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The weight of a vehiclepsilas data and power cables will increase due to increased need for electronic components that are spread throughout the craft. Advances in lasing and optical fiber systems present an opportunity for designers to embed optics into the vehiclepsilas subsystems to reduce interconnect weight because glass is approximately frac14 the weight of copper. This paper presents four types (levels) of optical integration showing the respective weight reducing benefits for several subsystems of the Apache Longbow helicopter. Systematic examinations of a subset of the Apachepsilas systems indicate weight reductions will vary based upon the level of integration: the interconnect weight could increase (studies show -121% change) or decrease dramatically (studies show 89% weight improvement). Thus, this work demonstrates that while benefits could be large, careless introduction of optical technology into a vehicle like the Apache can have diminished or even detrimental effects.
Date of Conference: 16-19 Nov. 2008