Battle-ready Smartphones are going to war in 2013. The US Army has announced that it will be issuing open Android Dev kits to its soldiers in July. This will allow apps to be written for use by soldiers on a variety of combat handsets and devices. According to an article written by Lewis Page, The A Register, the military Droid framework is known as Mobile/Handheld Computing Environment (CE).
US Army to Deploy Droid Dev Kit
“Using the Mobile /Handheld CE Product Developers Kit, we’re going to allow the third-party developers to actually develop capabilities that aren’t stovepiped,” says Lt-Col Mark Daniels. Daniels is in charge of the Joint Battle Command-Platform (JBC-P) handheld device, which is essentially a military Droid phone: it is expected to be issued to US Army and Marine ground units from 2013.
Blue Force Tracking will let the soldiers see where “friendly” units are located. Hopefully this will prevent “friendly fire” incidents. In addition to the Blue Force Tracking, the Smartphones come with other apps that the Army is developing. These include mapping, TIGR map-marking and messaging. According to Daniels there will also be an address book and OpenOffice for document viewing.
The new software will work on a variety of Android platforms and phone models. It will have a “ruggedized tactical sleeve or case”. According to Page’s article “Networking will be provided by any of a variety of existing military radios: specifically named are the Joint Tactical Radio System, JTRS Soldier Radio Waveform, Netted Iridium, and the PRC 117G and PRC 152A used by the Marines. The system and its baseline apps are expected to tie in with existing vehicle-mounted and headquarters kit provided under previous command-and-control/blue-force-tracking projects.”
“That’s going to allow us to be interoperable across the entire family of systems, which would include the platforms, the aviation, the logistics community, the tanks, the Bradleys, the handhelds,” Daniels says.
It was only a matter of time before Smartphones were used for war. It just begs the question however, that if the software locates “friendly units,” does it also locate enemy units? And will the enemy also be deploying Smartphones in battle, thereby tapping into our guys’ information and location? It’s beginning to sound like a video game. What’s your take on it?
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