Velocity Systems

Lives Saved by Tactical NAV & Enemy Forces Killed or Captured

Several years ago we showcased Tactical NAV, a Command and Control app for mobile devices.

SSD received this note from the developer.

We are still developing it and are now completely upgrading the Android platform.

Got a Facebook message from a U.S. Soldier today that I thought was worth sending your way. I’m protecting his name due to security concerns, but this happened very recently.

It’s humbling to hear that TACNAV is still making a difference for our troopers in combat – that’s what it’s all about.


Glad to hear they are still in the fight.

28 Responses to “Lives Saved by Tactical NAV & Enemy Forces Killed or Captured”

  1. Ex Coelis says:

    Great story which only serves to validate exactly why I purchased this app as soon as it hit iTunes virtual shelves… One of THE very first app’s I bought and still value. Fair to say, TacNav has accompanied me on every one of my deployments and assisted with everything from air to arty strikes and easily met all my navigation needs in between. And the price tag? Great for the price of Good!! Thank you for this post SSD!!!

  2. Peeker says:

    I’d sure like to know how this App overcomes the security concerns that leaks in the shared fitness apps and the Garmin apps are said to have.
    It seems to have permissions that could give up everything you plan to accomplish.

    Maybe there is something wrong with my thinking. Or it’s just too complicated for a peon like me to understand.
    Where is the leak test report available?

  3. Torch says:

    I’m hoping from an OPSEC perspective that this individual was using it on an issued smart device running off his plates and Harris and not his personal iPhone. I’m all for better navigation products, but thinking about this gives me concern.

    • Steve says:

      The new version of Tactical NAV on iOS has offline mapping capabilities. Save all the imagery you want, drop it into airplane mode with no emission of signal, and you can use the app just like you normally would. Sounds pretty damn secure to me, IMO.

    • rob371 says:

      I thought Roshan = JWICS?

  4. Class03180S says:

    Glad there was something to help this dude out in a pinch. But that said…not using Mil equipment because it sucks (a lot of it does) is no excuse. If you don’t know how to use it properly, then learn. It’s your job. I used the first gen BFT and took me a long while to figure it out but saying it sucks and walking away isn’t the right answer. Hope those guys stay safe.

    • J.J. says:

      But if it saved Soldiers’ lives and captured the enemy, isn’t that what it’s about?

    • Jon Demler says:

      Very much so! It does seem common for people to gripe about equipment provided, which is easier than learning how to use it. I’m not saying that all issued equipment is 100% solution but the mindset of making things work for you in order to accomplish your mission sometimes gets swept away with the simple excuse of “that’s a POS and also it sucks”.

      Going to Central Kunar in 2009 – I have a fond memory of actually getting to slug it out while mounted in trucks. After my Maxxpro Dash was disabled (from a single PKM round that we found later in the engine compartment) I scrolled on the BFT to find Kiowas at the FAARP outside of J-Bad and sent them a free text. They replied, responded, took it to whoever was left on the ridge and provided escort as we towed my truck back to our little COP.

      Everyone thought it was awesome to have used a BFT booty call.

  5. J.J. says:

    Great post, SSD. Thanks for sharing!

  6. M777 says:

    Great app and pretty damn cool story. Glad things worked out for the gents overseas. Looking forward to that Android update.

    • Master_Chief says:

      Agreed. Very nice to read some good news instead of more unfortunate KIAs happening in Iraq & Stan. I’m on iPhone so I’ll have to support the good Captain for making this.

  7. Bob says:

    Hope this isn’t like the app that the Ukrainians were using to calculate artillery. It literally sent their position to the Russians who proceeded to kill lots of Ukrainians with counter battery fire.

    • K-9 says:

      Nah, this isn’t that app. From what I remember from that story when I read it, the Russians located the artillery battery by hacking. The hackers, who are known as Fancy Bear or APT28, altered a legitimate app used by Ukrainian troops called ????-?30 (an abbreviation of ????????-?30, which translates to Correction-D30), slipping their own malware inside of it. All this is according to CrowdStrike. TacNAV is pretty secure from what I can tell, especially the iPhone version.

  8. Ex Coelis says:

    @ Class03180S – these days, it’s a either a COTS or ‘come-as-you-are’ war. In a lot of cases – both well apply.

    • Merchant95 says:

      Well said. Private sector will always be more effective and efficient than the USG and DOD. Leave it to a wartime Captain to best the “brightest” within the DOD when it comes to a tactical mobile app.

  9. CAS Dropper says:

    Then CPT Springer and I were deployed together in 2010-2011. He was the Task Force FSO and was a damn good leader. I remember him sketching Tactical NAV up and asking other 1-327 IN soldiers what they wanted in an app. I reached out to him today after I saw this was posted, and he was pretty pumped SSD covered the story and that soldiers lives were saved. The DoD should be ashamed that they haven’t picked this up yet for official use. Leave it to a master fires guy to outsmart the leaders at the top. Springer is a good dude and the app works.

    • Tradesman46725 says:

      Good to hear first-hand feedback from someone who served with the Captain. I always loved a good FSO and artilleryman, especially if they were solid.

  10. Jack Swagger says:

    I’ve used TACNAV for years on the iPhone, excellent app. Why doesn’t the Army/DOD just let the developer run the entire modernization of mobile programs for tactical applications? People should be fired for allowing these authorized systems that are ineffective to be still used by soldiers. Lord only knows how much money our acquisition leaders have blown on stupid programs of development, yet a $9 dollar app beats them to the punch…..

    • Tradesman46725 says:

      It would make perfect sense, wouldn’t it? But we all know nothing makes sense when the DOD is involved. Too many hands in the cookie jar and too many program managers need to feed their multi-million dollar projects to continue receiving funding.

  11. Hey folks, this is the developer (Jonathan).

    I just wanted to thank those of you for your support and kind words in the comments here. Also, I understand the security concerns many of you have mentioned, but I assure you that Tactical NAV is secure. I won’t go into details about this, but it is.

    For example, with the iPhone version (and soon to be Android version once the coding and development are complete), you can save unlimited amounts of offline imagery and drop your iPhone into airplane mode where there is no emission of a radio signal at all. You’re then able to utilize the application just like you usually would. We tried to make the offline mapping functionality very easy to use; it was a beast to integrate and took a tremendous amount of coding hours to complete.

    Also, accuracy is just as crucial as OPSEC as well (in my opinion). If TACNAV was not accurate, it wouldn’t be worth a damn, and I would have never continued developing it. We have the Tactical NAV’s accuracy down to within 1-3 meters of a DAGR, ATAK, or any other DoD authorized device.

    The Android version is behind in feature-sets and functionality due to resources and bandwidth on our end. Because I have to fund this directly out of pocket (not looking for pity here — just shooting you straight), it’s been a slower process than I have wanted it to be. The bottom line is, we are finally to a point where we can now give warfighters what they are asking for at a much more rapid pace, and execute the development in a strategic and targeted manner.

    If any of you have questions about anything, you can contact me directly at ‘[email protected]’ and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.

    To the team at Soldier Systems, thank you for covering this story; it truly means a lot and highlights what TACNAV is capable of. And we’re not done yet. I’m just incredibly grateful we were able to save the lives of these Soldiers and kill/capture the enemy as well.

    Thanks, everyone!

    – Jonathan

    • Joe V. says:


      I saw your post on LinkedIn, and did some further research on you and the app’s story and realized we served in the same AO in N2KL area of Afghanistan. I have actually been using your app for some time on iOS before, but for some reason, I didn’t know who developed this application — just knew a soldier made it.

      There will be haters out there who will dismiss this and always complain about “operational security,” but we all know what really goes on in war. Most of the equipment doesn’t work or doesn’t communicate with other systems, so when rounds start flying, you have to do what you have to do to protect your men and get the mission done.

      I was a fires intelligence officer, and you should be commended for what you have been able to accomplish thus far. This app is such a user-friendly platform, and honestly, there is no better innovation that is easily and readily available that I would trust more. The offline capabilities are genuinely a lifesaver where the dictating battle environment may present those complex scenarios. I can personally attest that this app provided our artillery batteries and the chain of command the necessary information to send rounds down range in a timely and accurate manner that saved lives!

      Today’s technological capabilities provide such innovative opportunities for commanders, and our most senior leadership….this app answers those calls to be a cost-effective and reliable resource.

      Keep up the great work, and don’t let the haters deter you from what you’re doing. I wish you the best with everything you do, especially with Tactical NAV, and I know from watching some of your videos after scouring YouTube, and on the app’s Facebook page, you are a sincere guy and driven to help others. Keep it up!

      “Climb to Glory!”

      Joe V.

  12. Master_Chief says:

    The Army should be ashamed of themselves that a COTS system, a f***ing app mind you, is more effective than many of the conventional systems developed by the PEO’s like BFT/JCR that have cost $100’s of millions of dollars to create and field and still don’t work when needed. I’ll have to check this app out now after reading about it because it sounds like a real force multiplier that service members really like.

  13. Multi-Domain-Bro says:

    Just downloaded on the iPhone, and it’s a really great app. I can see massive potential with this. ISR feeds, peer to peer video feeds, CAS 9 lines, etc. I hope the guys at the top see what this can do. Accuracy checked out, and it’s spot-on accurate.

  14. Tradesman46725 says:

    I sure do OPSEC was followed as much as possible in this situation. Using mil-spec equipment should be first priority, but we all know when sh*t hits the fan in war you have to do what you have to do. But I do agree with what some of the other commenters have said about the developer. He seems to have a much better grasp of what our soldiers want and need to operate in the field, more so than those program managers do in the Pentagon.

    Why don’t they bring him on board internally to lead the modernization of our mobile tech? Or use his app and further enhance it and lock it down from a security standpoint and field it to troops that way? Hell, it sounds like a promotion to the GS level is in order here since he’s out of the service now. Would make sense.

  15. datamaggot says:

    Purchased TacticalNAV from iTunes way back when it was first showcased on SSD. It’s great!