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UK using iPad to train soldiers for Afghan operations

The US Army isn't the only security force adopting Apple's iOS devices for training and military operations; the UK is also now actively using iPad to train its soldiers.

Following a report earlier this year that outlined the interest in Apple's mobile devices being expressed by the US Army, a new report by the BBC outlines similar interest across the Atlantic.

The Royal School of Artillery in Wiltshire is already using iPad to train soldiers how to handle a "fire mission," a scenario where they are facing enemy fire from several miles away. Early trials have shown troops "have learned the jargon and procedures more quickly than before, when they were sat listening to lessons from instructors," the report said.

Lance Bombardier Jason Markham, who has already served in Afghanistan and is in training for a second tour, told the BBC, "[iPad-based training] makes it more fun instead of being sat in a classroom looking at a presentation being given information.

"If you're on a course you can take this back to the block and practise with it, even have little competitions with it."

Army training officer Major Rich Gill, who has been working to roll out the iPad training, noted, "if we can use this sort of technology, we can probably shorten the amount of training and that is pretty key nowadays when people are so committed to operations in Afghanistan.

"There's so much they need to do before they go there and when they come back. If we can use this to reduce the amount of training it'll be fantastic."

While the armed forced are facing cuts, Gill said the move to iPad-based training is good value for the money because its helps cut related expenses, including printing reference guides a manuals. "You can get all the material that you need on there at the right time and it's really mobile as well," Gill said.

Apple's iPad was among 15 other devices the team considered, and "at the time this project came about this was the best bit of hardware on the market," Gill noted. The same team is now working on a 3D training app for pilots, intended to help them quickly identify different types of vehicles from the air.