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.