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When the Work is Mission Critical: Equipping Special Operation Forces with Rugged Computers Built for the Battlefield

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Whether the mission is identifying and preventing attacks before they occur, observing and reporting on enemy activity, or preventing insurgency in a foreign state, special operations forces need the most reliable, advanced technology available. These missions are simply too critical for unreliable tools, and success relies on access to real-time intelligence, which leads to effective situational awareness and decision-making.

Special Operations Command (SOCOM) has long relied on Panasonic TOUGHBOOK computers to advance their missions. Operators across the SOF community, for example, use the ultra-thin Panasonic TOUGHBOOK 54 as their primary laptops both stateside and overseas due to its reliability and design.

One of the reasons TOUGHBOOK computers are so popular among SOCOM operations is because of their reliability. Panasonic achieves this high reliability not by following others but through custom engineering research, designs, and selection of specific long life, high performing components and manufacturing expertise.  Like Special operators themselves are specifically chosen, every internal component in a TOUGHBOOK is either custom manufactured by Panasonic or has been specifically selected to provide the best user performance and stress tested to ensure proper functionality under extreme conditions.   For example, they are built with a magnesium alloy chassis instead of plastic, which stands up better to extreme temperatures. TOUGHBOOK computers also have high-visibility screens for bright sun readability and are built with higher lifecycle components to not only survive longer but support the SOF mission for years. Finally, TOUGHBOOK computers and tablets are specially engineered to dissipate heat to ensure the operator gets the best possible processor performance and battery life wherever they may be.

And for 2019, SOCOM and others can continue to procure TOUGHBOOK devices via the recently issued follow-on to the expired Tactical Local Area Network (TACLAN) contract. The new GSA Blanket Purchasing Agreement (BPA) contract vehicle (Contract Number 47QTCA19A0005), issued to iGov of Reston, Va., allows SOCOM and other government agencies to buy Panasonic rugged devices and accessories. This includes TOUGHBOOK rugged tablets, laptops and 2-in-1 units, many with customizable and configurable options like thermal cameras, GPS/RTK, NFC, Ethernet, CAC/smartcard, UHF RFID, barcode readers, RealSense cameras, biometric user authentication and FirstNet ready EM7511Band 14 mobile broadband.

To further help ensure that Special Operations forces have the tools they need to complete complex missions, we closely work with our ecosystem partners. When controlled with the Panasonic G1 military-grade rugged tablet, for example, Aeryon’s SkyRaider drones are being used to drop small tactical payloads to troops on the battlefield. In another example, Harris Corp uses the Panasonic TOUGHBOOK N1 handheld in conjunction with its radios, and Qinetiq, NA integrates the TOUGHBOOK M1 tablet into its robot controllers. Panasonic rugged technology also has been integrated into Airborne Systems’ parachute navigation systems and Alluviam’s mission-critical field solutions.

In addition, we recently began a project to integrate our TOUGHBOOK M1 tablet configured with a RealSense Camera with DotProduct’s Dot3D scanning technology. This solution enables easy, rapid, and measurable 3D imaging on the tablet to provide operators with a highly deployable forensic kit to be implemented in the field immediately following mission completion. The kit quickly captures vast amounts of valuable 3D documentation from the scene of the incident, or at mission conclusion, often with only a matter of minutes on site.

Panasonic continues to push the envelope on features SOCOM relies on for their mission-critical needs, with a focus on equipping SOCOM with devices that are ready and dependable whenever the next mission calls.

To learn more stop by our booth #1548 at the SOFIC Event in Tampa, FL.

If you would like to learn more about how Panasonic TOUGHBOOK rugged laptops and tablets can support your Special Ops team contact me at scott.heckman@us.panasonic.com.