Handheld and portable PCs speed war data

Troops on the ground in Iraq are using ruggedized portable PCs and personal digital assistants to support operational and logistical applications.

Equipped with a Global Positioning System receiver and a tactical military modem, and coupled with a laser range finder, PCs and PDAs can transmit firing coordinates to artillery on the ground or to aircraft. They supply maps and personnel information for medical evacuations and carry maintenance manuals for military vehicles.

One of the smallest full-featured computers meeting military standards for full ruggedization is the Tacter-31A from Tallahassee Technologies Inc. of Tallahassee, Fla. It is a 7-pound, 500-MHz Pentium III PC with a 4G hard drive, a 6.4-inch touch screen, foldout keyboard and 10 hours of battery life running Microsoft Windows 95 or NT with Pen Services.

The Tacter Ruggedized PDA runs Microsoft PocketPC with much of the same functionality. It fits in the cargo pocket of a uniform and has nearly twice the battery life of the larger 31A.

About the Author

William Jackson is a Maryland-based freelance writer.

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