QwikConnect Vol 11 Num 1 July 2006

New Glenair High-Reliability Fiber Optic Interconnect Technologies

I t has been almost five years since QwikConnect last examined Glenair's high-reliability fiber optic technologies. Since then, we have developed several new fiber optic interconnection systems, hired even more of the industry's best fiber optic professionals, and expanded our factory capacity to support the design, manufacture and supply of our high-reliability fiber optic solutions.

Glenair's Long-Standing Tactical Fiber Optic Capabilities

Glenair has been a long-standing leader in the devlopment of fiber optic connection systems. By way of review, our expertise in optical interconnects for military and other high-reliability applications has focused on the MIL-DTL-38999 and MIL-PRF- 28876 standards. In addition to supplying discrete components, our principal business is building custom fiber optic cable assemblies. Our turn-key service includes everything from engineering and design assistance to timely delivery of terminated and tested assemblies.

Figure 1.
Glenair MIL-DTL-38999 style fiber optic connectors and MIL-PRF-29504 qualified termini for use in Mil-Aero applications.
With in-house capability for short-run extruded fiber cable in a variety of styles and materials, Glenair is able to provide lightning-fast turnaround on prototypes and custom cables. Our ASAP Fiber Optic Cable service allows customers to specify a broad range of point-to-point cable assemblies without entering into a complex and time-consuming quoting process (see www.glenair.com for more information). Glenair's in-house overmolding capabilities are ideal when field repairability is not anticipated and harsh environmental and mechanical stress conditions call for extra sealed protection of fiber optic media and terminations. When field repairability is required, Glenair can also deliver fiber optic conduit systems made from highly crush- resistant and EMI-hardened protection media, including high-temperature convoluted tubing, metalcore conduit and composite junction boxes.

Glenair's MIL-DTL-38999 style fiber optic connector and termini have been designed into a number of programs and applications from avionics to ground-based systems. We enhanced the dimensional tolerances of the standard electrical D38999 connector to meet stringent fiber optic alignment requirements. Alignment key and keyway tolerances were tightened, along with tolerances of all connector components. These improvements allow precise mating of the connectors and provide optimal termini positioning.

Our Qualified MIL-PRF 29504/4 (pin) and /5 (socket) termini employ precision ceramic ferrules and alignment sleeve, allowing us to control fiber alignment concentricity to less than 1 micron (.00004 inch). While some manufacturers use less costly materials, Glenair has selected ceramic materials for their superior performance and durability. Connectors are available in a variety of mounting styles and materials including aluminum alloy, stainless steel, and composite thermoplastic with finish treatments such as electroless nickel, passivation, cadmium over nickel and more.

MIL-DTL-38999 style connectors and Qualified MIL-PRF-29504/4 and /5 termini are available for immediate shipment from our Same Day inventory.

Figure 2.
Glenair MIL-PRF-28876 QPL fiber optic connector and MILPRF-29504 style contacts for use in Naval applications.
MIL-PRF-28876 interconnection systems have become the universal standard for Navy shipboard applications and Glenair's offering delivers all the necessary performance'precise optical alignment, environmental protection, and corrosion resistance for shipboard environments. The Glenair MIL-PRF-28876 QPL interconnect is available in multiple plating and backshell options not currently included in the MIL-PRF document. Available in a variety of plug and receptacle styles, the MILPRF- 28876 QPL connector is highly resistant to corrosion, environmentally sealed, very durable and designed to meet severe shock requirements. This interconnection system uses MIL-PRF-29504/14 and /15 style contacts, qualified parts will soon be available from Glenair.

Glenair is the only fiber optic connector and termini manufacturer to also offer a complete line of specialized fiber optic backshells. Glenair fiber optic backshells prevent mechanical and environmental damage to fiber strands and eliminate data loss from micro-bending. Glenair offers both standard catalog backshell designs as well as custom versions in straight configurations as well as 45' and 90' angled fittings to mate with MIL-DTL-38999 and MIL- PRF-28876 and other connector types. Glenair's line of fiber optic backshells include strain-reliefs, banding adapters, cable seals, conduit adapters and protective covers. Available materials include aluminum alloy, stainless steel, and composite thermoplastic with a range of plating options and overmolding if desired. Many of these backshells and accessories are in our Same Day inventory and available for immediate shipment. The Glenair-patented Fiber Optic Test Probe and Connector Adapter System provide accurate, rapid and repeatable testing of even the most complex cable assemblies. Probes and adapters are available for all standard insert arrangements. Glenair also supplies fiber optic termination, inspection and cleaning systems as well as polishing and termination kits. In addition, Glenair supplies Video Bore Scopes, automated Cleaning Systems, and all the other tools required to keep system running at optimal performance.

New Fiber Optic Technologies

The Glenair High Density (GHD) Fiber Optic Connector System

The Glenair High Density (GHD) Fiber Optic Connector System is designed for applications requiring reduced size and weight. GHD offers insertion loss values less than .5 dB with dense cavity spacing achieved using an innovative Front Release terminus design that accommodates M85045/16 simplex cable.

With nearly double the density of MIL-PRF- 28876 and MIL-DTL-38999, the GHD utilizes precision SFF 1.25 mm ceramic ferrules and achieves optical performance equal to or better than the D38999 and M28876 interconnection systems. The GHD incorporates an O-ring piston seal at the connector interface that is far superior to traditional gasket sealing that can be susceptible to contamination or damage. The Alignment Sleeve Retainer (ASR) is easily removed to facilitate thorough cleaning and utilizes guide pin alignment to achieve repeatable optical performance through mating cycles. Should the ASR be damaged, it can be replaced or factory repaired.

Figure 3.
Glenair High Density (GHD) F/O connection system, available in multiple materials and platings, for use in both military and ruggedized commercial applications.
GHD Termini are 18 AWG with a standard 1.25 mm diameter LC type precision ceramic ferrule. This smaller size not only enables greater cavity density, it also reduces weight and vibration and promotes the use of industry-standard polishing techniques. The front release termini design means the removal tool no longer needs to accommodate cable jacketing, so the contacts can be placed much closer together than in comparable rear-release designs. This innovative release system allows use of up to 2.5 mm diameter jacketed fiber cable. The built-in contact strain relief crimps to the Kevlar™ strength members to achieve 30 lbs. pull strength.

O-ring sealing and terminus retention are built into the termini, eliminating potential rear grommet contamination and allowing tighter dimensional control in the one-piece insulator. If you damage a retaining clip, the damaged retention clip on the specific terminus can be replaced. A keying feature facilitates Angle Polish Connection that minimizes unwanted back refl ections to better than -60 dB, and hex feature on the terminus body accomodates tuning for optimal performance. GHD termini are genderless, eliminating the need to stock pins and sockets separately.

When it comes to backshell and accessory needs, the GHD is fully compatible with MIL-DTL- 38999 accessory threads. The GHD will also install into the same size MIL-DTL-38999 panel cutout, but with higher terminus density layouts providing up to 70 channels in shell size 25, and the ability to run more fibers. Cleaning and inspection is the same as for any LC ferrule, and Glenair has a full assortment of fiber optic termination, cleaning and inspection tools available. As mentioned, the Alignment Sleeve Retainer is easily removed, cleaned and re-inserted.

The GHD is ideal for just about every MILPRF- 28876 and MIL-DTL-38999 application where high density fiber connection is needed. GHD Connectors are available in stainless steel, aluminum, nickel-aluminum-bronze, and highstrength composite thermoplastic in a wide variety of finish treatments. Where weight reduction is paramount, such as in avionics applications, GHD composite connectors are ideal. The piston seal feature also makes the GHD attractive for geophysical environments such as down-hole drilling.

Glenair Expanded Beam Fiber Optic Connection System

The Glenair Expanded Beam Fiber Optic Connection System is ideal for harsh environments and uses proven STRATOS Lightwave™ Technology to eliminate data loss from environmental contaminants, rough handling, and repetitive mating cycles. STRATOS Lightwave™ Technology achieves superior optical performance by using laser-shaped optical-ball lens componentry that develops 800 times expansion for multimode and 2,000 times expansion for singlemode. This beam expansion virtually eliminates concerns about contamination, and the sealed optical alignment system provides superior protection from water, mud, dust, oil, and other contaminants.

Figure 4.
Glenair expanded beam tactical fiber optic connection system for use in environmental field applications.
Glenair offers the complete family of STRATOS Lightwave™ expanded beam fiber optic technologies in a full range of material and plating options. Choose from four unique connector styles with 1 to 8 channels plus hybrid and electrical layouts. Hermaphroditic mating eliminates the complexity of configuring cables for daisy-chaining in field applications by eliminating dedicated plug and receptacle cable-ends. An added benefit is the reduction of part numbers and stocking requirements.

Applications for the Glenair Expanded Beam Fiber Optic Connection System include any harsh environment where optical connectors are subjected to repeated mating and unmating cycles. Some examples include lanyard-release missile fiber connections, geo-physical and down-hole settings. Glenair has integrated the STRATOS Lightwave™ Technology into standard MIL-DTL-38999 connector packages, for use in tactical military applications.

Glenair GFOCA Hermaphroditic Fiber Optic Connection System

The Glenair GFOCA, designed to meet requirements of MIL-PRF-83526/16 and /17 intermateable specifications with TFOCA II®, is the ultimate harsh environment, field-deployable fiber optic connection system. Corrosion-resistant and environmentally sealed with rugged aluminum housing and inserts, the GFOCA is ideal for applications that require reliable, repeatable mating. The GFOCA is hermaphroditic, simplifying potential confusion of whether plug or receptacle mating is required when stringing multiple fiber cable assemblies together.

Figure 5.
Glenair GFOCA hermaphroditic fiber optic connection system is optimized for rapid deployment in rugged field applications.
With 2 and 4 channel designs available, the GFOCA is singlemode and multimode capable, with low insertion loss 2.5 mm diameter genderless buttjoint termini rated to 1,000 ' 2,000 cycles, depending on fiber media selection. The relatively large termini are easy to handle and clean, making them ideal for field applications. The insert is removable to permit easy access to all end faces.

The GFOCA is available as discrete connectors and termini or in a spooled assembly with up to two kilometers of cable. Designed to handle low speed analog and high speed digital data transmission, the GFOCA excels for long-run tactical battlefield communications, and is used for radar systems, missile defense systems, mobile launchers, downhole drilling, the broadcast industry, and other extremely harsh environments.

Next Generation (NGCON) Fiber Optic Connection System

The emerging NGCON Fiber Optic Connection System is designed to become the new standard for shipboard fiber optic interconnect applications. NGCON combines proven technology from standard MIL-PRF-28876 and MIL-DTL-38999 designs with new innovations that include rear-release genderless contacts and high-density packaging. Glenair is an active member of the NGCON consortium designing this new interconnection system for the US Navy and other potential applications.

Figure 6.
The Next Generation fiber optic connection system (NGCON) is designed for Naval and Mil-Aero applications requiring higher density and advanced performance.
Available in various materials and finishes, the NGCON connector will be offered in plug and receptacle and both jam-nut and wall-mount configurations. NGCON will incorporate MIL-DTL- 38999 accessory threading to allow for legacy backshell configurations.

High-density insert arrangements will house genderless rear-release precision termini. The genderless terminus design reduces inventory and part numbers by eliminating discrete pins and sockets.

Like the Glenair High-Density (GHD) product, the NGCON will employ a removable Alignment Sleeve Retainer (ASR) for trouble-free cleaning and guide pin alignment. Again, should the ASR be damaged, it can be replaced or factory repaired. The 1.25 mm diameter ceramic ferrule is standard LC size, with environmental sealing on the terminus. NGCON's rear-release contacts will be familiar to traditional MIL-DTL-38999 users. The NGCON design specifies 10 polarization positions—more than any other connectors.

With tighter tolerance and greater fl exibility than MIL-PRF-28876, the Glenair NGCON will be ideal for shipboard, ground tactical and avionics applications. Glenair intends to qualify this new product upon release of the new NGCON specification.

Glenair Size 16 Front Release Custom Fiber Optic Connection System Glenair Size 16 precision front release termini are a unique vehicle to facilitate custom connector design. Say 'goodbye' to long engineering processes and prototyping for optical media integration into a broad range of cylindrical and rectangular connector packages and systems'lead times have never been so short.

Glenair designed the 181-011 and 181-012 series rear-insertion, front-release fiber optic contacts with retention and environmental sealing components directly on the termini'ready for snap insertion into a machined cavity within the connector—with no upper limit on number of fiber cavities. In the unlikely circumstance that you break a retention clip or damage an O-ring, both component elements can be replaced without discarding the entire termini or connector. The termini uses precision ceramic ferrule and alignment sleeves coupled with stainless steel contact components. It accomodates all popular fiber sizes from 9/125 micron singlemode to 1,000 micron multimode.

Glenair has extensive in-house expertise and capacity to machine custom connector shells (in all standard materials and finishes including aluminum alloy, stainless steel and titanium) to the precise tolerances required in fiber optic connection systems. The size 16 custom termini allows us to do so without costly tooling and engineering charges. Finished custom connector systems perform at insertion-loss levels (less than 0.5 dB) equivalent to other high-performance tactical fiber optic systems such as MIL-DTL-38999 and MIL-PRF-28876.

Figure 7.
Glenair's size 16 front release custom fiber optic terminus facilitates easy integration of optical media into virtually any connector package.
Although potential applications are virtually unlimited, the Custom Fiber Optic Connection System can be used in situations where an existing Micro-D or D-Subminiature requires fiber optic cavitation. As an example, the THAAD Missile program requires fiber optics in unique packaging to withstand extremely harsh and vibration-riddled environments. THAAD engineers tapped Glenair's in-house expertise to design the Custom Fiber Optic Connection System into a D-Subminiaturestyle package. Another project, the NSM Missile, specified a custom Micro-D fiber optic connector for use on a PCB connector. Yet another application called for a custom rectangular fiber optic connector with 98 channels for automated test equipment. And to demonstrate the agility of the Custom Fiber Optic Connection System, a radar installation customized a Glenair Mighty Mouse circular connector for fiber optics. The possibilities are truly unlimited.

High-Reliability Fiber Optic Technologies
Technology Types Features Same-Day Availability
ASAP Fiber Optic Cable Sets Custom configurations
  • Short lead times
  • Rugged overmolded polyurethane assemblies
  • Plastic and metal-core conduit assemblies
  • Field repairable banding backshell assemblies
  • Inside-the-box receptacle/pigtail assemblies
Visit Fiber Optic ASAP Cable Designer's Guide to specify your needs for a fast quotation
Qualified MIL-PRF-29504 Fiber Optic Termini for MIL-DTL-38999 type interconnects Pin and socket
  • Stainless steel body
  • Precision ceramic alignment sleeves
  • Optional stainless steel alignment sleeves
  • Precision ceramic ferrule
  • Stainless steel protective thread-on cover
  • Concentric and diametric tolerances controlled within one micron (.00004 of an inch)
  • Insertion loss less than 0.5 dB
Available in Same-Day Inventory
Custom size 16 M29504/4 &/5 MIL-DTL-38999 Fiber Optic Termini Pin and socket
  • Rear insertion and release
  • For use in MIL-DTL-38999 connectors
  • M29504/4 & /5 Qualified
  • Precision ceramics used
Available in Same-Day Inventory
MIL-DTL-38999 type Fiber Optic Connectors Plug and receptacle
  • Materials include aluminum alloy, composite thermoplatic, stainless steel
  • Finish treatments include nickel, cadmium olive drab over nickel, passivation
  • Receptacle in jam nut mount, square flange wall mount, and many special connectors
Many popular sizes available in Same-Day Inventory
GHD - Glenair High Density Fiber Optic Connector System Genderless termini

Plug and receptacle
  • Nearly double the density of M28876 and D38999
  • Equal optical performance compared to M28876 and D38999
  • Environmentally sealed
  • 18 AWG front release high density termini
  • Precision 1.25 mm diameter ceramic ferrule
  • Ceramic alignment sleeve
  • Hex feature for optional tuning
  • Standard single keying feature for APC polish
  • Accommodates 900 micron to 2.0 mm buffered and jacketed fiber
  • Removable alignment sleeve module for easy cleaning
  • Same materials and finishes available as MIL-DTL-38999 type connectors
Coming soon to Same-Day Inventory
MIL-PRF-28876 QPL Fiber Optic Connection System Plug and receptacle
  • Designed to meet the general requirements of MIL-PRF-28876
  • Plugs, wall-mount receptacles, and jam-nut mount receptacles available
  • Multiple shell sizes and insert arrangements
  • Singlemode and multimode capable
  • Corrosion-resistant
  • Environmentally sealed
Coming soon to Same-Day Inventory
GFOCA Fiber Optic Connection System Genderless termini

Hermaphroditic mating
  • Hermaphroditic field deployable connection system
  • Designed to meet requirements of MIL-PRF-83526/16 and /17 and M29504/16 specifications (intermateable and intermountable with industry STD TFOCA II® Connectors)
  • Singlemode and multimode capable
  • Low insertion loss 2.5 mm diameter genderless termini
  • Corrosion-resistant and environmentally sealed
  • Designed for both low speed analog and high-speed digital data
  • Available as discrete connectors and termini or as spooled cable assembly
Coming soon to Same-Day Inventory
Expanded Beam Fiber Optic Connection System Hermaphroditic mating or 38999 Series III
  • Sealed Expanded Beam STRATOS Lightwave™ Technology
  • Choose from four unique connector styles
  • All styles optimized for use in harsh application environments where optical connectors are subjected to repeated mating/unmating cycles
  • Full range of material and plating options
  • US and NATO approved systems
  • 1 to 8 Channels plus hybrid optical and electrical layouts
Consult Factory
Fiber Optic Backshells and Accessories Strain-reliefs

Banding adapters

Cable Seals

Conduit Adapters

Protective covers
  • Corrosion free composite thermoplastic materials
  • High temperature Ultem 2300 material
  • Optional stainless steel and aluminum designs
  • Design eliminates micro-bending of fiber
  • Keyed termini alignment
  • Environmentally sealed
  • Compatible with Glenair and other industry standard connectors
  • Ratcheted spin coupling designs
  • Accepts standard backshell assembly tools
Many items in Same-Day Inventory
Conduit, Fittings, Transitions and Adapters for Fiber Optic Media For D38999, M28876 and Mighty Mouse Connection Systems
  • Flexible Helical Convolutions
  • Easy Assembly and Repair
  • 3/16 inch to 2 inch Diameter Systems
  • Lightweight and Halogen free materials
  • Unique fittings facilitate field polishing and termination
  • Environmentally sealed systems
  • Crush proof designs
  • Choose discrete components or turnkey assembly
  • Backshells and adapters in aluminum and composite thermoplastic
Popular backshells and adapters available in Same-Day Inventory
Fiber Optic Extruded Bulk Cable Custom configurations
  • Kevlar® reinforced strength filaments
  • Hytrel® outer jacket standard
  • Simplex, duplex and hybrid constructions
  • Graded index and singlemode stepped index designs
  • -40° C to +85° C temperature range
  • No minimums—short runs a specialty
  • Fast turnaround
Fiber Optic Test Probes and Connector Adapters For MIL-DTL-38999
  • Designed to mate with MIL-DTL-38999 Series I and III connectors
  • Replaces the need for expensive test harnesses
  • Easy to inspect and clean
  • Same terminus mating force as the MIL-DTL-38999 connector for repeatable low-loss measurements
  • Utilizes precision ceramic ferrules
  • Fast and efficient testing of fiber media in factory or field
Many items in Same-Day Inventory
Fiber Optic Termination, Assembly, Inspection and Cleaning Tools Kits and individual tools available
  • Complete termination toolkits
  • Video Bore Scope inspection toolkits
  • CleanBlast® Cleaning system
  • Cleaning swabs
  • Polishing tools
  • Specialty tooling for all fiber optic operations
  • Band-It® Shield termination system
Various Band-It® items, polishing tools and cleaning swabs available in Same-Day Inventory
Size 16 Front Release Custom Fiber Optic Connection System Pin and socket
  • Precision front release contact system with integrated retention clip and environmental sealing
  • All popular fiber sizes from 9/125 singlemode to 1,000 micron multimode
  • Ceramic alignment sleeve coupled with stainless steel contact components
  • Broad range of existing custom interconnects including cylindrical and rectangular designs
  • Typical insertion loss less than 0.5 dB
  • Machined connector shells in all standard materials
  • No upper limit on number of fiber cavities
  • Rapid engineering and prototyping without costly tooling
Popular styles available in Same-Day Inventory
Next Generation (NGCON) Fiber Optic Connection System Genderless termini

Plug and receptacle
  • Will be available in a variety of materials and finishes
  • High-density insert arrangements available
  • Removable insert (ASR)
  • Plug and wall-mounted receptacle configurations
  • Rear release precision genderless termini
  • 1.25 mm diameter ceramic ferrule
  • Environmental sealing on terminus
  • Next Generation choice for Naval applications
  • 10 Polarizations
  • Conforms to emerging NGCON Military Standard
Coming soon to Same-Day Inventory


These new technologies demonstrate how seriously Glenair takes its commitment to providing complete, full-spectrum, 'one-stop shopping,' in fiber optic interconnect solutions. Even as new solutions are added, we continue to shrink lead times on components, quotations, and assemblies. We are committed to acting as more than just a supplier'we're serious about the business of engineering the right solution for every application. From free samples, to free application engineering, to a liberal attitude on tooling expenses and other one-time charges, Glenair is committed to being not only the technology leader, but also the service and availability leader in the high-reliability fiber optic interconnect industry. Please feel free to contact the factory for engineering assistance on both standard and custom fiber optic connection systems. Our latest catalog, Fiber Optic Interconnect Solutions, covers all the technologies introduced in this issue of QwikConnect and is available in hard-copy or on the web at www.glenair.com

TFOCA II is a registered trademark of Amphenol Fiber System International

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