Blog: Defence Technology From Top Secret to Everyday

February 14, 2018  /  Blog , Company Update

One of the world’s biggest drivers in technological innovation is the military.

Products designed for use by the armed forces are subject to the highest level of scrutiny, and demand performance at a rate far higher than in many other industries. It is for that reason that it may be unsurprising to learn that many consumer electronic products began life as military technologies.

satellite in space

For example, GPS started life as satellites set up by the U.S. Navy in the 1960s, and became available to civilians in 1996. Nowadays, those same satellites form part of the system that most Satnav products rely on. Even the internet originates from the military, when the US military developed ARPANET in 1969 to allow one system to transfer information to another. 

As well as being created directly for the military, some products have been created as adaptations from military technology. Take the microwave, for example, which was invented after Percy Spencer noticed radar waves had melted a bar of chocolate in his pocket whilst working on a combat radar equipment project for during WW2.

Modern Military Technology

In the modern world of manufacturing, there are products specifically designed for the military and commercial off the shelf (COTS) products, which are designed for a wider market but are often sourced by the military. Many modern innovations come from COTS products, because manufacturers are trying to sell the product to many militaries rather than a single force, so the need for innovation and quality is paramount. 

defence cable assemblies

At GTK, we produce cable assemblies for both military and COTS products, and so we must adhere to the watertight standards of the military and aerospace sectors. As such, we have been accredited to AS9100 for over two years. This means all of the components used in our cable assemblies have full traceability. It is through this accreditation that products produced for the modern military achieve a level of quality that is sought after by the entire electronics industry.

Put simply, if a product can be used by the military, it will be manufactured to the highest possible quality that product can be. The accreditation process is rigorous. At GTK, we have expanded our full quality control system involving both extra processes and documentation to ensure any potential errors are eliminated, and as such our overall product quality has improved. 

When it comes to the specific military cables we manufacture, the military have stringent requirements that go beyond accreditation. IPC620, which is a standard prescribing practices and requirements for the manufacture of cable assemblies, must be adhered to. These processes have been adopted throughout GTK, so all of our clients benefit from our work with the military.

Just as the military are constantly pressing for advances in quality, at GTK, we are always striving for continuous improvement. Recently, we became Cyber Essentials accredited to ensure our customers’ data is protected, a necessity given the sensitive nature of some of our clients. This will also benefit our non-military clients, as they can rest assured their data is protected by the same systems protecting military data. 

With all of this in mind, it seems clear that the military and aerospace industries will continue to propel manufacturers to greater levels of quality and innovation. The demand for durable, dependable, fully traceable products means that technology produced for the military benefits the wider electronics industry as a whole.