A Look at MIL STD 1553

24 July, 2016

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There is accuracy in uniformity. This is why MIL-STD-1553 is such an important aspect of commercial avionics. MIL-STD-1553 is the standard that the United States Department of Defense has implemented for defining the mechanical, electrical and functional characteristics of a serial data bus. This standard has been in place since 1973. It is very important for any enterprise that creates or designs components for aircraft and flight to be familiar with MIL-STD-1553. Commercial aircraft manufacturers have adopted this standard because it offers reliability and performance that allows for ease of production. In addition, the presence of a reliable standard makes it much easier for component producers and aircraft manufacturers to make compatible products. This standard is so popular and reliable that it is now used in ships, combat vehicles and missiles. Even the International Space Station Program was designed with parts that follow MIL-STD-1553. With a reach that extends to so many products, MIL-STD-1553 is now an integral part of the avionics world. This standard has set the bar for the way a system can transfer, broadcast and display communication between the components that make aircraft operate. 

Understanding MIL-STD-1553 

The true essence of MIL-STD-1553 can be found in its parts. This standard is actually the product of a finely tuned mix of components that work together to create automatic, lightning-fast responses that help to keep a system running. Transmitting information is really at the core of the function of MIL-STD-1553. Multiple parts work together to receive, recognize and transmit messages. The standard actually allows for up to 31 remote terminals at a time. Engineers favor this standard so heavily because a component that is designed to be compliant with MIL-STD-1553 allows for clear and dependable data flow. The main components that work together to make up the MIL-STD-1553 standard are:

  • Bus Controller
  • Remote Terminal
  • Data Bus Coupler
  • Data Bus
  • Bus Monitor


The Avionics World Operates With MIL-STD-1553

The avionics world relies on the command-and-response design behind the MIL-STD-1553 standard. Of course, components designed using this standard are only as good as the hardware that goes into them. The hardware components that are present in pieces that are compliant with MIL-STD-1553 include cabling, stubbing, bus couplers, cable termination and connectors. There is a little bit of room for variances in certain hardware components when it comes to adhering to the standard. It is important that both the physical aspects and engineering aspects behind components are carefully planned and flawlessly executed. The beauty of MIL-STD-1553 is that it allows components from different sources to come together to work in complete harmony for the good of aircraft, crew and passengers. Producing hardware and components that are able to sync up to the standard is important for any enterprise that creates products for the avionics world.

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