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Steel Wire Armoured Cable or simply Armoured Cable, is a strengthened, hard-wearing and weather proof cable. It is often constructed from a Plain Stranded Copper conductor, insulated with Cross-Linked Polyethylene, bedding and sheathing made from Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC), and Armouring below the sheathing is often Aluminium (AWA Cable) for single Core or steel for multiple Cores.

The cable is suitable for outdoor use, direct burial and has higher pulling loads due to its armour strengthening below the sheathing.

Cable Cleats are used to attach the cables to walls and structures, providing a safe and secure fit. This allows cables to be run along the sides of building to rooftops or outbuildings, with safety and security in mind.

Warning tape is available for underground cable placement, which allows cables to be visible to anyone digging an area of ground. Safety should always be paramount when laying cables and especially when there is a high risk of accidental severing.

Cable Information and Specifications

Armoured Cable has many uses when it comes to Single and Three Phase Circuits. 2 Core and 3 Core Armoured Cable can be used for Single Phase Circuits, 3 Core and 4 Core Cable can be used for Three Phase Circuits and 5 Core is used for Three Phase Circuits including a Neutral and Earth.

2 Core Cable contains a Live and a Neutral, meaning that a separate Earth Core is required for safety purposes. All cables with 3 Cores or more (3 Core, 4 Core, 5 Core, etc.) do not require a separate Earth Core as one is included. The Steel Armour can be used as an Earth, however it is not recommended for a primary Earth. This isn’t safe practice and the area(s) surrounding become at risk of becoming live if a fault occurs within the cable or it is severed, increasing the danger of injury drastically.

The two main forms of Armoured Cable are 11kV and 33kV. 11kV is constructed as previously mentioned (Plain Stranded Copper, Cross-Linked Polyethylene Insulation, PVC Bedding, PVC Sheathing and Steel or Aluminium Wire Armouring), but also contains a copper tape metallic screen between the XLPE insulation and the wire armour, as well as Polyethylene Terephthalate filler and a Binding Tape Separator.

XLPE insulation provides protection against a wide variation of chemicals and hazardous materials, while being very thermally stable. A certain type of sheathing or outer cable protection may be required for environments such as arctic or extreme heat conditions.

There is another form of Armoured Cable called LSF, which stands for Low Smoke & Fume. This type of cable is recommended for use in public environments such as hospitals and schools, where in the case of a fire people are less likely to be harmed by any fumes from the cables burning. Halogen gas levels and the smoke can cause vision and respiratory problems when regular SWA cable is used in these locations.

LSF Cable also has accessories available such as LSF Glands which have the same safety sheathing material as the cable, meaning that they are constructed to the same standards and provide the same benefits when used together.


British Standard Code: BS5467
Cable Sheathing Colour: Black
Safe Working Temperatures: 0°C to + 90°C
Core Specification:
  • 1 Core – Brown or Blue
  • 2 Core – Brown & Blue
  • 3 Core – Brown, Black & Grey
  • 4 Core – Blue, Brown, Black & Grey
  • 5 Core – Green/Yellow, Blue, Brown, Black & Grey
Minimum Bending Radius:
  • 1.5mm to 16mm – 6 x the overall diameter of the cable
  • 25mm and above – 8 x the overall diameter of the cable


Armoured Cable Calculator

Need assistance calculating what size cable you will need? You can use our Armoured Cable Calculator tool. We must express that it should be used strictly as a guide only.

Your cable size will be worked out using the information entered, so accurate values are essential to calculate your correct cable size. It is down to the user to ensure that the cable is appropriate for the type of environment and conditions it will be situated.

The cable calculator is configured for Installation Method C (Clipped Direct), for cable types BS5467 and BS6724 SWA (Steel wire armoured cable) and is based on the voltage drop selected at 230V single phase and 400V three phase.

If you require any further assistance with the sizing of your cable call us on 01244 288138.