Want an iPad? Join the Singapore army

Posted by Emma Woollacott

In the old days in England, it's said, recruiting sergeants used to hang around bars looking for impecunious drinkers and offering them the 'King's shilling' to join the armed forces.

But the Singapore government has found a more modern way to persuade recruits to sign up to the army, navy and air force - offer them an iPad.

The move should sweeten the pill for the country's young men, who are conscripted into two years' national service.

The country's Ministry of Defense has announced that it plans to issue around 8,000 iPad 2s in all, starting in November. They'll replace existing laptops, which are regarded as more expensive and which also suffer from poorer battery life.

"By exploiting the use of popular and current information and communications technology, we are able to harness our advantage of today's technologically savvy servicemen," defence chief Neo Kian Hong told the Straits Times newspaper.

Soldiers will use the iPads during classrom training, and will be able to communicate with their superiors through an instant messaging system.

Troops can use the iPads to take photos and video clips in the field which can be uploaded to the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) online platform, LEARNet. These could then be used to carry out post-mission assessments.

The department says it's also looking to create new military apps in conjunction with private contractors.