In one of the military’s largest orders of computer tablets, the United States Air Force awarded Apple a $9.36 million contract to buy 18,000 Apple IPad 2s. The award was given to Executive Technology Inc., a computer services company based in Phoenix, Arizona and announced today by Air Mobility Command, based at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois. Air Mobility Command provides transport and refueling services to the United States military using C-5, C-17 and C-130 cargo planes and KC-10 and KC-135 tankers.
Executive Technology Inc., will use the Apple IPad 2 tablets to replace the bags of paper manuals and navigation charts carried by pilots and navigators. Commercial airlines are already using tablets for this purpose. Captain Kathleen Ferrero, a military spokeswoman said, “Aircrews fly non-stop worldwide missions and require access to flight publications both on and off the aircraft, throughout all phases of flight. The so-called electronic flight bags will help crews operate more effectively and safely, and support the Pentagon’s efficiency goals.”
The contract allows the Air Force to buy as many as 18,000 of the Apple IPad 2 devices within a year of the award date. The command is buying the IPad 2 that retails for $599 for the discounted price of about $520 per device. The Apple IPad 2 tablets will come with wireless connectivity and 32 gigabytes of memory. The competition for the contract drew 24 proposals from companies interested. The command’s decision according to Captain Ferrero was based on the lowest priced offer.