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The Impact of MIL-DTL-901E on Shock Requirements

29 May 2018

With mounting global tensions, and advanced weaponry readily available to most rebel factions, components used in mission-critical and safety-critical conditions must be constructed to withstand high impact shock.

Navy ships in storm

MIL-S-901D, an 82-page document published in 1989, detailed the shock testing requirements for shipboard machinery, equipment and systems, as they must endure constant stress while maintaining normal operating performance and structural integrity. However, the document deliberately left some “wiggle room” in the specifications as to how the tests are conducted, allowing manufactures a certain degree of flexibility in defining the performance characteristics of their ruggedized products.

Technological advancements are exploding! While the consumer industry has brought us the power of a desktop computer that slips conveniently into a pocket, so too has warfare and battlefield technology advanced.

The updated standard, MIL-DTL-901E, is a 142-page document published in 2017. It is written with much detail, specifically to limit ambiguity and avoid misinterpretation. After all, there should be no room for error when lives are on the line.

As MIL-S-901D has from the beginning, MIL-DTL-901E outlines rigorous testing procedures for high-impact shock testing, which is performed on a floating platform in a body of water, known as a barge test. As it involves the use of explosives, this test is quite thrilling to observe. It also adds a Medium Weight Deck Simulating Shock Test. Lightweight and medium weight testing is performed on shock machines on land. Another important goal of MIL-DTL-901E is to reduce the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) by performing certain tests on land an an approved Deck Simulating Shock Machine (DSSM).

Photo of MIL-DTK-901E Barge Test explosion

MIL-DTL-901E is absolutely a necessary qualification for equipment designed for harsh environments, such as battle cruisers and submarines. Most of General Digital’s LCD monitors are designed and built with the intention of meeting these requirements, including the Saber, Barracuda and Impact product lines. While in the past we’ve had various monitors tested to MIL-S-901D, it’s simply not feasible to have each and every one of our ruggedized monitors tested to MIL-DTL-901E. Though based on standard models, nearly all are built specifically to customer requirements.

Should you require more information about MIL-DTL-901E or other military specifications to which our rugged monitors are built, please feel welcome to contact a Sales Engineer for a no-obligation consultation.

From Hand-to-Hand to Hacking: The New Battlefield Defense

25 Apr 2018

War is no longer confined to just bullets and bombs and hand-to-hand combat. Cyber warfare is now one of the largest and most complex battlefronts.

To combat this ever-constant threat, everyone—from you and your family to government and military organizations—must defend against any sort of computer attack. Firewalls and highly effective security software are just the start in maintaining control, and what most of us consider the “only” or “best” option available. However, the military, government and security experts are convinced we can do better.

Bringing cybersecurity down to the hardware level is the next line of defense, as well as one of the hardest to breach, assuring all confidential data are maintained and protected to the highest degree. Hardware-based security techniques vary—they can be built-in on the system level, board level, and even on the chips within the hardware.

SlimLine 1U Smart Card CAC ReaderAlthough General Digital doesn’t build security hardware, we offer options that can be integrated into our LCD monitors, which many in industrial and military sectors find beneficial. One option is the addition of a CAC (Common Access Card) reader, which reads Smart cards. This little piece of plastic, the size of a credit card, has encrypted coding on its magnetic strip that is read by the system and will provide access only if the coding matches what the system was programmed to read. Smart cards are extremely difficult to replicate and provide access for the cardholder to secure facilities, documents, data storage and the like. Another option, which one day will replace Smart cards, is biometrics authentication, which is a more advanced form of identification, as it relates to a variety of human characteristics.

Saber LCD monitor Privacy ScreenWe also offer privacy screens for our monitors, allowing visibility to only the user positioned directly in front of the unit and creating a “block-out” view to anyone standing outside the narrow viewing cone.

Also, our Software Services engineers, with their expert attention to detail, goes above and beyond when working with the military, providing the highest level of security in many forms.

As new technology emerges, we are able to incorporate it into our monitors and keyboards, how ever it best serves our customers.

We invite you to consult a Sales Engineer today for your cybersecurity needs.

Rugged Monitors for Ruggedized Workstations

24 Apr 2018

Submarines, Humvees, aircraft, ships, and even server rooms share a common theme: minimal space for personnel and equipment. And the computer workstations needed for the mission or task at hand are a vital component to achieving the day’s objectives. Not only must these systems and monitors be compact and easily accessed by highly active team members, but they also need to be ruggedized to withstand serious shock, vibration, and impacts, as well as meet MIL-STD-461 requirements for EMI.

JLTV on the move

Now more than ever, streamlined and lightweight—but rugged—workstations are a necessity for military and industrial servers. Whether you are running a small server in a mobile transit case or Pelican™ case, or a large server in a full-size stationary RETMA rack, we manufacture many types of fixed monitors and rack mount drawer-mounted  flip-up monitor-keyboards. With display sizes from 6.5″ to 65″, at a variety of resolutions, we can accommodate nearly any requirement. We have exactly what the military needs for those crucial moments where dependability is of the utmost importance.

Sailor at workstation

Another important factor for a military monitor destined for workstation duty is customization—you have a particular set of requirements your equipment must meet. With General Digital’s abundance of options and accessories, you’ll want for nothing. The short list includes:

If you can think of it, our engineers can make it a reality.

If your specs call for a rack mount, panel mount or standalone monitor, have a look at our super rugged Saber Series, our waterproof sealed Barracuda Series or our large format Titan Series. They can easily be paired with one of the many advanced desktop and rack mount keyboards we offer.

Slimline 1U 19 inch in transit case

Or perhaps you need a flip-up display rack drawer with integral keyboard and trackball, which our 1U high SlimLine 1U Series and 2U high SlimLine Lite II Series will cover nicely. For more display real estate, you’ll appreciate our flip-up dual display-keyboard rack drawer, the TwoView.

If you don’t need a keyboard, there’s the rugged single display SlimLine Micro Series and dual display TwoView Micro Series, both of which can be rack mounted, ceiling mounted, or even wall mounted.

For space-saving, military-grade LCD monitors that will serve in your workstations well into the next decade (and probably beyond, if past experience tells us anything), you will be best served by a General Digital monitor. Contact a Sales Engineer today for a no-obligation consultation.

These 3 Basic Attributes Aren’t So Special, But Every Military Monitor Requires Them

6 Apr 2018

Military-grade monitors must adhere to a strict set of requirements. It’s a no-brainer that they need to be rugged and durable to take the abuse they will inevitably endure, whether on the battlefield or the battleship. However, some factors matter more than others when a great many lives are on the line. Readability, portability and wide temperature range are three important features to look for in your next ruggedized display.


Marine AV-8B Harrier takes off just before sunset

Display readability is key for communication. You might think any display is easily readable, but just think of the difficulty you have trying to view your cell phone or tablet when the sun is shining directly on it. Imagine if you had that same problem in the field, unable to see critical information you need to assessed an evolving situation.

Our display engineers and Optical Bonding Laboratories business unit work together to create the best sunlight readable displays on the market. The easy-access OSD (On-screen Display) keypad allows for quick adjustment of the LED backlight brightness, thus ensuring that the display is readable, regardless of the ambient light.

The same sunlight readable LED rail can be configured to also enable the display to become compatible with night vision goggles (NVG). Additionally, we offer numerous antiglare films, privacy films, EMI protection and more as optional extras.


Humvee driving on dirt road

Portability is an extremely important asset for many military monitors. For mobile units, traveling from base to front lines and everywhere in-between, a monitor that is lightweight and rugged and reliable is invaluable. General Digital constructs our display enclosures primarily from aluminum, and reinforce with steel where necessary.

Whether mounted in a console or a transit case, shock and vibration is another factor that must be considered, as a constant battering by rogue waves or choppy Humvee rides can reduce internal electronics to a shambles in short order. A good military-grade monitor is rugged on the inside as well as the outside.


Coast Guard heavy icebreaker ship Polar Sea (WAGB 11)

All display systems create heat when operating, and have a limited internal temperature range at which they can function. If your monitor can’t handle the temperature extremes it will encounter, it suddenly transforms into an expensive paperweight.

Some advanced commercial-grade monitors have internal thermometers that alert the system to power down when reaching beyond their limited temperature extremes. That’s good, but military-grade LCD monitors need to continue operating at a far wider temperature range, whether in the desert under direct sunlight or aboard a Navy warship stationed in the arctic. Because of this, the monitor needs to be able to maintain an operating temperature range of at least 5°F to 130°F (-15°C to +55°C) and a storage temperature range from -67°F to 185°F (-55°C to +85°C) in accordance with military-issued standards.


There are, of course, other must-have attributes of military-grade monitors, but these are often overlooked when determining the requirements. To discuss your requirements for a rugged LCD monitor, we invite you to speak with a Sales Engineer. As always, there is no obligation on your part.

The Saber Series: Versatility Comes Standard

19 Aug 2015

Today’s information society demands versatility. And our Saber Series delivers.

General Digital combines ruggedization, specialization, and customization in varying degrees to produce LCD monitors that cover a wide range of application needs. The Saber Series offers a selection of mounting options, display options, and capabilities that make it a standout monitor in the crowded monitor marketplace.

Watch our video to learn more about this truly versatile monitor.

Military Monitor Memories of Maritime Maryland

22 Apr 2015

Tenell & Brian saluting at the 2015 Navy League Sea Air Space ExpoTenell and Brian recently set up shop once again at Navy League’s Sea-Air-Space Exposition, from April 13th-15th. Booth 2605 was arrayed with General Digital’s signature ruggedized, specialized, and customized flat panel LCD monitors.

Perched along the shore of the Potomac River at National Harbor, Maryland, the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center plays perfect host as General Digital meets with United States Navy, Marines, and Coast Guard personnel to discuss our ongoing efforts to provide them with monitors and display peripherals that perform constantly and consistently.

General Digital's booth at Navy League's 2015 Sea-Air-Space ExpoIn honor of those who serve our country with unflinching dedication, Tenell and Brian donned the uniforms of these maritime defenders and thanked the sailors, Marines, and Guardsmen for their invaluable service. The United States Navy remains General Digital’s largest customer; therefore, exhibiting at the Sea-Air-Space Exposition makes perfect sense. Their incessant demand for ever-evolving equipment keeps General Digital always incorporating cutting edge technology into our products and services.

Playing video games in our booth at the Navy League 2015 Sea-Air-Space ExpoWith each trade show, we attempt to show a little of what we have done in the past as well as our current innovations. Helping to make booth 2605 pretty this year was our own trade show trooper, the 8.4″ Barracuda, which continues to dazzle the crowd in its fully decorated fish tank as it remains completely submerged for hours upon end. Our 19″ Saber RackMount monitor made its Navy League debut, boasting compliance with MIL-STD-901D, Grade A and Class II Lightweight Shock requirements. With credentials like those, it’s easy to see why the Saber 901D was along for the ride!

Dressing the part at the Navy League 2015 Sea-Air-Space ExpoThere’s probably not a movie in cinematic history that does not look good on our 52″ Titan Standalone, which showcased our commitment to large format monitors and digital video signal integration, made all the more noticeable as Tenell and Brian switched between viewing movies and playing games like Sports Champions 1 and 2, and Motionsports Adrenaline. They also dragged out a transit case full of goodies: the 20″ SlimLine Lite II with CAC reader; the 19″ TwoView 2; the 17″ TwoView; and the 17″ SlimLine 1U with DVD drive. Rounding out the bunch was our 17″ SlimLine Lite II, impressive in its own right with the smallest footprint in the rack mount industry and fitted with a CAC reader, demonstrating the ease with which General Digital is able to include peripherals that add to the performance of our rack mount products.

More video game fun at the Navy League 2015 Sea-Air-Space ExpoAfter three days of non-stop exhibiting and dazzling the crowds, you would think that Tenell and Brian would pack everything up and head back home, right? Not these travel troops. They shipped most of the equipment back to Connecticut, but left enough to visit some customers in the area. In fact, during the trade show, Tenell snuck out and paid a visit to Lockheed Martin to keep abreast of their programs’ needs and to discuss a new program for the Australian Navy. After the show, the pair also stopped in at Raytheon and Northrop Grumman Maritime Systems More video game fun at the Navy League 2015 Sea-Air-Space Expo(formerly Sperry Marine), both in Virginia.

Where are they going next? It sounds like the California coastline is beckoning and these guys are sure to answer the call!

Send in the Drones

1 Nov 2013

The first flight of Northrop Grumman's MQ-8C Fire ScoutWith the successful test flights of Northrop Grumman’s MQ-8C extended-endurance Fire Scout unmanned aircraft, General Digital Software Services was able to beam with pride. The aircraft, based on the Bell 407 light commercial helicopter, made its first flights on October 31st at Naval Air Station Point Mugu, California. Boasting twice the endurance and three times the payload of the MQ-8B, which is based on the smaller Sikorsky/Schweitzer S-333 light helicopter, the MQ-8C will be able to fly for 12 hours or carry a payload of up to 2,600 pounds.

Our software testing ensured that the UAV’s (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) Rolls-Royce M250-C47E engine complied with DO-178B standards. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of components and systems that support equipment this complex. General Digital Software Services is thrilled to have played a part in this exciting, groundbreaking, and headline-making event. And to everyone who participated in making the Fire Scout a reality, your efforts are greatly appreciated.

NVIS-Compatible MIL-STD-3009 LCD Monitors

18 Apr 2012

For millenia, most of man’s activities were confined to daylight hours. With the advent of night vision technology, man can now accomplish many daylight-only tasks in the dark.

Night Vision GogglesNight vision goggles (NVG) work by taking low level incoming visible light and non-visible infrared (IR) light and converting them both into electrical energy (electrons). Through a rather complex process, these electrons are then multiplied and converted back into light, which allows an NVG wearer to see in pitch black conditions. Standard CRT and LCD monitors using CCFL (Cold-Cathode Fluorescent Lamps) backlights interrupt the view of a person equipped with NVG because these monitors emit high levels of IR radiation, specifically the kind that’s amplified by night vision goggles. What results is a phenomenon known as “blooming” (washed out screen), as well as oversaturation, which renders the user effectively blind. This is true even if the monitor is in the proximity of the user but not in their direct field of view.

Soldier wearing night vision goggles at duskNVIS (Night Vision Imaging System) compatible displays are not born, they’re made. At General Digital, we re-engineer existing display hardware to virtually eliminate the emission of high levels of IR radiation. To accomplish this, entirely new backlighting systems are sometimes installed (CCFL or LED). We can configure an LCD monitor to be NVG compatible in two distinct ways. One method allows an NVG user to easily view information on a display screen, as well as their surroundings, while using the night vision goggles. Another way completely blocks all light from being visible to the goggles, while still visible to the naked eye.

Read more about NVIS compatibility with LCDS and how night vision goggles work.

General Digital offers many sizes of ruggedized monitors with NVIS capability that meet MIL-STD-3009. A sampling is listed on our NVIS for LCD Monitors page.

Video Demonstration: Barracuda Sealed Waterproof LCD Monitor

6 Jan 2012

Completely submerged in a fully-decorated fish tank while showing fan favorites such as Finding Nemo and Spongebob SquarePants, as well as the requisite fish tank screen saver, the Barracuda is often hailed as the center of attention when displayed in our booth at trade shows. Owing to the cynicism of the times, many express doubt that the Barracuda is really submerged at all, thinking instead that the setup is some sort of elaborate trick. But this is no hoax; the Barracuda™ is engineered for the harshest environments.

Designed to meet IP67 and NEMA4X standards, the Barracuda holds up against the assaults of complete immersion in liquids as well as exposure to humidity, dust, blowing sand and the like. These qualifications make it ideal for use in military and mining applications.

In this brief video, we demonstrate the Barracuda’s ability to function while completely submerged. The fish tank, decorated as it would be at any of the trade shows at which we exhibit, is filled with water and the Barracuda is powered on and displaying simulated fish. For the purpose of the video, the Barracuda is left in the water for a short period. At the trade shows, the Barracuda remains submerged for up to eight or nine hours at a time.

Mentioned in the video, though not demonstrated, is the fact that the connectors on the monitor are also fully sealed regardless of connection. It is this attention to detail and functionality that you’ve come to expect from the innovators of flat panel technology.

Top ‘Tech’ Focus Milblogs of 2010

2 Aug 2010

General Digital is dedicated to offering only top quality ruggedized, specialized and customized flat panel display products, optical enhancements and software services to commercial, industrial and military markets. Since we are avidly interested in military applications, news and information, we perused the web and found the most enticing web blogs devoted to sharing relevant military-related topics discussed today. Insight from the founders, editors and publishers of our chosen blogs even shared with us their thoughts about contributing to an outlet with military in mind. Read on and check them out yourselves.

Army Technology Live

Serving as the official blog of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, Army Technology Live, is dedicated to providing advance conversation about Army technologies and initiatives and is the only military blog to have a companion iPhone app. Categories of interest range from technology being found in the field to in the news.  With many talented authors contributing to the blog, a team effort is put forth in providing several views and opinions. “We communicate daily through social media to advertise jobs, keep our employees informed and tell America the great things we’re working on to make the U.S. Army the most lethal force on the planet,” says David McNally, Editor of Army Technology Live. “I think anyone who was raised reading Popular Science or Popular Mechanics and dreaming about the future would be excited to work at the Army’s research and development organization.”

Defense Industry Daily

Defense Industry Daily (DID) offers military purchasing news focused on defense procurement managers and contractors, while remaining useful to other groups. The site focuses on what people are buying, and who bought it, instead of revolving around military technology. Using a digital medium allows DID to to reach its global audience every day, delivering fast news plus in-depth reports of purchases, associated political developments, and any associated controversies. Joe Katzman, Editor-In-Chief of Defense Industry Daily states, “My long-term goal and ambition is to have military-related journalism reach the same level as sports journalism.” His perspective comes from studying military and equipment and procurement for almost 30 years, and he combines this with a background in management consulting and a thorough knowledge of geopolitics.

Scoop Deck

The Scoop Deck is Navy Times official web blog serving as an independent newspaper for sailors, Coast Guardsmen and families around the world. Topics of interest pertain to anything navy-base related, everything from storytelling on the ship to discussing technical industry issues. “Our blog covers the waterfront, in terms of military technology; we write about big, important systems like nuclear weapons and ballistic missile defense, but we also talk about simpler, seldom-seen gear, like the robot vacuum cleaners that patrol the carpeted passageways aboard U.S. Navy warships. We always try to make it interesting and, as often as possible, fun,” says Philip Ewing, Staff Writer, Navy Times and Scoop Deck.

Small Wars Journal

Devoted to facilitating the exchange of information among practitioners, thought leaders, and students of Small Wars, in order to advance knowledge and capabilities in the field. Small Wars Journal provides a venue for authentic voices from across the broad spectrum of participants in small wars to reach other serious, engaged professionals in the community.  “No one profession has a monopoly on small wars.  It’s a very big tent that requires the utmost consideration across myriad tactical, technical, social and cultural skills and expertise,” states Bill Nagle, Publisher, SWJ Blog. “We think we serve the community by providing common, neutral go-to ground where people from different walks of life can meet and get better together.  It’s nice to see their, and our, hard work pay off.”

Atlantic Sentinel

The Atlantic Sentinel is dedicated to providing content based on power, war and money.  These topics have a heavy emphasis on politics, defense and economics from both sides of the North Atlantic with commentators from Europe, the United Kingdom and the United States. Nick Ottens, Editor of the Atlantic Sentinel shared, “I always try to put military developments, whether it’s strategy or technology, in an historical context. Too often, it seems that even recent history is ignored in favor of wistful thinking. It is always relevant to consider the past however, whether one writes about the fate of Afghanistan or the future composition of the US Navy.”