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Military iPads

Discussion in 'iPad General Discussions' started by Seadog, Feb 21, 2012.

  1. Seadog
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    Seadog Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I read where the military is interested in going with the iPad to transition to a paperless cockpit in aircraft, among other things. However, they may run into the biggest issue that restricts the use of Apple products in government. The fact that the Apple iOS is an exclusive system, and you cannot buy iPads or iOS systems made by anyone else, is a major no-no to any public agency. Many will remember the problems the Air Force had bidding for new tanker aircraft because the only two international companies that could compete, had different thoughts on the requirements.

    Right now, the iPad is unique in that it has no real competition. If they make the bid requirements stringent, it will automatically eliminate most of the Android models, and if they make it too loose, they could get a piece of junk. As someone who is familiar with dealing with government bidding, the companies, the regulators, and the lawyers do not care if you get a piece of trash for the money. They just want to make sure that it is the lowest possible bid.
  2. thewitt
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    thewitt iPad Ninja

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    The military single sources many items. The iPad will do just fine as a paperless document and map system, with commercial airlines having already committed to the technology. The military will be able to follow without any significant issues.
  3. Seadog
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    Seadog Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Normally, I would agree, but lately there is a lot of contenious lawsuites being filed. I would not be surprised if Google or Samsung tried to fight it on the basis of non-competitive. Of course, the military could include a provision that the vendor's software must have a minimum number of apps available, and a companion computer operating system that is designed to function with the mobile operating system.
  4. twerppoet
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    twerppoet iPad Legend

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    I imagine they will solve it the same way we eventually solved the phone switch (EPBX) problem in the Coast Guard. We were single sourcing Mitel, and doing quite well by it on our end. Everyone knew how to fix and use the equipment, and training was relatively cheap. Some companies sued (or at least complained to the right people) and we were told we could no longer buy from one source, no matter how convenient and economical it was.

    Fairness is, after all, mostly a matter of perspective.

    After a brief nightmare we solved it this way. We categorized our use cases for several different size installations, and bought from different manufacturers for each case. While not a perfect solutions (from the manufacturer's end) it did allow us to spread out the purchases while keeping training and maintenance costs under control; not as cheap or convenient as it used to be, but that is often the price of fairness (or at least the appearance of fairness, which is often more important).

    I can see the military doing the same thing; identifying several use cases for tablets and filling them with different devices. In some cases that might be an improvement (right device for the right job), in some it will have a cost in training and maintenance. But it's a compromise that most companies (and politicians) will be able to live with.
  5. thewitt
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    thewitt iPad Ninja

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    By the way, they are already in use by the military. I remember an article last year about helicopter pilots in Afghanistan using them for maps. One pilot did it on his own, then the other 30 pilots in the unit quickly adopted the model.
  6. twerppoet
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    twerppoet iPad Legend

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    There have also been a few articles about Android tablets and phones being tested/used. I don't think the military (as a whole) has burned any of it's bridges yet.
  7. maleaco
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    maleaco iPF Novice

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    So...pilots can use them in the cockpits, but FAA still deems it unsafe to use them out of the cockpit....hm
  8. twerppoet
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    twerppoet iPad Legend

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    It's possible (likely) the Pilots are also required to go into AirPlane mode for takeoff and landings.
  9. thewitt
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    thewitt iPad Ninja

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    The FAA rules on this, and the ability of the airlines themselves to override them, are interesting reading. They are posted on the FAA website.

    The short story is there is no proof that these devices interfere with the avionics, and the airlines can certify devices for use if they wish. The only tests with cell phones was done in the UK with simulated signals - not real phones - and the FCC chimed in with a theory that there may be issues overloading ground stations. No proof. Never tested. Just a "might be" speculation and a comment that cellphones are not licensed for use in the air...
  10. seneca18
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    seneca18 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    My iPad is the most important thing in my flight bag now (which is exactly what the FAA does not want to hear). ForeFlight for iPad is the single greatest thing to come to aviation since the glass cockpit. Instead of having to refer to giant maps and charts while flying I can do it all on my iPad. Many major airlines are in the process of outfitting their cockpits with iPads. The only caveat is that they need to cary paper charts as backups. In private and charter flying it is now allowed to use an iPad without having back up charts. However, you must have two iPads, one in case the other one breaks or runs out of battery. It is only a matter of time before the military starts putting them in their aircraft. The only problem I can see happening is we see a commercial airliner over fly their airport by 100 miles and in the cockpit voice recorder we will hear the wooosh of the pilots playing angry birds...lol
  11. MikesTooLz
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    MikesTooLz Super Moderator Staff Member

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    You want to know the real reason for all of this.



    No electronics during take off and landing so that the passengers listen to the crew members instructions instead of blabbing on their cellphones or listening to music/video with headphones on.

    Or maybe its from back when cellphones were as big a backpacks, lol they probably thought those old huge cellphones could do something but never tested anything an kept the rule.




    I get dirty looks when people see me using this phone in my car or at the airport.retroPopHandset.jpg
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2012

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