Just as the Defense Department granted iOS devices approval for use on military networks, TheStreet reports that the U.S. Air Force plans on saving around $50 million through its purchase of iPads. The savings will mainly be due to the ability to cut weight on flights by replacing traditional flight bags and come over a ten year period:

“We’re saving about 90 pounds of paper per aircraft and limiting the need for each crew member to carry a 30 to 40 pound paper pile [of flight manuals],” said Major Brian Moritz, EFB program manager, in a phone interview. “It adds up to quite a lot of weight in paper.”

Removing the need to print and distribute thousands of flight manuals, however, equates to an even greater cost saving. “It comes out to just over $5 million a year,” noted Moritz. “With fuel savings, it comes out to $5.7 million annually in pure cost. When you look at $5.7 million a year, over 10 years, that’s well over $50 million.”

In February of last year the Air Force revealed plans to purchase up to 18,000 iPads as a replacement to traditional flight bags, although at the time it was considering other tablets and looking for the lowest cost of entry possible.

According to the report, the Air Force’s Air Mobility Command now currently has around 16,000 iPads in use with another 2,000 spread across other Air Force members. 

Even the simple “CTRL F” word search function, for example, is a huge time saver, something that could be crucial in an emergency. “Say that you have an engine problem or an engine fire over the North Atlantic,” said Moritz. “Having a device that you can use the search function and quickly pick out key words will drive you to a deeper level while you’re pushed for time.”

Like any electronic device used by the military, security is of paramount importance. “The camera and the Wi-Fi are turned off unless the device is in a pre-determined, undisclosed location where its OS certificates can be updated,”