What is MIL-STD-1553?


MIL-STD-1553 is a military standard published in 1973 by the U.S. Department of Defense that defines the electrical, mechanical and functional specifications of the serial communication network used for avionics and aerospace applications. First used by the U.S. Air Force on the F-16 fighter jet, MIL-STD-1553 quickly became the standard for controlling military and aerospace avionics. MIL-STD-1533 is used by every branch of the U.S. military and NATO for controlling land, sea, air and space vehicles.

MIL-STD-1553 defines a highly-reliable synchronous serial data bus with a 1Mbps transfer rate and an error rate of less than one data fault per 10 million words. A single bus controller (BC) communicates with up to 31 remote terminal (RT) devices over redundant pairs of wires called the primary and secondary buses. One or more bus monitor (MT) devices may record data for analysis, but cannot transmit data. While only one BC is permitted on the bus, provisions allow for redundant BCs in case of a primary BC failure.

All communication occurs over the primary bus with the secondary bus available as a backup in case of a primary bus failure or damage. Reliability is further improved by adding dual or triple redundant bus connections.