It Was Only A Matter Of Time

…before our civilian hardware/tech got to be as good in some respects or maybe even better than some of the military tech. Or at least good enough to be considered useful by the military. Certainly, the advent of hand-held (or dash-mounted) GPS units for a couple of hundred dollars presaged this moment.

But I didn’t think I’d see this so fast. Via TUAW, the story of one of the US government’s largest private military contractors, Raytheon, developing iPhone apps specifically for the military:

Their first military app is called One Force Tracker and uses satellite positioning and mobile networks to turn soldiers into master tacticians, giving them constantly updating field maps that track the position of friendly troops and enemy fighters in real time.

Jay Smart, chief technology officer of Raytheon’s intelligence and information systems business, said, “Raytheon’s experience with mobile communications in the tactical environment and the government customers’ need for low-power, simple plug-and-play applications led to the development of a real-time situational awareness application using Apple’s touch technologies,” and that the decision to use the iPhone was “because building software for the gadget was cheaper and simpler than some of the expensive options specifically designed for military use.”

While it’s probably a safe bet that One Force Tracker won’t be appearing in the App Store anytime soon, another military application by Knight’s Armament Company, an American weapons maker that supplies rifles to the Pentagon, has an app called BulletFlight [iTunes link] which helps snipers and sharpshooters to hit their intended target.

TUAW’s headline pretty much sums up my general queasiness with the whole thing, though: “Tracking and killing insurgents? There’s an app for that.”