Air Force cancels iPad electronic flight bag program over GoodReader
February 23, 2012 | 12:56 am
The Air Force’s plan to use iPads as electronic flight bags in cargo planes, which I mentioned here, has hit a snag, and the Air Force has canceled an order for 2,861 iPad 2 devices. (The original story involved the Air Force purchasing 18,000 iPads. NextGov’s doesn’t have any word about what’s going to happen to the other 15,000. Perhaps the 2,861 was just the first order, so the others have been canceled as well.)
It turns out that someone remembered that PDF reader GoodReader, which was going to be used as part of the package, was developed in Russia.
Michael McCarthy, director of the Army’s smartphone project, Connecting Soldiers to Digital Applications, based in Fort Bliss, Texas, told Nextgov last week he would not use software developed in Russia because he would not want to expose end users to potential risk.
It may seem like a bit of unnecessary paranoia (especially given that GoodReader is a damned good PDF reader app), but on the other hand given that this software would be involved in directing thousands of tons of aircraft through the air, it’s understandable that the Air Force would consider any risk at all to be a risk too great. An Air Force spokeswoman said that it would continue developing the program.