. To develop the ideal rugged and reliable connectivity solution, manufacturers must fully understand their customers’ unique needs and support their project from the beginning to the end in a streamlined and cost-effective way. Fischer Connectors works as a trusted partner and facilitator to its customers worldwide. To find the right solution for the most demanding applications, by integrating precision connectors, components, parts and engineered cables, our experts provide advice and ongoing technical support to their customer’s team through design, prototype, assembly, testing, manufacturing and installation. That’s exactly what happened when we developed this new wearable connector called LP360.

Q: In a nutshell, what’s Fischer Connectors’ new LP360 connector?
A: Its very name refers to two of its main features: it is low profile (LP), so that it can be easily integrated into clothing, and it allows for 360° mating, which is most efficient for easy cable management. Its unique design ensures:

  • Power & signal wearability in extreme environments
  • No key-code for easy 360° mating
  • 100% cleanability – plug AND receptacle
  • IP68 sealing
  • No moving parts

Q: When can we get it?
A: It’s commercially available this summer and will be extensively showcased at DSEI in London in September.

Fischer Connectors has been designing, manufacturing and distributing high-performance connectors and cable assembly solutions for more than 60 years. Known for their reliability, precision and resistance to severe operating and environmental conditions, Fischer Connectors’ products are commonly used in fields requiring faultless quality, such as medical equipment, industrial instrumentation, measuring and testing devices, and military forces worldwide.

With a proven track record in varied marine and defence & security applications, including hand-held/body-worn devices, unmanned/autonomous vehicles, surveillance, data transfer and High-Definition Multimedia Interface products, they ensure durability and stealth. Used in most soldier modernisation programs, especially in C4ISTAR technologies, our specially designed military connectors meet the need for safe and reliable defence & security operations:

  • Rugged, lightweight and compact connectors
  • Sealed and hermetic connectors (up to IP68, even unmated)
  • Easy blind mating, even with gloves
  • Extreme temperature resistance
  • EMI shielded connectors for reliable data transmission
  • Designed for durability and stealth
  • RoHS and REACH compliant and tested to MIL and IEC standards.

Fischer Connectors’ primary design and manufacturing facilities are located in Saint-Prex, Switzerland, with subsidiaries and distributors located worldwide.

Tel: +41 21 800 95 95 | Fax: +41 21 800 39 24

Fischer Connectors logoFor more information please visit:
www.fischerconnectors.com

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