Military Actuators

Military actuator manufacturers and suppliers of military grade, electric, high speed, and servo actuators for aerospace and defense
Overview Military Actuators
By Mike Ball Last updated: March 6th, 2024

Actuators are devices that convert energy into either linear or rotary motion, using mechanical, electromechanical, hydraulic, pneumatic or piezoelectric sources. They are used in a wide variety of military vehicles, equipment and technology in order to precisely move surfaces and components.

Mil-spec actuators may be designed in accordance with particular military standards such as MIL-STD-810 for environmental engineering, MIL-STD-461 for EMC (electromagnetic compatibility), and MIL-STD-1275 for electrical systems in military vehicles.

Military actuators may provide a number of options to suit manufacturers’ particular needs. Linear actuators will have varying stroke lengths, and rotary servo actuators will either move through a specific angle or provide continuous rotation.

High-torque and high-speed actuators provide enhanced movement capabilities for the most demanding and heavy-duty applications. Military and aerospace actuation systems may also provide redundancy for mission-critical applications by incorporating multiple components, thus ensuring there is no single point of failure.


Aerospace actuators are used to move flight and attitude control surfaces in manned and unmanned military aircraft, including ailerons, helicopter rotors, elevators, rudders, flaps and landing gear. They may also be used to open and close doors, hatches and valves on other vital subsystems, including throttles, payload bays and weapons systems.

Land systems such as tanks and other armored vehicles use actuators to rotate turrets, elevate and aim weapons systems, and open hatches. Military ground vehicle actuators may be particularly vulnerable to dust and sand ingress as well as shock and vibration, and need to be ruggedized accordingly.

Actuators for naval, marine and subsea applications may be used for vessel steering and propulsion control, weapons systems, hatches, and loading ramps. These actuators may require specific levels of waterproofing or water resistance and may thus need to be designed to meet a particular IP (ingress protection) rating. Submersible actuators may be made of corrosion-resistant materials such as titanium, marine stainless steel and marine bronze, and may also be designed to withstand greater pressures caused by being submerged in deep water.


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