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NEWS | Dec. 29, 2021

HH/UH-60M, AH-64E, CH-47F: Get Familiar with Fiber Optic Care

Soldier conducting maintenance on an CH-47 Chinook helicopter.
Photo by Charles Rosemond
 
Initial note: This article applies to deploying or deployed units only.

Aviation maintainers/electricians,

To ensure aircraft are more survivable against threat missiles, the Project Office Aircraft Survivability Equipment installed fiber optics on HH/UH-60M, AH-64E, and CH-47F aircraft, as part of a limited interim missile warning system quick reaction capability (LIMWS QRC).  The LIMWS line replaceable units (LRUs) will only be issued to deploying units. When LRUs are removed, fiber optic cables are capped and stowed.   

Fiber optics pros include:
  • Quicker data flow without degradation
  • Increased band width
  • Increased stability over longer strands
  • Greater resistance to electromagnetic interference and corrosion
Fiber optics cons include:
  • More care required to ensure cable is not damaged
  • Limited repair capability
  • Increased acquisition costs
Maintaining fiber optics is not the same as the care given to electrical wiring. While electricians rely on TM 1-1500-323-24-1 (Apr 14), Installation and Repair Practices Aircraft Electric and Electronic Wiring, to maintain copper wiring, they must turn to TM-1-1500-323-24-4 (Aug 12), Installation and Repair Practices Aircraft Fiber Optic Cabling, to maintain aircraft fiber optics.

TM 1-1500-323-24-4 states that about 80 percent of fiber optic maintenance actions can be traced back to a failure to properly clean connection interfaces. Deploying units with fiber installed will receive the required special tools to inspect and clean fiber optics like the diagram shows. 
 
Inspect and clean fiber optics 
Inspect and clean fiber optics 
      
If you need help with fiber optics, resources include:
  •  Trainers at the Project Office for Aircraft Survivability Equipment
  •  Field support representatives
  •  The Joint Aviation Fiber Optics Working Group at:
Got questions about fiber optics? Email Sarah Caldwell at: 
 
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