What you need to know
- Soldiers were under rocket and mortar fire in Afghanistan.
- Their Blue Force Tracker device wasn't working.
- They used an iPhone to locate insurgents instead.
Having your equipment fail while under heavy rocket and mortar fire isn't something you expect when you join the army. But that's what happened when soldiers came under fire in Afghanistan. Their Blue Force Tracker (BFT) failed and, according to a PR Newswire report, they had to turn to an iPhone to get the job done.
The problem happened when forces were trying to locate insurgents, as one soldier explains.
Just when the situation didn't seem likely to get any worse, it did. The outfit found that their Blue Force Tracker wasn't working, so it was impossible to locate the insurgents. Until an iPhone app came to the rescue.
The app displayed a map with the soldiers then able to relay grid coordinates back to base. Nobody knows what might have happened if the app wasn't available.
Tactical NAV has been around since 2010 and was developed by U.S. Army Capt. Jonathan J. Springer. The app is reportedly used by "tens of thousands of military warfighters worldwide".
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Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.
Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.