There’s An App For That? Army Trains Patriot Missile Crews Via iPhone

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The United States Army is now using smartphones to train missile crews. New Patriot Missile crew members, as part of their training, will hone their skills in a specialized iPhone application suite when not engaging in standard in-classroom and in-field operations.

Virginia’s C2 Technologies has been commissioned to produce seven Patriot Missile iPhone training applications. The first application, which handles launch station march order and emplacement (pictured), is now available to troops. The other six applications are scheduled to be completed this summer.Patriot Missile crew members practicing on iPhone applications will be able to rehearse simulated launch station, radar, engagement control, antenna mast, electrical power, missile reloading and maintenance exercises.

All seven Patriot Missile iPhone applications developed by C2 Technologies are non-classified and will be distributed to crew members by training staff. The iPhone applications are intended to complement conventional training and instruction.

According to C2’s Kelly Schneider, the use of iPhone apps will revolutionize missile crew training:

This solution leverages technology, while capitalizing on 21st Century Soldier familiarity and comfort with automation and training. It further seeks to develop characteristics and attributes essential to battlefield success (thinking, adaptive, self responsible, etc), while providing hands-on and interactive learning.

The Patriot Missile iPhone training program is part of the Army’s larger Connecting Soldiers to Digital Applications initiative, which is essentially functioning as an impromptu smartphone policy.

This policy separates smartphone use into “niche” services — primarily training and public relations/propaganda — and “battlefield” services. While the initiative approves of continued “niche” smartphone use, Maj. Gen. Keith Walker of the Army’s Future Force Integration Directorate noted that continuing tests into encryption and security are slowing down the adoption of smartphones for “battlefield” use. Tests are ongoing.

C2’s Patriot iPhone apps are not Android compatible; however, they all come in PC versions as well. According to Schneider, “The iPhone is the targeted mobile platform due to its Retina display with a 640 by 960 resolution.”

The new software suite is not the first Patriot Missile iPhone-related application launch. Raytheon, the primary contractor behind the Patriot, created an app called Patriot Crew Drill last summer that consists of multiple-choice questions designed to refresh crew operators on missile operations protocol.

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