Troops stationed in Afghanistan need to work smart and stay tough, and their notebook computers must do the same. When the Dutch army needed notebooks for one of the world’s toughest environments, it turned to Getac for a fully rugged mobile computing solution.
Getac notebooks can take extreme dust and heat, plus are enforced to remain durable in the face of violent threats. It is no wonder Getac computers have even been credited with saving lives. The notebooks are now finding themselves within the safe confines of European government offices after impressive showmanship out in the Afghan bush.
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The working conditions for foreign personnel in Afghanistan are perhaps the most challenging in the world. The security threat is constantly in a critical state. Threats of severe violence are a daily occurrence, and the living conditions are punishing at best. The stress of working in such an area is hard enough without having your equipment succumb to dry air, dust (pounds and pounds of it) and temperature fluctuations.
Mobile computer equipment is a must for Dutch troops stationed in Afghanistan, and its members need to be able to quickly and easily communicate with each other to gather information on danger zones and field strategies. Tactical air control parties work on the front lines and conduct targeting for close air support, often using technology equipment outside the safety of a vehicle. The software that special forces use must be able to run properly in brutal environments, and proper data transmission is key.
Dutch tactical air control parties need notebook computers that are strong enough to withstand cruel elements, but light enough to grab and carry at a moment’s notice. These devices must also be fortified from sand and extensive, hard shocks, plus their screens must be readable in direct sunlight (or even lack thereof). The ability to pick up satellite signals and run comprehensive GPS systems are also tantamount for the interconnecting of troops.
The Dutch army needed a mobile computing solution they could count on, and they were very pleased to discover Getac’s fully rugged, convertible notebooks. They were even happier to discover that Getac notebooks hold up in the desert far better than the other leading durable notebook brands, at a price that allows further penetration of these devices into more of its groups. Even more, Getac notebooks offer superior outdoor readability with their glove-friendly, touchscreen LED display.
Getac notebooks were made to work under extreme temperatures. In the case of Afghanistan, this can mean temperature fluctuations from 45°C and higher, or minus 10°C or even lower. Temperatures on the computers themselves can reach 70°C. Many competing brands can not acclimate to temperatures this hot, but use out in the field has shown that Getac’s rugged notebooks can handle the heat without any performance fluctuations.
One of the biggest concerns with working in Afghanistan is the dust. Getac’s waterproof notebooks and glove-approved, rubberized, full-sized keyboards, which are available with backlight options, cannot be held back by dust. The notebooks’ unique fan-free design and sealed caps and doors further protect crucial data from falling victim to the elements.
Troops are often burdened by having to carry several sets of extra batteries for notebooks. The Getac 7800 mAh batteries were built for endurance. Tests have shown that Getac batteries last for a good six hours during routine use. Personnel don’t like to carry extra weight in their backpacks, and Getac eliminates the need for several sets of batteries.
Getac’s agents in Europe worked extensively with the Dutch army units to make sure they received the best possible service and support, including an industry-leading five year warranty. “The Getac representatives in Europe are great partners for us. They give us good information and good service,” says one of the Dutch soldiers who has relied on Getac’s rugged notebooks several times out in the Afghanistan bush.
Although troops do not use Getac notebooks as their main satellite GPS tool because of government regulations, they have discovered they can use them as a secondary GPS. “We have found that Getac’s GPS system is very quick to respond…it is a very good option to have and offers users a real time advantage,” says one soldier.
The Dutch army can now complete their missions as efficiently as possible, without worrying about their notebooks falling victim to Afghanistan’s cruel, environmental elements. Dutch troops know that when a Getac rugged notebook is, for instance, mounted on an off-road vehicle’s dashboard, the device can take severe punishment and not fail. The magnesium alloy casing that surrounds Getac notebooks and the shock-mounted hard drive inside ensures that physical abuse is a non-issue. This is important, as many army vehicles were not originally built with notebooks in mind, and had the cars retrofitted with mounts that do not always protect the computers in an optimal way.
Getac notebooks not only save important data, but are able to literally protect lives. “We had a situation where there was an IED (improvised explosive device) attack several meters from an offroad vehicle. The IED explosion shot a rock though a vehicle window and hit the Getac computer, cracking its case and leaving about a five-centimeter hole,” recounts a soldier interviewed for this case study. “The notebook was on the dashboard, so it actually saved a one of us from injury or even death…and the notebook was still operational.”
The notebooks’ rubberized keyboards have also earned praise from the troops. “We don’t have to worry about mistyping anything with gloves on with the rubberized keyboard”, says the soldier. “There is no chance that sand will go under the keys and cause errors. Other brands do not have this feature, and it is incredibly difficult to type with gloves on, and the keyboards on other notebooks eventually get stuck when sand starts to come between the protective membrane and the keys.”
The Dutch technical air control received the first batch of Getac rugged computers and, based on positive reviews from that initial order, more were purchased for several other troops. The units were for use both in Afghanistan and the Netherlands. Tests with the Dutch Green Berets have also been very positive, with government representatives stating that Getac’s rugged notebooks outdid the competition by far. That was especially proven in screen and temperature tests, as cold environments are also very challenging to electronic equipment. Since the notebooks are powered by Intel® processors, government software can perform without a hitch.
“We chose Getac, and when we go visit forces in other countries, such as the United States, they are always impressed with the Getac and want the product for themselves,” a Dutch government representative says. “The Getac is much better than the competition.”