US Air Force Looking to Buy 18 Thousand iPads

If the next Air Force pilot that you meet looks a little light in the step, it probably doesn’t mean what you think.

The USAF put a new contract up for bid last week. They’re looking to buy between 63 and 18,000 “iPad 2, Brand Name or Equal devices”. for the flight crews of the C-5 Galaxy and C-17 Globemaster, 2 cargo aircraft that are used to move the majority of military freight. The crews will use the tablets pretty much the same way that everyone else does. They’re going to replace flight charts and technical manuals.

iPads in the cockpit is quite the common news story now, but this one has a historical note that most lack. The US military has long been interested in reducing the amount of paper that soldiers need to do their job. This in fact goes back to at least the 1960s. The Dynabook, which I told you about earlier this week, was the result of a research project that was funded in part by the US military. They wanted a device that could replace the vast volumes of paper with a few pounds of electronics. Today’s news about the 18 thousand iPads is pretty close to the original goal from way back when, but it wasn’t achievable until recently.


image by Global X