A few weeks ago, we got word that the United States Air Force Special Operations Command was looking at purchasing as many as 18,000 iPad tablets. The tablets were expected to be used in the cockpit of aircraft to help reduce pilot workload with digital charts and other capabilities. Reports are now coming in the USAF has canceled those plans to purchase iPads. Pilots for American Airlines are using iPads in the cockpit for easier access to charts and weight savings already.
According to Nextgov.com, it sent a query to the Special Operations Command regarding plans to include Russian-developed security and document reader software on the tablets. Apparently, two days after the query was sent; the Air Force canceled its plans to purchase 2861 iPad 2 tablets. The software specifically in question is called GoodReader was developed to meet mission security requirements. The website also reports that the director of the Army smartphone project had told it that he would not use software developed in Russia in his program to avoid any potential end-user security risk.
According to a spokesperson for SOC, options are continuing to be explored. I’m sure eventually that the Air Force will find suitable technology and will migrate to tablets for use in the cockpit. The reduced pilot workload and fuel savings by reducing weight is likely hard to pass up. American Airlines claims that the weight savings alone will save $1.2 million in fuel per year across its fleet.