What the military looks for in a rugged tablet

There are six specifications the military continues to look for in a rugged tablet. These include: IP68, MIL-STD 810G, Hazloc certification, Hazard of Electric magnetic Radiation to Ordinance (H.E.R.O) certified, security, and configurations for barcodes and RFID. Each of these aspects of a rugged tablet will be discussed in this article with links to articles that go in-depth for each subject.


Ingress Protection defines what a device can withstand against solids and liquids entering the device. To create a rugged tablet for the military it is crucial that the tablet is protected against these elements. The first number rates the device’s protection against solids such as sand and dust. The second number identifies liquid protection.

Since the military can be in deserts, jungles, and other extreme environments, they look for the rating IP68. Six is the highest level of protection available for electronic devices. This provides users with confidence that the device will withstand the finest of solids, dust, and still perform optimally. Protection against water at the level of eight in the Ingress Protection scale is the highest level of protection. This means that the tablet is protected against ingress of water for the specification’s depth and duration.

IP68 Submersion Test ft. Mesa 3

Juniper Systems’ product manager, Darren Hellstern commented, “To be IP68 rated, the device must exceed the depth or the duration needed to meet IP67 rating. Meaning the electronic device or tablet has an increased depth and duration for submersion.”

This level of protection against solids and liquids is optimal for military members using a rugged tablet. This specification can give users confidence that if the device is exposed to the elements it will be protected against foreign debris entering and damaging the device, ensuring it still works as designed. For an in-depth look at IP ratings and why it is important for users to have this level of protection, view our article “Mobile device IP ratings explained | Free IP rating chart”.


Military Standard 810 is a test standard that requires engineers and designers to create equipment that can withstand the harsh environments the electronic device will most likely be exposed to. Designing and manufacturing a rugged tablet to meet this standard qualifies it to become a military grade rugged tablet.

Mesa Rugged Tablet for the military
Mesa Rugged Tablet for the military

“This standard for MIL-STD-810 includes a compilation of environmental test methods and procedures that manufacturers choose from to test a product,” said Cody Draper, Director of Product Management and Technology Development at Juniper Systems.  “There are many test methods, procedures, and guidelines manufacturers can choose from, but by no means does it imply that all have been tested. It is recommended for users and buyers to look into the details on which tests have been performed from the standard to see if they represent their use case.”

One of the 28 possible tests included in the standard includes 26 4-foot drops of the device onto plywood over concrete. The other 27 tests are related to shock, vibration, and to verify whether or not the device can withstand a variety of environmental conditions. Considering the various environments military personnel are in, the rugged tablet must meet the extreme conditions these users find themselves in. This is a key standard that validates that a rugged tablet is necessary and essential for the military. For more information related to MIL-STD-810G, users can read more in our article “Here’s what MIL-STD-810G means”.

Hazardous locations (Hazloc) certification

The Hazloc certification is another certification to look for in a rugged tablet built for the military. This certification is for use cases that require the certification due to use in hazardous flammable environments. The certification is for hazardous locations or areas that are fixed into three classes and two divisions. These classes include areas with flammable gasses or vapors, combustible dusts, and areas with flammable fibers.

Since the military finds themselves in such diverse environments with technology, this can be an essential certification to increase the protection of the user and increase the longevity of the device. To get a deep dive into this certification, “What does hazloc mean? |Free hazloc area classification diagram” is an article that can help users understand this certification better.

H.E.R.O certified, also known as MIL-STD-464

H.E.R.O stands for Hazard of Electromagnetic Radiation to Ordnance. Military Standard 464 or H.E.R.O certification is a certification that determines the electromagnetic requirements to safely operate around the ordinance. This test is used for equipment that may operate in any of the environments that military defense personnel may find themselves in. For an in-depth look at this certification, NTS has a great article on this topic.


When it comes to the security of a military-grade rugged tablet, privacy is a must. Some of the common certifications to look for include Common Criteria and FIPS compliant. Juniper Systems has created a configuration to meet the needs of the military by designing the Mesa® 3 Smart Card Reader – A military-grade CAC/PIV-compatible smart card reader and rugged tablet.

A secure Mesa Rugged Tablet with a smart card reader

A smart card reader or CAC/PIV reader is important to maintain the privacy of any information on the device. This configuration can be installed with an organization’s existing OS or software program that requires smart card authentication. The requirement protects information stored on the device and limits the access of those that should not have access to the device or programs. This form of security is a form of multi-factor authentication as it requires the operator to have an identification card that is plugged into the computer as well as enter login credentials to access programs and data on the tablet. To learn more about this security measure, users can read the introduction article with the standards and specifications related to the CAC reader.


Rugged tablets built for the military should have the option to configure the device to the needs of the users. Juniper Systems offers the Mesa™ Rugged Tablet in both Windows 10 and Android with a barcode scanner built into the devices. In addition to this, an RFID reader can be added to the creation and customization of the rugged tablet for military use. Should the use case require the need for a custom configuration, the Juniper team is equipped to meet end-user needs by providing custom configurations to keep users empowered and safe.

Custom Mesa Rugged Tablets

Paired with the pistol grip attachment, users can experience increased efficiency in their work and comfort with the ergonomic design. These configurations can improve the management of inventory, data capture, and other applicable items for the military to keep track of. An in-depth description of Barcode and RFID rugged handhelds offered by Juniper Systems can help users learn more about the specifications and what rugged handheld would be best for the work to be done.

Final thoughts on a rugged tablet for military use

The need for the specifications outlined in this article are “heavily dependent on the work of the user and environment the device is operating in”, said Jeff Delatore a Product Manager at Juniper Systems. When considering a rugged tablet for military use, it is important to remember the needs of the user, the environment the rugged tablet will be used in, and the expectations for the life of the tablet. Each of these six specifications are key considerations when purchasing a rugged tablet. To learn more about how the Mesa Rugged Tablet is used in the military, contact us or give us a call at (435) 753-1881.

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