Need an Airstrike? There’s an App for That

Raytheon has developed ruggedized and militarized versions of the Apple iPhone and iPod touch that can handle adverse combat environments, according to the March C4ISR Journal. Amongst other tasks, the military iPhone can access the DOD’s DCGS intelligence-sharing network. Maybe, someday, launch a Hellfire attack.

In a synopsis of the C4ISR Journal story last week, Defense Review described how the ruggedized iPhone can “can display full-motion video, store multiple applications and grant access to the Defense Department’s new Distributed Common Ground/Surface System (DCGS) intelligence-sharing network, and will cost about $300 each.”

Raytheon said that because the applications are software-based, new capabilities can easily be added to meet mission requirements. In fact, Defense Review theorized that there’s no reason, in principle, why such an iPhone couldn’t be used to, say, initiate a Hellfire attack.

The Android operating system is also being pressed into service.

C4ISR reported that,”software developed for the Android operating system could also be expanded to other platforms such as tablet PCs, according to Keith Little, a Raytheon Intelligence and Information Systems spokesman.” That suggests a possible opening for the iPad as well, and, in fact, U.S. Army representatives were recently in Cupertino talking to Apple about just that.

With tongue in cheek, but only barely so, Defense Review concluded, “Looks like the future may well entail smartphone-wielding soldiers liquidating insurgents with HellFire II missiles (fired from armed/weaponized Extended Range/Multi-Purpose … airborne missile platforms), using only their thumbs, all while enjoying their favorite Frappuccino, anywhere in the world.”

The bad news? The bad guys have iPhones too. No Hellfires. Just iPhones.