Electronic Weapons: The Flat Screen Revolution


July 15, 2011:  Flat panel video displays have revolutionized how battles are fought. These more compact displays were easier to fit into military vehicles and workspaces, gave off less heat, drew less power and are more rugged than the more expensive CRT displays they replaced. More powerful computers and software meant that there was more information to be displayed and more frequently. The flat screens made it possible to get the data to the troops wherever they were.

In many cases, the military bought the same displays available to commercial customers. But more often, the displays were being used in vehicles or rooms containing other electronic equipment and this required some special characteristics. For example, putting lots of flat screens in close proximity to many typical military electronics systems creates problems. This was found to cause EMI (Electromagnetic Interference), thus the need for some displays to meet military specifications (Milspec) for shielding. In other cases, especially aboard ships and combat vehicles, there were Milspec standards for increased ruggedness (resistance to vibration and such). All of this makes displays five (or more) times expensive than their commercial equivalents. But it was still a huge advance over CRT displays, both in terms of cost and reliability.






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