Customized Loudspeakers: Meeting the Demands of the Military Industry [VIDEO]

When considering communications needs ranging from air-to-ground, underwater in a submarine, or inside a tank or troop transport vehicle, the requirements for a military-grade audio system are understandably stringent. Along with meeting basic performance metrics like high voice intelligibility, you need to ensure each component complies with MIL-SPECs and can withstand the environmental and/or battlefield conditions it will be exposed to.

MISCO’s history of supplying military contractors with speakers goes back decades. Our founder Cliff Digre was a B-17 gunner and radio operator during World War II before launching MISCO in 1949. Over the years, MISCO developed industry-leading expertise in designing, testing, and manufacturing audio systems, all out of its headquarters in Minnesota. Being US-based we can offer our clients an added level of national and intellectual property security and more direct customer service. This video showcases some of the military-grade speakers we offer, followed by a look at the key design and testing principles we employ for these demanding applications.

Material and Design

The LS445/U speaker has been a staple for military uses for decades, in part because it is considered explosion-proof. The basket is die-cast aluminum, the cone and dust cap are phenolic-impregnated, and the voice coil is meta-aramid laminated so the entire thing can stand up to extreme temperatures. The speaker is designed so the cone, coil, and spider will not leave the structure in an explosion and the speaker can keep operating. A separate rubber gasket and steel front screen offer added protection

The LS445/U is National Stock Number (NSN) 5965-008-923665 and conforms to the rigorous MIL-DTL-12606 standards. It’s tough enough to be used in combat tanks and withstand the persistent vibrations aboard a C-5M Super Galaxy. 

If lightweight but durable is the goal, a piezoelectric speaker like the MP-1103 is a good option. Its innovative design does not require a magnet or voice coil, making it exceptionally light. It’s used in radios for the SINCGARS communication system for voice transmissions between surface and airborne command and control assets. It’s water and temperature-resistant.

To provide reliable two-way communications on submarines between the interior and the bridge or the escape hatch, speakers must be able to withstand extreme pressures, and temperatures, and be highly corrosion resistant. The U.S. Navy relies on MISCO’s LS-450/B for this job.

These submersible speakers (NSN # 5965-00583-4106 and built per MIL-L-24296A) have a copper-wound Lamitex voice coil encapsulated by silicone rubber to protect them against sea exposure and freezing spray conditions. The phenolic-impregnated cloth cone, surround, and cap are housed within a brass and & Monel steel body. 

Testing and Quality Control

Because MISCO has a significant catalog of military-grade speakers, we can work with customers who need iterations of existing designs. You can then leverage our extensive environmental testing capabilities to verify your new speakers' temperature resistance and ingress protection (IP) ratings.

You know a robust speaker is only valuable if the audio coming out of it is clear. For communications, this requires a speaker to perform well over the frequency response of the human voice—which is typically between 200Hz and 8kHz. Initially, MISCO uses precise in-house testing equipment to verify a prototype design’s frequency response. Then, each speaker is tested at the end of the assembly line to ensure quality control

If you are looking for military-grade design, engineering, prototyping, testing, and manufacturing all under one roof in the USA, we’d be happy to discuss your needs in depth.

download the guide to custom speaker design, testing, manufacturing

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