Unleashing the Power of Rugged Military Technology for MRO

Rugged military technology plays a crucial role in helping the United States military and its personnel achieve their objectives. Whether it’s managing combat operations, providing humanitarian assistance, or intercepting terrorist activity, the U.S. military must be ready to handle a wide range of operations — very often at a moment’s notice. The military also must train personnel, deliver vital equipment to troops around the globe, gather intelligence, and protect its own networks and systems from cyberattacks.

These warfighting and peacekeeping activities take place at all hours, which means the military must be able to snap into action quickly when called upon. Vehicles, weapons systems, and technology must be properly maintained and available as needed.

As digital transformation continues to impact the private sector, it’s also positively impacting the military, where maintenance, repair, and operations (MRO) is broad-reaching, complex, and absolutely essential. In fact, MRO represents a sizable portion of the annual military budget, with operations and maintenance accounting for 38% of the total 2022 budget. As the military further digitizes its operations, MRO activities will continue to shift away from manual paper systems and over to more streamlined, tech-enabled approaches including by using rugged, military-grade laptops.

7 Key MRO Challenges for Military Operations

Paper-based systems, siloed departments, and aging equipment can make developing a good MRO management program difficult. The U.S. military is affected by all these issues, as well as many other unique challenges. Some obstacles faced by military MRO personnel include: 

  1. Too many manual systems. Many maintenance processes are manual with significant redundancy that can slow service and introduce errors with each iteration. Excessive paperwork reduces productivity by eating into “wrench time” — the hours worked on the actual vehicle or equipment.   
  2. Separate military branches. Not only is the military approach to MRO different across services, but there’s also no centralized location for original equipment manufacturer (OEM) or engineering data to support sustainment.
  3. Aging assets. Military assets are built to last with long life cycles. As these assets age, procuring parts can be an issue.
  4. Geographically dispersed service depots. Maintenance and repair depots are spread across the world, adding further challenges.
  5. Unscheduled maintenance and repairs. The more effective the maintenance program, the less military units will experience unplanned downtime or unanticipated part replacement and repairs.
  6. Supply chain issues. Spares must be immediately available for maintenance and repair purposes. Any delays in the supply chain can translate into extended turn times and impact the mission-capable rate.     
  7. Trained personnel shortages. The complexity of most military assets requires skilled personnel to overhaul engines, weapons systems, accessories, and other vehicles and equipment systems.   

Keeping the nation’s vehicles and equipment properly maintained is essential. If mechanics can’t do their jobs, tanks don’t roll, aircraft can’t fly, weapon systems won’t operate, and warfighter effectiveness is severely curtailed. Achieving a balance between necessity and budgetary constraints isn’t easy — especially when considering that MRO buyers also must compete with funding innovation initiatives and fully leverage every budget dollar — but rugged military technology is helping bridge the gap and drive new efficiencies in MRO operations.

Military personnel carrying mobile military technology.

Purpose-Built, Rugged Military Laptops

Applications that automate workflow, aggregate data from multiple sources, and then categorize and deliver relevant information in a usable way can be game changers for MRO.

For example, rugged military laptops enable maintenance teams to tap into a wealth of information via a single device so they can work more efficiently and make better decisions in the service bay or in the field. Regular maintenance and repair that occurs in a bay or hanger where heavy equipment and hard surfaces reign can be tough on a laptop, let alone maintenance or repair in the field with the addition of harsh elements. 

Rugged military technology addresses these challenges, supporting MRO teams in enhancing efficiency and reliability across various tasks such as:

  • Asset and inventory management
  • Equipment and vehicle maintenance
  • Work order automation
  • Service history review/tracking for specific assets
  • System operational performance tracking
  • Digital maintenance data capture and storage
  • Report generation
  • Data and document access

Panasonic Connect offers customized mobile solutions and services that can help MRO teams streamline operations and increase productivity to keep equipment in top condition. These solutions combine software, rugged laptops, and value-added IT services that can be used in maintenance depots or in the field — wherever critical equipment or vehicles are deployed.

Engineered to perform flawlessly in harsh conditions, TOUGHBOOK’s proven capabilities and features are designed to meet the demands of military applications. Panasonic Connect’s Professional Service (ProServices) team also works with an ecosystem of industry-leading partners that provide software and accessories designed to work with TOUGHBOOK rugged devices.

Rugged Military Technology Takes Flight

Paper manuals that contain aircraft maintenance specifications and instructions represent one of the biggest military flight-line maintenance challenges for technicians. Anytime the situation requires it, technicians must sift through thick manuals to get the information they need to make repairs. To solve this persistent MRO problem, several military installations are using TOUGHBOOK rugged  laptops that facilitate a paperless maintenance environment from the hangar to the tarmac.

Military laptops and other rugged mobile devices give maintenance technicians fast, easy access to digitized manuals and aircraft systems data. Rather than searching through cumbersome binders, mechanics find what they need by searching and quickly scrolling to locate the information.

TOUGHBOOK military tablets can be configured with biometric user authentication for added security and thermal imaging for recording, processing, and documenting of temperature measurements. This way, technicians can identify faulty parts before those vital components fail. This early detection creates a window for scheduling repairs (before complete failure), minimizes equipment downtime, reduces accident risk, and gets the equipment back online and operational as quickly as possible.

What to Look for in Military Technology Solutions

Paper-based systems and consumer-grade laptops and devices are less than ideal in rugged environments, where MRO technicians need robust, reliable technology that helps them work quickly and efficiently. When evaluating their military technology options, MRO should look for these key features (at minimum):

  • Military standards for durability
  • Exceptional reliability and low failure rates
  • Long-lasting battery power
  • Powerful connectivity

With a long-standing commitment to helping the military achieve the highest levels of combat readiness, Panasonic Connect offers customized mobile solutions and services that help MRO teams complete their missions. These solutions combine software, rugged laptops, and value-added IT services that can be deployed in maintenance depots or in the field — wherever equipment or vehicles are deployed. 

Learn more about how Panasonic Connect’s rugged military technology can help your maintenance, repair, and operations department achieve its goals.