MIL-Grade Connectors: Features, Selecting Parameters, and Specifications


Connectors are the devices that ensure that the power supply continues uninterrupted at every junction along its predefined path. MIL-grade connectors are also known as Military Standard, MIL-STD, MS connectors, or MIL-SPEC connectors. They are robust and reliable connectors and long-lasting as their contacts are made with Beryllium copper and phosphor bronze and a layer of non-corrosive material to cover them. In the 1930s, the military developed these electrical connections for operational service and military aviation uses, and they were known as AN or Army/Navy connectors. They are designed in such a manner to be used in a wide range of applications across all key protection verticals and withstand harsh temperatures, adverse environmental conditions, etc., occurring in the military.

They are rectangular or cylindrical shell-type connectors. Apart from military applications, they are now also utilized in various industries such as industrial, aerospace, automotive, medical, marine, and construction applications.

The most used Mil-Spec connectors:

  • MIL-DTL-5015
  • MIL-DTL-26482, and
  • MIL-DTL-38999


The following are the features of mil-grade connectors that aid in performance in the other applications:

  1. Underwater Applications: Due to their characteristics’ of perfectly tight sealing, these connectors can be used underwater.
  2. Environmentally friendly: The connectors can survive environmental difficulties such as chemicals, sunlight, dirt, etc.,
  3. Hermetically Sealed: The contact is hermetically shut, prohibiting any internal moisture escape.
  4. Integrated Magnetics: It shields the connector from inappropriate signals or magnetics and provides censoring, signal conditioning, or separation.
  5. EMI or RFI protection: The connector has a filter to reduce EMI, RFI, and shielding to avoid electrostatic discharge (ESD) or EMI.


Consider the following parameters when specifying these connectors:

  1. The number of contacts: To create an electrical path, a no. of conductive components is required to form a matching element. 
  2. Contact type: Contact types include pins and sockets. They connect to convey electricity ranges in sizes, shapes, kinds, and numbers. To build an electrical way, these contacts of the connector must match the relevant element. The maximum heat produced, the current-carrying capabilities, the electrical demands, and the wire gauge size all impact the contacts and design of this sort of connection.
  3. Receptacle installation: When choosing a military-type connector, it is critical to examine where and how the receptacle will be able to fit. The connector will be attached to a wall, panel, or box.
  4. Coupling Type: It includes fixed, slotted, push, or pull port lock, and spring rack, and connects instantly.
  5. Contact Size: Referred to the dimension that separates contact from each other and is commonly determined by AWG measurements.


Military connectors must meet the following specification:

  • MIL-DTL-5015:

  • Older, bigger connector
  • Current-carrying connections are the most common.
  • Many items of military equipment and commercial applications use it.


  • MIL-DTL-26482:

  • Smaller connectors using low-cost series.
  • Contacts can be either crimped or soldered.
  • Widespread application on military equipment, including airplanes, as well as commercial applications


  • MIL-DTL-38999

  • The smallest connector becomes the connector of choice for new designs.
  • The most typical application is in automotive and auto sports items.


 Visit Allied Electronics Corporation for more information.


Lee Russo

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