Plasma displays readied for command and control

TOTOWA, N.J. - Plasma displays, long overshadowed by cathode ray tubes (CRTs) in traditional applications and facing competition from newer solid-state technologies in future weapon systems, can be competitive in several command and control applications, says Jeffrey Ohstrom, manager of business development at Thomson Components and Tubes Corp. in Totowa, N.J.

By John Rhea

TOTOWA, N.J. - Plasma displays, long overshadowed by cathode ray tubes (CRTs) in traditional applications and facing competition from newer solid-state technologies in future weapon systems, can be competitive in several command and control applications, says Jeffrey Ohstrom, manager of business development at Thomson Components and Tubes Corp. in Totowa, N.J.

Thomson marketers are pushing a new line of color displays in 19- and 24-inch-diagonal configurations, to be followed by a 40-inch model, for applications such as the U.S. Air Force Airborne Warning and Control System aircraft, the U.S. Navy E-2C surveillance aircraft and New Attack Submarine, and U.S. Army ground vehicles.

Now Thomson engineers are tailoring the systems for military uses with such options as touch screens, serial link controllers, and customized power supplies.

At this year`s Navy League conference in Washington, Thomson officials showed their new 24-inch model, built at the company`s factory in Grenoble, France, which costs $25,000 in 100-unit quantities. Production is due to begin this year.

The plasma unit weighs half as much as comparable CRT displays, and aims at applications requiring several sources of input and high-definition displays. They also are immune to magnetic fields.

Thomson officials have demonstrated prototypes for French military forces and have units operational aboard ships in the oil industry and in hospitals, where magnetic fields are a problem.

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