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As I understand most screens for military MFDs utilize LCD screens or used to use CRT screens. OLED however has some advantages over LCDs especially in terms of weight and space. They're generally also thinner.

Why haven't OLEDs seen use in MFDs for military aircraft?

As far as I know only the F35 considered using OLEDs for its helmet mounted display. I know that OLEDs have a shorter lifespan hour wise, however is that the main reason?

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    $\begingroup$ Related $\endgroup$
    – sophit
    Commented Nov 30, 2022 at 10:04
  • $\begingroup$ @sophit In some ways yes and no. That answer seems to point to an economical side of things which makes sense for the CRJs. However newer platforms like the F35 and even upgrades for other platforms made a decision to avoid OLEDs for some reason. Especially for things like HMDs. $\endgroup$
    – FIRES_ICE
    Commented Nov 30, 2022 at 10:08
  • $\begingroup$ That's why "related". Anyway I like this and this comments on the topic. $\endgroup$
    – sophit
    Commented Nov 30, 2022 at 10:16
  • $\begingroup$ A quick glance at the timeline of the JSF and OLEDs suggests that OLEDs didn't exist when the JSF was developed. The JSF program is from 1993, the very first practical OLED screen appeared in 1999, its diagonal was only 2.7 inch, and what a researcher means by "practical" is not exactly how you or I would understand the term. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 30, 2022 at 12:28
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    $\begingroup$ Plus, the military is usually risk adverse, in that they don't want to be the first ones to use the latest whiz-bang technology when an older, proven technology will do the job. $\endgroup$
    – SteveSh
    Commented Dec 1, 2022 at 17:27

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As strange as it sounds, modern military avionics are pretty primitive compared to what’s available in the civilian marketplace, though they once were state of the art. There are several reasons for this. First, most of these systems were developed a solid 10 years ago so they’re not going to take advantage of latest upgrades or changes in technology, unless it would be absolutely necessary. Second if they are going to make those changes it would be in an upgrade package done by the OEM or similar military contractor, not quickly. The F-35 was developed a solid 17 years ago, and the F-22 traces its beginnings to the early 1990s, when things like OLED displays weren’t available. On Friday, December 2, 2022, we will get a chance to see the new B-21 Raider when Northrop Grumman rolls it out. This new stealth bomber, with its open architecture and Agile driven systems software might offer a glimpse of what technologies would be used in a modern fighter developed in the 2020s. It would be interesting to see if it uses OLED technology in the B-21’s cockpit displays.

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    $\begingroup$ Not only were they designed a long time ago, but the military always chooses to make its system reliable above everything else. Even when designing a new system they choose established technologies, not the most modern technologies. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 30, 2022 at 20:42
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Changing the equipment for something newer means it's a new equipment now. And new equipment has to go through the full certification procedure to be allowed to fly. And that procedure is so expensive that even if you save considerable money on every screen for few decades it still won't cover for the certification costs.

Even if you are designing a brand new system, you go for tried-and-true technology that's well tested and their failure modes are well understood. Implementing promising new tech carries a risk it'll turn out unfit for the purpose. And in that case you're back to the fist paragraph.

On a side note, it's not just aviation. Aviation adds crippling cost of certification like a cherry on the top, but this phenomenon happens everywhere: Governments and military using floppy disks to archive data, NASA using magnetic-core memory as late as the 80's, cars using relays instead of solid-state to control starter motor until recently, Amtrak using rotary converters, etc, etc. When you have good understanding of failure modes, you can simply overengineer that particular aspect or put in procedures to circumvent the problem. Cutting-edge tech is usually reserved for enthusiasts who accept the risk of beta-testing, only then it enters "serious business".

My opinion is that OLEDs being around since barely 1987 are too new to know everything about them and LCDs are not worse enough to make up for the added risk.

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new technologies are economic game changers if theyre better, cheaper or more practical. Military hardware has specific criteria and OLED meet none such standards. Theyre more expensive, energy intensive and less life expectancy. And improved Resolution isn't a concern when management of simple data is all the same color. Green is one best colors to see in any lighting conditions bright or night. Which is why green lasers replaced red.

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