The evolution of FALCON Expanded Beam connector

In the morning of October 27, 1981, a Soviet submarine ran aground in the Swedish archipelago. An event that became world news and suddenly put Sweden into an international crisis.

This event brought to light the use of fiber optics in sonar equipment and was the start of the Swedish Armed Forces (SAF) development of its own fiber optic competence. Later, the Swedish Defence Material Administration (FMV) chose expanded beam technology as the technology of choice for field tactical communication, because of its unique and reliable functionality in harsh environments. This became the start of Micropol, a company specializing in passive fiber optics for extreme conditions.

High ambitions in R&D

In the 1980s, as the SAF initiated their plans for wider usage of fiber optic field cables and rugged connectors, Micropol founder Anders Andersson became a key person. He had a background from the Royal Swedish Airforce and had founded Micropol after working with fiber optics since the archipelago incident. Micropol became a trusted development partner. 

– The SAF’s non-standard and demanding specifications for harsh conditions ranges from extreme heat to melting and freezing snow. The equipment needs to be resistant to damage, abrasion, deformation, and breakage. It should handle mud and sand particles that find their way between the connectors, says Mikael Andersson, R&D Director at Micropol.

One example of successful progress is the fiber optic technology developed for the FALCON connector, launched in 2013.

Features for all FALCON Expanded Beam Connectors


1 to 4 channels


1 to 12 channels


Single-mode (SM), Multi-mode (MM) or Mixed Mode


10Gbit/s (40Gbit/s optional)

Insertion loss (SM)

Typical Insertion Loss -0,8dB (1310 nm)

Maximum Insertion Loss -1,2dB (1310 nm)

Insertion loss (MM)

Typical Insertion Loss -0,8dB (1300 nm)

Maximum Insertion Loss -1,0dB (1300 nm)

Return loss


>35dB at 1310nm or 1550nm

Polarization Dependent Loss less than 0,35dB

Coupling type





Hard anodized aluminum

Alternative material

Marine bronze, titanium & stainless steel




3000 mating cycles

Free fall

500 falls from 1,2 meters height


5-500Hz, 0,75mm amplitude at 10G


390 m/S numbers of shakes 3x4000

Shock pulse length

11ms, half sine at 35g

Numbers of axis: 3 (x, y, z)

Recommended wall thickness

2–3 mm

Operating temperature

-57°C to +85°C, +100°C optional

Water immersion


Air pressure

<25kPa -55°C during 4h

Corrosion resistance

500h salt spray


DOD-STD-1678, method 5010

The benefits of the FALCON Expanded Beam Connector

1. A wide range of configurations

The FALCON Expanded Beam connector is available in single-mode, multi-mode and mixed mode, in size mini with on to four channels, and junior size with one to twelve channels. The FALCON Junior Expanded Beam connector is the only connector on the market according to MIL-DTL-83526 with the capacity of 12 lenses in a junior sized beam.

2. Best optical performance

The FALCON Expanded Beam connector has the best optical performance on the market with transfers speeds all the way up to 40 Gbit/s, compared to the typical 10 Gbit/s on today’s market. The high performance and the 12 channel Junior size, can be achieved with Micropol lens technology and state of the art production and alignment process.

3. Compatible to other brands

All the connectors are hermaphroditic which makes them compatible with all other connector brands in the same dimensions. The standard material for the FALCON connector is hard anodized aluminum but are available in marine bronze and stainless steel to accommodate the customer specifications and applications.

4. Tested to endure wear and tear

The FALCON expanded beam connector are developed for extreme environments and situations to be reliable in the most critical situations. It has been tested to manage a durability for 3000 mating cycles, 500 falls from 1,2 meters height and extreme vibrations on 5-500hz, to ensure a high performing expanded beam connector that can withstand the extremes.

5. Tested to endure extreme environments

The expanded beam connectors are designed to endure extreme environments, with shifting temperatures from high and low, to be resistance to water and corrosion in moist areas and manage high air pressure, depending on the application. The standard operating temperatures for the FALCON connector are between -57 °C to +85°C, but have 100°C as an option, which makes it the first expanded beam connector in the world to have this high operating temperature. FALCON is approved according to IP67, have a corrosion resistance for 500 hours in salt spray and flammability according to DOD-STD-1678, method 5010.

A wide range of expanded beam connectors in different sizes

FALCON Mini Expanded beam connectors

The FALCON Mini Expanded Beam connector is a small-sized connector and are the smallest version in the FALCON Family and have a range of 1 to 4 channels. There are seven different types available that are suitable for different needs and applications. All the mini sized versions are applicable for cramped and tight spaces, for example military vehicles.

FALCON Junior Expanded beam connectors

The FALCON Junior Expanded Beam connector is a standard sized connector and have a range of 1 to 12 channels. There are five different types available that are suitable for different needs and applications. All the junior sized versions are compatible with other branded connectors in the same size. The FALCON Junior Expanded Beam connector is the only junior-sized expanded beam on the market that have 12 channels and are according to the MIL-DTL-83526 20 & 21 Military standard.

Problem finding your solution?

All together, production staff included, we are now 43 employees and growing fast. We are one of most experienced companies working with passive fiber optics and has been doing so since the eighties. Don't hesitate to contact us.

Related subjects

What is expanded beam?

The need for a fiber optic connector that could withstand harsh environments was first developed for the defence industry and was the beginning of the expanded beam connector that we see today. But how does the technology work and where can the connectors be used?

PROCON Expanded beam connector

The PROCON connector is based on the proven FALCON design with the same high quality and durability. The PROCON connector will give you everything you expect from a Micropol product for a lower price without compromising on quality.