Modular designs are a critical feature of future solider technology.

They allow users to scale their devices to the appropriate level of demand on the frontline. Computer systems must integrate flexibly and perform anywhere and at any time.

Panasonic’s latest “TOUGHBOOK 40” variant largely responds to these demands. Many European armed forces are seeking to enhance their operations by undertaking digital transformation initiatives: from Hungary to the Netherlands, as well as the UK Ministry of Defence, where countries want to evolve their legacy systems and technologies. Some platforms such as Hungary’s go as far back as the Soviet-era.

The integration of various components in a versatile device is nothing new when pitching products to the armed services. However, Panasonic offers an attractive service for its TOUGHBOOK users. There are two particular features that make the TOUGHBOOK desirable on the defence market.

Panasonic provides custom modifications that meet the wide range of challenges in the battlespace, as well as this, the company provides training to forces on managing the removable intricate components within the device.

These features were showcased during an exclusive event at Panasonic’s European factory hub in Cardiff, where Army Technology toured the facility to find out more about the production of the TOUGHBOOK 40.

Custom modifications

Armed forces face the problem of using their systems in a standard way. A great deal of physical versatility is required from the systems and devices they use on the frontline. This leads to a demand for novel solutions to specific use-cases.

Panasonic’s Cardiff hub is home to its ‘ProServices’ facility, which goes some way to addressing the bespoke needs of the end-user. This facility is a customisation and engineering service that enables users to craft modified solutions to their TOUGHBOOKs.

As it stands, the company has sold 43,000 custom solutions. This appears to be a successful turnover considering the TOUGHBOOK line began in 1994.

The company provides a range of modifcation services. These include solution conulstancy; bespoke product design and engineering; vehicle integration; and third-party product testing and certification, among other assurances.

For integration in vehicles, the ProServices team are able to specially design docking stations. All of the components for additional accessories such as these are sourced locally for sustainable practices.

Pictured is a custom dock accessory. Credit: Credit: John Hill / GlobalData Aerospace, Defence and Security.

Removable components

Components within the TOUGHBOOK 40 are individually removable rather than being attached to others. This allows for easy repairs if anything were to go wrong, and allows for a less costly service instead of needing to deconstruct the entire motherboard.

Panasonic also provide training for the military end user in managing the more intricate maintenance of TOUGHBOOKs. Especially considering many would be reluctant to divulge the contents of their solid state drives, or decrypt their sensistive intelligence.

The engineer’s solutions-focus in manufacturing the TOUGHBOOK 40 makes use of components such as the fan. In the computing world, this would largely be seen as a backward step, however, the fan component is important as it can help in harsh climates such as deserts. Components such as the fan are entirely performance-related, enhancing the capacity of the TOUGHBOOK to be used anywhere.

Pictured are the removable components within the TOUGHBOOK 40. Credit: John Hill / GlobalData Aerospace, Defence and Security.