iPads to provide backup for Marines in Afghanistan

Small win could advance long-term helicopter tech

The 3rd Aircraft Wing of the U.S. Marine Corp recently purchased 32 iPads and necessary accessories – a total of $20,000 worth – to enable its helicopter units to better support ground troops in combat zones, but not without some coaxing, writes Mark Riffee of Wired’s Danger Room blog.

In fact, Capt. Jim Carlson, a Cobra pilot in a Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron, had to prove the tablets’ value by using his personal iPad to upload maps of the specific region and communicate with warfighters in need of fire support; however, cutting the lag time by 15 minutes seemed to get his superiors’ attention and alleviate their security concerns.

If the iPads prove beneficial, writes Riffee, helicopters could potentially be designed with tablets or comparable technology built in to begin with.

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