Optical fiber system applications have progressed beyond massive production for long-haul telecommunications systems to special systems for military use. The environmental requirements for military systems are extreme. Aircraft systems must endure extreme shock during takeoff and landing on aircraft carriers and thermal shock during a rapid climb from the desert floor to 50,000 ft. Ship systems must weather continuous salt water spray, and space systems must survive the natural space radiation environment. All these systems as well as fixed and mobile ground-based installations may be required to endure the potential threat from nuclear weapons. Research efforts have improved the reliability and survivability of fiber optic systems under these adverse conditions. Radiation test results over extreme temperature ranges have verified that optical fibers have been developed to meet the most adverse of conditions.
The establishment of proper test procedures and appropriate evaluation techniques will provide reliable fiber optic components for the adverse nuclear environment.