Welcome to F-16 Fighter Jet Design Class 101. In this class we will discuss: (1) the main components of an F-16, (2) what multiplex is, and (3) what is refurbishment in regards to F-16 electrical panels. Here we go!
An airplane is typically made up of four main structural components: (1) the fuselage, (2) the wings, (3) the horizontal tail, and (4) the vertical tail. The word fuselage is derived from the French word fuselé which means “spindle-shaped”. The fuselage is the largest structure in the F-16 as well as most other aircraft. It contains the crew, passengers, cargo, equipment (such as multiplex or mux panels), bulkheads, and my favorite ‘wiring’. The figure below (colored brown) displays the fuselage for a Boeing 737 aircraft.
The next portion of our F-16 Fighter Jet Design Class 101 is, “What is multiplex?” Multiplex is a way of sending multiple signals or streams of information over a communications system at the same time in the form of a single, complex signal. The signal is composed of either highs or lows (also called 1’s or 0’s). The F-16 uses multiplex signals in four primary systems: (1) navigation, (2) flight control, (3) communication, and (4) weapons. Multiplex signals are sent throughout the F-16 using a special type of wire called a ‘mux wire’. If there is a long length of mux wire, the multiplex signal starts to lose its strength. To fix this problem, mux transformers are used throughout the F-16 to enhance the signal strength. The mux transformers are contained in metal boxes called Mux Panels. In the F-16, Mux Panels are located in two structures: (1) the wings and (2) the fuselage. Thus, fuselage Mux Panels are boxes that contain mux transformers spread throughout the fuselage. Typically for an F-16 there are 18 fuselage Mux Panels and 6 wing Mux Panels. A typical fuselage Mux Panel is shown below. The mux transformers are located inside the metal box.
Our final topic in our F-16 Fighter Jet Design Class 101 is, “What is refurbishment in regards to F-16 electrical panels?” Refurbishment is the servicing and/or renovation of older or damaged equipment to bring it to a workable or better-looking condition. When InterConnect refurbishes F-16 fuselage Mux Panels we typically replace all mux transformers as well as wire and connectors where necessary. Besides F-16 Cockpit Panels, F-16 Mux Panels are the second most common F-16 panel that InterConnect refurbishes. In case you are wondering “Why refurbish an F-16 panel as opposed to replacing it?” the answer is simple, it is far less expensive. Refurbishing a panel is typically one-half the price of replacing it with a new one.
Thank you, Class, for your time and attention. For more information about refurbishing mux panels see our blog: When Should You Replace F-16 Mux Panels?