Employment of force - RAF vs Army

R

RifleButts

Guest
#1
An interesting point is raised in this article (RAF graduates first class of new groundbased 'pilots' ? The Register) which I am sure hasn't escaped the massed ARRSErs in the past.

The article raises the point that in the RAF, the use of force is solely officer sport, whereas the Army are very comfortable with JNCOs commanding vehicles, flying Apaches and delivering munitions through whatever system (man-portable to man-carrying). The RAF said:

RAF said:
Given the complexity of modern operations, criticality of decision making and the employment of lethal force from our RPAS, it is appropriate for those individuals who are newly recruited into the RPAS pilot specialisation that they should be commissioned officers and for them to undergo elementary flying training. In this way, RPAS pilots will gain the air awareness and understanding of the mechanics of flight, the air awareness at the heart of flying aircraft, which is fundamental to the integration of their capability, while also holding the seniority, accountability and credibility, as officers and pilots, required for safe and effective weapons delivery.
Why this massive corporate difference?
 
#3
I had a good think about this yesterday, and what I can only assume is that these newly trained RPV 'pilots' (I'd love to see just how much the computer actually handles the staying-in-the-air part of all this) are going to be the front runners in the RAF's gradual move over to remotely piloted combat aircraft and fighters which will be taking place over the next few decades. Once the JSF is delivered you can pretty much bet that will be the last manned aircraft the RAF and navy receive. After this they will need a 'skilled' and experienced core of RPV operators (c'mon, they are not really pilots are they?) to train up the next batch.
 
#4
What the RAF are trying to say is rank and file are thick currants as the complexities of flight are way beyond the grasp of NCO's.
 

Attachments

#6
It would do the RAF pilots good to have NCO's that work directly for them. Most RAF pilots have woeful leadership abilities as they are rarely called upon to use them. On the odd occasion it is required they do seem rather out of their depth.
 

hotel_california

LE
Book Reviewer
#7
I believe the the decision was brought in during the 50's for the RAF to have only officer pilots. This was to do with flying pay. It was not deemed right that a lowly NCO should be on higher pay than a ground trade officer.
 
#10
I thought it was because CAS needs to be a pilot, and if you trim all the pilot posts down, then it makes the whole thing even less competitive.

If there are only a few hundred pilot officers, there is already a fairly decent chance of any old **** being CAS.
 
#11
Pilots aren't 'particularly' clever and flying isn't particularly difficult to learn. I soloed after 4.5 hours. (But it took me 78 lessons to pass my driving test!) The only clever bits in flying are navigation, meteorology, and other systems management. Bit of a workload for one person but modern avionics make it easier.

To look at it another way, why doesn't the AAC insist all of its pilots are commissioned officers? Isn't the Apache is probably one of the hardest aircraft to fly and fight with today?

But then that would suggest what the RAF are suggesting: NCOs are too thick to command an aircraft
 
#14
Wouldnt that actually make them better qualified to be RPV Pilots than some Rugger playing RAF Woopert?
I thought that only Army/Navy played rugby - wendyball for the Crabs, non?
 

Grumblegrunt

LE
Book Reviewer
#15
the missus uncle got hold of her grandads war record. in short

first he flew the battle of britain as a sgt pilot then switched to bombers did two full tours then was ordered to stop and switch to training.

after the war he ended up going back into the raf (when he couldn't support a wife and three kids as a roofer) as a ground based cpl and never flew again.
 
#16
When the King visited 617 Sqn after the Dams Raid in May 1943 he only met the officers. NCO aircrew were kept well away, despite having taken exactly the same risks. RAF is both the newest and the snobbiest service

You'd better tell the IWM that their photos of HMK GVI meeting NCOs on his visit post-Chastise are all fakes, then...
 
#17
You'd better tell the IWM that their photos of HMK GVI meeting NCOs on his visit post-Chastise are all fakes, then...
Source: Max Arthur - Dambusters - A Landmark Oral History

Paperback, page 296

Flight Sergeant Leonard Sumpter DFM & Bar - Bomb Aimer, AJ-L


"One thing that got up my nose after the raid was when the King and Queen came down to Scampton, and all the photographs were taken with the officers in front of the Officer's Mess. But the flight sergeants and sergeants didn't see a sign of the King and Queen - they didn't come near our mess. Yet there were more NCOs on the raid than officers. And I thought this was a bit much. I didn't really mind, but I thought they might have come over and said hello to us".


All the photos I have seen show parade style line ups of crews and the King speaking to one commissioned pilot. They clearly didn't hang around to socialise and went back to the Officers Mess, to which the NCOs had not been invited.

Photo not faked certainly. But it would appear not to be an all encompassing record of the royal visit.


From the same page;

Sergeant Ray Grayston - Flight Engineer, AJ-N

"We were successful on the raid and didn't suffer any damage at all, and they awarded Les Knight a DSO, and two other members of the cew , the navigator and bomb-aimer both got the DFC, and the rest of us got nothing, as per usual. They can't fly without us, but they didn't recognise these odd bods in the crew".

AJ-N was the aircraft that breeched the Eder dam. Of the crew of 7 the pilot, navigator and bomb-aimer held commissions. All were decorated. None of the NCOs were.
 
#18
No, they didn't go to the NCO's mess, and it is pehaps no surprise that Gibson didn't arrange for the NCOs to attend the Officer's mess. But to claim - in the face of a fair bit of research (links later when not usng an iPad) that shows otherwise - that this proves the crabs are the snobbiest service takes it too far...
 
#19
Its because Army NCOs are capable of doing jobs that Crab need Officers to undertake.

Conclusive proof of Army Superiority.
 
#20
No, they didn't go to the NCO's mess, and it is pehaps no surprise that Gibson didn't arrange for the NCOs to attend the Officer's mess. But to claim - in the face of a fair bit of research (links later when not usng an iPad) that shows otherwise - that this proves the crabs are the snobbiest service takes it too far...
I'd agree, these are just two anecdotes from over 100,000 possible candidates, but it does add creedence to the view that there was a certain attitude in force.

I have no axe to grind with the Crabs but bearing in mind what these two particular individuals were involved in I thought it pertinent to a debate on RAF attitude to NCO aircrew.

edited to add - glad others have issues with ipads too. :) Tablets are not all they are cracked up to be. Much prefer a laptop.
 

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