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Steel Wire Armoured Cable or simply Armoured Cable, is a strengthened, hard-wearing and weatherproof cable.

The construction of swa cables consists of Plain Stranded Copper conductor, insulated with Cross-Linked Polyethylene, bedding and sheathing made from Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC).

For single-core cable, the armouring beneath the sheath is usually Aluminium (AWA Cable). In cable with multiple cores, it is steel, SWA – Steel wire armour.

SWA Cable suits both outdoor use and direct burial. The armour beneath the sheath also allows for pulling loads due to increased strength.

Use Cable Cleats to attach the SWA cable to walls and structures. Cable cleats provide a safe, secure fit. Cleats may also be an option for running cable along the sides of the building, rooftops or outbuildings. Cleats provide safety and security for surface mounting.

You must use Warning Tape for underground cable placement. The use of warning tape offers cables to be visible in case someone was to dig in the area. Always treat safety as paramount when you lay cables. Warning tape reduces the high risk of accidental severing.

Cable Information

Armoured Cable has many uses when it comes to Single and Three Phase Circuits. Use 2 Core Armoured Cable and 3 Core Armoured Cable for Single Phase Circuits. You would generally use 3 Core and 4 Core Cable can be used for Three-Phase Circuits. While 5 Core SWA cable is used for Three-Phase Circuits including a Neutral and Earth.

2 Core Cable contains a Live and a Neutral. This means you would require a separate Earth Core for safety. All cables with 3 Cores or more (3 Core, 4 Core, 5 Core, etc.) include an Earth Core. While you can use steel armour as an Earth, it should not be the primary Earth. This isn’t a safe practice. 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 from (Plain Stranded Copper, Cross-Linked Polyethylene Insulation, PVC Bedding, PVC Sheathing and Steel or Aluminium Wire Armouring). Additionally, it contains a copper tape metallic screen between the XLPE insulation and the wire armour. It also uses Polyethylene Terephthalate filler and a Binding Tape Separator.

XLPE insulation provides protection against a wide variation of chemicals as well as hazardous materials. It is also thermally stable. A certain type of sheathing or outer cable protection may be required for environments such as arctic or extreme heat conditions.

LSF Low Smoke Cable

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 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 you should use this strictly as a guide only.

The calculator works out the size of the cable from the information you enter. Accurate values are essential to calculate your correct cable size. We are not responsible for determining the environment or conditions that the cable is appropriate for.

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.