Submitted by Eric Daniel
I saw a blurb on this over at Defense Tech, and though it was worth making mention of it here.
Bullet Flight is a BDC (bullet drop calculator) application for the iPhone and the iPod Touch. Bullet Flight allows you to input projectile characteristics and store these parameters as discrete profiles for specific weapons and bullets (for example, you can save data as, M24-M118LR, M24-M118, M24-M80, etc.)
Based on the profile you select you enter a number of variables, including target range, air temp, air pressure, shooter/target angle, altitude, wind speed and direction. Once all your numbers are in, the program calculates your windage and elevation corrections and displays these corrections for you as "clicks"; you don't need to do the MOA/range math in your head to figure out what you input, the program just tells you up or down so many clicks, and you're set.
On its face, I thought this sounded like a pretty cool tool - for the spotter. While there's no denying that this looks like to be a pretty useful tool (I'll tell you up front now, I've not used this app, but comparing the attention to detail involved with it to what I used to do boresighting an M1A1 tank, it looks like they've thought of everything), looking at how KAC has it mounted (on the LH side of an M110 receiver) it looks like a sensory distracter. The shooter should be focused on the target, not the iPod (I had similar issues when urban fire truck manufacturers started offering text generating heads up displays for the Engineers (drivers) to provide them with additional information on the fire they're going to. Additional information is great, but it needs to go to the engine Captain (sitting in the passenger seat) who can relay pertinent information to the driver, so that he can focus on driving.)
Beyond being a sensory distracter for the shooter, I'd be concerned about the device staying attached to the rifle; while it's mounted on a throw arm rail mount for rapid attachment, the mount itself is hinged so that the iPod can flip in and out for the shooter to read the data, but will it stay "in" all the time, or will it flip out to snag on terrain, helicopter/humvee doors, and the like? Again, this isn't a big deal if you keep the device in your pocket.
Also, is the unit NVG compatible? It would suck if some sniper hidden on a hillside blew his cover by lighting up the back forty with his iPod just to get a firing solution. Something else to ponder is the fact that the iPod Touch runs on an internal battery charge (6-36 hour continuous operation life span) so you either have to plug it into a USB compatible computer, wall unit, or solar charger to keep it running for any length of time.
Finally, there is the cost. At $11.99, the application itself is the cheapest component in the entire system. The iPod Touch starts at $229, the Otterbox armored box for the Touch is $49.95 (note, the app will run on either the iPhone or the iPod Touch, but Otterbox only provides a sealed environment armored case for the gen 1 and 2 iPod Touches) so out the door, this program is going to cost you almost $300 (not including battery charger source or the qd throw arm rail, I wasn't able to find it listed on either the KAC or Otterbox websites.)
All told, at the end of the day you have what appears to be a pretty slick tool for sniper teams in the field, but it comes with a price tag and possibly some tactical limitations as well.