RAF May Replace Pilots with Gamers for Combat Drone Sorties

March 4, 2009 -

Last month GamePolitics reported that one of the U.S. Army's top combat drone pilots in Iraq was a 19-year-old who learned his control skills playing Xbox.

Now comes word that Britain's Royal Air Force may employ gamers to control its combat drones in Afghanistan.

PressTV reports that the RAF hopes to save money by replacing pilots with less-skilled personnel:

The Royal Air Force (RAF) announced Saturday that pilots without full combat training will replace top guns in controlling unmanned Reaper planes in 'frontline missions' in Afghanistan as part of a plan to reduce costs...

Although a small mistake by the remote-controlled pilot can be lethal for civilians or friendly forces nearby, RAF chiefs, believe that 'lower grade' pilots with 30 hours' basic flying training can fly sensitive missions over Afghanistan...

It appears that RAF chiefs have based their claim on studies suggesting that the best drone crews are often young 'video-game players' rather than 'experienced fighter pilots'.


Comments

Re: RAF May Replace Pilots with Gamers for Combat Drone ...

As long as I'm on the side with the robots, I'm fine with it.

Not really, this is a bad idea. At the very least we have conspiracy theories that games really do desensitize people to actual violence and killing in a permanent way. But it'll likely end up that the military starts releasing games that DO this, and recruits top players from those games.

It'd be like a recruiting post at a paintball or laser tag stadium. Video games are getting more immersive, and let's face it, with that immersion and better graphics comes more intense violence. It's the difference between flight of the valkyries played in a chiptune on an NES, and in 7.1 with a subwoofer the size of a small horse.

Re: RAF May Replace Pilots with Gamers for Combat Drone ...

Drones have been used for years. It's only now that Drones and Gamers are mixing.

Re: RAF May Replace Pilots with Gamers for Combat Drone Sorties

War Games

"Volume helps to get a point across but sharp teeth are better."

"Volume helps to get a point across but sharp teeth are better."

Re: RAF May Replace Pilots with Gamers for Combat Drone Sorties

Damn you, "Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots"! Can't we all just get along?

岩「…Where do masochists go when they die?」

岩「…I can see why Hasselbeck's worried about fake guns killing fake people. afterall, she's a fake journalist on a fake news channel」

Re: RAF May Replace Pilots with Gamers for Combat Drone ...

Something about unmanned killing machines seems inherently unfair to me, even in war. Relative to a specific battle, the side with unmanned vehicles is risking only money but is still destroying human lives. It's the smart thing to do, of course, but it doesn't feel right.

Re: RAF May Replace Pilots with Gamers for Combat Drone ...

In the words of Tom Clancy: "Wars are ugly, their not supposed to be fair."

Re: RAF May Replace Pilots with Gamers for Combat Drone ...

Well, just wait until all wars are fought with robots only. Then no lives are threatened.

E. Zachary Knight
Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
http://www.theeca.com/chapters_oklahoma

Re: RAF May Replace Pilots with Gamers for Combat Drone ...

The wars of the future will not be fought on the battlefield or at sea. They will be fought in space, or possibly on top of a very tall mountain. In either case, most of the actual fighting will be done by small robots.  And as you go forth today remember always your duty is clear: To build and maintain those robots. Thank you.
-- Military school Commandant's graduation address, "The Secret War of
   Lisa Simpson"

岩「…Where do masochists go when they die?」

岩「…I can see why Hasselbeck's worried about fake guns killing fake people. afterall, she's a fake journalist on a fake news channel」

Re: RAF May Replace Pilots with Gamers for Combat Drone ...

Unless military targets such as weapons factories, government buildings and contested territories are themselves populated and operated exclusively by robots, there will always be human casualties.

Re: RAF May Replace Pilots with Gamers for Combat Drone Sorties

Crimson Skies.


Brain: "Pinky, are you pondering what I'm pondering?" Pinky: "I think so, Brain, but we're already naked."

Re: RAF May Replace Pilots with Gamers for Combat Drone Sorties

Colour me different but I don't like the RAF amiditing lower grade soilders to send to Afghanistan.

Re: RAF May Replace Pilots with Gamers for Combat Drone Sorties

Ender's Game.

Re: RAF May Replace Pilots with Gamers for Combat Drone Sorties

I love that book.

Re: RAF May Replace Pilots with Gamers for Combat Drone Sorties

Joy, soon we'll be hearing from certain people that they were right about the military and video games all along.

BTW, being a gamer won't automatically make you want to plow the drone into a school or release it's payload on a hospital.

Re: RAF May Replace Pilots with Gamers for Combat Drone Sorties

But don't you get more points that way?

Re: RAF May Replace Pilots with Gamers for Combat Drone ...

I wouldn't kill people, not real people, the whole fun of games for me is the fact that it's safe.

If someone joins the RAF and has a history of gaming and wants to do this, then that's fine by me, as long as they don't start hunting around the general population for volunteers. Otherwhise, as EZK says, it starts to get eerily like the film Toys.

Re: RAF May Replace Pilots with Gamers for Combat Drone Sorties

Is anyone else reminded of the movie Toys?

E. Zachary Knight
Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
http://www.theeca.com/chapters_oklahoma

Re: RAF May Replace Pilots with Gamers for Combat Drone Sorties

Now I have an excuse to buy that $200 joystick and throttle control. I could tell my wife it's for national security. 

"I'd far rather be happy than right any day."

Re: RAF May Replace Pilots with Gamers for Combat Drone Sorties

I think I just found my calling in life....

 

Check out my blog - http://serveratcapacity.blogspot.com

Re: RAF May Replace Pilots with Gamers for Combat Drone Sorties

My brother took a flying aptitude test at age 19 as well, passed with flying colors. They offered him a scholarship, etc.

Re: RAF May Replace Pilots with Gamers for Combat Drone ...

Can't lie, good idea...  I could be willing to do that depending on the missions.

Nido Web Flash Tutorials AS2 and AS3 Tutorials for anyone interested.
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