US Air Force awards $9M contract for up to 18,000 iPads

Posted:
in iPad edited January 2014


It was announced on Friday that the US Air Force Air Mobility Command had awarded a $9.36 million contract to purchase up to 18,000 iPad 2s slated for use in the military arm's cargo aircraft.



The contract was given to Phoenix, Arizona-based computer service company Executive Technology Inc. on Thursday, and is the first step in the Air Force's plan to replace existing paper-based flight bags with so-called electronic flight bags (EFB), reports Bloomberg.



The announcement confirms a previous report that the Air Force was planning the buy for its transport and refueling wing, which called for "minimum of 63 and a maximum of 18,000 iPad 2" units or "equal devices."



Military spokeswoman Captain Kathleen Ferrero said that AMC will use the 32GB Wi-Fi version of Apple's tablet as EFBs aboard a variety of cargo aircraft. She went on to say that the command has already purchased 63 units that will be used for testing when they arrive sometime in the next 30 days.



Ferrero said the contract price per unit came with a substantial discount which dropped the tablet's $599 retail price down to around $520.



In all, 24 companies placed bids for the lucrative military contract, with the command's final decision being based in part on which firm could offer the lowest price. Ferrero declined to name the companies involved, or if Apple itself took part in the bidding process.



"It was open to everybody," Ferrero said. "We weren't going to any specific vendor."



Although the $9.36 million contract is earmarked for the purchase of iPad 2s over the span of one year, the order is "contingent upon funding requests and approval," meaning that the Air Force doesn't necessarily have to buy all 18,000 units.











Air Mobility Command's plan to ditch paper flight bags for digital alternatives echoes moves from the private sector as carriers like Delta and American Airlines are currently in the process of making the switch to EFBs.



While traditional flight bags contain heavy manuals, maps and charts, EFBs offer a tablet-based package that results in fuel cost savings and improved efficiency. The Federal Aviation Administration first approved Apple's iPad 2 for the task in July, 2011, and numerous commercial airlines have tested and implemented the solution in the intervening months.



Ferrero said that the military will use the tablet to allow its crews to meet Pentagon efficiency goals, and help navigators and pilots operate more effectively on the flight deck.



“Aircrews fly nonstop worldwide missions and require access to flight publications both on and off the aircraft, throughout all phases of flight,” Ferrero said. The iPad 2 fits that need in a small, easy to carry package.



The news comes on the heels of the Air Force's Special Operations Command's recent decision to cancel an order of 2,861 iPad 2s, reportedly nixed over security concerns regarding a Russian-made app included in the proposed EFB.



[ View article on AppleInsider ]

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 82
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    Wait, didn't they just forgo iPads for some other tablet and software written by one of our former enemies, or what was that?
  • Reply 2 of 82
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 5,740member
    This is great news. I'm sure the rest of the "requirements" were support, stability, and ease-of-use. That pretty much throws Android out the window.



    Android tablets are pretty much obsolete about 17 hours after they are sold. Most don't even run ICS and those that do already have a history of bailing their customers.



    Great thing for Apple and AAPL. Those pilots will enjoy using them, which will most likely result in a trickle-down effect of getting their own personal iPad or one for their family. Keep spreading the love!



    Cue the iHaters for their typical story-spinning on how the military now is just a bunch of M16-carrying iSheeps.
  • Reply 3 of 82
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Don't they read AI? iPad 3 will launch before the ink dries on that contract.
  • Reply 4 of 82
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mstone View Post


    Don't they read AI? iPad 3 will launch before the ink dries on that contract.



    That's why Apple was so happy to give them a 'discount'.
  • Reply 5 of 82
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    As revolutionary and great as the iPad platform is I'm still amazed when I read about the speed and quantity at which government and corporate entities are adopting the platform. I can't recall any other tech that was adopted this widely and quickly.
  • Reply 6 of 82
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


    As revolutionary and great as the iPad platform is I'm still amazed when I read about the speed and quantity at which government and corporate entities are adopting the platform. I can't recall any other tech that was adopted this widely and quickly.



    I think they admire Apple's iron fisted control and locked down security policies since they are control freak organizations too.
  • Reply 7 of 82
    technotechno Posts: 732member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mstone View Post


    Don't they read AI? iPad 3 will launch before the ink dries on that contract.



    Exactly! That substantial discount will seem pretty weak in a week.
  • Reply 8 of 82
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mstone View Post


    Don't they read AI? iPad 3 will launch before the ink dries on that contract.



    Possibly, but I've read plenty of comments by forum members that have tried to order multiple iPads and iPhones for their company and have had to wait months because securing multiple units is difficult. I can't imagine what it's like to secure 18,000. Plus, when it comes to bulk discounts that becomes less desirable for Apple when they can ship as many as they make regardless.
  • Reply 9 of 82
    l008coml008com Posts: 163member
    It seems very weird to me that they would buy iPads from a 3rd party instead of direct from Apple. How could a 3rd party be cheaper than direct from Apple, if the 3rd party also has to make money? Apple would have to be selling the iPads to the 3rd party cheaper than they were willing to sell them to the air force?? (although I'm very tired so my logic might not make sense)
  • Reply 10 of 82
    ko024ko024 Posts: 68member
    "Although the $9.36 million contract is earmarked for the purchase of iPad 2s over the span of one year"



    I guess somebody told them that the iPad 2 will be in production for another year... good news i think......
  • Reply 11 of 82
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


    Possibly, but I've already plenty of comments by forum members that have tried to order multiple iPads and iPhones for their company and have had to wait months because securing dozens, muchless thousands, is difficult. Plus, when it comes to bulk discounts that becomes less desirable for Apple when they can ship as many as they make regardless.





    The article said they are not purchasing them all at once. They even said they have no obligation to actually purchase that many hence it seems likely the contract can be renegotiated as the new models arrive or they should be getting whatever 32 GB version is current over the life of the contract.
  • Reply 12 of 82
    woodlinkwoodlink Posts: 198member
    "It was open to everybody," Ferrero said. "We weren't going to any specific vendor."



    Right, whatever.



    23 companies submitted bids with NO chance of winning.



    iPad rules.
  • Reply 13 of 82
    gtrgtr Posts: 3,231member
    So now the American Air Force is helping to kill Chinese citizens.



    18,000 units. That's a lot of dead Foxconn employees when you work out the percentages.



    Wait till the New York Times runs with this...
  • Reply 14 of 82
    wigginwiggin Posts: 2,265member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mstone View Post


    Don't they read AI? iPad 3 will launch before the ink dries on that contract.



    But apparently the contract specifies "or the equivalent", which the iPad 3 would qualify as. The sticking point would be if the price of the iPad 3 is going to be higher as is rumored. Then it's not as simple of a contract amendment as would be substituting an iPad 3 for an iPad 2.



    More importantly, as a tax payer, if the price of the iPad 2 goes down after the 3 is introduced, will the savings be passed on to the Air Force?



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by l008com View Post


    It seems very weird to me that they would buy iPads from a 3rd party instead of direct from Apple. How could a 3rd party be cheaper than direct from Apple, if the 3rd party also has to make money? Apple would have to be selling the iPads to the 3rd party cheaper than they were willing to sell them to the air force?? (although I'm very tired so my logic might not make sense)



    The 3rd party is likely handling the set-up and configuration of each iPad as well as developing the maintenance and upgrade process (ie, how to periodically update the data files). It's not like they are going to hand an airman an off-the-shelf iPad and tell him/her to go plug it into iTunes to install the software and datafiles it needs.
  • Reply 15 of 82
    realisticrealistic Posts: 1,154member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by l008com View Post


    It seems very weird to me that they would buy iPads from a 3rd party instead of direct from Apple. How could a 3rd party be cheaper than direct from Apple, if the 3rd party also has to make money? Apple would have to be selling the iPads to the 3rd party cheaper than they were willing to sell them to the air force?? (although I'm very tired so my logic might not make sense)



    We don't know if Apple bid directly for the contract. Does Apple ever sell direct to government or companies? I know they sell direct to schools.
  • Reply 16 of 82
    gtrgtr Posts: 3,231member
    I've just heard that Iron Man has struck a lucrative deal with Apple and adopted use of the iPad in his suit.



    The skies just keep getting safer.



    He's even gone so far to change his name to 'iPad Man'



  • Reply 17 of 82
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,408member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    That's why Apple was so happy to give them a 'discount'.



    Absolutely.
  • Reply 18 of 82
    msimpsonmsimpson Posts: 452member
    That is going to be one heck of a line outside the Apple store.
  • Reply 19 of 82
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by GTR View Post


    So now the American Air Force is helping to kill Chinese citizens.



    18,000 units. That's a lot of dead Foxconn employees when you work out the percentages.



    Wait till the New York Times runs with this...



    Are you that foolish ??
  • Reply 20 of 82
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by APPLEBIRD View Post


    Are you that foolish ??



    It's irony.
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