When Failure is Not an Option: Custom Military Wire Harnesses & Cable Assemblies

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Mil-Specs, Applications, & Other Factors OEMs Consider When Manufacturing Harnesses & Cables for Military Use

Not totally unlike those used in other industries such as construction or automotive, military electrical systems are typically designed for mobility, but must meet more highly adaptable specifications in order to perform in many diverse and extreme conditions and situations. 

From desert heat and freezing snow to high altitudes and deep ocean water, military operations can take place in some of the most demanding environments in the world.

Meanwhile, the devices, vehicles, and weapons they use have to be ready to be deployed across the globe at a moment’s notice. 

Because it can literally be a matter of life and death, harnesses and cables that military personnel rely upon to operate that equipment must be as dependable as possible.

From aircraft and ships to ground vehicles, drones, and communication systems, harnesses, solar power, and cables are essential to many military applications. Without them, critical military operations could be compromised.

Military Harness/Cable Applications

      • Aerospace equipment
      • Control panels
      • Field communication systems
      • EMI-sensitive equipment
      • Handheld/portable military equipment
      • Microwave and RF communications equipment
      • Military-grade encryption systems
      • Vehicle lighting systems
      • Remote weapons control systems  
      • Military ground equipment
      • Airborne communication and navigation systems
      • Ships, submersibles, and other marine systems  
      • Ground communications equipment
      • Antenna systems
      • Mobile tactical operations centers
      • Unmanned aerial vehicles

More so than any other industry, military harnesses and cable assemblies must be designed and manufactured to meet a wide variety of challenges including:

Environmental Challenges

      • Extreme temperatures
      • Rain/moisture
      • Heavy shocks
      • Fire
      • High winds
      • Extreme vibration
      • High speeds
      • Electromagnetic energy
      • Dust
      • Chemicals
      • Seawater
      • Sand

While military wire harnesses and cable assemblies perform essentially the same functions as those in other industries — transmitting critical power and data to and from electrical devices — they have to be especially good at what they do. 

No matter your industry, CAI’s custom wire harnesses and cable assemblies are built to your exact specifications and to perform up to the highest standards. For all your electrical system needs, reach out to the experts at CAI today. 

Extreme reliability and durability are of the highest priorities, so the materials and processes used to create military wire electrical systems must be of the highest quality and their construction done by expert hands. Strength, flexibility, cost-effectiveness, and electrical compatibility are among the key features manufacturers look to optimize. 

Precision and attention to detail are essential in the design, production, and installation, especially because military harnesses and assemblies are subject to the strictest of regulations to which OEMs must adhere.


Developed to ensure that all parts used for military purposes meet a uniform level of quality in performance and reliability, Military Specification (MIL-Spec) is a military standard that regulates the design of electrical devices built for military applications. MIL-STD-454 is the specific requirement regarding electronic equipment used in a military capacity. While there are numerous Mil-Spec standards, the following are some of the more commonly used Mil-Spec standards for wire harnesses and cables assemblies.

M22759 (SAE AS22759)

Designed for intense aerospace conditions, this wire type is commonly used for aircraft engine controls and electrical components operating in severe elements and moisture-heavy areas.

M16878 (MIL-W-16878)

Able to withstand extreme temperature and voltage ratings, this wire type is insulated with materials like PVC, PTFE, Polyalkene-PVC, and ETFE. Designed specifically for each product, this wire comes with different options. For instance, M16878/4 is suitable for harnessing, appliance wiring, and power supply, while M16878/5 is meant for electronics exposed to high temperatures.


Used for severe environments with high vibration and flame exposure, this type is suitable for critical aircraft circuits.


For low-tension military applications, this cable is moisture- and abrasion-resistant and flexible even at low temperatures. Typically used in trucks, tanks, and other ground vehicles, this type is also available in different options to fit different product requirements.


A general-purpose wire ideal for abrasion, impact, and chemical exposure, and spanning applications across military, aerospace, and industrial, this wire family features tin-plated copper conductor insulated by PVC and a nylon jacket.


CAI is your trusted source for custom and confidential military wire harnesses and cable assembly manufacturing. We design, test, and manufacture military wiring harnesses that withstand the extreme conditions and perform reliably when every second counts. 

Since 1986, CAI has delivered high-quality custom manufacturing solutions — from wire harnesses and cable assemblies to box builds and electromechanical assemblies — to satisfied customers across the globe. Offering a personalized approach to every project, CAI partners with clients to create innovative products that exceed industry standards.

For more details on why CAI is the best choice for your next electrical project, visit their services page and start a conversation with CAI today.