US Air Force Agrees to Purchase $9 Million Worth of iPads


The U.S. Air Force has awarded a $9.36 million contract to purchase as many as 18,000 iPad 2s, according to Bloomberg. The plan is to replace bulky and heavy flight bags full of navigational charts and other materials with iPads in order to reduce the weight of pilots' bags and save fuel on flights.

The Air Mobility Command, which is purchasing the iPads, provides transport and refueling services using C-5, C-17, and C-130 cargo planes, and KC-10 and KC-135 tankers.

A number of airlines have begun testing iPads to replace heavy flight bags, including United, Delta, American, and the Marine Corps.

The iPads will streamline pilots' work by eliminating the need for thumbing through sheafs of paper or waiting for pages to print. The iPads will reduce clutter on cramped flight decks and offer quick and easy access to required data at all times.

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37 months ago
Well that's one way for Apple to clear out all their iPad 2 stock ahead of next week's release.
Rating: 22 Votes
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37 months ago

They should wait a week and buy the iPad 3.


they have to test all this **** for months bro.

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That's a lot of iPad's! Now the Pentagon is going to write new policies for locking them down and restricting their use so that they're almost useless.


They have to lock them down so they're secure bro. they'll use private networks and all kinds of ****, and it may be annoying but it's VERY important.
Rating: 11 Votes
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37 months ago
That's $520 per iPad… Looks like negotiation isn't one of the Air Force's strong points!
Rating: 9 Votes
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37 months ago
D'ya think they'll ensure they switch 'em off during take-off & landing like the rest of us? :)
Rating: 9 Votes
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37 months ago

They should wait a week and buy the iPad 3.


I agree. Retina displays would make a big difference when viewing flight data.

That's a lot of iPad's! Now the Pentagon is going to write new policies for locking them down and restricting their use so that they're almost useless.


Isn't that kinda the point? They aren't so pilots can play angry birds...Don't worry, they will make them very useful for the jobs they are intended.
Rating: 6 Votes
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37 months ago

The military spending millions of dollars on obsolete technology? Shocking! :eek:


One model away from newest hardware and the current OS is not even close to obsolete.
Rating: 5 Votes
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37 months ago

"The U.S. Air Force has awarded a $9.36 million contract to purchase as many as 18,000 iPad 2s"

The U.S. Air Force or Tax payers?


The article said the US Air Force
Rating: 3 Votes
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37 months ago

Comeon...you'd have to be living in a vaccum to not know the iPad 3 release schedule was slated for March and it would have a Retina. They could have negotiated to wait until the next release - it's not like they got a good deal on the iPad 2's anyway.


When it comes to military and government stuff, this stuff takes a LONG time. Months, if not years, from initial proposals to RFPs to contract award to writing system specifications and requirements. By the time the stuff is developed, test and acceptance procedures are written and executed, and the proper signoffs are obtained, the rest of us could well be using iPad 5's. And if that was the case, they can't just say "oh, we'll just swap out the iPad 2's for the new hardware" -- that would invalidate the test and safety procedures and they'd have to start all over again.
Rating: 3 Votes
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37 months ago

People arguing over cost of these devices... these electronic flight bags would be replacing hundreds of dollars and upwards of 50 pounds of paper that needed to be updated monthly. Assuming they get used each iPad will represent a significant cost savings.


If they're using commercial charts, like the Jeppesen Military Chart Service, then they still have to pay for them in electronic form.

However, the USAF says that up to 70 pounds of aircraft and rule binders are carried onboard... and those could be removed in favor of an electronic version. Removing weight saves fuel; switching to electronic data saves time updating. That's the savings.
Rating: 3 Votes
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37 months ago

[...] 8. Changing and updating software will be incredibly easy.

Win win win for the USAF


Agree. The USAF will develop their own custom apps, deploy them in-house through the iOS Developer Enterprise Program, and avoid using thousands of tons of paper every year. The FAA requires paper maps and manuals to be updated every month in civilian aviation, and it likely that the USAF does the same.

The iPads should pay for themselves quickly. Just from paper printing / recycling cost savings plus the tiny reduction in fuel burned by not carrying all that extra weight. It all adds up.
Rating: 3 Votes
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