Maintaining government vehicles, especially aircraft, is an enormous challenge. Countless items must constantly be inspected and repaired, parts must be ordered and service records must be scrupulously filed. In the case of the military aircraft, maintenance crews are assigned to specific aircraft and must transfer on a moment's notice wherever the aircraft are deployed, taking their e-tools with them. That means computers must be lightweight, resilient, mobile, wireless and ready for action under any conditions. That is why the federal government trusts MIL-810-STD-certified Panasonic Toughbook® mobile computers to perform maintenance tasks — and a whole lot more.
FLIGHT LINE MAINTENANCE SOLUTION
Maintaining military aircraft is a complex process requiring avionics data to be downloaded from the aircraft for analysis by the pilot and crew in order to detect potential failures. When problems are identified, technicians conduct inspections, inside the engine compartment when necessary. There are a number of drawbacks to earlier model e-tools. They have to be physically connected to the planes before data can be downloaded and analyzed. Certain older aircraft commonly leak fluids, which can damage non-rugged e-tools. The older e-tools also require technicians to manually order replacement parts from catalogs when needed. The outmoded e-tools make the entire process slow and inefficient.
Panasonic Toughbook mobile computers with wireless capabilities and custom software streamline the whole process. Now, avionics data is downloaded and shared wirelessly between the aircraft, maintenance crew and the air traffic control center before the aircraft reaches the hangar. This eliminates the need to physically connect to systems on the ground, allowing diagnostics to begin sooner. The Toughbook mobile computing solution, with daylight-readable touch screens, also enables maintenance technicians to wirelessly order parts online from anywhere. Because Toughbook computers have spill resistant keyboards, they are less likely to be damaged by leaks, grease and particulates commonly found in maintenance bays. The reliability and low cost of ownership have made Toughbook mobile computers the standard e-tool for U.S. Air Combat Command, U.S. Air Force Reserve Command and NAVAIR [U.S. Navy] flight line maintenance.
UH-60 BLACKHAWK MAINTENANCE SOLUTION
The U.S. Army relies heavily on UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters for important military and airlift operations. To keep them well-maintained and ready to go at a moment's notice, U.S. Army helicopter maintenance personnel must keep in constant contact with flight crews, as well as have access to complete technical manuals and parts lists. Maintenance operations occur day and night in all kinds of weather. The U.S. Army initially used non-rugged mobile computers, but those units were unable to withstand the constant bumps and high vibration levels encountered during flight, and failed within months.
The Blackhawk maintenance program now uses Panasonic Toughbook mobile computers, with rugged magnesium cases, shock-mounted hard drives and spill resistant keyboards. Toughbook mobile computers also feature an embedded wireless solution that enables real time communications. With this feature, technicians are able to access the most current technical information and parts lists through server-based updates. The superior build of Toughbook computers provides long uptimes and increased productivity, easily satisfying the U.S. Army's standards for ruggedness and low total lifecycle cost.