14 September 1998 Acquisition of flat panel displays for military applications
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Abstract
Congress requested the Department of Defense (DoD) to study the acquisition of flat panel displays (FPDs) for military applications with specific attention to tradeoffs made in acquiring 'consumer-grade displays' rather than 'FPD systems that are custom designed to meet military requirements.' The study addresses: life cycle cost and performance tradeoffs, environmental and performance requirements and test data on performance of both custom and consumer-grade FPDs, life cycle cost and support issues such as commonality, supportability, and availability, potential benefits of FPD system interface standards and open systems approaches. The study found that appropriately ruggedized consumer-grade FPDs can meet the environmental and performance requirements for a broad range of military applications, including shipboard, command and control, army ground vehicles, military transport aviation, and soldier-portable computer systems. Currently, ruggedized consumer-grade FPDs cannot meet the specifications for some highly stressful applications, particularly tactical cockpit avionics. Due to lack of comparable and available data, programs have reached different judgments about the environmental tolerance and optical performance of ruggedized consumer-grade FPDs. There appear to be few systematic assessments of display performance impact on mission effectiveness. FPD availability concerns pivot on (1) the potentially rapid obsolescence of commercial FPDs and (2) the economic viability of domestic custom FPD suppliers. Display integrators using commercial FPDs are working to establish long-term supply arrangements with foreign producers of displays, but it is unclear how responsive these relationships will be in the future. Some DoD display integrators using custom FPDs believe that until the FPD market matures and stabilizes, it would be imprudent for DoD to become dependent on foreign, commercial FPD producers. However, many of these integrators are also concerned about the financial health of domestically based custom FPD producers.
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Richard H. Van Atta, Larry Goodell, Brian S. Cohen, Michael J. Lippitz, Michael B. Marks, James Norman Bardsley, Charles H. Kimzey, "Acquisition of flat panel displays for military applications", Proc. SPIE 3363, Cockpit Displays V: Displays for Defense Applications, (14 September 1998); doi: 10.1117/12.321764; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.321764
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