To conserve or not to conserve (on specifications)? How helpful is it to know the best case scenario? When integrating components into systems, of course the typical specifications are important, but consistency and reliability information is more useful. Obviously this is all the more of a concern with systems used in harsh outdoor environments, including surveillance and defense systems. Performance data under ideal conditions, in controlled laboratories serves very little purpose here.
Reliability is the probability that a device, system, or process will perform its prescribed duty without failure for a given time when operated correctly in a specified environment. Compliance with the MIL-STD-810 is a well-established way to verify reliability for extreme environments.
While some component manufacturers may say extended operating temperatures, resistance to vibration and shock, or rugged housing, but this is not the same as rugged by military standards, or most importantly rugged to your system requirements.
For example, with extended operating temperature ranges: This can mean many different ranges, but that typically required by military applications is -55°C to 72°C or even 80°C. Also, how do you know how the temperature range is verified? With many industries and products there can be different ways to represent specifications and to test for specifications. Words such as extended performance and rugged can be used with clear definitions. The military standards, such as MIL-STD-810 provide clear test procedures and methods to provide details behind the word rugged.
MIL-STD-810, “Department of Defense Test Method Standard for Environmental Engineering Considerations and Laboratory Tests” emphasizes tailoring an equipment’s environmental design and test limits to the conditions that it will experience throughout its service life, and establishing chamber test methods that replicate the effects of environments on the equipment rather than imitating the environments themselves.
There are also specific tests outlined for testing shock, acceleration, salt fog, etc. This can ensure more than just resistance to vibration and shock. Below are some videos showing testing done at Adimec within the MIL-STD-810 guidelines:
The MIL-STD-810 provides a uniform way of testing for all components of a system. MIL-STD-810 compliance can offer a level of confidence and assurance. It can relieve you from doing this qualification yourself on every component in your system.
If you want to use parts in your military equipment, you likely want to consider items that are tested according to the MIL-STD-810. Only then you are assured that the part is assembled and tested for reliable operation in your application.