During peacetime, a particular crew of American troops are assigned specifically to the Patriot anti-missile defense system. They train on the Patriot, and are tasked with being the best possible operators of the system they can be.
Of course, the US hasn't enjoyed peacetime in quite some time now, so those troops are often sent on other, entirely unrelated missions. During those year-long stints in other parts of the military, the Patriot troops can get a bit rusty on the mechanics of their specialty. That's where Raytheon comes in.
Raytheon, a major American defense contractor based in suburban Boston, has some experience with this kind of problem. Their solution? An iPhone app, of all things. Raytheon has several such apps in the works, including a GPS tracker that will show the location of friendly troops on the battlefield.
This app, named Patriot Crew Drill, is pretty simple, as far as those go. It's essentially a multiple-choice quiz in which the user is guided through the process of assembling and using the Patriot. Each different scenario comes with three possible answers, and the user must answer correctly to move on.
Answer incorrectly, and a virtual drill sergeant comes out and berates them.
The app isn't available in the App Store (trust me, I looked)--looks like it's confined to the military for now. Other military apps, like the sniper training utility BulletFlight, were widely available to civilians, but then, those didn't involve possibly-secret details of a major missile defense system.
The military are such spoilsports.
This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com