Marine Corps aviators deploy Apple’s revolutionary iPad in Afghanistan

“Marine Corps aviators in Afghanistan are using one of the hottest electronic devices on the market to help keep Afghan civilians and coalition ground troops safe,” Cpl. Rashaun X. James reports DVIDS.

“‘iPads allow close-air support aircrew several advantages,’ said Maj. Marc Blankenbicker, the lead fire control officer for the Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron Harvest Hawk detachment at Camp Dwyer, Afghanistan. ‘“First is the ability to carry 500 large charts, known as gridded reference graphics, on one electronic tablet.'”

“Currently, a handful of 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward) squadrons use Apple’s iPad in Afghanistan. This includes crewmembers for AH-1W and UH-1Y light attack helicopter squadrons, AV-8B Harrier pilots and the crew of the Harvest Hawk equipped KC-130J,” James reports. “Each of these aircraft provides close-air support for Marines, Afghan forces and other combined team ground troops in Nimroz and Helmand provinces. Marine aviators said the electronic tablet helps them quickly access maps and other data they can use to ensure precision strikes are targeted at enemy positions.”

James reports, “iPad didn’t enter the fight in Afghanistan as a headquarters-driven initiative, but was instead an implementation by a pilot, for pilots. Capt. Jim ‘Hottie’ Carlson, an AH-1W Cobra pilot,with Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 369, thought of and implemented the idea during his Afghanistan deployment as a way to save time and space.”

Much more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Amandaz” for the heads up.]


    1. No matter your thoughts on the legalities of the war, the use of the iPad saves time – and lives – for our soldiers and civilians. If you’d rather not have them equipped with the best available technology/solutions, then regardless of your political position or war declaration legitimacy, more people will die, and as I read through your comment – isn’t this your true point?

      1. iPad good. Utterly stupid pointless war in Afghanistan bad.
        DONT talk about what you dont know – you dont know if the iPad will save lives or allow more lives to be lost. You simply do NOT know.
        If the iPad allows better targeting then more people will die.
        Thats people. Not sure what costumes they are wearing or what colour they are.

        1. Sorry DiM; did 2 tours there already. How’s the coffee in Milan? Faster, and accurate, access time makes a difference between life and death. To minimize death (albeit I read you as death should be = 0, and this is a fine post for elsewhere) for civilians and troups, you need accurate coordinates and fast response time. nothing says fast about unfolding a chart map and locating coordinates, and in that time, things change. So, I have been there, and I know. Semper Fidelis -since 1883.

        2. Although all lives are created equally, they aren’t lived that way. Your comment assumes that a murderous barbarian’s and a schoolgirl’s lives are both worth protecting. One is, the other isn’t. Sorry, jmk is right.

            1. To JMK,

              Your comments were absolutely right! As someone who has been there would have the knowledge to say something intelligently about it, very well stated!

              Thank you for your service!
              Semper Fi!

        3. Anything that saves the lives of our armed forces personnel and innocents should be regarded as good and should be an integral part of our inventory. As far as the war, all terrorists should be executed with extreme prejudice.
          And to jmk, thank you for you’re service.

        4. I don’t care if anyone is for or against these wars. We are all entitled to our stand. What I want to know is would you deny our soldiers the best equipment and while we’re at it If more people die, as you say, on one side, it stands to reason that less on the other side will die because of better training with better equipment, etc.

          The war will go on in the foreseeable future. People are going to die and be wounded and maimed on both sides. You can stand on your hatred and immorality of war, nothing wrong with that. I dare say few, if any, soldiers will come home wearing a “notched gun” outside the movies. These soldiers do not live to kill, they live to defend their country from those who would do it harm. Take the war up with the politicians and let the soldiers do their jobs the best way they can while they are placed in harms way.
          When I saw this article I hoped people would not respond with the usual SHALOW remarks as they do concerning Apple and Android. My hope was in vain. Please understand, war is always a terrible thing to be involve in but please do not deny these men and women the equipment they need and want to to do their jobs.

        5. Your blanket assessment of this being an “utterly stupid pointless war” speaks volumes about your value structure. Do you know anything at all about the plight of Afghan women who suffered under Taliban rule! Have you taken the time to understand the institutionalized culture of violence perpetrated against Afghan women during that period. It is only because this war toppled that regime that some of that violence has been subdued, that some young Afghan girls now have any chance at obtaining the basics of a formal education, and that very small numbers of Afghan women even have opportunities for something approaching careers. It’s grimly amusing hearing men speak out against the war in Afghanistan as if it’s a terrible affront to their moral sensibilities; where was their moral outrage when the previous regime was systematically persecuting my gender there. Perhaps, sadly, those same men didn’t feel any.

    1. there is a linux app called PSS-SOF (Precision Strike Suite-Special Operating Forces). runs on PDA’s and jail broke iphones. the ipad map function discussed in this thread helps aviators geo locate the same way paper/plastic maps function.

      PSS-SOF overlays a sensor input (video) to a map grid, producing a military quality GPS coordinate. the youtube video of a sniper on a rooftop on ground video and once the fire command was authorized, the flight time of the MLRS was about 30 secs. the whole video was 150 sec’s long.

      you can’t tell from the video, but the coordinates were created and handed off by a PSS-SOF operator. to me PSS-SOF is as good a name as tap tap revenge.

      the point for derek is apple and the pda makers have no role in the use of their devices. the ingenuity of the people supporting our best and bravest use the device as a platform to deliver lethality, usually with precision to save innocent lives.


      indebted forever to you and your brothers and sisters for your service.

      1. They’re angry, they wear a towel-like cloth on their anterior ass, and killing murderous savages is a Good Thing.

        Political Correctness is the Ultimate Racism.

  1. Not to be snarky, but why are troops whose original purpose was the boarding of ships flying aircraft in a landlocked country?
    If we are to get the deficit down we are going to have to reign in the DoD and the Navy Department’s second army is a good place to start. We do not need a second army- nor do we need a second Air Force. The Marines should be shrunken back to their original purpose, give up their planes, helicopters and tanks & put back on the ships theyb belong on.
    Make no mistake, I’m not dissing the people in the Marines- just questioning the existence of the institution as a separate service. I have served with and alongside Marines and they are good troops- but the service does nothing but duplicate capabilities that exist within the Navy, Army & Air Force.
    Our country simply cannot afford this kind of thing anymore.

      1. @John,

        For whom? Those who create roads? Or roadside bombs? For this who create schools, or destroy them? Those who are trying to wean Afghan farmers off growing opium, or those who embrace it?

      1. The Marines grew big during World War 2, when we went in with an Army smaller than that of Sweeden and it had to surge in size into the millions very quickly. Despite the fact that amphibious warfare is supposed to be the specialty of the Marines, the largest seaborne assaults of the war were successfully conducted by the Army & Navy- Normandy, Sicily, and North Africa.
        During the 1st Gulf War a heavy armor brigade from the Army was put out in front of the lightly armored Marine force that got most of the media coverage pushing into Kuwait against the conscript Iraqi forces. This happening while the Army’s US VII Corps obliterated the Iraqi Republican Guard inland ( the professional force ) with little media coverage and the XVIII Airborne Corps kicked ass on the western flank. No coverage in the MSM.
        Read Clancy’s Into The Storm to read of the 1st Gulf War away from the satellite trucks. Uncle Sam’s big green team kicked serious ass.

  2. I thought Afghanistan was the “legal” AND “moral” war – that’s what EVERYBODY said in 2008.

    Since when has any war been moral? The lesser of two evils – maybe, necessary even – but never moral.

  3. For those of us who are old enough to remember, the most interesting and distressing part about Afghanistan is we are now pretty much supporting the people who were allied with the Soviets in the 80s. With similar justifications (schools, building a modern nation, infrasructure, rights of women, etc.)

    1. And if you like your irony thickly spread, we’re fighting some of the same people who the Soviets were fighting, but at the same time we’re allied with some of the same people the Soviets were fighting.

    2. Minus the landmines-disguised-as-toys trick the Russkies pulled. But yeah, I remember that too and i also think it surreal. I guess the Taliban are symptomatic of much larger problems than can/should be addressed in a forum like this. (sigh)

    3. The Soviets allied with more sane people there, USA has no other variant now (yet in 1980s they supplied weapons to fundamentalists which attack USA’s troops for the last ten years).

  4. The great bit about this story is Apple avoiding the enterprise acquisition process through the motivated creativity of an end-user. If this system had been put out for bids through the Pentagons acquisition process, it would either be a no-bid Haliburton abortion or still in the RFP writing process. Once again the grunts on the ground know how to get the job done.

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