Rugged Computers for Military Applications

Getac X500All computers are not created equal - especially those destined for military use. Computers for military applications are carefully designed for rugged use, crafted based on extensive research and ruggedness testing, to ensure that they function correctly in the field and while exposed to harsh conditions. There are many differences between computers for military use and your everyday commercial computer, and even between industrial computers and military computers. Here we will go over some of those distinguishing factors, and look at how rugged computers are utilized in the military. 

What makes a computer a good fit for military applications?

Military computers are manufactured differently from traditional computers, and must meet certain requirements that do not apply to traditional computers. In order to have a more robust, reliable computer fit for military applications, military computers will often have the following adaptations:

— Electronic coatings. Many electronic components of the computer will be coated with a protective layer.
Increased structure. The internal components of military computers have more reinforcements and supports, to ensure key pieces don't fall apart or get knocked loose when in rugged conditions.
— More cooling fans. Since many military computers will be used in challenging physical environments, they must be manufactured with extreme temperatures in mind. Adding cooling fans ensures the computers will be functional in even the hottest of temperatures. 

How are rugged industrial computers different from rugged industrial computers?

 While there are many industrial and commercial applications for rugged computers, they often have different needs as compared to military rugged computers. Military computers often have to meet certain size constraints; a rugged computer that might work for a mobile lineman will not work for a sailor living and working in a submarine. Military computers are also often more expensive than industrially rugged computers. A large commercial organization can often order large numbers of a generic rugged computer, while military computers often have specific design needs unique to their intended environment, which increases the cost.

Military computers also have to meet certain security standards, as cyber threats are a significant concern for military devices. While industrial computers often have cybersecurity components as well, military computers must meet regulations specific to governmental requirements. Currently the FIPS 140 standards set the bar for cyber security, and U.S. military computers must meet these FIPS requirements.

How are rugged computers used in the military?

Given the size and variety of the military, the computing needs are equally varied. There are many different uses of computers, but they can be divided into a few main categories:

— Mobile (carried by hand)
Dashboard (built into a console or vehicle)
Desktop (not necessarily mobile, used in the field or in a field office)

In each of these device categories, military computers are expected to perform in the most extreme of environments. From well below freezing to well above 100 degrees, with anywhere from 5% to 100% humidity, military computers have to withstand it all. For computers used on submarines or airplanes, they must be able to withstand crushing air pressures and, for airplanes, be crash-rated. The tight space limits on these vehicles also introduces challenging size constraints for computer manufacturers.

Military computers also must be able to withstand extreme shocks and explosions. The MIL-S-901D rating, for example, denotes that the computer can survive shock and vibration levels required by the Navy. Another specification is the MIL-STD-810 rating, which ensures the computer can handle certain storage and environmental testing, such as temperature, humidity, dirt, and more. 

It's no surprise that military conditions demand the highest quality rugged computers, and luckily manufacturers meet that demand with extremely rugged and reliable devices. Getac's featured rugged computers for military application include"