Tactical Nav is an app that lets a soldier map and plot waypoints on a battlefield, take photos and share coordinates with fellow soldiers and units, direct artillery and call in medevac.There was nothing whatsoever metaphorical in that headline. This isn't an app that lets a soldier make on-the-go journal entries, write poems about his or her feelings or check vitals ala a mood ring.
Its developer is 31-year-old Captain Jonathan Springer of the U.S. Army's 101st Airborne, who reportedly spent $26,000 of his own money to develop the app. It is set for release next month in the Apple App Store.
Springer, an artillery specialist on his third deployment in Afghanistan, has had an opportunity few app developers can match. He has tested the software in the most rugged and realistic environment possible, the theater of war.
Global Post the app would also good be for hunting, but in the here-and-now, his priority is his fellow soldiers.Springer told
"I've got to think what do my soldiers need to go into battle? What do my soldiers need that could save their lives? So that's what I'm thinking about right now."
Users can switch latitude and longitude, as well as "angular mils," an artillery measurement; a user can also switch to red light for when soldiers need to avoid being seen in dark or near-dark circumstances.
As the son of a career sailor, I can assure you that serving military are far from anxious to share tactical details with civilians and their COs are even less excited by the notion. So unlike most developers, Springer seems to lack a website for his "product." He may be too busy shooting and being shot at.
So some of the questions one might have regarding such an undertaking remain unanswered, though I have sent them via the U.S. Army's Public Affairs staff. They include:
- How easy would it be to hack this app, especially given it will be available online?
- Does it replace sighting hardware or software artillery experts or even common soldiers already carry?
- How common are iPhones in country?
- Will you make an Android version?
If any of you have an answer to, or opinion about, any of these questions, please respond in the comments.