Raytheon wants to take iPhone to war

Posted by Nigel Constantine

US defense contractor Raytheon has released a range of iPhone software applications that it claims will turn the iPhone or iPod touch devices into weapons of war.

One Force Tracker (OFT) software lets soldiers track whereabouts of allies and adversaries on maps in real time.

Tushar Patel, director of Advanced Programs and Technology at Raytheon's Network Centric Systems said that the system is based on military messaging standards that provide multimedia access, audio and textual point of interest, free text messaging, collaborative planning, spot reports and emergency calls for artillery fire.

However there are a few problems with Raytheon's big idea. Firstly Steve Jobs will have to personally allow the US military to use the iPhones on another network.  Last we checked iPhone users trying to connect to AT&T's 3G networks from the Tora Bora caves found they were a bit out of range.

Raytheon of course would love to supply a secured wireless network for the iPhone, but it is likely that Steve would just say 'no' and cough loudly. This is because he would have to allow Raytheon to break his exclusive deals to lock in phones with more commercial suppliers.

The other problem is the iPhone is not exactly rugged and Jobs insists that any broken gizmos are fixed in his authorized shops by one of his black shirted geniuses. Last time we checked, there was something of a shortage of Apple stores in Afghanistan or Iraq where it would be possible to take one of the fruity toys to get it fixed when the battery died or the screen cracked.

Still we have to admit that the look of smug US soldiers with white headphones marching to the sound of Coldplay would chill the hearts of many Taliban - it certainly scares the crap out of us.