In a small trial test, a team of U.S. Marines revealed they were using ditching 60 to 80 pounds worth of maps and using 32 iPads to provide more accurate air strike assistance to ground troops. iPad — good for mom and dad, and good enough for war.
You would think the U.S. military and DARPA's top secret technology would be able to come up with a more advanced and secure solution than just buying a few iPads, but sometimes, consumer tech just works well. It's simple and effective.
According to Wired, normally, ground troops radio coordinates to helicopter pilots on where they need air strikes support at. The pilots then fumble through maps to find the target, then strike — but sometimes, things get lost in translation. Problems include "Radio signals cut out, coordinates jumbled and, even with half a grown man's weight in maps in the cockpit, sometimes the pilot doesn't have a details image of the target area."
With an iPad, the pilot can have all the maps loaded into the tablet and confirm with ground troops they have the right coordinates to drop bombs on — all while speeding things up by about 15 minutes. That means, they can all get back home and eat dinner faster to fight another day.
This isn't the first instance where the U.S. military has used consumer electronics in battle before. In 2009, the iPod Touch was called to duty to test translation software and the Air Force even built a supercomputer out of 1,760 PlayStation 3s, so you see, the tech is powerful enough. Now, the U.S. military just needs to secure them.
The U.S. military using iPads? Steve Jobs would be proud.