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GDC Validates LCD Displays for Military Apps

Photonics.com
Jun 2006
SAN JOSE, Calif., June 21, 2006 -- In what the US Display Consortium (USDC) today said is a significant milestone for the display industry, General Dynamics Canada has validated the use of a resized commercial active matrix LCD device for military applications such as weapon systems. Resized commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) display components provide high-performance solutions at an estimated one-tenth the cost of equivalent custom displays, the USDC said.

John Pellegrino, director of the US Army Research Laboratory's Sensors and Electron Devices Directorate, which oversees the USDC-sponsored program, said, "Prior to the completion of this project, LCD resizing technology was unproven and considered to be an unacceptable risk element for military display solutions. USDC, General Dynamics Canada (GCD) and other participating companies have taken a major step forward in enabling affordable COTS-based form-fit-function display solutions. This work is of vital importance to the US Army in sustaining existing custom-format systems, as well as providing more economical custom-fit display solutions for new weapons systems."

Under contract with the USDC, General Dynamics Canada produced and implemented a resized active matrix LCD (AMLCD) equivalent of its custom-format electroluminescent (EL) display product and subjected the resized LCD to the same performance, environmental and EMI qualification tests specified for displays used in the Army's Stryker mobile gun system (MGS). The MGS is a multiwheeled, lightweight armored vehicle that mounts a 105-mm gun and operates in extreme conditions -- offering an ideal test environment for the resized COTS display components, the USDC said.

Working as a subcontractor to GDC on the USDC AMLCD resizing program, Interface Displays and Controls of Oceanside, Calif., undertook a companion study to qualify cut glass for airborne applications. Their results were similar and reinforced the conclusion that cut LCD glass is suitable for airborne applications, the USDC said.

Commercial display components are available in fixed, standard sizes that in many cases do not match the needs of military and other rugged environment applications. Custom-manufactured solutions for nonstandard military requirements, on the other hand, are expensive and can easily cost 10 times the cost of a commercial product, the USDC said.

"The ability to cut and resize lower-cost commercial LCD components to match the needs of both new and established weapon systems is an important factor in minimizing the cost of integrating displays into military equipment," it said. "However, resizing commercial display components involves new manufacturing processes that introduce additional stress on the display during electronics disassembly, glass cutting, resealing and electronics reattachment."

John Thomas, Manager, Display Technology Development, at General Dynamics Canada, said, "The resized LCD version of the MGS display yielded significant performance improvements and met all environmental and EMI test requirements."

GDC is a member of the USDC's Military and Avionics User Group, which identifies and manages display integration projects. GDC plans to build on these findings and will offer display solutions that include resized COTS display components, USDC said. General Dynamics provides both the vehicle and all associated integrated weapons systems, including the displays, for the MGS.

For more information, visit: www.usdc.org


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