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Top Secret: How to Keep Military Displays Functioning in Highly Demanding Environments

Like many industries, the US Military has experienced an increase in efficiency, communication, and execution through the use of electronics, and specifically interactive displays. Unlike most applications, military displays must be ruggedized to meet the severe environmental requirements dictated by diverse battlefields, including sand, water, and extreme temperatures. The display electronics must be durable with near zero-fail reliability. 

E3 Displays, a key provider of ruggedized DoD electronics and displays, manufactures military displays which withstand the harshest of elements – sand and dust, heat and cold, humidity, precipitation, and shock and vibration. Many of the E3 Displays’ products include touch screen technology, high-efficiency brightness and optical enhancements, night-vision (NVIS) technology, EMI filters, wide temperature components, thermal management, embedded computers, all in compliance with MIL-STD-810 and other MIL standards. Combined, these solutions ensure that all display electronics continue to serve our military personnel in whatever function or environment they are engaged. 

There are numerous military display electronics applications, each of which contains a unique combination of features, integration, and ruggedization – some of which are summarized below.

Military Display Applications

Military Handheld and Computer Displays

soldiers holding gps in hand and determines the location of coordinates. militaryand technology concept

Military handheld and computer displays are used on the battlefield, in military quarters, ships, and other locations. High-performance features of these displays include reduced power, advanced backlighting systems, night vision goggle compatibility, optical bonding, video controllers, high mechanical integrity, and customized electronics.

Specialized Displays

Military vehicles like tanks, artillery vehicles, Humvees, and armored personnel carriers endure demanding conditions on the battlefield. Specialized displays are necessary for monitoring vehicle conditions (temperature, track or wheel conditions, armaments), radar, communication, and other critical elements. Since these displays are in close proximity to other electronics, they are often equipped with electromagnetic protection which prevents functional interruptions, interferences, and power spikes. 

Rack and Panel Mount Military Displays

Rack and panel mount displays have a front mounting bezel with captive hardware or through-holes for installation. Rackmount unit mounting bezels conform to rigid mounting hole industry standards in specific ranges of width, height, and location. Powder-coated and military-grade aluminum bezel enclosures make these displays perfect for rugged conditions and military applications. E3 Displays can assist in selecting the best display, specifying the correct touch or cover glass, designing a custom robust chassis/bezel system, and assembling the components for rack and panel mount computers.

Features of Military Displays

There are key features that set military displays apart from displays in other industries.

Protection against the elements 

Electronic military equipment must be adaptable to changing environmental conditions from extreme heat to freezing cold and dry, dusty deserts to tropical forests. Optical bonding seals the display from contaminants that could distort or destroy the video or image. Forced air, natural convection, and conduction heat sinks are methods to maintain temperatures in hot environments while transparent and conductive heaters are employed for sub-zero conditions.

Durability and Accuracy

Military personnel are always on the move and need their equipment to be durable enough to withstand rugged transportation and changing environments as well as maintain touch accuracy in changing conditions. One of the main ways a touch display can be enhanced for durability and touch accuracy is through optical bonding. The optical bonding process fills the air gap between the display and cover glass with an optically clear adhesive. This adhesive is cured using UV light and provides edge-to-edge adhesion. Filling the air gap provides a slightly thicker assembly which better equips it to withstand drops, strikes, and sudden jolts.


Since equipment is always on the move, it’s important that it be light and portable. Advancements in Liquid Crystal Displays (LCD) and Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED) technology have made it possible for displays to become even thinner which reduces equipment power consumption, weight, and size. Since OLED displays do not require a backlight their power requirements are lower, and they are lighter and thinner, making them ideal for small handheld applications.

EMI Protection

EMI protection in military displays utilizes materials and manufacturing techniques to prevent signal disruptions by both internal and external electromagnetic signals. Risks from EM interference include data and communications loss and interruptions up to and including total system failure. EM interference can be caused by high-current electronics that are in close proximity, high-speed communications devices, Bluetooth components, sensors, and other display equipment.


E3 Displays focuses on integrating these key features when manufacturing electronic military displays. Every application and situation is different, so we have a custom solution for almost any design challenge. Regardless of the application, one of the most important requirements of military displays is being ruggedized to withstand wind, water, dust, sand, cold, hot, shock, vibration, and other severe environments.

Military electronic equipment must be designed to meet the performance standards of high-reliability rugged environments. Touch screens contribute to improving personnel efficiency, communication, and mission execution, but it’s also important that equipment be manufactured for durability, reliability, portability, and ruggedness.  Display enhancements like optical bonding and EMI protection help make military display more rugged in highly demanding environments. E3 Displays supports your ruggedized electronics and display designs and can integrate touch, EMI protection, enhanced backlighting, and other peripherals into your system. To learn more and connect with E3 Displays click here.

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