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MIL-STD-1553 is a DoD standard that was initially published in 1973.  The Standard defines the communications network used mainly by military vehicles.

A data bus is a system within a computer or device, consisting of a connector or set of wires that provides transportation for data. A serial data bus allows multiple microprocessors to easily communicate with each other over a common pair of wires using a scheme similar to a telephone party line. 

The MIL-STD-1553 is a differential serial bus with some similarities to CAN.  Also, it is a dual redundant data bus.  Each node is connected to each of the redundant buses. It’s usability has remained high because if one data bus should fail, communications can still continue.

Other benefits include:

Multi-Channel Coordination and Selection – In regards to modern military aircraft, it is critical that avionics systems are able to communicate discretely with one another.  This was challenging in the past, specifically when regarding the more traditional ARINC-429 architecture. However, the MIL-STD-1553 standard makes use of a bus controller.

The Exclusion of Remote Terminal Issues – Thanks to the top-down approach associated with the MIL-1553 standard all messages are preceded by a command word and are initiated only by the bus controller. This eliminates simultaneous transmissions.

Maintenance and Reliability – Thanks to designing simplifications, MIL-STD-1553 is now associated with fewer connections. Not only does this enable the systems to be much lighter (important with aircraft), but fewer connections directly equate to fewer chances of failure and greater MTBF (Mean Time Between Failure) cycles. Fewer parts are also associated with easier installation as well as the ability to upgrade such systems on a modular basis when required. 

Experts in this field believe MIL-STD-1553 has a bright future and that this architecture will continue to evolve as advanced generation of avionics benefit from the principles espoused by the MIL-STD-1553 protocol.

Want to learn more? Tonex offers MIL-1553 Training, a 2-day course that focuses on what MIL-STD-1553 is and how it works. Participants learn about MIL-STD-1553 systems, analysis and design, architecture, protocols, applications and cybersecurity.

Contact us for more information, questions, comments.

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