updated 04:15 pm EST, Wed February 8, 2012
Military follows in steps of civilian airlines
The US Air Force is looking to buy as many as 18,000 more tablets, likely iPads, reports say. On the US government's Federal Business Opportunities website, a notice indicates that the Air Force's Air Mobility Command wants "a minimum of 63 and a maximum of 18,000, iPad 2, Brand Name or Equal devices" for use by the crews of cargo planes. The tablets would replace the paper charts and manuals crews currently take with them, which can be bulky, weightier and less convenient.
The AMC's public affairs director, Lt. Col. Glen Roberts, says that the branch is "is looking for a tablet device, not necessarily an iPad." The iPad is by far the bestselling consumer tablet worldwide however, and has already been selected by the USAF's Special Operations Command, which in January said it would buy 2,861 units for flight crews. How the AMC will decide how many units to buy is unknown.
The Air Force is following in the path of civilian airlines like American Airlines and Alaska Airlines. In some cases the companies have been using iPads and other tablets for months, since Federal Aviation Administration approval was granted in February 2011.