The Air Force Special Operations Command is back looking for a large number of iPads after cancelling their original procurement last February. The military branch is wanting to use the tablets to store digital charts for its flight crews.
The reason for cancelling the order earlier this year was related to Russian-developed software that was to be used to read PDF chart files but has since been omitted from the order and will no longer be a problem.
This order represents a decent fulfillment for Apple with 2,725 third-generation iPads set to be delivered, which actually comes in at 36 fewer units than in the original procurement. Set to be delivered if no “brand name or equal” tablet is made an option, the tablet also needs to have a 2-year warranty (AppleCare+ Plan or equivalent), USB power adapters for each unit and come equipped with Wi-Fi –though without built-in cellular communications.
The Air Force Special Operations Command isn’t the only military agency with iPads on the brain. In March, the Air Force Mobility command purchased 18,000 units from Executive Technology Inc. of Phoenix. This purchase stirred a little controversy because the government had originally expressed intentions of accepting bids for brand name or equal tablets but in the end didn’t seem to look at any other alternatives.
The U.S. Coast Guard is also looking to make a tablet purchase and released a notice for procurement of 35 electronic flight bag tablets earlier this week.
Though the insinuation is any tablet that meets the requirements is fair-game, the requests for proposals are all certainly being written with a strong preference for iOS-based products, and with short turn-arounds we should soon see more iPads in military hands –a standard that should make Apple happy and give a heads up to would-be developers in positions to look for work writing government-procured iOS apps.