The U.S. Air Force awarded a $9.36 million contract to buy as many as 18,000 Apple (AAPL) iPad in one of the military’s largest orders of computer tablets, reports Bloomberg.
The Air Force is taking a cue from commercial airlines, United Continental has announced that it is buying 11,000 Apple iPads to replace in-flight operating manuals for pilots. Presently, pilots carry about 40 pounds of flight manuals per pilot on each flight.
“Aircrews fly nonstop worldwide missions and require access to flight publications both on and off the aircraft, throughout all phases of flight,” said Captain Kathleen Ferrero, a military spokeswoman via e-mail. The so-called electronic flight bags will help crews operate more effectively and safely, and support the Pentagon’s efficiency goals, she said.
Air Mobility Command announced the award today to Executive Technology Inc., a Phoenix-based computer services company, Captain Kathleen Ferrero, a military spokeswoman, said in a telephone interview.
The type of iPad the command is buying retails for $599, Ferrero said. The Air Force would buy it at a discount for about $520 a device, she said. The product comes with wireless connectivity and 32 gigabytes of memory, she said.
“It was open to everybody,” said Ferraro, referring to the vendor bid, and the decided to go with the best.