Smartphones Are the Perfect Combat Tool for Soldiers

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tactival nav

Recently, Captain Johnathan Springer of the US Army developed a really cool iOS app that can pinpoint the coordinates of enemy gunfire. Traditionally, pinpointing enemy gunfire is the support of a fire support officer, and involves a compass, binoculars, a map, a protractor, a GPS device – a secondary GPS device in case one fails – and batteries. A smartphone can replace all of these tools and provide much more, making it the perfect combat tool for a soldier.

Smartphone apps also have the ability to save the military lots of money where it tends to be wasted. Logistics, bureaucracy, communication, and training can all be improved with apps used in the field. Currently, Springer’s app is sold in the App Store for $5.99, but a wholesale purchase by the Department of Defense could make this app readily available.

The biggest hurdle for smartphone apps in the military is probably choosing a device and making sure it’s secure. Although Springer’s Tactival NAV app is developed for iOS, the BlackBerry would make the best platform for military apps. How cool would a modern BlackBerry in an Otterbox Defender Series case be in the field? The military could empower smaller, special forces divisions such as the Green Berets with BlackBerrys and the latest military apps. It would surely make them a more effective fighting team. Or maybe we could just see more smartphones used in Hollywood military movies like the Nokia X7 in Transformer.

  • http://twitter.com/dkonigs Derek Konigsberg

    There are two major problems with this idea, that everyone “in the tech community” seems to keep forgetting:

    First, none of the standard consumer smartphones meet military specifications for environmental tolerances or usability.  Remember, its not just a matter of slapping an Otterbox around the thing.  It also has to stand up to extreme temperatures, humidity ranges, and also be usable by someone wearing gloves.

    Second, what data network are you going to run these off of in the field?  Do you seriously think the military can rely on fixed GSM or CDMA cell towers in the middle of nowhere?  If such towers even exist, and aren’t being shot at, what’s to stop the bad guys from accessing them and pinpointing friendly troop positions?  Oh, and I seriously doubt those networks were designed with jamming (or any electronic warfare considerations) in mind either.

    So could you build a device that ran a popular mobile OS, met military specifications, and ran on a tactical radio network?  Sure.  Would it cost a fortune to develop and mass produce?  You better believe it.  And would it look anything like your stock BlackBerry or iPhone?  I seriously doubt it.

  • http://www.elantechnologies.com/services/mobile-apps/iphone-application-development iphone application development

    These are good mobile apps that helps to soldiers. There are many free and useful apps available online.