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

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.