US Air Force Looking to Buy 18,000 iPads For Cargo Aircraft

By , Feb 8, 2012

Following suit with American Airlines and other commercial airlines, the United States Air Force hopes to rid of all of the paper and charts in their cargo planes with iPads.

All of those pilot manuals, which weigh a ton, will be replaced with iPads that have the manuals preloaded digitally. Tab Times reports that the Air Force hopes to buy a minimum of 63 and a maximum of 18,000 iPad 2s…

The Air Force’s Air Mobility Command’s (AMC) planned purchase could be the largest single federal order for a tablet, according to the site NextGov, which reported on the deal after seeing a notice at the Federal Business Opportunities website. The notice said AMC wants to buy “a minimum of 63 and a maximum of 18,000, iPad 2, Brand Name or Equal devices” for cargo aircraft such as the C-5 Galaxy and C-17 Globemaster. 

The request by the Air Force does say “iPad 2, Brand Name or Equal devices”, but they will most likely choose the iPad 2. If the deal goes through, this will be the single biggest tablet order by the federal government.

The iPad 2 seems to be the Air Force’s choice, because their Special Operations Command said last month that it planned to buy 2,861 iPad 2s. The SOC plans to use these iPads for electronic flight bags for its crews.

The Air Force won’t necessarily buy 18,000, but it seems like it will certainly be a large amount. However many purchased, they will be deployed into the C-5 Galaxy and C-17 Globemaster aircrafts.

In December, the FAA gave American Airlines’ pilot approval to use iPads in-cockpit as a replacement for paper-based flight documents, beginning Friday 16th of December.

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  • T1rell

    Dumb airforce, they should wait for the ipad3 to be released ;D

    • sn0wbaLL

      its your tax money their spending, so yeah, let them get the iPad 3.

  • Cloudi Windi

    iPad 2s? I don’t know about that, is it the next Gen of iPad?

    • Howard Ellacott

      It’s saying that there’s more than one. It should be iPad 2’s. That’s why iDB needs an editor 😉

  • Anonymous

    This is a great idea. The last thing you want is a pilot fumbling through giant paper manuals during a crisis, when he can just search an iPad and get instant results.

    Let’s just hope they don’t get distracted up there, and start playing Flight Control to pass the time 😉

  • Angel YoDuh Castillo

    If they’re only using it for manuals, then I’m sure the iPad 2 will do exactly what they need it to do..

  • John H

    this is just stupid, for the intended use they should just buy a reader. The Air Force and AA are just wasting money.

    • Anonymous

      Yeah right they should just use a Kindle instead. SMH

    • Anonymous

      Aha, lets cut corners on resolution, colour accuracy, screen size etc etc etc – after all its only an AIRCRAFT manual. If you bothered to look at the savings buying the iPad’s makes, weight = fuel, searches = time. The savings estimated for one airline company, a relatively small one, are already pegged at several million dollars a year just on fuel savings alone. iPad is the best solution – period!

  • Amit Shah

    ipad 2 is overkill for a manual, someone needs to make a cheap ebook reader for single use, so long life battery – one sd card slot nothing else. kindle is still a brand.

    heck airforce could build their own..

    • UpChuck.Liberals NoBO12

      Yep, the AF could build their own but it’d cost 1000x as much and take 20 years to develop. There is a reason the military is buying off the shelf equipment, it does the job for a reasonable price. BTW there are a lot of color pictures in the manuels and I’m sure they’re going to want a product that will be around in 5 years.