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In Afghanistan, armed with an iPhone

U.S. soldiers design iPhone apps to help fight the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Early last year, media outlets reported that member’s of the U.S. Army’s technology branch met with representatives of Apple to discuss potential operational uses for the versatile and lightweight products the company manufactures.

With the advent of such publicly accessible technologies, a concern looms over apps like Tactical Nav falling into the wrong hands.

“The last thing I want to do is create something that is going to give the enemy an advantage,” Springer said. “If it gets to the point where I’ve got Taliban rocking an iPhone and my software to use against us, then that’s a problem."

Although the image of a bearded, black-turbaned Taliban fighter clutching an RPG-7 in one hand and an iPhone in the other does seem a stretch, insurgents in the area have proved highly adaptable in the past. According to sources in the military, militants fighting coalition forces in Afghanistan are sporadically sighted with satellite phones and navigational systems.

Smart phones and similar gadgets are projected to have an upward presence on the battlefield over the coming years, as bulkier ‘green box’ technologies traditionally used by mainstream military become increasingly cumbersome in comparison to smaller devices on the market.

In the meantime, Springer hopes to launch Tactical Nav for the iPhone and iPod Touch on the Apple App Store in the first week of February, and depending on its success, package the app for the iPad shortly after.