US Air Force Moves Forward with Large iPad Order

US Air ForceBack in mid-February, the Air Force began looking into the possibility of ordering as many as 18,000 iPads to lighten the loads of its flight crews. After last week, when the Special Operations Command decided to cancel its order of 2,861 iPads over security concerns over a Russian made app that was included in the electronic flight bag, it was unclear if the order for the iPads for the Air Mobility Command would go through.

As of today it was announced that the Air Force Air Mobility Command (AMC) decided to go through with the order, and had awarded a $9.36 million contract to purchase those iPad 2s (up to 18,000) for use in cargo aircraft.

24 companies placed bids to score the lucrative military contract, and the command’s final decision was based on the firm offering the lowest price.

The contract went to Executive Technology Inc., a computer service company based in Phoenix, Arizona. The contract price is well below Apple’s retail asking price, allowing the Air Force to snap these up at a lower cost.

According to military spokeswoman Captain Kathleen Ferrero the AMC will use the 32GB WiFi version of Apple’s tablets as electronic flight bags aboard cargo aircraft in its transport and refueling wing. The tablets will help meet Pentagon efficiency goals as well as helping navigators and pilots operate more effectively on the flight deck.

The contract is designed to allow for the purchase of the iPad 2s over the span of one year, though the order is contingent on fund requests and approval, so the Air Force isn’t locked into the full purchase order of 18,000 iPads.

Several airlines, such as Delta and American Airlines have recently gone paperless with great success, replacing heavy flight manuals with the lighter tablets, so it’s no surprise that the Air Force decided to go the same route. Replacing paper manuals with tablets both improves efficiency and reduces fuel costs.

[via AppleInsider]

About Juli: Contact me via Twitter: @julipuli

  • ActualAirForcePilot

    I am amazed at how much irresponsible journalism is out there. Did every hack reporter just blatantly copy and paste the NextGov story on AFSOC without reading it or fact checking it for that matter? The NextGov reporter who broke the story, gives himself credit without any factual basis as the reason AFSOC cancelled thier order and speculates that it must have been due to security concerns because the software is made in Russia! Are you kidding me?! The AF cancels a $2million dollar contract over a $4.99 app that could easily be replaced by another PDF app? No!! Stop and think people.

    So once again it’s amateur hour in the media world as everyone falsely regurgitates and further exaggerates the story…here it is presented as fact that AFSOC cancelled the contract over security concerns. Unbelievable! It’s gone from reporter speculation on no facts to absolute fact. It is crap like this that throw up road blocks on great initiatives. GoodReader has never been accused in two years of the iPads existence of malicious code, nor has the iPad itself been found to ever have had a virus on it and over night with some sensationalist idiot reporter, the entire validity of the iPads most popular PDF app is called into question. Really?! The NextGov guy should get his pants sued off him for slander…probably just cost that developer millions of dollars and set the Air Force back for absolutely no reason. Btw since then, much more reputable news sources have since corrected the story, yet hack jobs like NextGov and this one apparently haven’t caught up with the truth yet. I guess it’s more important to get a story out regardless of factual content