Fiber optics, or optical fibers, are long, thin strands of carefully drawn glass about the diameter of a human hair. These strands are arranged in bundles called optical cables. We rely on them to transmit light signals over long distances.
Optical fibers typically include a glass structure called core surrounded by a transparent cladding material with a lower index of refraction. The light beam travels down the core of the cable. Light is kept in the core by the phenomenon of total internal reflection which causes the fiber to act as a waveguide. Each light particle (photon) bounces down the pipe with continued internal mirror-like reflection. Cladding is there to keep the light signals inside the core.
Optical fibers are used most often as a means to transmit light between the two ends of the fiber and find wide usage in fiber-optic communications, where they permit transmission over longer distances and at higher bandwidths (data transfer rates) than electrical cables. Fiber optic cables have much higher bandwidth than metal cables which enables them to carry more data and provide faster data transmission rate. Fibers are used instead of metal wires because signals travel along them with less loss; Fiber optic cables are less vulnerable to noise and interference and are much thinner and lighter as compared to metal cables.
Fibers are also used for illumination and imaging, and are often wrapped in bundles so they may be used to carry light into, or images out of confined spaces, as in the case of a fiberscope. Specially designed fibers are also used for a variety of other applications, some of them being fiber optic sensors and fiber lasers.
Single And Multimode Fiber
Fiber optic cables carry light signals in modes. A mode is a path that the light beam follows when traveling down the fiber. There are single mode and multimode fiber cables.
Single mode fiber is the simplest structure. It contains a very thin core, and all signals travel straight down the middle without bouncing off the edges. Single mode fiber optic cables are typically used for CATV, Internet, and telephone applications, where the signals are carried by single mode fibers wrapped into a bundle.
Multimode fiber is the other type of fiber optic cable. It is about 10 times larger than a single mode cable. The light beams can travel though the core by following a variety of different paths, or in multiple different modes. These cable types can only send data over short distances. Therefore, they are used, among other applications, for interconnecting computer networks.
There are four types of multimode fiber optic cables, identified by “OM” (optical multimode). An industry association designated them as OM1, OM2, OM3 and OM4. They are described by ISO/IEC 11801. OM4’s standard was approved by TIA/EIA 492AAAD. Each OM has a minimum Modal Bandwidth requirement.
Simplex And Duplex Optical Fiber
Simplex fiber optic cable constructions contain a single strand of glass. Most often, simplex fiber is used where only a single transmit and/or receive line is required between devices or when a multiplex data signal is used (bi-directional communication over a single fiber).
A duplex fiber cable consists of two strands of glass or plastic fiber. Typically found in a “zipcord” construction format, this cable is most often used for duplex communication between devices where a separate transmit and receive are required.
Global Fiber Optic Cables Market
The fiber optic cables market for military & aerospace size is projected to grow from USD 1.2 billion in 2021 to USD 1.5 billion by 2026, at a CAGR of 5.1% from 2021 to 2026.
The internet is a global system of connected devices. Fiber optics act as the backbone of the internet; optical fiber cables are used as the medium for transmitting information from one point to another. The rising number of internet users is a major factor driving the growth of the fiber optics market in the communication segment. Moreover, the growth in telecom, premises, utility, and industrial sectors is driving growth of fiber optic market. Moreover, the massive population base of China and India is one of the major drivers for growth in the telecom market in the region, which in-turn is expected to drive the fiber optics market during the forecast period.
Based on application, the fiber optics market has been segmented into communication (telecom, premises, utility, CATV, military, industrial) and non-communication (sensors and fiber optic lighting). The communication segment is estimated to be the largest application of the global fiber optic market.
By application, the communications market is sub-segmented into long-distance communication, submarine cable, FTTX, local mobile metro network CATV, and local access network. Among these, the long-distance communication is expected to be the highest revenue generating application during the forecast period
Glass: The fastest-growing segment of the fiber optic cables market for military & aerospace, by Material
Glass optical fiber is made of silicon dioxide. In this type of optical fiber, core and cladding are both made up of silica; germanium or phosphorous are also added to increase the refractive index. They are mainly used for their low intrinsic absorption properties. This type of optical fiber is generally ideal for hostile environments; it performs normally even when exposed to mechanical stress, high temperatures, or chemical substances. Glass optical fiber is basically used in applications such as telecom, CATV, highspeed LANs, and sensors.
Digitization based on the glass cockpit concept
The current market trend in the aviation industry is the replacement of traditional cockpits with glass cockpits. The demand for glass cockpits has been rising due to the increase in the accident rate of aircraft with traditional cockpits. Flight instrumentation displays in traditional cockpits are analog dials and gauges.
The glass cockpit electronic flight instrument displays come with large LCD screens. All displays used in a glass cockpit architecture incorporate data bus technology, which uses fiber optic cables for high-speed data transfer. Data bus technology implements Line-Replaceable Units (LRUs) that are integrated with sensors and fiber optic cables throughout the aircraft. The technology improves communication between aircraft systems and the cockpit. Thus, the adoption of glass cockpit in aircraft is influencing the growth of the fiber optic cables market for military and aerospace.
The key players in the global fiber optic cable market are Hengtong (China), Furukawa Electric Co. Ltd. (Japan), Prysmian Cables and Systems Limited (UK), Corning Inc. (US), YOFC (China), Futong (China), FOLAN (UK), FUJIKURA LTD (Japan), Sumitomo Electric, Ltd. (Japan), Tongding, Ltd (China), Kaile Science and Technology Co, Ltd (China), Nexans S.A (France), CommScope Inc (US), Sterlite Technologies (India), Fiber Home Telecom Tech (China), Jiangsu YongDing Company Limited (China), ZTT International Ltd (China), Belden Inc (US), Jiangsu Fasten (China)
Military & Aerospace
The fiber optic cables market for military & aerospace size is projected to grow from USD 1.2 billion in 2021 to USD 1.5 billion by 2026, at a CAGR of 5.1% from 2021 to 2026. The market is driven by various factors, such as adoption of fiber optics based communication systems in military, development of digital avionics, increasing defense expenditure of emerging economies, and technological advancements in fiber optics systems.
The major factor driving the fiber optic cables market for military & aerospace is the improved interoperability of military systems. Interoperability in a military context refers to the ability to exchange information among military platforms. This exchange of data can assist in the effective execution of battlefield operations where the data transfer rate needs to be high. The requirement of high data transfer has propelled the demand for fiber optic cables, as they play a vital role in creating faster connections. Different communication systems are used by military forces of various countries worldwide; these systems are installed in aircraft (manned and unmanned), ships, submarines, and other military vehicles.
Fiber optic cables support tactical data link systems, which are required to ensure interoperability among various platforms. Tactical data link systems can be used to connect different platforms via wireless links to facilitate quick information distribution. This has caused a shift toward the use of tactical data links for communication as compared to the use of analog radios that could only support voice communication. With advancements in communication devices, the adoption rate of fiber optic cables is increasing. Fiber optic cables help in fast data transfer that plays a critical role in ensuring seamless connectivity and effective management of resources on the battlefield.
Military: The fastest-growing segment of the fiber optic cables market for military & aerospace, by Platform
Military operations undergo extreme conditions during rescue operations and hence require more ruggedized fiber optic cables. In military aircraft, fiber optic cables are used in avionics and mission control systems for high-speed data transfer for applications such as mission data, flight planning data, and sensor data fusion for weapon systems. Thus, the increasing adoption of fiber optic cables in military aircraft and increased procurement of these aircraft is expected to boost the market for fiber optic cables market for military and aerospace. Various 4th and 5th generation fighter aircraft such as the F-35, J-20, and Su-57 use fiber optic cables onboard to monitor the performance of engines, flight control systems, and avionics.
Multi-Mode: The fastest-growing segment of the fiber optic cables market for military & aerospace, by Type
Multi-mode fiber optic cables have a large diameter core that allows multiple modes of light to propagate. This increases the number of light reflections created as the light passes through the core, enabling more data to pass through at a given time. The quality of the signal is hampered over long distances due to the transmission of data in large volumes and the high attenuation rate. The wavelengths of light waves in multi-mode fibers are in the visible spectrum ranging from 850 nm to 1300 nm. In a multimode fiber, the core-to-cladding diameter ratio is 50-125 m and 62.5-125 m. These fibers are typically used for short-distance data and audio/video applications in LANs.
The fiber optic cables market for military & aerospace includes major players Amphenol fsi (US), Carlisle Interconnect Technologies (US), Prysmian Group. (Italy), Radiall (France), Corning Optical Communications LLC (US), TE Connectivity (Switzerland), and Optical Fiber Corporation (US).