Mod master Ben Heck has put his talents to work for the benefit of the troops in Afghanistan, building a “military grade portable PS3” with a 22-inch screen, TV tuner, network switch and more.

Ben Heck is a pretty handy guy. He’s built a handheld Dreamcast, an Atari 800 laptop and even a working Portal shirt. But his latest project is a bit of a different twist: a portable PS3 designed to stand up to the rigors of military life.

Inspired by Erica and Kris Kokkeby, a gaming couple currently working in Afghanistan as civilian UAV pilots, Heck tore down a PS3 and installed it inside a Pelican Storm iM2600 case. Unlike most of his other portable projects, survivability trumps size in this one; the iM2600 is huge, heavy, rugged, and watertight, able to withstand temperatures ranging from -20 to 140 degrees.

But it’s not just a PS3 inside. The ruggedized unit also includes a 22-inch LCD screen, built-in speakers, a TV tuner, network switch to simplify multiplayer and even a compartment to carry around stuff like controllers and games. It’s an impressive system, but even more impressive is the amount of work that went into designing and building the thing. Sadly, Heck doesn’t put its toughness to the test as I’d hoped he would by, say, throwing it out of a moving car or bludgeoning someone into unconsciousness with it, but it’s still fun to watch him put it all together.

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