Lowering Total Cost of Ownership for the Flight Line

For the past several years the United States Air Force has relied on consumer grade tablets to replace heavy flight bags for the crews that fly cargo aircraft. Moving away from a pen and paper system increased efficiency, consumer grade tablets were selected for its portable, lightweight design. However, now that the Air Force wants to connect some of the consumer grade tablets to the Defense Departments classified networks, there are concerns about security and interconnectivity.

“One of the concerns that we have is that we want to make sure that the e-books…can actually be accessed from the flight line in a certain way that they can have interconnectivity back and forth with the logistic centers,” said Air Force CTO Frank Konieczny. A consumer device’s electronic transmissions could also pose a risk to sensitive aircraft equipment.

Providing workers with mobile devices allow them to access both unclassified and classified networks, providing valuable data in the field, but the type of devices used in these situations can either enhance job functions or potentially cause problems. While consumer devices may have a lower initial sticker price, the costs associated with IT support, limited battery life, or having to replace damaged devices due to a lack of durability often create higher TCO costs over the life of the device.

Wireless connectivity is another very important feature to consider when purchasing devices. Look for a device that has been tested for electromagnetic interference as well as its ability to perform in various weather conditions like rain, sand, humidity, and extreme temperatures. For devices used in flight, make sure the device has passed tests for high altitudes and vibrations. Standard hard drives can have difficulty at high altitudes, so it is important to make sure the device you are using will perform reliably when needed in the air.

Purpose built rugged mobile devices provide lightweight portability as well as the durability and reliability needed for flight line. These devices are also created with SmartCard readers and other enhanced security features to keep valuable data secure. Investing in a device that can withstand the daily wear and tear of the jobs, from drops and spills to high altitudes, means your devices will have a longer life, ultimately saving your agency costly repairs and IT support. Before investing in a mobile solution, it is critical to do your research and understand how your device will be used in the field.

For more information on Panasonic’s rugged computers and tablet, visit business.panasonic.com/toughbook/laptop-computers.html.