War? Raytheon Has an App For That

Defense firm Raytheon announced Thursday that it has plans to turn the iPhone into a battlefield tool for U.S. soldiers. The firm announced an iPhone app called One Force Tracker (OFT), the first of a series of apps Raytheon thinks will be valuable to soldiers in the field. Raytheon also said that it was working closely with Apple in development of these and other tools.

OFT taps into the iPhone's abilities and features, including the built-in compass, global positioning system, accelerometer, 3G networks, WiFi, and multitouch screen. The company also said it has designed, "disruptive-tolerant networking, content-centric networking and augmented reality, incorporating security guards for tactical operations."

OFT ScreenshotIn the screenshot to the left, a battlefield map is shown with soldiers and military assets displayed in real time. The apps feed information to each other to provide data for the display.

"We have developed a situational awareness application based on military messaging standards that provide multimedia access, audio and textual point of interest, free text messaging, collaborative planning, spot reports and emergency call for fire," Tushar Patel, director of Advanced Programs and Technology at Raytheon's Network Centric Systems, said in a statement.

This is not an app likely to be found on the App Store, but instead would be deployed on iPhones through the Enterprise development license that allows companies to install apps across internal iPhone networks.

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."