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Enhancing Mission Success: The Crucial Role of Military Rugged Displays


In the ever-evolving landscape of military operations, technology plays a vital role in ensuring mission success. From critical communication systems to advanced weaponry, every component contributes to the effectiveness and safety of our armed forces. Among these essential components, military rugged displays stand out as a crucial asset. These specialized displays are designed to withstand the harshest environments and provide reliable visual information to military personnel in the field. In this article, we will explore the significance of military rugged displays and how they enhance mission success.

Rugged Displays

In industries such as manufacturing, military, and others, rugged displays are being used to monitor operations and display critical information. These rugged displays are known for their durability and toughness, designed to withstand the challenging environments commonly encountered in industrial, commercial, or military settings. They are resistant to breakage, impact, dust, water, and scratches. Advanced features like improved glass durability, enhanced impact resistance, advanced lamination, sunlight readability, and reduced reflection further enhance their functionality. Additionally, these displays offer high brightness and contrast, ensuring optimal visibility in different lighting conditions.

Rugged military displays face even more demanding requirements as they operate in incredibly harsh environmental conditions. They need to possess high resistance to dust penetration and be scratch-resistant due to the nature of their deployment. Military personnel are often part of the gaming generation, accustomed to processing large amounts of information quickly and efficiently. The displays used in military applications must meet these expectations by providing rapid information processing capabilities.

To illustrate the challenges faced by military displays, imagine being in the Syrian desert, exposed to direct sunlight, blowing sand, extreme temperature fluctuations, and potential live fire situations. In such environments, the displays need to continue operating flawlessly despite the adversities. Traditional commercial displays would not be able to withstand these conditions, but rugged military displays are specifically designed to endure and deliver reliable performance.

Manufacturers of rugged military displays focus on incorporating robust materials, protective coatings, and advanced engineering to ensure their products can withstand the most extreme conditions. They undergo rigorous testing to meet stringent military standards and certifications, guaranteeing their reliability and longevity in the field.

The 21st-century military relies heavily on displays in various forms and sizes. From the compact one-inch-square displays integrated into soldiers’ helmets to the four-inch displays on crowded control panels and the larger 20-inch panels found in tactical operations centers, displays have become an integral part of military operations.

The Ultimate Guide to Display Technology: From Evolution to Immersive Experiences

Military Requirements

Military requirements for displays are stringent, demanding that they are not only physically tough but also meet specific standards and perform exceptionally in a variety of conditions. Rugged displays are designed to withstand harsh environments and pass tests like wrench-drop and boot-kick tests. They must also comply with military standards for electromagnetic radiation emissions, power supply protection, thermal management, weight reduction, and power efficiency.

To meet these requirements, system integrators often opt for commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) displays and modify them to meet military specifications. These ruggedized displays are designed to have a long life cycle of five to 15 years while delivering reliable performance. They are used in a wide range of applications, from displays carried by individual soldiers to command-and-control rooms with large size and high resolution.

One of the significant challenges in display design for the military is creating displays compatible with night-vision goggles (NVGs). The displays must have excellent dimming capabilities to ensure they are not overly bright and pose a risk of blinding soldiers using NVGs. Military LCD displays must offer a contrast ratio of at least 1,000:1 to handle varying lighting conditions, ranging from full sunlight to nighttime operations. Techniques such as blackout switches and color filters are employed to make displays safe for use with NVGs.

Another crucial factor is size, as military displays need to provide large viewing areas while conserving space. Combining displays with computers allows for smarter displays and enables the integration of different display types. This approach facilitates the simultaneous presentation of video feeds from external sensors and sophisticated graphics, enhancing situational awareness.

Electromagnetic interference (EMI) shielding is a critical consideration for military displays, especially when handling classified data. Using fewer displays and consolidating them in a single enclosure reduces the need for extensive shielding measures. Size, weight, and power (SWaP) optimization is another key aspect in military displays, as customers often require smaller yet more powerful displays that offer enhanced capabilities in a compact package.

The demand for intelligent displays goes beyond simply presenting data; users want multiple communication options, such as programmable keys, touch screens, pointing devices, voice command, and speech recognition. However, designing touch-screen displays for battlefield use presents challenges due to the harsh and dirty environments. Display designers must ensure screens are resistant to accidental triggers caused by dirt, insects, physical impact, water hose washdowns, and electrical noise.

Military displays also need to handle input from various sources, including weapon sensors, wireless feeds, and wearable computers. The ability to present multiple applications simultaneously and provide real-time data is crucial for enhancing situational awareness and facilitating quick decision-making.

Looking to the future, rollable, foldable, and wearable displays are expected to make their way into the military market. These advancements will support the development of rugged displays that can eventually accommodate virtual and augmented reality applications. Additionally, as artificial intelligence continues to advance, higher pixel densities will enable displays to extract more data from video streams, maximizing the amount of information that can be presented to the users.

In conclusion, military displays must meet rigorous requirements for durability, performance, size, power efficiency, and compatibility with various military applications. By addressing these challenges, display manufacturers and designers are constantly pushing the boundaries to deliver displays that enhance mission success and provide military personnel with vital information in demanding operational environments.

Unparalleled Durability:

Military rugged displays have undergone rigorous development to ensure unparalleled durability. These displays are built to withstand extreme temperatures, resist shock and vibration, and endure exposure to dust, water, and other elements. With their rugged construction and specialized protective features, such as strengthened glass and sealed enclosures, these displays can withstand the demanding environments encountered in military operations. This durability ensures uninterrupted functionality and enables military personnel to access critical information even in the most adverse conditions.

Optimal Performance in High-Stress Situations:

In high-stress military situations, where split-second decisions can be a matter of life and death, the performance of display technology is crucial. Military rugged displays are designed to deliver exceptional performance under pressure. They offer fast response times, high contrast ratios, and excellent image quality, enabling rapid and accurate decision-making in the field. The clarity and reliability of visual information provided by rugged displays empower military personnel to assess real-time intelligence, coordinate tactical movements, and monitor surveillance feeds effectively.

Enhanced Situational Awareness:

Situational awareness is of utmost importance in military operations, as it allows personnel to make informed decisions and respond effectively to dynamic situations. Military rugged displays contribute significantly to situational awareness by presenting critical data and real-time visuals in a clear and easily comprehensible manner. With advanced features like high brightness and wide viewing angles, rugged displays ensure optimal visibility even under challenging lighting conditions. Whether it’s tracking targets, monitoring live video feeds, or accessing geographical information, rugged displays provide the situational awareness necessary for mission success.

Improved Collaboration and Communication:

Effective collaboration and communication are key to successful military operations. Rugged displays facilitate seamless communication and information sharing among military personnel. They can be integrated with various systems, including command and control centers, vehicle-mounted platforms, and handheld devices, allowing for synchronized data and real-time updates. By enabling efficient information exchange, rugged displays enhance coordination, decision-making, and the overall effectiveness of military teams.

Adaptability and Customization:

Military rugged displays are designed with versatility in mind. They can be customized to meet specific mission requirements, ensuring that the display system aligns with the unique needs of a particular operation. Additionally, rugged displays can integrate with a wide range of software and hardware, providing compatibility with existing military systems and allowing for future expansions or upgrades. This adaptability ensures that military personnel have access to the latest technologies and can adapt to evolving mission requirements.

Evolution of Display Technologies:

The evolution of display technologies has played a significant role in advancing military operations. Over the years, display technologies have undergone significant improvements in terms of durability, performance, and functionality. Early military displays were bulky and fragile, making them susceptible to damage and failure in challenging conditions. However, with advancements in technology, military rugged displays have emerged as the pinnacle of display technology, addressing the unique requirements of military operations.

The display technology landscape has witnessed remarkable advancements, with LCD, TFT, OLED, and emerging technologies like MicroLED playing a pivotal role in shaping the visual experience across various industries.

LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) technology has been a dominant force for many years. LCD displays consist of a backlight that illuminates an array of liquid crystals to form images. They offer several advantages, including energy efficiency, wide availability, and good outdoor visibility. However, LCD displays have limitations such as limited viewing angles and slower response times, which may impact their performance in high-speed applications.

TFT (Thin-Film Transistor) is a type of LCD technology that utilizes thin-film transistors to improve image quality and response times. TFT displays offer enhanced color accuracy, higher contrast ratios, and better image sharpness compared to traditional LCD displays. They also provide faster response times, reducing motion blur and improving performance in dynamic scenarios. Additionally, TFT displays offer wider viewing angles, allowing for better visibility from different positions. Despite these advantages, TFT displays still have restricted viewing angles compared to other display technologies.

OLED (Organic Light-Emitting Diode) displays have gained significant popularity in recent years. Unlike LCD displays, OLED displays do not rely on a backlight. Each pixel in an OLED display emits its own light, resulting in superior contrast, deep blacks, and vibrant colors. OLED technology offers faster response times, minimizing motion blur and enhancing display performance in fast-paced scenarios. Furthermore, OLED displays can be manufactured on flexible substrates, enabling curved and flexible display designs. They are also thinner and lighter compared to other display technologies. However, OLED displays are susceptible to burn-in and have a limited lifespan compared to LCD displays.

Emerging technologies like MicroLED hold great promise for the future of display technology. MicroLED displays utilize an array of microscopic LEDs to create images. They offer high pixel density, excellent color reproduction, and exceptional contrast ratios, resulting in breathtaking image quality. MicroLED displays are energy-efficient and can achieve high brightness levels while consuming less power compared to other display technologies. Moreover, they are highly scalable, making them suitable for various display sizes without compromising image quality. However, the widespread adoption of MicroLED technology still faces challenges related to manufacturing costs and scalability.

Display technology trends continue to evolve, offering a range of options for military rugged displays and other applications. LCD, TFT, OLED, and emerging technologies like MicroLED each have their advantages and limitations.

HDR (High Dynamic Range) is a revolutionary standard for Ultra HD televisions that aims to enhance the viewing experience by preserving the original image quality. It allows for a wider range of brightness and color accuracy, resulting in more vibrant and realistic visuals. HDR content can be accessed through compatible source components like Ultra HD 4K Blu-ray players or streaming services that offer HDR content. With HDR, viewers can enjoy stunning and lifelike images right in their living rooms, immersing themselves in a more dynamic and captivating visual experience.

8K TV represents the pinnacle of resolution in the realm of UHD (ultra-high-definition) TVs. With a screen boasting an impressive 7,680 horizontal and 4,320 vertical pixels, 8K TVs offer an astounding 33 million pixels in total. This exceptional pixel density results in a sharper, more detailed picture quality that surpasses what is currently available with lower resolution TVs. The increased pixel count allows for greater clarity, depth, and realism, making it particularly suitable for larger screens where individual pixels may be more noticeable. 8K TVs offer an unparalleled level of visual fidelity, immersing viewers in an incredibly detailed and lifelike viewing experience.

Dual-Cell LCD technology, also known as ULED XD, is an innovative display technology that involves the bonding of two LCD panels. This technology aims to provide a cost-effective alternative to OLED displays while offering a significantly higher contrast ratio and competitive black levels. The process involves splitting the image into color and grayscale information, with the rear panel handling luminance and the front panel handling color. By independently controlling luminance and color, Dual-Cell LCD displays achieve improved contrast, delivering deep blacks and bright whites simultaneously. This technology provides enhanced visual depth and clarity, making it an attractive option for those seeking high-performance displays without the higher cost associated with OLED technology.

HDR, 8K, and Dual-Cell LCD technologies represent significant advancements in the display industry, each offering unique benefits and pushing the boundaries of visual quality. HDR enhances the viewing experience by expanding the range of brightness and color accuracy. 8K TVs provide unprecedented resolution, delivering incredibly sharp and detailed images. Dual-Cell LCD technology offers a cost-effective alternative to OLED displays with enhanced contrast and black levels. As these technologies continue to evolve, they promise to transform our viewing experiences, offering more immersive and visually captivating content.

The choice of display technology depends on factors such as environmental conditions, performance requirements, and budget constraints. By understanding the characteristics and trade-offs of different display technologies, military organizations can make informed decisions to ensure optimal visual performance in their operations

Standards and Regulations

Standards and regulations play a crucial role in the development and deployment of military displays. While military technology evolves at a slower pace compared to the commercial world, it is designed to withstand rigorous conditions and have a longer lifespan. Military equipment must adhere to specific standards and regulations, undergo extensive training and testing, and accommodate cost restrictions and deployment timelines that are not typically encountered in the commercial sector.

Rugged displays, designed for military applications, undergo modifications to meet the unique requirements of different user groups. These requirements vary depending on the operational environment and specifications of the military platform. For example, aircraft displays must consider electromagnetic interference (EMI) shielding due to the sensitivity of onboard electronics, while naval displays need to withstand salt spray, submersion, and acoustic noise. Helicopter displays must be designed to endure shock and vibration.

Understanding the environmental and rugged design needs of different user groups is paramount. Military standards, such as MIL-STD-810G, come into play to ensure that rugged displays can withstand the conditions they will encounter during their service life. MIL-STD-810G establishes a comprehensive test plan that subjects military gear, including rugged displays, to various conditions like shock, sand and dust exposure, gunfire vibration, and more.

In addition to MIL-STD-810G, there are other military standards that rugged displays often need to meet. MIL-STD-461 focuses on EMI requirements, ensuring that the displays do not interfere with other critical electronic systems. MIL-S-901D simulates explosions in water near ships and submarines to assess the displays’ resilience. These standards are not limiting factors in the design of rugged displays; rather, they are essential for ensuring the displays’ durability and performance throughout their lifespan.

Compliance with these standards and regulations is crucial for military displays, as they ensure the displays can operate reliably in challenging environments and withstand the demands of military operations. By meeting these stringent requirements, rugged displays can provide military personnel with the necessary information and situational awareness in critical situations, contributing to mission success and the safety of military personnel.

Global Military Rugged Market

The global rugged display market size was valued at USD 3.57 billion in 2022 and is
projected to grow from USD 3.75 billion in 2023 to USD 6.36 billion by 2030, exhibiting a
CAGR of 7.83% during the forecast period.

Human Machine Interface and IoT-based Technologies to Drive Market Growth

Increasing demand for Human Machine Interface (HMI) devices is the main driver of
market growth. Rugged displays, which are a key component of HMIs, offer high performance, versatility, visibility in direct sunlight, wide viewing angles, and robustness for harsh environments. They provide passive cooling and support multiple input devices, enhancing user experience. HMIs are primarily screen or touch screen interfaces that connect users to machines, systems, or devices. They enable operators to control and automate processes in various industries such as manufacturing, healthcare, industrial automation, and defense.

Furthermore, advancements in screen resistivity, particularly in electronic paper displays, offer enhanced durability and reliability. This, coupled with the integration of IoT-based technologies, allows for seamless connectivity and data exchange between HMI devices and other systems. These factors collectively contribute to the expansion of the HMI market, catering to the evolving needs of various industries and driving overall market growth.

Restraining factors

One of the restraining factors for the market growth of ruggedized displays is the rising costs of raw materials. There is a significant price difference between consumer-grade tablets or touchscreen displays and their ruggedized counterparts. Consumer tablets are generally more affordable, with prices ranging from USD 200 to USD 300 and above, depending on the brand. In contrast, ruggedized devices, such as small form factor tablets or LCD monitors with touchscreens, typically cost over USD 500. The higher price point of ruggedized display devices acts as a hindrance to market growth.

The market segmentation for rugged displays

The market for rugged displays can be segmented based on size, level of ruggedness, and verticals. In terms of size analysis, the market is divided into three segments: less than 10 inches, 10-15 inches, and more than 15 inches. The 10-15 inches segment is experiencing significant growth due to the increased demand for rugged displays in vehicle-mounted applications. This size range caters to various devices, including tablets, laptops, mission-critical displays, avionic displays, and vehicle-mounted displays. The smaller size segment includes smartphones and handheld computers.

Another aspect of segmentation is the level of ruggedness. Rugged displays are categorized as semi-rugged, fully rugged, and ultra-rugged. The market for ultra-rugged displays is growing rapidly due to their superior performance and flexibility, particularly in applications involving original equipment manufacturer (OEM) devices. Semi-rugged displays undergo some stress testing or certification to meet military and industry standards, while fully rugged displays comply with rigorous MIL-STD-810H standards, making them capable of withstanding a wide range of stresses and temperatures.

From a vertical analysis perspective, the consumer electronics segment is expected to gain significant attention and exhibit impressive growth during the forecast period. Robust displays play a crucial role in enabling paperless assembly plants by facilitating quick and continuous communication, part movement planning, and quality tracking. These displays are also widely used in supporting warehouses and entire moving consumer electronics plants. The increasing consumer demand for smartphones with rugged screens is driving market growth in this segment. Several rugged smartphone models have been launched with enhanced durability and features, catering to the needs of consumers who require a sturdy device. Additionally, the introduction of rugged smartwatches further contributes to the growth of the consumer electronics segment.

The market for rugged displays also benefits from the adoption of rugged devices in the manufacturing and transportation industry. As these industries strive for increased efficiency and productivity, rugged displays offer reliable performance in harsh environments. Their robustness and durability make them suitable for use in manufacturing plants, warehouses, and transportation vehicles. The demand for rugged displays in these industries is expected to contribute positively to the overall display market growth.

The smart phone & handheld computers segment is set to lead the rugged display market. This segment holds the largest share in the market, as many industries and applications require robust and compact display devices for administration, security, transportation, and other purposes. Smart phones and handheld computers are considered efficient options for these applications, offering versatility and durability compared to custom display devices. Within this segment, rugged devices based on the Windows operating system are expected to dominate the market during the forecast period. Windows CE, Windows Enclosed Handheld, and Windows 10 are commonly used operating systems in rugged display devices.

In conclusion, the market for rugged displays is segmented based on size, level of ruggedness, and verticals. The demand for 10-15 inch displays, particularly in vehicle-mounted applications, is driving market growth. Ultra-rugged displays are gaining prominence due to their superior performance, while the consumer electronics segment, driven by smartphones and other rugged devices, is expected to witness significant growth. Additionally, the adoption of rugged displays in the manufacturing and transportation industry further contributes to the positive market outlook for rugged displays.

Geographical insights

The rugged display market is divided into four regions: North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and the rest of the world. North America currently holds the largest market share, driven by the emphasis on innovation among manufacturers in the region. Government, security, aviation, automotive, and transportation companies are prominent buyers of rugged display devices in North America.

Asia Pacific is expected to experience the fastest growth in the forecast period. Factors contributing to this growth include the establishment of display board manufacturing plants and the increasing adoption of OLED screen technology. Various industries such as consumer electronics, retail, BFSI, medical, transportation, sports, and media are anticipated to contribute significantly to the demand for rugged displays in the Asia Pacific region. The COVID-19 pandemic has also fueled the interest in mobile phones and PCs, particularly due to remote work arrangements and the adoption of advanced teaching methods in educational institutions.

The European market is projected to grow steadily due to increasing demand. Industrial manufacturers in Europe are focused on leveraging advanced technology to enhance production processes and optimize performance. The rapid industrialization in the region, coupled with the increasing automation, Internet of Things (IoT), and digitalization in sectors like healthcare, manufacturing, and defense, drives the need for rugged displays that can withstand harsh environments.

The Middle East & Africa and South America regions have a moderate market share. The growing acceptance of rugged devices by industries and armed forces, especially in countries like the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Israel, supports the market’s development in these regions. Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to increased demand for mobile phones and PCs due to remote work requirements. The automotive, transportation, and manufacturing industries in these regions have also witnessed significant growth, further contributing to the expansion of the rugged display market.


The global market for rugged displays is highly competitive, with several major players dominating the market. These companies are focused on developing innovative solutions to strengthen their product portfolios. The market has witnessed intense competition due to rapid advancements in display technology and a strong emphasis on research and development.

Some of the key companies include Corning Incorporated, AGC Inc., Schott AG, Innolux Corporation, LG Display, Nippon Electric Glass, Japan Display, SCHURTER Group, Sparton Corp, and Zebra Technologies Corp. Some of the key vendors in manufacturing the Rugged Display are such as Bluestone Technologies, Getac Technology Corporation, Panasonic Corporation, General Dynamics Corporation, General Micro Systems, Esterline Technologies Corporation, Sparton Corp., Milcots LLC, Curtis Wright, and Mildef AB.

Some other vendors include Advanced Embedded Solutions Ltd, Assured Systems Ltd, Aydin Displays, Crystal Group, Inc., General Digital Corporation, Hatteland Technology AS, Neuro Logic Systems, Inc., Winmate Inc., ZMicro, Inc., and CP Technologies LLC

There have been notable industry developments among these key players. In December 2022, Concurrent Technologies entered into a partnership agreement with EIZO Rugged Solutions to resell their line of display and accelerator cards, expanding their market reach. In the same month, Lockheed Martin received a defense contract worth over USD 1 billion for the production and delivery of F-35 Type 18 aircraft, which will drive demand for rugged display materials, parts, and components.

Another significant partnership was announced in October 2022 between Brelyon and ZMicro. They joined forces to co-develop Brelyon’s rugged Ultra RealityTM display for military applications, with ZMicro becoming the sole supplier of Brelyon technology in this demanding market.

Durabook, in December 2021, announced a distribution agreement with APC Technology Group to expand its reach in offering rugged computing solutions, including displays, laptops, tablets, networking solutions, and embedded boards.

These industry players’ efforts in innovation, partnerships, and distribution agreements demonstrate their commitment to meeting the diverse needs of customers and driving the growth of the rugged display market.



In the fast-paced and demanding world of military operations, military rugged displays play a critical role in enhancing mission success. With their unparalleled durability, optimal performance, enhanced situational awareness, improved collaboration, and adaptability, these displays provide military personnel with the visual information they need to make informed decisions and carry out their duties effectively. By investing in rugged display technology, armed forces can ensure


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