CRTs for Army derived from industrial applications

WASHINGTON - The ruggedized cathode ray tube (CRT) displays from Barco Chromatics of Tucker, Ga., that program managers have selected for a series of U.S. Army mobile ground applications share a technology base with similar displays being used in the transportation industry.

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By John Rhea

WASHINGTON - The ruggedized cathode ray tube (CRT) displays from Barco Chromatics of Tucker, Ga., that program managers have selected for a series of U.S. Army mobile ground applications share a technology base with similar displays being used in the transportation industry.

Barco recently won two subcontracts for 19-inch CRT displays, one from Hughes Defense Communications in Fort Wayne, Ind., for the AN/TSQ-138 Trailblazer truck shelter-mounted signal intelligence (SIGINT) system to monitor HF/VHF/UHF signals on the battlefield, and the other from Lockheed Martin Federal Systems in Owego, N.Y., for the Intelligence and Electronic Warfare Common Sensor system for precision targeting, surgical electronic attack, and signals exploitation.

Deliveries have begun under both contracts, Barco officials said at last month`s Association of the U.S. Army conference in Washington. Officials from Northrop Grumman in Rolling Meadows, Ill., chose Barco to supply 17-inch CRT displays to the Army`s AN/TPQ (V) Firefinder electronics upgrade program.

The applications - and environments - are similar to those in the railroad and maritime industries, which Barco also serves, explains Barco spokeswoman Peggy Grimm. The common thread is the "color critical" applications, in which critical information must be spotted in real time.

Barco designers also recently introduced a video mixer, known as FlexiVision, in a 6U VME configuration to fuse multi-sensor data, such as graphics, video, and radar inputs, onto a single display. The idea is to digitize all the video and radar inputs, including those from forward looking infrared sensors.

Despite their success with CRTs, Barco designers are introducing a new line of color active-matrix liquid crystal displays, including one 20.1-inch ruggedized model that is a one-for-one replacement for the 19-inch CRTs currently being delivered to the Army programs.

The line, which also includes 10.4- and 13.8-inch flat panel displays, incorporate the amorphous silicon thin film transistor approach and also process video signals as well as signals from graphics boards.

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Engineers involved with two U.S. Army programs, the AN/TSQ-138 Trailblazer truck shelter-mounted SIGINT system and the Intelligence and the Electronic Warfare Common Sensor system, are using CRT displays from Barco Chromatics in Tucker, Ga.

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