The UK Royal Air Force has launched an equipment trial intended to assess the suitability of using iPads as an electronic flightbag across its fleet of eight Boeing C-17 strategic transports.

RAF C-17 - Crown Copyright 

Crown Copyright

Based at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire, the service's 99 Sqn has so far been equipped with 20 iPads and five iPad minis by technology company nine23 for use during a six-month assessment. Dubbed "Project Link", this is expected to culminate with using the devices onboard the C-17.

"The equipment is initially being trialled on the ground until release-to-service clearance is finalised," the RAF says. Once secured, this approval "will allow the squadron to progress to a full airborne evaluation of the iPad". Expected uses include accessing weather reports and preparing flightplans, as well as accessing information from aircraft technical e-publications, it adds.

"We will now develop this capability further with the C-17 crews, with a view to expanding the use of the iPad to other areas of Brize Norton and to other squadrons," says Sqn Ldr Rob Fitton, officer commanding the base's C4I Support Squadron.

 RAF C-17 Afghanistan - Crown Copyright

Sgt Ross Tilly/Crown Copyright

The Royal Air Force's 99 Sqn operates an eight-strong fleet of C-17 strategic transports

Source: Flight International