The US Air Force (USAF) has ordered over $9 million dollars worth of 32GB iPads.
These iPads are intended to be used as digital manuals and navigation charts for aircraft pilots and crews in the Air Mobility Command.
“Aircrews fly nonstop worldwide missions and require access to flight publications both on and off the aircraft, throughout all phases of flight,” [Captain Kathleen Ferrero] said in an e-mail. The so-called electronic flight bags will help crews operate more effectively and safely, and support the Pentagon’s efficiency goals, she said.
Although this contract would let the Air Force buy up to 18,000 iPads, it remains to be seen how many USAF will actually get funded and approved. Currently, they have 63 iPads on order for testing.
USAF did not specifically go after Apple’s iPad either. It was an open evaluation and it seems that price was a significant factor. USAF will be getting a discount of about $70 per iPad off the 32 GB model.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recently approved iPads for use in US civil aviation as well. Alaska Airlines and American Airlines are using them. It seems that in near future, there will be digital manuals and navigation.