Tablets and Google Android smartphones to reach soldiers in Afghanistan

By Telecom Lead Team: The U.S. Army is investing heavily
into mobile technologies. As part of giving secured connectivity to troops in
Afghanistan, media tablets and Google Android smartphones will be made
available.


As standard-issue equipment, the phones should allow
units to share live video, GPS coordinates, voice communication, and ultimately
build an accurate integrated picture of the battlefield.


A few of these devices have been given to forces in
theatre, with 40 touch screen phones hosting an experimental secure network
dedicated to US bases two years ago. By March, 50 more will be shipped out,
along with 75 tablet computers.


The Army is also continuing to invest and develop its own
App store, providing specialist platforms for soldiers, which includes foreign
language translation and equipment location services.


Google Android software has reportedly been considered
the preferred foundation for the technology, despite Apple iPads proving
popular among other aspects of the military, as well as to other forces
worldwide.


Tablet devices are also expected to be certified
components of several global future soldier programs, including India’s F-INSAS
and France’s FÉLIN, and have been incorporated successfully into the British
Artillery training program.


Speaking ahead of his address at Defence IQ’s Tactical Communications 2012 event in London
this April, Michael McCarthy, director of operations for the Army’s Brigade
Modernization Command Mission Command Complex (MCC), said that the plan was to
give troops the right phones for the right reasons.


“It’s not just to give them another shiny thing to
hang on their equipment carriers,” McCarthy explained, indicating that
advanced analysis is underway for all soldiers in theatre to eventually be
issued a smart phone, provided that the long-term costs are beneficial.


McCarthy will update the international community on Day
Two of the three day Tactical Communications event, being held at the Mayfair
Conference Centre, London, UK, between April 23 – 25.


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