The following key and tables set out the regular cable identifications derived from the traditional British Standards, the terminology of abbreviations that is associated with these cables, and also where these cables may typically be used in everyday applications.

Key to Armoured Cable Type Designations as Defined in BS 6121 : Part 1 : 1989

[W] - Cables with Single Wire Armour (SWA) - used extensively in onshore plant both above ground and directly buried in the ground, and is probably the most common type of armoured cable used in the world. This cable type is produced mainly with steel wires, but is also supplied with aluminium wire armour, especially when the cable is either a single core cable or has aluminium conductors.

[T] - Cables with Pliable Wire Armour (PWA) - used extensively in the mining and quarrying industry particularly in underground deep coal mines, as it offers high level of mechanical protection but added flexibility compared with SWA.

[X] - Cable with Braid Armour (e.g. GSWB) - used onshore and offshore and comes in a wide variety of types, including galvanised steel wire, tinned copper wire, bronze wire, and is the standard for marine shipboard cables, and the offshore oil and gas industry around the world, because of its high level of flexibility.

[Y] - Cable with Strip Armour (e.g. ASA) - used onshore, offering heavy duty service, high level of mechanical protection but is probably the least common type of armoured cable. This cable type is often produced with aluminium strip armour but is also supplied using steel strip armour.

[Z] - Cable with Tape Armour (e.g. STA) - primarily used onshore, often referred to as DSTA, and the tape armour is manufactured in either steel (STA) or aluminium (ATA). The use of Tape Armour can mean a lighter, leaner and smaller diameter alternative to SWA, but may not be available from all cable manufacturers.

Cables that can be supplied either equipped or not equipped with armour types listed above may be produced to the following typical cable standards :-
BS 5308, BS 5467, BS 6004, BS 6007, BS 6116, BS 6346, BS 6480, BS 6500, BS 6622, BS 6724, BS 6883, IEC 60092, IEC 60502.

Abbreviations and Applications

Cable Definitions Abbreviation(s) Offshore Onshore
Single Wire Armour (or Steel Wire Armour) SWA     NO YES
Single Wire Armour, Lead Sheathed
(or Steel Wire Armour, Lead Sheathed)
Steel Tape Armour (D)STA     NO YES
Steel Tape Armour, Lead Sheathed (D)STA, LC LG(D)STA LS(D)STA NO YES
Aluminium Wire Armour AWA     NO YES
Aluminium Wire Armour, Lead Sheathed AWA, LC LC/AWA LS/AWA NO YES
Aluminium Strip Armour ASA     NO YES
Aluminium Strip Armour, Lead Sheathed ASA, LC LC/ASA LS/ASA NO YES
Flat Steel Wire NY KGby     NO YES
Flat Steel Wire, Lead Sheathed NY KGby     NO YES
Lead Sheathed NY KY     NO YES
Steel Wire Braid SWB     YES YES
Galavanised Steel Wire Braid GSWB     YES YES
Copper Wire Braid CWB     YES YES
Tinned Copper Wire Braid TCWB     YES YES
Bronze Wire Braid BWB     YES YES
Phosphor Bronze Wire Braid PBWB     YES YES
Rarely /
Never Used
Steel Wire Braid, Lead Sheathed SWB, LC LG/SWB LS/SWB NO YES
Galvanised Steel Wire Braid, Lead Sheathed GSWB, LC LG/SWB LS/SWB NO YES
Copper Wire Braid, Lead Sheathed CWB/LC LG/CWB LS/CWB NO YES
Tinned Copper Wire Braid, Lead Sheathed TCWB/LC LC/TCWB LS/TCWB NO YES
Bronze Wire Braid, Lead Sheathed BWB, LC LC/BWB LS/BWB NO YES
Phosphor Bronze Wire Braid, lead Sheathed PBWB, LC LC/PBWB LS/PBWB NO YES