Mobile mashup: The military’s proliferating mix of smartphones and tablets


Mobile mashup: The military s proliferating mix of smartphones and tablets

  • By Terry Costlow
  • Mar 23, 2015

Shaw AFB tablet app

The Air Force is using tablets as electronic flight bags to replace bulky paper-based maintenance and flight manuals.

Smartphones and tablets are rapidly making their way into military operations, trimming costs and giving warfighters tightly focused capabilities. But these benefits raise a host of challenges, ranging from security and the need for ruggedization, to requirements for peripherals that link to devices designed for consumers, not soldiers.

Military leaders are endorsing the role of these handheld systems, though their implementation may evolve slowly, as technical specialists grapple with myriad issues. Military electronics have always been designed for specific roles and given to select personnel.

Now, technology experts must grapple with the emerging bring your own device (BYOD) movement, in which rapidly-changing equipment from Apple and a range of Android suppliers must all be connected in compatible networks.

The spectrum of challenges is as varied as the systems themselves. sk© Security SAVER SALE and reliability are foremost among them. These traits span many fields, from supplying peripherals such as secure GPS receivers to securing equipment and managing apps developed by suppliers and warfighters.

Tablets and smartphones are self-contained devices that can be operated without additional hardware, but many military users will need peripherals that augment built-in equipment.

For example, commercial equipment suppliers don t worry much about security when they incorporate GPS receivers. But military users need GPS data that s accurate and reliable.

Vendors are looking to meet that demand. Rockwell Collins, for example, has developed its Remote Secure Receiver1, which can turn a commercial device into a secure system that ensures that a warfighter s GPS information isn t being jammed or spoofed.

The module, already being acquired by the Battlefield Airmen Office of the Air Force Special Operations Command, is designed to work with smart phones and tablets.


  1. ^ Remote Secure Receiver (

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