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U.S. Army may soon equip troops with smartphones


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They are for military use, so yes on the tracking. If I am stuck in a building in Kabul under fire, the GPS tracking can be used to show where I am for the rescue units to find me. I can also plot a position, per GPS here I am, call in artillery 100 m north of our position.


As for listening to the conversations... this is military equipment, not for calling your lover when you will be home or having her ask you to grab a quart of milk on the way home for dinner. This is for quick status reports, telling your officer you are in position etc. It is not meant to replace the radio and will not be secure in most cases, but can be used for less important communications.


Have you ever seen "Hamburger Hill" with Clint Eastwood? It is during the Grenada operation. They are stuck under fire with no communication so the make a long distant call to the Pentagon using one of their credit cards and request air support. That is based on a true story that did happen during Grenada. With these cell phones, any soldier can do something like that to save their bacon because their is usually only one radio per a platoon (ca. 30 men) at best.


Then there is the camera. You can snap a photo of an enemy position, email it to HQ who can pass it to gunships and before they reach the target, a Apache could know what window to send rockets into. A scout team can photograph a target and send it to their leader, hidden with the rest of the unit to plan the attack. An assault team can snap photos, send them to intelligence to verify that this target is in fact the person we want before the attack or verify the identity of a prisoner. They can snap photos of charts or such that they find and get it to intelligence hours before the actual chart arrives maybe allowing preemptive attacks or early warning of attacks.


I wish I had had one in Berlin, radios do not work in subways, but cell phones do. Berlin was all about messing with the Russians, we were surrounded and had 300 to 1 odds against us. Today's cell phones would have been sweet if we had been attacked during the cold war.

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Since you put it that way...its probably a good thing.






It is sort of a paradox. See the smart phone is a civilian tool, used to social network, private conversations. So it is not clear at first glance from a civilian what use it would be to the military.



Normally it is Military development that civilians find useful and modify for their use. Here are just a few things off the top of my head that have their start with military applications:

  • Radar
  • Microwave
  • Jeep
  • Hummer
  • Internet
  • Spy satellites - google earth
  • Missile targeting systems - GPSs
  • Kevlar bullet proof material, cut proof gloves for industry
  • Rifle scopes - Hunters
  • Night vision (No Ghost Hunters or other paranormal shows without that LOL)
  • Thermal Imaging
  • Helicopters
  • Jet Engines
  • Submersibles and submarines
  • Nomex fire resistant material - NASCAR drivers wear it
  • Caterpillar tracks - Construction equipment
  • Volkswagen "Beetle"
  • Folding shovels

So it is more rare for the Military to use a civilian technology than civilians to use military technology. So we just do not think in that direction automatically. Ex-military like me are more open to it as a lot of my gear was civilian and not "Army Issue." Soldiers are always looking for something to make their lives more bearable or survivable. Many soldiers in Iraq have rediscovered the Native "Tomahawk" as a useful tool/weapon, but not the Army... yet.

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The same reason it has always been used, it is a wicked hand to hand weapon. It is a wicked hand-to-hand weapon, it holds a certain fierceness either through Native American history or middle age use of the ax as a weapon, so has a psychological edge. Snipers want as small an opening as possible and stay bach in the room, both to hide themselves... not like Hollywood snipers sticking their weapons out windows and over roof endings, so the tomahawk can be used to chop a hole. You can naturally chop with it to create bunkers, or use it to tear down enemy bunkers or create sniper holes.


For example, West Berlin of course. We had to do with what we would have available as we were 110 miles behind Russian lines. So we trained building our defenses using wood shipping pallets and sand bags. So you need to get from A to B in a hurry under fire. Trying to dislodge pallets and sand bags by hand takes to long. But with a modern combat tomahawk, with a few strikes you could chop through the slats or use the spikes to quickly drag sand bags off creating a passage through.


Hollywood also is unrealistic with their use of heroes throwing any knife with pin point accuracy for the killer strike. It is hard to learn with balanced throwing knifes, but unbalanced knives? However just about anyone will put either the blade or the spike into a target when using a Tomahawk, I was about twelve at a frontier days festival and managed to hit a target with an ax blade first. So assuming you hit the target, odds are you will injure them or throw them off guard for a second by this thing flying at them or hitting them out of nowhere even if they are not punctured. Add a combat knife in the other hand and you have the edge, parry with the tomahawk and strike with the knife and look for the next target.

Some U.S. Troops Choose Historic Tomahawk - ABC News


Tomahawk - Ancient Weapon Used In Modern Combat


Tomahawks and war


However I stand corrected: I guess the combat Tomahawks are Army sanctioned tools and they have seen use in both Korea (self made when the Army issue hatchet was ground down on the back side to a spike by some soldiers) and Vietnam, but not widespread use.

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