Installation of fiber optic communication systems on aircraft is very challenging, particularly in military
fighters requiring tight confinement. The issues to be addressed include developing an installation
approach compatible with maintenance and through-life support whilst having affordable upfront costs.
This applies both to the passive harness components (cable and connectors) and to active transceivers.
In this paper we discuss the challenges for cable, connector, and transceiver installations and the system
implications for civil and military platforms. This paper further demonstrates how an innovative approach
to sub-system testing can help to de-risk technology by simulating installation environments in the
laboratory and verifying through-life performance. Furthermore, testing of fiber optic cable in the
laboratory with prototype components, representative cable lengths, routing and number of connector
breaks, and even harness abuse is elaborated upon. A technique was devised using the BAE Systems
Optical System and Component Assessment Rig (OSCAR) to evaluate through life operation. This report
also shows prototype testing for typical fiber optic harnesses (during build) and the environmental
conditions faced on aerospace platforms. Transceiver installation options (integrated onto processor
boards, use of daughter PCBs, active connectors and active cables) are discussed and sub-system test setups
Results show how test data is used to assess subsystems: passive components have been tested over the
-55 °C to +125 °C temperature range and active components over the -40 °C to +80 °C region. In addition,
Gigabit Ethernet data is shown operating over the representative hardware with the results tabulated and
shown in this paper. The implications for anticipated aircraft installations are summarized.