A Tough companion for every mission: the TOUGHBOOK 40 Military
Defense forces must be able to rely on each other at all times – and on their mobile IT. The TOUGHBOOK 40 Military from Panasonic and roda computer was specially developed for the military. Since each mission has different requirements, the solution can be individually adapted and integrated into different vehicles.
Author: Patrick Muff, Manager Public DACH/CEE/Türkei, Panasonic TOUGHBOOK EU
When defense forces are on the road in their vehicles, they often move in harsh environments, through debris, dust or near salt water. They are often exposed to extreme weather conditions such as heat or cold. In doing so, they must be able to rely on each other at all times and act quickly, efficiently and safely. On the one hand, this requires good cooperation and strong communication within the unit. Another aspect is the right equipment in the vehicles: occupants benefit from a mobile ruggedized computer that can withstand the tough demands of military vehicles. Troops always have access to up-to-date information and can communicate reliably with each other.
The standard is not enough
Reliable and fail-safe mobile IT is the key to successful operations. The requirements for military-specific IT solutions are as diverse as the troops, missions and locations themselves. For IT integrated into sprocket vehicles, for example, resistance to humidity, condensation, salt spray and vibrations is crucial. In addition, there are special security criteria for IT in the military sector as well as country-specific standards and requirements for vehicle integration, for example with regard to grounding, lightning protection or onboard power supply.
Commercially available notebooks reach their limits here, they lack IP protection against water and dust, safety precautions and special interfaces, for example for safety-relevant communication, for use in vehicles: As a rule, these notebooks can only withstand operating temperatures of 0 to 40 degrees Celsius – not sufficient according to NATO standards. If, for example, a standard notebook is placed next to a digital compass, its radiation can decisively change the route by a few degrees and effect the place of arrival. Also, the standard interfaces of commercially available notebooks are neither sufficient for military use nor suitable for vibrations or operation with gloves. In addition, there is often a lack of suitable lifecycle management that ensures the timely stocking or replacement of components that will no longer be available in the future.
With digitalization, the demand for mobile IT in the defense context has also increased. The same applies to the requirements for these as well as for the hardware developers: Users and decision-makers want more power, more robust and compact as well as more intelligent devices with additional special interfaces and secure connections for a wide range of application scenarios. In this context, easily modifiable devices with standardized interfaces are more cost-effective and ideally positioned for possible applications in the future.
Knowing what's important
With the TOUGHBOOK 40 Military, Panasonic Connect GmbH and roda Computer GmbH provide defense forces with a tough companion that meets the necessary requirements. In the course of the partnership, the solution was developed specifically for use in military vehicles and for the individual requirements and safety regulations of the military sector.
The solution is based on the proven Toughbook 40, which has been designed from the ground up for use in the defence sector. It is used wherever specific environmental requirements such as moisture, vibration, shock, dust or sand require the use of particularly robust equipment. It is dust and water-resistant to IP66 and tested to military standards (MIL-STD810H). It withstands drops from a height of up to 180 cm and is resistant to shocks, vibrations and operating temperatures between -29 and +63°C. The battery life is up to 18 hours, with a second battery including hot-swap function even up to 36 hours. With military-grade security and communication features (MIL-STD-461), the Toughbook 40 is the ideal support for mission-critical operations. It is designed for the use of NATO-approved self-encrypting, secure VIASAT drives, MIL ports and docking stations. If necessary, all radio and display functions can be switched off immediately with the camouflage mode.
These features and certifications make it possible to firmly integrate the Toughbook 40 into vehicles and use it in the field and outdoors. Despite being anchored in the vehicle, it remains interchangeable with new hardware, as Panasonic wants to maintain the mechanical dimensions and the design of the interfaces over the next few years and successor models.
The tried and tested becomes even more flexible
With the TOUGHBOOK 40 Military solution, roda computer expands the versatile 14'' fully ruggedized notebook with Windows 11 Pro with additional module-based interfaces thanks to its flexible configuration options. With four expansion slots and military-grade interfaces, the solution offers maximum flexibility. This provides users with an interface to Ethernet via MIL-LAN in order to communicate with other systems. MIL-DVI can be used to connect external monitors as well as peripheral devices such as SMARTCARD readers with appropriate security clearance via two USB 2.0 interfaces. Depending on the customer's requirements, additional interfaces can be implemented, for example Can Bus, MIL-DP, MIL-VGA or USB 3.0. In addition, roda computer can check whether a fiber solution can be integrated.
All interfaces are permanently integrated into the Toughbook, so that they remain available even in confusing situations and in the event of vibrations in the vehicle. Thanks to their standardization, they can be easily replaced. This is also important in the context of command and control information systems or battle management systems, which require uniform interfaces within the EU and NATO due to their international application.
The interfaces are executed on military connectors, which enable an optimized EMC connection and can be merged into a single connector if required. In contrast to merchandise, the bayonet or screw plugs can be plugged in quickly and easily even with gloves, do not allow any false plug-in connections and remain stable even in the event of vibration. They are IP-protected and therefore robust against drops, dust, moisture and vibration. By optimizing the number of mating cycles, they also ensure fewer failures.
Strong partnership on an equal footing
With military-specific solutions such as the TOUGHBOOK 40 Military, the cooperation between roda Computer and Panasonic offers new, flexible and future-oriented uses of mobile IT to organisations in the fields of security and defence throughout Europe. The partners are connected by long-standing cooperation and a trusting cooperation that has developed in various major projects. Since June 2022, it has been expanded with a focus on the customer-specific use of Toughbook devices in military vehicles, which has also resulted in the TOUGHBOOK Military 40 solution. On the basis of many years of experience and proven products, Panasonic and roda computer respond specifically to specific customer requirements, select the right product and modify it individually. In contrast to other companies, they intensively exchange customer feedback or test reports up to the development level in order to jointly improve or adapt products.
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