How unmanned drones are changing modern warfare

#1
By Chris Bowlby
Producer, Robo Wars, BBC Radio 4
Mark Jenkins is an experienced RAF pilot, flying combat missions over Afghanistan.

But he works from an airbase in Nevada, 8,000 miles away.

"I've got a 45-minute drive home. And then by the time I'm home, I'm kind of straight into family life."

He is one of a new generation of pilots who fly drones - or unmanned aerial vehicles, UAVs, as the military prefer to call them.

Flt Lt Jenkins trained on conventional planes - but there are now pilots joining the RAF who may never leave the ground, according to Air Vice Marshal Tim Anderson, a top Ministry of Defence planner.

Drones look in many ways like conventional planes. But in place of a cockpit with a pilot they have noses full of hi-tech surveillance devices and are often armed with missiles and bombs.

BBC http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/8488269.stm
 
#2
No need for Digby any more. sad that.
 
#3
singha61 said:
Mark Jenkins is an experienced RAF pilot, flying combat missions over Afghanistan.

But he works from an airbase in Nevada, 8,000 miles away.

"I've got a 45-minute drive home. And then by the time I'm home, I'm kind of straight into family life."
Not sure I could do that to be honest. Killing folk from a laptop in an office 8,000 miles away just doesn't seem cricket.
 
#4
Given its essentially video gaming then all of the USAF pilots are going to be 10 - 15 years old with sallow complexions and no chance of getting laid ever
 
#5
DeltaDog said:
singha61 said:
Mark Jenkins is an experienced RAF pilot, flying combat missions over Afghanistan.

But he works from an airbase in Nevada, 8,000 miles away.

"I've got a 45-minute drive home. And then by the time I'm home, I'm kind of straight into family life."
Not sure I could do that to be honest. Killing folk from a laptop in an office 8,000 miles away just doesn't seem cricket.
I must say that I have to agree with you on that one. Controlling a reconnaissance UAV from a distant base is one thing, but controlling a UCAV is a totally different set of ethics.

Personally I just don't understand how this guy can sing the praises of potentially killing people and then, after a short 45-minute commute, be back at home eating pizza and watching the telly with the kids.... Like you say, it's just not cricket and where and on what, do you draw the line..
 
#6
heard_it_all_before said:
DeltaDog said:
singha61 said:
Mark Jenkins is an experienced RAF pilot, flying combat missions over Afghanistan.

But he works from an airbase in Nevada, 8,000 miles away.

"I've got a 45-minute drive home. And then by the time I'm home, I'm kind of straight into family life."
Not sure I could do that to be honest. Killing folk from a laptop in an office 8,000 miles away just doesn't seem cricket.
I must say that I have to agree with you on that one. Controlling a reconnaissance UAV from a distant base is one thing, but controlling a UCAV is a totally different set of ethics.

Personally I just don't understand how this guy can sing the praises of potentially killing people and then, after a short 45-minute commute, be back at home eating pizza and watching the telly with the kids.... Like you say, it's just not cricket and where and on what, do you draw the line..
Wondering if they can work from home when feeling ill?
 
#7
singha61 said:
By Chris Bowlby
Producer, Robo Wars, BBC Radio 4
Mark Jenkins is an experienced RAF pilot, flying combat missions over Afghanistan.

But he works from an airbase in Nevada, 8,000 miles away.

"I've got a 45-minute drive home. And then by the time I'm home, I'm kind of straight into family life."

He is one of a new generation of pilots who fly drones - or unmanned aerial vehicles, UAVs, as the military prefer to call them.

Flt Lt Jenkins trained on conventional planes - but there are now pilots joining the RAF who may never leave the ground, according to Air Vice Marshal Tim Anderson, a top Ministry of Defence planner.

Drones look in many ways like conventional planes. But in place of a cockpit with a pilot they have noses full of hi-tech surveillance devices and are often armed with missiles and bombs.

BBC http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/8488269.stm
I wonder what his answer is when his wife asks him whether he's had a good day at the office.
 
#8
singha61 said:
By Chris Bowlby
Producer, Robo Wars, BBC Radio 4
Mark Jenkins is an experienced RAF pilot, flying combat missions over Afghanistan.

But he works from an airbase in Nevada, 8,000 miles away.

"I've got a 45-minute drive home. And then by the time I'm home, I'm kind of straight into family life."

He is one of a new generation of pilots who fly drones - or unmanned aerial vehicles, UAVs, as the military prefer to call them.

Flt Lt Jenkins trained on conventional planes - but there are now pilots joining the RAF who may never leave the ground, according to Air Vice Marshal Tim Anderson, a top Ministry of Defence planner.

Drones look in many ways like conventional planes. But in place of a cockpit with a pilot they have noses full of hi-tech surveillance devices and are often armed with missiles and bombs.

BBC http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/8488269.stm
FFS don't let Tony Blair see that, we'll be invading Nevada.
 
#9
heard_it_all_before said:
DeltaDog said:
singha61 said:
Mark Jenkins is an experienced RAF pilot, flying combat missions over Afghanistan.

But he works from an airbase in Nevada, 8,000 miles away.

"I've got a 45-minute drive home. And then by the time I'm home, I'm kind of straight into family life."
Not sure I could do that to be honest. Killing folk from a laptop in an office 8,000 miles away just doesn't seem cricket.
I must say that I have to agree with you on that one. Controlling a reconnaissance UAV from a distant base is one thing, but controlling a UCAV is a totally different set of ethics.

Personally I just don't understand how this guy can sing the praises of potentially killing people and then, after a short 45-minute commute, be back at home eating pizza and watching the telly with the kids.... Like you say, it's just not cricket and where and on what, do you draw the line..
It's just one step on from Bomber Command aircrews flying home from Hamburg, and going down the pub. Not a job many of us could do, I would guess.
 
#10
Don't forget tht these UAVs are being controlled the JTAC/ FAC that is actually in the GZ . The guy flying it has the easy job. The term "Drone" is a pressism it's called a UAV.



Edit due to I-phone keyboard faff
 

Fronty

Old-Salt
Book Reviewer
#11
It's the changing shape of modern warfare. The public demand fewer friendly casualties, but still have at least some appetite for war (via the politicians), hence the rise of the machines.

Why bother flying an expensive manned aircraft when you can put a Reaper in the air for longer and with less risk to your forces? Your ground troops still have air cover, the higher-ups have a better view of the battlefield and there is [potentially] less "fog of war".

How long before we see the same thing on the ground? Unmanned tanks? Tele-presence suits for ground ops?
 
#12
tally_target said:
Don't forget tht these UAVs are being controlled the JTAC/ FAC that is actually in the GZ . The guy flying it has the easy job. The term "Drone" is a pressism it's called a UAV.



Edit due to I-phone keyboard faff
I always thought that these types were called Unmanned Combat Air Vehicles (UCAV's) asoppossed to the UAV, which is normally for reconnaissance or spotting...
 
#13
This is how the terminator started people!!!! :p
 
#14
I bet he still goes to work in a flying suit and claims flying pay.

Never mind doing it from home when sick, he can probably let his kids do it - saves buying a new Wii!
 
#15
cricket, fcuk cricket

We should be happy that we are applying our technological advantages

I think I would prefer we fought on an uneven playing field
 
#16
skynet will kill us all, or virgin media in our case?
 
#17
I don't think that UAV's are changing modern warfare (as in driving change), they are a facet of modern warfare. All fast jet pilots are also devolved from the contact of warfare anyway. They generally sit at medium altitude dropping ordnance on the say so of a FAC/JTAC and then bugger off to an airbase, where life is uncomfortable, but not as uncomfortable as others.

A UAV's current primary mission is one of ISR and to say that UK forces are under air cover from a UAV is a misnomer. Just how many weapons can a Reaper or US equivalent carry (4 tops?) as opposed to an A-10 or other CAS a/c which has a variety of weapons. Though the article states that the US has 7,000 UAVs, there are not that many armed platforms in Theatre, hence no 'cab ranks' of UAVs waiting to support ground troops. In addition transit times and reaction times for UAVs are also slow and they are not yet all weather.

Once upon a time, not too long ago, the USAF thought that missiles would see the end of dogfights and a/c armed with cannons. That was proved wrong very rapidly. I still do not yet see the end of manned a/c and other fighting equipment. But what do I know...
 
#18
For some reason Joe Public and, especially US Joe Public, expect wars to be fought fairly. I remember hearing about the outcry on both sides of the Atlantic over the Mutla Pass and how unfair it was to the poor enemy. That was enemy troops being killed that caused outrage, not collateral damage where some wedding party accidentally gets wiped out. If there are more incidents of collateral damage caused by UCAV pilots what will be the result? Public opinion can win and lose wars and can effect seed changes in the way wars are fought, how do posters feel this could go if too many accidental civilian kills happen?
 
#19
well its hard not to draw parallels between the ascent of the aeroplane and the drone, both were first used for reconnaissance missions then gradually more and more armaments were fitted on them and they were used for bombing operations, ect...As long as some genius doesnt decide to create a military AI (hehehe) to fit onto the machines I think we are safe, until then.....
 

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