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SPECIAL REPORT

Next Generation Rugged Computers and Peripheral Equipment

Battles of the Bytes Advances in Rugged Field Technologies

What is Rugged and how is it Tested? Technological Trends in Rugged Computers to Lower Costs Selling, Markets and Procurement Next Generation Rugged Computers COIN and the Future‌

Sponsored by

Published by Global Business Media


SPECIAL REPORT

Next Generation Rugged Computers and Peripheral Equipment

SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION RUGGED COMPUTERS AND PERIPHERAL EQUIPMENT

Contents Foreword

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Battles of the Bytes

3

Mary Dub, Editor Battles of the Bytes Advances in Rugged Field Technologies

What is Rugged and how is it Tested? Technological Trends in Rugged Computers to Lower Costs Selling, Markets and Procurement Next Generation Rugged Computers COIN and the Future…

Sponsored by

Published by Global Business Media

Published by Global Business Media Global Business Media Limited 62 The Street Ashtead Surrey KT21 1AT United Kingdom Switchboard: +44 (0)1737 850 939 Fax: +44 (0)1737 851 952 Email: info@globalbusinessmedia.org Website: www.globalbusinessmedia.org Publisher Kevin Bell Business Development Director Marie-Anne Brooks Editor Mary Dub Senior Project Manager Steve Banks Advertising Executives Michael McCarthy Abigail Coombes Production Manager Paul Davies For further information visit: www.globalbusinessmedia.org The opinions and views expressed in the editorial content in this publication are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily represent the views of any organisation with which they may be associated. Material in advertisements and promotional features may be considered to represent the views of the advertisers and promoters. The views and opinions expressed in this publication do not necessarily express the views of the Publishers or the Editor. While every care has been taken in the preparation of this publication, neither the Publishers nor the Editor are responsible for such opinions and views or for any inaccuracies in the articles.

© 2012. The entire contents of this publication are protected by copyright. Full details are available from the Publishers. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the copyright owner.

Advances in Rugged Field Technologies Julie Briggs, CEO, VT Miltope

Technological Trends and Developments in Rugged Computers and Peripheral Equipment Meeting the Insurgent Threat Head-on Factors to Consider When Choosing Rugged Computers Looking Forward VT Miltope

What is Rugged and how is it Tested? Don McBarnet, Staff Writer

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What Did Not Work and Why? Defining Ruggedness Categories of Ruggedness for the Components of Computers Low Pressure and Pressure Change Testing High, Low and Temperature Shock Tests Solar Radiation and Sunshine Rain and Water

Technological Trends in Rugged Computers to Lower Costs

Marushka Dubova, Defense Correspondent

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Ruggedisation for the Navy: Dealing with Humidity and Salt Fog Blown Sand, Dust and Particulate Matter Types of Shock Met in Military Operations and Air Manoeuvres MIL STD 461 for EMI Common Hardware Systems Contract IP65 Ingress Protection Qualities of Durability and Ruggedness not Defined in Military Specifications General Dynamics White Paper Case Study

Selling, Markets and Procurement Marushka Dubova, Defense Correspondent

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Trends in Military Requirements for Tablets: Bigger Isn’t Better More Computing Power for Pentagon-Based Department of Defense Commanders Dealing with the Intricacies of the Procurement Process The New Ruggedized Notebook

Next Generation Rugged Computers COIN and the Future… Meredith Llewellyn, Defense Correspondent

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The Mobile and Cloud Dynamic Visions of the Near Term Future from PEO The Ubiquitous Rugged Smartphone: Trials The Integration of Field Service Representative to Improve Training and Reliability The Future with 20:20 Vision

References

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SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION RUGGED COMPUTERS AND PERIPHERAL EQUIPMENT

Foreword T

he technological developments in next generation rugged computers and their

Diving deep into the technical aspects, the third article explores the qualities that air

peripherals are fast moving. As the mobile

forces, navies and other segments of the

consumer demands more rugged computers for

defence computer market may demand of

business and leisure activities, the military market

their rugged computers.

reaps benefits. However, for low cost operation

Taking a wider view of the defence market

in the field, modern militaries demand computers

place, the fourth article, ‘Selling, Markets and

that are engineered to meet a high specification.

Procurement’ considers how the process of

Warfare today is fought not only on the

procurement of computer hardware through

battlefield, employing conventional weaponry,

prime contractors working with governments in

but also through the use of powerful processors

large consortiums can produce good outcomes.

and rugged laptop computers. The first article

When the system works, carefully tailored

in this Special Report looks at the technological

products for niche markets are a success while,

trends and developments in rugged computers

at other times, the addition of consortium plus

and peripheral equipment and how rugged

defence ministry adds up to confusion and

laptops and tablet computers have established

delayed delivery.

themselves as a proven weapon in the modern

The final piece looks at the future, which never

warfare. The movement from the traditional

fails to intrigue. Improved connectivity on the

battlefield to city streets has resulted in the need

battlefield is revolutionizing how warriors fight.

for soldier-borne computing capability which is

Driving costs down is leading to computer

not only small and lightweight but which also

manufacturers providing over- the-shoulder

provides capability for application processing.

mentoring to soldiers learning new hardware

Three key considerations must be borne in mind

capabilities. While further in the future, we have

when choosing rugged computers – the degree

yet to see what happens when the internal

of ruggedness required; form factor and display

components of computers become smaller and

size; and the warranty provided by the supplier.

more rugged and materials and nano science

These factors, together with considerations of

deliver more power and capability than we can

cost, are discussed in the article.

currently imagine.

The second piece reviews exactly what today’s modern armies are demanding and what is different under the hardened casing of today’s

Mary Dub

rugged computer.

Editor

Mary Dub has covered the defence field in the United States and the UK as a television broadcaster, journalist and conference manager. Focused by a Masters in War Studies from King’s College, London, she annotates and highlights the interplay of armies, governments and industry.

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SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION RUGGED COMPUTERS AND PERIPHERAL EQUIPMENT

Battles of the Bytes Advances in Rugged Field Technologies Julie Briggs, CEO, VT Miltope

RLC-3G DISCRETE GRAPHICS PROCESSING UNIT

H

AVING GROWN up in the defense industry, I’ve been exposed to the everchanging landscape where need is often miles ahead of technology. Working my way up from working in an Army motor pool to the Chief Executive Officer of a leading defense and commercial contractor, I’ve not only seen it all but I’ve lived it all. Wars are no longer fought only in the trenches or on the sands of foreign shores. Rather, the battlefields have and continue to evolve as technologies change. The days of hand-to-hand combat have transitioned to fingertips clicking a mouse. Today, wars will be won by those who not only have the strongest tanks and sophisticated weaponry, but by warfighters with the most powerful processors and rugged laptop computers. The ability to operate and maintain sophisticated weaponry any place, any time and in any environment is a critical combat multiplier obtained through a high level of readiness. Today’s war fighter not only needs bullets and

full fuel tanks but now they also need computing capability with all-day power supplies in a much more portable package that can be carried into combat at all times. Given the recent advances in mobile computing technologies, we see this need becoming a reality in near real-time.

Technological Trends and Developments in Rugged Computers and Peripheral Equipment Current handhelds, largely single-core ARM processor-based, offer good performance for many of the tasks required by today’s war fighter. Sunlight readable displays, combined with enclosures designed to withstand the toughest environments, provide an attractive solution for Situational Awareness (SA) and Command and Control (C2) applications. Future handhelds, however, will move to a multi-core parallel processing technology, similar to the transformation the PC industry went through, WWW.DEFENCEINDUSTRYREPORTS.COM | 3


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION RUGGED COMPUTERS AND PERIPHERAL EQUIPMENT

Today’s war fighter not only needs bullets and full fuel tanks but now they also need computing capability with all-day power supplies in a much more portable package that can be carried into combat at all times.

while maintaining the same portable form factor and power requirement. Processor performance of the future multi-core solutions will be approaching current low-end Intel x86 based laptops at a fraction of the electrical power. Advances in battery power densities will continue to push the battery life of handheld devices towards an all-day continuous operation scenario. Multi-touch touch screen capabilities will become increasingly important to support touch and gesture based operating systems. While pushing towards better portability, today’s war fighters also need larger displays, higher processing and graphic capabilities while providing larger storage and more peripheral connections in rugged laptop solutions. Rugged laptops with the latest commercial and military I/O connectors are typically capable of operating within the MIL-STD 461 and MIL-STD 810 requirements, making them usable in almost any scenario. Sunlight-readable displays, coupled with advanced graphics processing capabilities, provide an ideal solution for mission planning, mapping or any other 3D graphic-intensive tasks. Moreover, future rugged laptops will continue the trend of higher performance by increasing the number of processor and graphic cores, at the same time maintaining equal or lower overall power envelope. We believe that future rugged laptop systems will be smaller and lighter, being driven largely by advances in materials and the shrinking of microprocessor technology and components. From a software perspective, Windows and Linux will continue to play a role in future rugged laptops. While rugged laptops have firmly established themselves as a proven weapon in the battlefield, rugged tablet computers provide a good compromise of size and peripheral support and performance. Tablet computers typically have higher processor performance than handhelds and PDA’s, but less processor performance than laptops.

Meeting the Insurgent Threat Head-on While we at VT Miltope have been on the forefront and pushing the envelope of how war fighters engage advisories, the insurgent war has moved the conflict from the traditional battlefield to city streets. This has resulted in the need for a soldierborne computing capability that is not only small and lightweight, but one that also provides computing capability for application processing. This capability is also focused on the convergence of multiple technologies such as miniaturized computing, military GPS capability and at least one military radio capability 4 | WWW.DEFENCEINDUSTRYREPORTS.COM

embedded in one device. No small task. The smaller the package needs to be, the bigger the challenge. VT Miltope has built a solid reputation by solving the toughest challenges for war fighters operating in the harshest environments. A good example of this convergence of technology is our Rugged Tactical Handheld Device- 2 (RTHD-2). This handheld computer hosts a Windows Mobile or Android operating system for running military application software used for a variety of purposes, in addition to secure military GPS and military communications with the Tactical Link or TacLink modem. In one small, rugged package, three of the most sought after capabilities are provided to the war fighter, meeting their computing, navigational and communication needs.

RTHD-2 – AN ULTRA-RUGGED LIGHT-WEIGHT HANDHELD COMPUTER

Another tool in the arsenal is the Maintenance Support Device or MSD. This is a rugged laptop computer created for the U.S. Army Program Manager, Maintenance and Diagnostic Equipment (PM TMDE) as a replacement for the SPORT rugged computer. Our MSD system includes a “Field Ready” (FR) configuration, which includes a MSD computer, external combination power adapter/charger, NATO power cable and other accessories, all packaged in a transit case. It not only enables comprehensive maintenance and diagnostic capabilities, but this configuration is utilized as an on-system test tool in support of all United States Army weapon platforms in the air and on the ground. In fact, the MSD program is one of the key digitization components of the US Army tactical infrastructure. The MSD allows maintenance and operations manuals to be transported and utilized electronically versus the need to maintain reams of paper and volumes of manuals at forward sites, repair depots and maintenance facilities. This is accomplished through the use and storage of Electronic Tech Manuals (ETM) and Interactive


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION RUGGED COMPUTERS AND PERIPHERAL EQUIPMENT

MSD–ICE – DIGITAL TESTING VIA VEHICLE DATABASE INTERFACE

Electronic Tech Manuals (IETM) directly on the MSD tactical maintenance and diagnostic system, eliminating the need for paper manuals previously used by the soldier mechanic. The same way that night-vision goggles, HMMWV ballistic glass, body armor and unmanned aerial vehicles give soldiers an edge over their adversaries, the maintenance support device (MSD) provides the maintainer with the ability to ensure readiness of ground and airborne weapon systems. The MSD automates equipment diagnostics by electronically troubleshooting systems as varied as the Stryker, HMMWV, Abrams, Black Hawk, Javelin, Patriot and FMTV’s, to mention a few. Its use greatly reduces human error and also automates the parts ordering process.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Rugged Computers Over the years, VT Miltope has constantly worked to improve our products and services. We strive to be the best at what we do and by doing so, are always finding ways to be better. We have learned from these experiences and can say with certainty, that we consider our product line to be the best when it comes to rugged performance, reliability and applicability. So when our customers are considering choosing rugged computers and peripherals for harsh or hostile environments, there are three factors to consider: Factor 1: Degree of ruggedness. When discussing field-computing capability, there are at a minimum three levels of ruggedness; Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) or commercial rugged Semi-rugged Fully or ultra-rugged Users should choose a computing solution based on the worst case environment the equipment could be subjected to. Commercial rugged provides the absolute minimum in “ruggedization,” meaning that the

packaging methodologies used by the equipment designers provides incidental protections rather than active protections from environmental conditions…beyond what would be seen in a well protected indoor environment. Accordingly, semi-rugged computers are typically meant for mobile, semi-protected industrial environments such as a warehouse forklift or package delivery use. These devices are designed to afford some amount of protection against expected environmental challenges such as vibration, rain, short-term high and low temperatures extremes, as examples. Occasionally, designers of semi-rugged systems may select a limited subset of MIL-STD specifications to design against, but oftentimes they focus on the commercial IP specification. But when it comes to fully or ultra-rugged computers, and this is where VT Miltope really shines, the harshest environments are considered in designing systems from the “ground up.” MIL-STD environmental specifications, such as MIL-STD-810G and 461F are used to design equipment to ensure operation in the harshest environments as well as protect against ElectroMagnetic Interference (EMI). Factor 2: Form factor and display size. Display size is often directly related to the form factor, such as 3.5”– 5” displays on handheld devices, for example. Selecting the form factor is often a function of the data that will most often be displayed as well as the Input/output (I/O) methodology desired. People that will use the computer for complex mapping functions and route planning, typically require a larger display. This becomes more important as the CONOPS changes from “onthe-halt” to “on-the-move.” Factor 3: Warranty. Most COTS equipment is provided with a warranty of between 90 days to 1 year. Semi-rugged devices are often offered with a warranty of 1 to 3 years and fully or ultra rugged devices should be provided with 5-year

RCLC-1– FIELD USE FOR BLACK HAWK HELICOPTER

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SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION RUGGED COMPUTERS AND PERIPHERAL EQUIPMENT

According to

When diagnostic test equipment fails, aviation and ground vehicle asset failure may soon follow. However, even if the maintenance scenario changes to a depot in U.S., the procurement and logistics processes in Department of Defense are many times more complex than in the nonDepartment of Defense world, which drives TCO even higher for COTS/semi-rugged computing equipment that have higher failure rates than fully or ultra rugged equipment.

research published several years ago by Venture Development

Looking Forward

Corporation (VDC), roughly 50% of the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) for mobile computers comes from lost worker productivity.

RCLC-1– ULTRA-RUGGED HARD WEAR

warranties. If a product manufacturer doesn’t back their devices with these kinds of warranteis, it’s probably because they do not have a high enough level of confidence in the performance of their product. At VT Miltope, it’s my job to ensure our customers have products that are rugged enough to meet the job’s demands and that the computers are designed for the environments they are expected to operate in. That’s why our products are backed up and supported by the best warranty program in the industry. The field is no place for fragile; commercial equipment or semi-rugged equipment that has been designed to meet only part of the MILSTD’s is not long lived in a military environment. These systems add costs related to maintainer downtime and aviation / ground vehicle failures caused by delayed scheduled maintenance due to lack of test equipment availability. COTS computer equipment used in a fielded environment has a 1-year failure rate of about 25% whereas rugged computer equipment has a 1-year failure rate closer to 5%. In fact, on the Maintenance Support Device (MSD) program for PM-TMDE, the VT Miltope supplied ultra-rugged computer has a failure rate of 1.2% with a fielded population of approximately 50,000 systems. According to research published several years ago by Venture Development Corporation (VDC), roughly 50% of the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) for mobile computers comes from lost worker productivity. Although this study was focused more on the industrial / field employee, it only gets worse when you consider the added issues related to soldiers and marines operating in the harshest, most remote environments on the planet. When operating in these extreme environments, failures in ground vehicle and aviation maintenance equipment has an immediate impact on the ability to move “at will” on the battlefield, not to mention life and death safety concerns.

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Reducing the Size, Weight, Power and Cost (SWAP-C) of field computing solutions for the world’s militaries will forever be the focus of designers and requirement setters. As budget pressures cause militaries to consider the lower acquisition costs of COTS and / or semi-rugged computing solutions, the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) is an extremely important consideration that cannot be lost, forgotten or overlooked. The costs of many of the military advanced weapons systems, aviation and ground assets are in the tens of millions of dollars. Additionally, with smaller acquisition budgets comes the expectation that current weapons systems and aviation and ground assets will remain in the field much longer than expected, putting even greater emphasis on proper preventive and corrective maintenance actions. This reality forces a proper focus on the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) as a key component to utilization of computing assets in the field.

VT Miltope As a leader within the military, industrial and commercial aviation industries for nearly 40-years, we take special pride in what do. We know that there is a lot riding on our performance. From seamless operations in the field or on the line of battle, we know that there is more at stake than just our reputation. There are the lives of our servicemen and women, the lives of

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SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION RUGGED COMPUTERS AND PERIPHERAL EQUIPMENT

VT Miltope has the infrastructure to build and perform vibration testing and thermal environmental stress RCLC-1– FASTER, MORE POWERFUL RUGGED LAPTOP

our commercial aviation operators and their customers and passengers. Since our early beginnings through to today, our goal is to supply the highest standard of rugged and reliability-under-pressure products to the end user by manufacturing hardware that is truly tough and not just industrial-grade products repackaged with a rugged shell. The 240 employees at VT Miltope stand behind the work we do by not only providing the best product on the market but also providing the best standard warranty available. In fact, we are so confident in our products, we offer a five-year warranty. We are able to provide this warranty as a result of outstanding field history, selection and screening of components and modules, robust design parameters and 100% production field-testing. VT Miltope has the infrastructure to build and perform vibration testing and thermal environmental stress screening on every production piece of hardware. Units are run

screening on every production piece of hardware. through a battery of automated tests during this screening to verify functionality over the entire operational envelope. With 13 thermal chambers and five vibration tables, VT Miltope is capable of performing a variety of qualification testing including operational temperature, nonoperational temperature, vibration and humidity. As I take the reigns of VT Miltope, I am confident in our ability to provide superior quality products and peripheral equipment to our customers. Most important, I am proud to be leading the company as we continue to build the equipment that enables our customers to be the best in the world at what they do.

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SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION RUGGED COMPUTERS AND PERIPHERAL EQUIPMENT

What is Rugged and how is it Tested? Don McBarnet, Staff Writer

There was been the development of a range of emerging criteria to define what is meant by ruggedness for each segment of the market, led by the very specific and high standards demanded by military operations.

T

HE MARKET for ruggedized computer hardware and peripherals is segmented, customer- driven and fast moving. The durable computer has a critical place in the net centric and segmented defence/ military market. However, the ruggedisation of the many components of a computer is driven by a vigorous commercial sector with specific demands for ruggedized computers for other sectors including, medical work, retail, transport logistics and manufacturing. Where military research used to lead military technology, the competitive commercial sector now forges ahead with manufacturers offering increasingly ruggedized smartphones among other features.1

What Did Not Work and Why? Demand for rugged computers has been driven by the need to drive down the TCO, (total cost of ownership) of a laptop, tablet or smartphone. “Leading sources of hardware failure for notebooks were cracked displays, damaged hard drives, and peripheral/accessory failure. One noticeable change was cracked displays replacing damaged hard drives as the single highest source of failure. This perhaps is a result of the increased investment most notebook manufacturers are making in providing greater durability to hard drives”2 What is more: “Most TCO analysis places greatest emphasis on up-front system acquisition, deployment, and training costs – in other words, hard costs. However, VDC’s research reveals that the soft costs associated with mobile computing solutions – device failure and downtime, productivity loss and maintenance/support costs – represent the most significant contribution to overall TCO.” And the risk of failure increases with mobile computing: “The primary sources of failure of non-rugged handheld/PDA mobile computers centered much more on environmental issues with exposure to extreme temperature fluctuations, water/moisture/humidity, excessive vibration, and, in certain cases, EMI (electromagnetic interference) exposure all contributing.” As a result there was been the development of a range of emerging criteria to define what is meant

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by ruggedness for each segment of the market, led by the very specific and high standards demanded by military operations.

Defining Ruggedness The industry itself has been giving guidance on ruggedness with terms such as “business rugged,” “semi-rugged,” and “durable.” However, the military have specified detail with the criterion Military Standard 810G, which defines and then tests products at an independent test facility. There are specific products designed for the military market to meet Military Standard 810G and other criteria of ruggedness. But there is a small selection of products on the consumer market which meet this criterion as standard. The Toughbook U1, the small sealed tablet from Panasonic, tops the specifications of Military Standard 810F, the principal standard used to measure ruggedness. “The U1 exceeds the spec in two ways: if it is dropped on concrete, rather than plywood over concrete, and, it’s operating during test. These stresses, along with the fact that the height of the drop is four feet, rather than the generally accepted three feet, means that the U1 meets a higher standard.”3

Categories of Ruggedness for the Components of Computers Of course, the exterior of a computing device needs to be ruggedized, but equally critical are the components and their connectors within the casing. It is here that a great deal of the work on ruggedisation is being done. “Many of the innards of rugged systems are the same as those of other notebooks. Processors, core logic, memory, even motherboards and hard drives are no different. The exceptions begin where these components touch other subsystems. For example, motherboards can have special, flexible connectors that tend not to break when subject to physical or temperature shocks. Hard drives can be encased in varying degrees of shock mounting, mitigating the effects of drops. Software and accelerometers can park a hard drive head when a fall is detected.”4


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION RUGGED COMPUTERS AND PERIPHERAL EQUIPMENT

RCLC-1– ULTRA-RUGGED HARD WEAR

Low Pressure and Pressure Change Testing To pass the military standard, computers must withstand low pressure and pressure changes: ”The low pressure test is about seeing whether the system can operate at high altitudes, such as those encountered in mountain ranges, and also whether it can withstand rapid pressure changes, such as those encountered in aircraft during unstable pressure situations. Although the likelihood that a computer will be mounted externally on an aircraft is low, it is quite possible in certain military conditions that aircraft cabin pressure will be reduced explosively. The standard does not include pressures experienced with spacecraft and other vehicles that travel above 100,000 feet. The types of computer failures that may result from altitude include overheating, electrical arcing, and rupture of seals. The levels of test include storage, operation, and rapid as well as explosive decompression.”5

High, Low and Temperature Shock Tests There are “high temperature tests for the effects on functionality of relatively short-term exposure to high temperatures. Temperature categories include basic hot (up to 110° F) and hot (up to 120° F) in ambient conditions, and basic hot (up to 145° F) and hot (up to 160° F) in induced conditions (such is within vehicle bodies or in direct sunlight). The types of computer failures that may result from high temperature include battery failure, popped electrical connections, melting of some components, shortened operating lifetime, and general failure.”

Low temperatures put computers under different but equally taxing pressures. “Categories include basic cold (down to -24° F), cold (down to -45° F), and severe cold (down to –60° F) in ambient conditions. Cold tests can be combined with shock tests because one of the effects of extreme cold is to make materials more brittle and therefore subject to failure by shock. Other failures can include binding of moving parts and changes in electrical function.” Temperature shock resilience is also tested. “Temperature shock refers to the effects of rapidly changing temperature, which is defined as ‘greater than 18° F per minute’. These events can be either hot-to-cold or cold-to-hot transitions.” “Types of damage potentially include shattering of friable materials, popped connections due to differential contraction or expansion rates of dissimilar materials, cracking of connections, and various electrical failures.”

Solar Radiation and Sunshine The capability to withstand solar radiation (sunshine) is another facet of Military Standard 810G. “Although solar radiation generates heat effects, not all of them are similar to high temperature effects. For example, solar radiation generates directional heating and thermal gradients not found in simple thermal testing. Therefore, systems can experience differential expansion, particularly between dissimilar materials. Other effects include damage from ultraviolet rays. Failures can include popped solder joints, changes in electronic components and plastics, and blistering.”6

Rain and Water Water penetration from accidental spills on keyboards, to exposure to rain or splashing is a frequent potential cause of damage. It is seen as the highest cause of malfunction in smartphones. “They often encounter water and water-based fluids during the normal course of usage, including rain, spray, and dripping. Drinks spilled on keyboards fall within this category. Types of damage include electrical failure due to short circuiting and deformation of vulnerable components.”7 WWW.DEFENCEINDUSTRYREPORTS.COM | 9


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION RUGGED COMPUTERS AND PERIPHERAL EQUIPMENT

Technological Trends in Rugged Computers to Lower Costs Marushka Dubova, Defence Correspondent

A daylight screen, while not specifically a feature of ruggedness, adds to the utility of the computer used out of doors in bright daylight.

T

HE MOST insidious potential threat to the critical total operating cost of computers on counter insurgency operations like Afghanistan or the Middle East is the effect of heat, dust and sand. Engineering the internal components of the laptop, tablet or smart phone can mitigate these effects.

Ruggedisation for the Navy: Dealing with Humidity and Salt Fog Condensation inside a computer case caused by the diurnal cycle in tropical climates or seasonal changes in temperate zones can lead to electrical failure. Testing is conducted over 48 hours at 95% humidity. This is exacerbated where salt fog combined with humidity causes wear of the internal components of computers in coastal areas and on board ships. “Salt fog, combined with condensation effects, can deposit salt, which is highly corrosive, on electrical equipment. Electrical failures occur from the effects of corrosion, which include impairment of conduction, acceleration of conduction, destruction of insulation, and clogging or binding of moving parts”

Types of Shock Met in Military Operations and Air Manoeuvres Shock proofing is an obvious necessity in military computers. But the type of shock is defined carefully.”Relatively infrequent, nonrepetitive jolts” “of strong impact” is one criterion; others are “acceleration, deceleration, and manoeuvre”. For aircraft, rotorcraft and aerospace vehicles, stress is measured during simulated aircraft roll, pitch, and yaw. Vibration during transport and use is also of obvious importance as is the impact of gunfire vibration on components.

MIL STD 461 for EMI Electromagnetic interference emission and susceptibility standard for ruggedisation (the latest edition of DO-160) must be met for the military market. DO-160, Environmental Conditions and Test Procedures for Airborne Equipment is a standard for environmental testing of avionics hardware, and other IEEE criteria must be observed to meet the exacting conditions that win companies the contracts that deliver goods to the satisfaction of prime contractors supplying the Department of Defense in the United States.

Blown Sand, Dust and Particulate Matter

Common Hardware Systems Contract

Damage to computers from sand and dust is an important attribute of ruggedness, since dust exists in all environments, and infiltration by particulate matter is common. “Tests are for blowing dust, blowing sand, or settling dust. Sand and dust can cause damage by abrasion and erosion of surfaces, penetration of seals, degradation of electrical circuits, obstruction or clogging of openings and filters, jamming of mating parts, interference of moving parts, reduction of thermal conductivity, and overheating due to restricted ventilation.”8 Because dusty and sandy conditions are so common, testing for durability is normally done while the computer is on.

Some companies meet and exceed these high standards to the extent that the Common Hardware Systems, Mission Command sees the products as leading the field. VT Miltope, a company of VT Systems, Incs. (VT Systems), teamed with General Dynamics C4 Systems on the Common Hardware Systems-4 (CHS4) program. Using Miltope’s technology, General Dynamics C4 Systems won an Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract with a potential value of $3.7b if the Army Contracting Command, Aberdeen Proving Ground, exercises all options. “We initiated this contract to help us stay at the edge of modern technologies to meet Soldiers’

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SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION RUGGED COMPUTERS AND PERIPHERAL EQUIPMENT

needs for years to come,” said Dr. Ashok Jain, Product Director for CHS (Common Hardware Systems) Mission Command. “These high standards reflect the reality that Soldiers require superior equipment to help them meet their mission requirements and cannot afford delays in receiving and repairing critical hardware,” said Col. Jonas Vogelhut, the Army’s project manager for PM Mission Command.9

IP65 Ingress Protection There is a range of other specifications that computer manufacturers need to meet or exceed, notwithstanding the military standards, such as IP65. “IP65 is part of the International Electrotechnical Commission’s IP set of international rugged guidelines. The IP, or Ingress Protection, spec is less comprehensive than MIL-STD-810G but also less complicated. Each number represents the level of protection offered. The first numeral ranges from 0 to 6 and describes intrusion by solid objects, including anything from large body parts on the low end to small particles of dust at level 6. The second digit stands for exposure to water, with zero offering no protection and 8 signifying that the device can be completely submerged in liquid without suffering damage. At level 6, a machine can withstand being sprayed with jets of water for at least 2 minutes from all angles.”10

Qualities of Durability and Ruggedness not Defined in Military Specifications The external casings of the computer are not as rigidly specified as in MIL STD 810G, MIL STD 461 or IP65, but the level of competition is vigorous. Many of the best products use magnesium casings rather than plastic. Corning Gorilla Glass is used for screens for scratch resistance and toughness, for example on the Apple iPhone and other products. Other durability qualities are: roll bar, drive cage, shock mounting,

RCLC-1– FIELD USE FOR BLACK HAWK HELICOPTER

accelerometer, external bumpers, and daylight screen. Roll bar refers to general reinforcing of the chassis frame, which tends to make it more rigid and less likely to flex when pressure is exerted on the case. The drive cage protects the hard drive from bumps. “Often it is mounted in an independently suspended structure buffered by shock-absorbing mounts attached to the outer frame”. “The delicate hard drive head, which operates mere tens of nanometers from the platter, can be parked at a safe distance based on input from a sensor, often an accelerometer.”11 External bumpers from rubber or other soft material protect from mild bumps. Finally, a daylight screen, while not specifically a feature of ruggedness, adds to the utility of the computer used out of doors in bright daylight.

General Dynamics White Paper Case Study General Dynamics in its market leading Itronix products can now deliver display brightness of up to 1,000 NITs by adding additional back lights. This is useful for viewing the screen in brilliant sunshine and has been used in developments to control UAVs.

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SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION RUGGED COMPUTERS AND PERIPHERAL EQUIPMENT

Selling, Markets and Procurement Marushka Dubova, Defence Correspondent

The military procurement process links with manufacturers to independently test the qualities of a product before contracts are signed.

M

ANY PRIME contractors market their products with lists of specifications; however there is sometimes inexactness around the capability of the product. The military procurement process links with manufacturers to independently test the qualities of a product before contracts are signed. The US Army uses the Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, Army Test and Evaluation Command (ATEC) in A l ex a n dr i a , V irg in i a . O c c a s i o n a ll y, manufacturers blur capabilities: “Sometimes a third-party group is brought in to verify that a given system is ‘business rugged’, but most often laptop makers do their own testing. That’s why you’ll often see language such as “designed to meet” or “tested to meet” certain standards.”12 Laptop magazine independently tested various new ruggedized products in association with the manufacturers and was sometimes told how the drop test had to be conducted i.e. “while closed”. “For our drop testing, Panasonic insisted that we use plywood and perform the test two times, making sure the notebook was closed. These restrictions make us wonder how durable the notebook will be in the real world, where workers often put their laptops on tables that are more than 3 feet off the ground. To be fair, the similarly priced Dell Latitude E6420 ATG is only meant to survive a 30-inch fall, but can do it up to 20 times, not just twice.”13

Trends in Military Requirements for Tablets: Bigger Isn’t Better Manufacturers selling to the US Department of Defense are highlighting a requirement for “devices that have power, but also are lighter and more nimble for warfighters on the go”14 “Small, lightweight computing devices that can work for vehicular and dismounted applications” are needed. “DRS successfully introduced the tablet form factor to the military,” said Bill Guyan, vice president of program and strategy at DRS Tactical Systems, referring to his company’s Military

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Rugged Tablet. DRS has delivered thousands of MRTs to the Defense Department, including the Joint Platform Tablet MRT to support the Army’s Movement Tracking System. “We’ve seen a migration from mobility to mobility plus portability,” Guyan said. “No longer is it good enough to have connectivity on the move, but commanders also want to be able to take the computer out of the vehicle and use it with them as a moving command post in a dismounted way. That requires lighter, smaller form factors.”

More Computing Power for Pentagon-Based Department of Defense Commanders But, the market is segmented. Desk-based, but mobile military executives have different ruggedisation requirements: “Systems have varying levels of computer ruggedization depending on the mission, requirements and applications. For example, Panasonic offers business-rugged, semi-rugged and fully rugged computers to the military for a range of applications and settings, from offices to flight lines and battlefields. Panasonic’s businessrugged C1 Toughbook appeals to executives at the Pentagon, its semi-rugged Toughbook 52 is suited for mission planning, and its fully-rugged Toughbook 31 finds a home in combat vehicles”, said Fed de Gastyne, Panasonic’s federal business development manager. “Even the so-called ‘commercial’ notebooks are becoming more rugged,” said Ashok Jain, product director of common hardware systems (CHS) at the Army’s Program Executive Office for Command, Control and CommunicationsTactical. “Companies like Dell, Panasonic and General Dynamics Itronix are in the business of military ruggedized notebooks that have what we call ‘commercial-grade rugged,’ not necessarily sold at Best Buy or RadioShack but certainly for military applications.”15

Dealing with the Intricacies of the Procurement Process Where, in the United States, trusted consortiums deliver IDIQ contracts backed up with warranty,


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION RUGGED COMPUTERS AND PERIPHERAL EQUIPMENT

service and training contracts to high levels of satisfaction in Mission Command, the complexity of the procurement process for ruggedized and other computers for the British Ministry of Defence has led to poor delivery. “The Department urgently needs better supply chain information systems with the appropriate skills and processes to match. It currently keeps the armed forces supplied by either stockpiling more than necessary, sending too many routine items by air, or both. This ties-up precious resources that could be better used to support troops.” said Amyas Morse, Comptroller, National Audit Office.16 The DII (The Defence Information Infrastructure Programme) estimated to cost £4.9 billion (the prime contractor, the Atlas consortium, comprising EDS, Fujitsu, EADS, General Dynamics, Logica and CMG is running behind schedule and is experiencing delays. Nevertheless, Atlas consortium staff and personnel from 30 Signal Regiment are testing the land-deployed version of DII. Equipment including the ruggedised laptops for use on the frontline has been handed over to 30 Signal Regiment at their headquarters in Bramcote, Warwickshire, by the Land Deployed Implementation team of engineers and specialists. Recent exercises saw the regiment put the DII Land Deployed nodes through the full end-to-end deployment sequence of ‘Plan, Prepare, Deploy, sustain and recover’ that they would go through when deployed in a live theatre of operations.17

The New Ruggedized Notebook “The JAMES Unplugged Device (JUD), the ruggedised notebook-tablet hybrid providing functionality while away from a DII (F) terminal, has given rollout a major boost. Devices take a ‘cut’ of the main system with users carrying out regular updates between

themselves and the mainframe, often by a USB stick or more secure communications like Bowman.” These are the latest all-weather laptop computers to help keep tabs on key pieces of kit. Sgt Paul Mears of the JAMES’ implementation team said: “They were put to the test by four separate units, ….the biggest problem, as with any new system, was user knowledge and experience. This has been a simple issue to overcome thanks to the presence of the activation teams via further teaching and mentoring during the deployment process.” JAMES’ next test is next year. (2012) “Implementing the new system is very complex,” said Sgt Mears. “However, with more units coming online every day and the personnel mentored appreciating its many advantages, a little time and planning will see the challenges met head on and overcome.”18 DE&S JAMES Capability Manager Stewart Ward said: “It would enable personnel to manage any of nine million pieces of Armed Forces’ landbased equipment from wherever they were based in the world.” Laptops have already been delivered to personnel from the British 4 Mechanized Brigade in April. The devices are built to withstand rain showers and dust storms and can cope with shocks, vibrations and survive being dropped from a height of 1.2 metres. Peter Molyneux, from manufacturer Getac said: “It looks rugged and it is. It’s a notebook-tablet hybrid – troops can use the keyboard or if preferred the touch screen for data input. Our guys out there will be operating in difficult environments and the computer is an important tool, so it has to work.”19

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SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION RUGGED COMPUTERS AND PERIPHERAL EQUIPMENT

Next Generation Rugged Computers COIN and the Future… Meredith Llewellyn, Lead Contributor

The trend towards storing data in remote servers, ‘the cloud’, and accessing them while mobile and using the data for rapid decision taking is transforming the way that Special Forces and patrols are working.

T

HE IMPACT of mobile computing and budget austerity is changing the way the United States is fighting wars. In Afghanistan where the drawdown of United States forces from deployment in the region is being brought forward, technology is being used to replace ‘boots on the ground’. “The U.S. military has announced a series of cutbacks that are part of an effort to cut $487 billion in government spending over a decade. The military is stretching out the purchase of the F-35 fighter, cutting 92,000 troops and cancelling an expensive manned surveillance drone. The Pentagon will increase spending, meantime, on Special Forces, other surveillance planes and protections against attacks by computer hackers.” Spending on software and hardware against cyber-attack is up.20

The Mobile and Cloud Dynamic The trend towards storing data in remote servers, ‘the cloud’, and accessing them while mobile and using the data for rapid decision taking is transforming the way that Special Forces and patrols are working. “Cloud and mobile are two parts of the same dynamic involving the processing and deployment of intelligence. It is cheaper, more powerful and faster than its predecessor. That is why the same kind of thing is happening in war. Many of the military’s most notable successes of late involve something very much like the cloud-mobile dynamic: Local information is fed to a center, which in turn dispatches action to a small agent back in the field. Al Qaeda leaders are identified by mobile phone traffic, then killed by relatively cheap unmanned drones that are operated by a handful of people far away. The intelligence community gathers information on hostages in Somalia, and a small team of SEALS goes on a rescue mission.”21

Visions of the Near Term Future from PEO Brigadier General, N. Lee S. Price PEO C3T, in her latest annual report (2011) describes the revolutionary new technologies that are being 14 | WWW.DEFENCEINDUSTRYREPORTS.COM

introduced at PEO (Program Executive Office). “We are eager to deploy the second increment of Warfighter Information Network-Tactical (WIN-T), which will revolutionize battlefield communications with a self-forming, self-healing network that provides on-the-move connectivity all the way down to the company level.”…”We will fill that moving network with information via voice, data, images and video through a set of applications called Mission Command on the Move. Inside our integration facilities at APG, we successfully loaded an initial set of these capabilities onto WIN-T computers along with Force XXI Battle Command Brigade and Below/Blue Force Tracking (FBCB2/ BFT), which is the only major mission command application available on the move today. Allowing units to seamlessly access capabilities like Command Post of the Future (CPOF) and Tactical Ground Reporting (TIGR) as they move around the battlefield will be a huge leap forward for the Army.”

The Ubiquitous Rugged Smartphone: Trials Ruggedised smartphones will also be deployed: “JBC-P (Joint Battle Command-Platform) software will also be available on smartphones, empowering the dismounted soldier with the situational awareness information previously only available inside vehicles, aircraft and command posts.” The smartphones are being trialed to improve immediacy to soldiers’ capabilities: “High in the mountains, infantrymen used smartphone applications to plot their movements and request help for casualties. Driving across the desert below, field artillery soldiers eyed a computer screen to navigate toward their next target, exchanging text messages throughout the convoy’s journey. Inside a command tent, leaders issued orders that instantly traveled through digital systems to their far-flung subordinates.” “If they find a target out there and they need us to shoot artillery on it, that’s when they call us,” Staff Sgt. Jamel Cobbs, US Army said. “The battalion will send down the mission, make sure we’re able to arrange it and we have the ammo


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION RUGGED COMPUTERS AND PERIPHERAL EQUIPMENT

Driving across the desert below, field artillery soldiers eyed a computer screen to navigate toward their RTHD-2 – AN ULTRA-RUGGED LIGHT-WEIGHT HANDHELD COMPUTER

for it, and (the information) will go right back up the chain.”22

The Integration of Field Service Representative to Improve Training and Reliability In many IDIQ contracts for new hardware, field service representatives (FSRs) who provide overthe-shoulder backup to lower TCO and improve soldier understanding and product reliability are an integral part of the deal: “The DSEs (Division Support Element) and FSRs (Field Service Representatives) serve as handson representatives who walk with a unit from the first training session on a new system, through deployment into theater, and eventual return to home station. For each system that requires field support, each unit is assigned one FSR who is an expert in that particular system. The unit is also assigned one DSE, who acts as a team captain and whose expertise spans the full spectrum of the unit’s systems.” DSEs and FSRs troubleshoot, mentor and provide over-the-shoulder training in both training and operational environments.

The Future with 20:20 Vision There are other developments in the field that need watching: many soldiers now want to be able to hold a weapon while accessing data

next target, exchanging text messages throughout the convoy’s journey.

on situational awareness, which is leading to talk about wearable computers. The drive to reduce the mass of computers through reduced bulk and battery weight may facilitate this. With a similar concern for reducing mass, developments in nanotechnology are seen by RAND Corporation as potentially revolutionary.23 This would mean creating and using structures, devices and systems with novel properties. Micro electro mechanical (MEMS) devices have been developed and commercialized into numerous applications, for example, airbag deployment systems, sudden motion sensors for electronics that are dropped, and near-infrared spectrometers. Similarly the manipulation of nano scale coatings, lithography and etching may change semiconductor fabrication and impact on the future of ruggedized mobile computing. WWW.DEFENCEINDUSTRYREPORTS.COM | 15


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION RUGGED COMPUTERS AND PERIPHERAL EQUIPMENT

References: 1

http://www.nytimes.com/2003/03/10/business/technology-military-now-often-enlists-commercial-technology.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm

2

David Krebs Analyst VDC http://www.vdcresearch.com/market_research/mobile_wireless/the_team.aspx

3

http://ndpta.com/files/RedefiningRugged.pdf Redefining Rugged Assessing the Spectrum of Durability in the Notebook Market: By Roger L. Kay President, Endpoint Technologies Associates

4

http://ndpta.com/files/RedefiningRugged.pdf Redefining Rugged Assessing the Spectrum of Durability in the Notebook Market: By Roger L. Kay President, Endpoint Technologies Associates

5

http://ndpta.com/files/RedefiningRugged.pdf Redefining Rugged Assessing the Spectrum of Durability in the Notebook Market: By Roger L. Kay President, Endpoint Technologies Associates

6

http://ndpta.com/files/RedefiningRugged.pdf Redefining Rugged Assessing the Spectrum of Durability in the Notebook Market: By Roger L. Kay President, Endpoint Technologies Associates

7

http://ndpta.com/files/RedefiningRugged.pdf Redefining Rugged Assessing the Spectrum of Durability in the Notebook Market: By Roger L. Kay President, Endpoint Technologies Associates

8

http://ndpta.com/files/RedefiningRugged.pdf Redefining Rugged Assessing the Spectrum of Durability in the Notebook Market: By Roger L. Kay President, Endpoint Technologies Associates

9

PEO C3T 30.08.2011 Press Release

10

http://www.laptopmag.com/search.aspx?q=ruggedised%20laptops Rugged Notebooks Explained: How Tough is Tough Enough? September 6th, 2011 by Brian Oliver Bennett, LAPTOP Senior Writer

11

http://www.laptopmag.com/search.aspx?q=ruggedised%20laptops Rugged Notebooks Explained: How Tough is Tough Enough? September 6th, 2011 by Brian Oliver Bennett, LAPTOP Senior Writer

12

http://www.laptopmag.com/search.aspx?q=ruggedised%20laptops Rugged Notebooks Explained: How Tough is Tough Enough? September 6th, 2011 by Brian Oliver Bennett, LAPTOP Senior Writer

13

http://www.laptopmag.com/search.aspx?q=ruggedised%20laptops Rugged Notebooks Explained: How Tough is Tough Enough? September 6th, 2011 by Brian Oliver Bennett, LAPTOP Senior Writer

14

http://gcn.com/articles/2011/02/28/defense-it-1-smaller-rugged-computers.aspx ‘Bigger isn’t always better when it comes to rugged computers’: Military trends toward devices that have power, but also are lighter and more nimble for warfighters on the go, by Greg Slabodkin: Mar 10, 2011s

15

http://gcn.com/articles/2011/02/28/defense-it-1-smaller-rugged-computers.aspx ‘Bigger isn’t always better when it comes to rugged computers’: Military trends toward devices that have power, but also are lighter and more nimble for warfighters on the go, by Greg Slabodkin: Mar 10, 2011

16

Amyas Morse, head of the National Audit Office, 31 March 2011

17

Desider: http://www.mod.uk/NR/rdonlyres/4A348852-5410-408C-8D94E3AB77F6664A/0/20110927desider_41_Oct2011WebU.pdf

18

http://www.mod.uk/NR/rdonlyres/4A348852-5410-408C-8D94-E3AB77F6664A/0/20110927desider_41_Oct2011WebU.pdf

19

DESIDER http://www.mod.uk/NR/rdonlyres/12917749-CFD2-4E3B-A2E9-4C44C42D56CF/0/desider_39_Aug2011v1_1INTERNETU.pdf

20

http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/27/the-u-s-military-cuts-for-the-cloud/ The U.S. Military Cuts for the Cloud: by QUENTIN HARDY | January 27, 2012, 11:26 AM

21

http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/27/the-u-s-military-cuts-for-the-cloud/ The U.S. Military Cuts for the Cloud By QUENTIN HARDY | January 27, 2012, 11:26 AM

22

http://peoc3t.army.mil/c3t/docs/2011-PEOC3T-Annual-Report.pdf

23

RAND 2020 FUTURE OUTLOOK http://www.rand.org/pubs/technical_reports/2006/RAND_TR303.pdf The Global Technology Revolution 2020, In-Depth Analyses Bio/Nano/Materials/Information Trends, Drivers, Barriers, and Social Implications: Richard Silberglitt, Philip S. Antón, David R. Howell, Anny Wong with Natalie Gassman, Brian A. Jackson, Eric Landree, Shari Lawrence Pfleeger, Elaine M. Newton, and Felicia Wu

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SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION RUGGED COMPUTERS AND PERIPHERAL EQUIPMENT

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Special Report on Next Generation Rugged Computers and Peripheral Equipment  

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Special Report on Next Generation Rugged Computers and Peripheral Equipment  

Defence Industry – Special Report on Next Generation Rugged Computers and Peripheral Equipment