World’s leading fiber optic product supplier Prysmian bags a US$2 million contract to provide fiber optic cables for aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy. The fiber optic cable manufacturer who has their North American headquarters in Lexington will deliver fiber optic cables from its manufacturing facility in the United States. The fiber optic cables will help prevent water from migrating the vessel and will improve onboard data networks and automation systems.
The optical fibers to be used in the cables for automation systems are different from conventional optical fibers used for telecommunication use. Conventionally, single mode fibers are used in terrestrial and submarine fiber optic cable networks. Multimode cables are used for LAN and indoor wiring depending on the bandwidth and cost considerations. In contrast to the conventional optical fibers, radiation hardened optical fibers protected by a coating of cross-linked polyolefin is used in Prysmian’s cables for the aircraft carrier. Cross-linked polyethylene (XLPE) has increased weather resistance, chemical resistance and durability.
The ship’s additional electrical capability, powered by medium voltage 15 kilovolt cable, supports the electromagnetic aircraft launch system (EMALS). EMALS uses linear induction motors for finer control of the catapults, previously powered by steam, that help fixed-wing aircraft get up speed for takeoff from the carrier deck. EMALS (Electro Magnetic Aircraft Launching System) is a vital component of the ship’s offensive and defensive power projection.
Prysmian said they have had a long standing and mutually beneficial relationship with their defense customers and are committed to supporting the military industrial complex. The USS John F. Kennedy is the second carrier in the Ford class, designed to reduce required maintenance by 30 percent and save approximately $4 billion in operational costs compared to the previous carrier class during its 50-year life span. Its keel was laid in August 2015, with a scheduled launch in 2018 and commission set for 2020.
The Ford class is also expected to generate 25% more flight missions per day while servicing and maintaining 80 aircraft. The JFK will weigh approximately 100,000 tons and stretch more than 1,100 feet, accommodating 4,700 sailors and reaching speeds in excess of 35 knots.
Typically Shipboard LSZH Fiber Optic Cables in theUnited States use a tight buffered, water blocked construction with low smoke, zero halogen (LSZH) jacketing materials. Manufacturers need to adhere to MIL-PRF-85045 specification document of the United States Department of Defense. The optical fiber cable consists of an optical fiber with a 900 micron diameter tight buffer, reinforced with aramid yarn and encased in a 2.0 mm flexible zero-halogen jacket. The fibers are radiation-resistant and qualified per the applicable MIL-PRF-49291 specification document to ensure system survivability in the event of radiation exposure. This family of cables has passed a stringent qualification program to ensure full compliance to the MIL-PRF-85045F document and the applicable specification sheets. The program includes tests such as acid gas generation, halogen content, smoke generation and flame propagation, toxicity, fluid immersion, thermal shock, humidity, electromagnetic resistance, low/high pressure salt water blocking and many other highly demanding requirements.