“The future of ‘networked warfare’ requires each soldier to be linked electronically to other troops as well as to weapons systems and intelligence sources,” says a new report in Newsweek, and the product of choice appears to be the iPod Touch.
According to Newsweek, both the iPod Touch and to a lesser degree the iPhone are increasingly being used by the U.S. military because of their versatility, ease of use and comparative low cost.
The report notes that the iPod fulfils the military’s need to give soldiers one device that can perform many different functions, and this device has the added advantage that it can often be controlled with one hand.
Software developers and the U.S. Department of Defense are busy developing military software for iPods in an attempt to gives soldiers even more functionality. A new program called Vcommunicator produces spoken and written translations of Arabic, Kurdish and two Afghan languages.
“Snipers in Iraq and Afghanistan now use a “ballistics calculator” called BulletFlight, made by the Florida firm Knight’s Armament for the iPod Touch and iPhone. Army researchers are developing applications to turn an iPod into a remote control for a bomb-disposal robot (tilting the iPod steers the robot). In Sudan, American military observers are using iPods to learn the appropriate etiquette for interacting with tribal leaders,” the report says.
According to an Army official in Baghdad, the devices have yet to be successfully hacked and at $230 a pop, the iPod may fit right into President Obama’s 663.7 billion dollar defense budget.