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Typical optical stack for a NVIS compatible display


Still, a fundamental problem remains: the human factor. All of the above system enhancements won’t add much value if the operator is unable to view the display. That’s why the primary goal of an LCD display designed for use in harsh airborne environments is readability. Whether operated during bright daylight hours or at night by crew members wearing night vision goggles (NVG), display readability can contribute greatly to a mission’s successful outcome.


There are several key factors that can affect a mission display’s readability—and by extension affect mission effectiveness. The display must support clear, stable video imaging sources and it must deliver clear video images in a high ambient light environment. Display design features that can help optimize image clarity include the display’s contrast ratio, how it handles reflectance, and whether it supports a night vision imaging system (NVIS) without filtering. Last but not least, the display must be easy to use and reliable.


For daytime missions, readability in sunlight is a critical requirement for display equipment installed in cockpits with high levels of incident light.


T 54


he primary features that can determine the display’s brightness include its backlight LED power and efficiency, its LCD


transmissivity (IPS vs TN), and color filter saturation. The minimum acceptable level of brightness at the front of the display is 1,000 nits (cd/m2). The display should also comply with MIL-STD-3009 (U.S. Military Standard) requirements to support night vision capability.


In order to optimize readability, the display must be able to defeat any form of light that will reflect off the screen and interfere


May/June 2016


with the image the operator is trying to view. All forms of LCD, glass, and plastic are susceptible to reflections. Various techniques are used to reduce these reflections. The worst-case scenario is early night/early morning environments, when the sun is very low in the sky and reflects directly off the screen into the operator’s eyes. A more typical problem is full daytime sunlight hitting the observer, which turns the observer into a brightly lit object that reflects off the screen. In both environments the issue is light reflecting from the screen.


Frequently, customers will only state a general requirement, such as “very good daylight readability.” Unfortunately, nearly all vendors will likely claim they can satisfy that requirement because it’s not specific. Some customers will specify a requirement for anti-glare coating. While coating does help, instead of eliminating glare, it diffuses and distributes the reflecting light so less reflection hits the viewer’s eyes directly. Furthermore, coatings only affect the outer layer of the display glass. Light also penetrates and reflects off the display’s inner layers of glass, and anti- glare coatings do nothing to prevent that.


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