We hear the term ‘military grade’ in movies all the time. It always leaves us in awe with the impression that the machinery or device they are discussing is rugged, durable, and can withstand the demands of the United States army. When in reality it means… well, exactly just that. The US military carries out operations under the most extreme circumstances. They need machinery that can keep up with their demands and your average phone or laptop just won’t cut it.
Military-grade equipment uses MIL-spec — military specifications. That is a set of design parameters that, if a machine is designed and built with, earns the classification of military-grade. Read on to understand more on what military-grade really means and understand the true power of military computers.
Sand and Dust
I don’t know about you, but when I think of the military I think of hot desert sand — and dusty environments out in the middle of nowhere. And if you’ve experienced civilian levels of dust on your computer from just driving to work or a day on your school campus, you know that will slowly but surely eat away at your devices and get deep inside them. Dust will clog up your fans and cause your computer to overheat. Because of that, military devices have special casings that prevent the penetration of dust and fine sand particles, adding to the device’s overall durability.
I would argue this is the key issue with any electronic device. Making sure your device stays cool is critical and that can be difficult to achieve if you are running major computing power — on a server for example — out in the middle of the hot Arab desert. A server for military use will use advanced cooling designs with adaptive fan control systems. MIL spec devices are tested to operate under 33 to 71 degrees celsius. They are also capable of withstanding major temperature drops. So let’s just say, the heat won’t be an issue for one of these bad boys!
Sun exposure is a little different from heat exposure. Just as sunlight damages our skin, sun damage is real and affects machinery. You may not notice this as it is unlikely that your devices are left in the sun longer than an afternoon. But military devices must survive sun exposure for periods as long as 3 to 7 full days. They are designed and built to do just that; adding to their already impressive durability.
Humidity may not strike you as an issue with computers. But it is actually a major factor in reducing their lifespan. You don’t notice humidity buildup but it seeps into your device and causes moisture buildup. This can rust components and reduce electrical conductivity, which, in turn, shortens your device’s lifespan. The mechanical fastening and casings that military devices use have been designed to combat all these issues.
Ever drop your phone and have the screen shatter? How about your laptop? Consumer electronics are very fragile these days. But you just can’t have that be the case when out in the field. And being able to withstand shock and drops is probably the most noticeable feature in military-grade equipment. They are very robust. You can shake, bang, and jostle these machines day and night and they won’t have any connections come undone. This is key as many devices are parachuted down to military personnel when out in the field.
The military encompasses the navy and that means computing devices will almost certainly get wet. And that can’t stop or hinder their functionality. Not all devices will be designed for water resistance, but those that are will be very durable in the face of the water. During testing for water resistance, devices will be immersed in water tanks and tested with sprays of various intensities that simulate weak and heavy rainfall.
Odds are your civilian lifestyle wont need the durability the US military needs. But that just means having military-grade computers will last all that much longer. If your machine’s technical specs can survive the years with you, having MIL-spec hardware means they will survive just as long in terms of their operational capacity. Wear and tear will be hardly noticeable and your machines will be in tip-top shape as they age. This is excellent for maintaining resell value and reducing how often you need to maintain your devices. Many military-grade devices are available for consumer purchase and it is definitely something to consider the next time you’re in the market.