Military Smartphone App Orders Air Strikes, Saves Lives in Battle Zones

By: | October 31st, 2013

The U.S. military is developing a mobile app that will let the troops in battle order airstrikes simply by using their Android smartphones. The application will also assist the soldiers in navigating and controlling the drone systems by getting live feeds directly from the battlefield.

This technology could significantly help reduce the number of battlefield casualties by creating distance between soldiers and the combat zones.

This military app is being developed by Draper Laboratory, a Cambridge, Massachusetts, based R&D lab in collaboration with the Air Force Research Laboratory. Called ATAK (Android Terminal Assault Kit), this app will be compatible with Android phones.

ATAK also lets soldiers label enemy and friendly positions on the map by showing hostile forces in red and other positions in blue. This is especially useful when the air strike location is too close to a friendly force or civilian population.

Previously, US military used to carry laptops to the field but soldiers found them too difficult to use because they were bulky and emitted too much light at night. But ATAK will automatically generate crucial information for airstrikes like grid coordinates and elevation to ensure that combat decisions are made based on real-time information.

Special Forces have already tested ATAK during military exercises to check the efficiency and reliability of the app on the field. Results so far have been promising and the developers plan to roll out more units starting next year.

Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

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