If you’ve ever read anything about the avionics industry, you may have seen the code “MIL-STD-1553” numerous times. Whether referring to products, services, systems or companies, MIL-STD-1553 seems to saturate the conversation. Here’s what that cryptic combination of letters and numbers actually means and why it’s so important.
MIL-STD-1553 is specific to a serial data bus. It is the military standard code used by the United States Department of Defense to ensure the same quality features (be them mechanical, electrical or otherwise) of every data bus used in military applications. Although this code was designed for the United States military avionics department, it is now widely accepted across all avionics industries, including those involving spacecraft and civil operations.
The code ensures that all data buses have particular features including things like 31 remote terminal ports, a dual redundant balanced line, and the same network interface. These features are accepted globally which is why it is becoming common practice for all aviation-related industries to follow the MIL-STD-1553 standards. The data buses that follow this code are internationally accepted as superior in durability, reliability, and overall performance.
In order to be compliant according to MIL-STD-1553, a data bus must have certain configured features. It must have a twisted pair shielded cable and follow the requirements for its connector polarity. The terminals on a compliant data bus should be able to accept data from non-MIL-STD-1553 compatible devices, as well as other compatible ones. This can be achieved through embedded and stand-alone remote terminals.
The bus controller must meet strict requirements as well, as it is the source of communication for a data bus. The bus controller issues commands and responses in order to share data through the data bus terminals. However, it is the bus monitor than collects these messages. The monitor gathers data by listening to messages that are sent and received.
Code MIL-STD-1553 is now used in a variety of industries from the United States Space Program to everyday commercial aviation companies. The code is so superior to any other regulations that is both accepted and used worldwide.