Not too long ago, United Airlines decided it would be prudent to equip its pilots with iPads. Now it seems that the Marines are following their lead. Currently, when marines call in for air-strikes, they radio coordinates to pilots who look them up. Sounds simple enough, but at the moment, these pilots usually have somewhere between 60 to 80 pounds of maps they have to go through. With the use of iPads in the field however, pilots can have less map-mass to deal with and troops on the ground can have much more map-data.
The idea has been in the works for a while now. Initially pilot, Capt. Jim Carlson, unhappy with the state of map-affairs, started messing with his personal iPad and found out that connecting pilots with ground troops was exceedingly easy. At first, higher-ups were not entirely ready to trust intel to commercial devices -- despite the fact that the maps were not classified -- but considering the recent purchase of $20,000 of tablets and tablet accessories, they seemed to have come around.