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Everything To Know About Mil-Spec Wire

What is a Mil-Spec Wire?

A mil-spec wire is a cable manufactured according to the US military standards. In particular, MIL-SPEC is a defense specification of the US military that specifies technical requirements for supplies, equipment, and weapons.

Mil-spec wire differs from most conventional cables, especially non-industrial ones because it is used in demanding conditions. Military cables are exposed to extreme temperatures, mechanical impact, abrasion, fire, and chemicals. The cables are often submerged in water and have to operate continuously without interruption. Using cables of compromised quality in a military setting is a threat not only to military operations but also to human life and public safety.

What Do Mil-Spec Standards Involve?

Military specifications entail that the cables adhere to the technical standards in sourcing the materials for the cable and manufacturing it. Military specifications also entail that they are made of certain materials, adhere to a certain quality, and come from authorized suppliers. 

Mil-specs also regulate applications of the cable that fall under a certain spec.

Quality testing is performed over the stages of the product creation, and the lifecycle of the cable is documented by manufacturers and suppliers alike.

When it comes to wire and cable in particular, mil-spec standards are applied to wire and cable, all related components, including electronic ones, and specific cable assemblies.

Why Are Military Standards For Wire And Cable Important?

Military specs exist to optimize logistics within the army, achieve standardization, ease the training of the military personnel, and ensure that equipment is as substitutable as possible.

Military standardization that US MIl-Spec standards fall into does not simply exist in the vacuum in the United States. It is a part of larger standardization processes that exist within NATO and, to some extent, its allies around the world. 

The idea of standardized mil-specs came around after the Second World War when the Allies faced issues because their standards differed too much from each other, leading to issues with logistics, repairments, and training.

While mil-specs are a definitive positive improvement to military processes, they are sometimes criticized for making the military supply chain more complicated. Not all of the standards are equally regarded by everyone as necessary and practical and are more restrictive than effective. 

These concerns have been addressed by the responsible party within the US military in the 1990s and 2000s, and the military standards have been reduced almost two times, with more redundant standards being canceled in favor of sufficient ones.

Other Standards For Mil-Spec Wire

Aside from MIL-SPEC, military cables are subjected to other standards, including NEMA and QPL. NEMA deals with the standardization of cable manufacturers, while QPL is a standard for the materials that are allowed to be used in the military. Another common standard is SAE, an international engineering standard.

What To Look For Next?

Nassau National Cable sells authorized mil-spec wire at compelling prices. For more information, read our articles on military aerospace cables, navy marine shipboard cablesthe ways mil-spec wire differs from conventional hook-up wire, and the comparisons between M16878 and M22759 military specifications.

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Everything To Know About Mil-Spec Wire