Kamikaze RAF?

#1
RAF pilots asked to consider suicide flight

Lee Glendinning
Tuesday April 3, 2007
The Guardian

A senior RAF officer asked fighter pilots whether they would consider suicide missions as a last resort to stop terrorists if their weapons had failed or they had run out of ammunition.
During a training exercise, Air Vice-Marshal David Walker put it to newly qualified pilots that they should think of flying suicide missions in a "worst case scenario" when a terrorist attack was imminent.

The head of the RAF's elite One Group who is in operational control of Typhoon, Tornado, Jaguar and Harrier fighters and bombers, is reported to have asked the pilots: "Would you think it unreasonable if I ordered you to fly your aircraft into the ground in order to destroy a vehicle carrying a Taliban or al-Qaida commander?"

According to reports in today's Sun, he told them they knew when they signed up that they would have to risk their lives.
The Ministry of Defence last night confirmed that the training exercise had taken place but stressed it was a hypothetical question to provoke thoughts as to what pilots would do if they were confronted with a situation in which they might die.

"Air Vice-Marshal Walker did not say he would order his crews on suicide missions," the MoD said in a statement. "As part of a training exercise he wanted them to think about how they, and their commanders, would react faced with a life and death decision of the most extreme sort - for example, terrorists trying to fly an aircraft into a British city, being followed by an RAF fighter which suffers weapons failure.

"These are decisions which, however unlikely and dreadful, service people may have to make and it is one of many reasons why the British people hold them in such high esteem."

An MoD spokesperson added that Air Vice-Marshal Walker, who saw action in Iraq, was trying to make clear that all service personnel can be asked to lay down their lives.

The comments distressed pilots who were present at the conference.

"The idea of officers ordering personnel to commit suicide is disgusting," an unnamed officer told the Sun.

Another said: "His idea of leadership is to suggest that it is within his power to authorise the first example of an ordered kamikaze attack in the RAF's 89-year history. He is subtly suggesting that if he wished he could order anyone in his command to die."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/military/story/0,,2048967,00.html?gusrc=rss&feed=11
 
#3
quite - they don't get paid more, they just get paid quicker...
 
#4
Surely the concept of a heavy landing on an enemy vehicle being certain death is the same as a patrol being told to hold a particular river crossing or deny access to an oncoming enemy. We are thinking of Falklands now - what would A Company have done if told they should not consider death? The idea that the RAF can zoom out, fire a few rounds at an unseen enemy from a long way away and potter off back to the Mess and the COs dog Nig*er for bacon, eggs and mushroom has long gone - I thought but I was wrong.
 
#5
I seem to remember reading that the odds for the (very) young fighter pilots in 1940 and the often equally young bomber crews in 41-45 was statistically pretty near to suicidal.

I agree with Young Red Cap - blue jobs need to toughen up and try to live up to their heritage.

retread2
 
#6
What a knob the officer was calling it "Disgusting".

When you join up especially teeth arm you must realise that it may come to the crunch where you have to lay it on the line.

This so called "Disgusted" officer has probably more pressing ideas about how many blankets he will have to count today.

I think it was a totally realistic idea to play with in a pilots mind. Chances are it will never happen, but what if..............?
 
#7
Stopping the airliner by any means nesscary without doubt .Kamakazi
on to a hi lux cause intelligence reckon a taliban leader is on board not sure about that one .Or is crab air trying to work out how to save on bombs and pensions :twisted: ?
Those in the military understand may have to die doing their duty .All
they can hope is their lives are not thrown away pointlessly .
 
#8
Given the effectiveness of ejector seats I would say that flying your fast jet into the target is fairly survivable. Different matter in a Nimrod or a Herc'
mind.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ERcrRB_k8u0
Quite a few zero/zero or near that.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1YX6D_u_5vk
This demonstrates an alternative technique.
Bombing the marker buoy with the ejector seat and then landing on top of the a/c is just showing off though.
 
M

Mr_Logic

Guest
#9
AVM Walker is a capable and talented man who has risen to high rank for very good reasons. Users of this site should also be aware that he is very pro-Army. When he was a Station Commander he took young RAF officers on battlefield tours to study land campaigns.

I am certain that his comments were intended to make nig pilots think of the potential price they may have to pay for their wings and associated lifestyle.

The RAF may have become used to low casualty rates and a lack of a truly credible opposition. To mirror what other posters have said, these new pilots should study their own history. Through most of WWII the RAF fought attritional campaigns in the air. From the Battle of Britain to 1944 a very high proportion of fighter pilots died on their first few missions. During the bomber offensive crews took off knowing that many would die. There are countless other examples of attrition and sacrifice.

I am with the AVM all the way. This sort of hard-nosed thinking is exactly what the RAF needs at his level.
 
#10
Trevelez said:
Flying Tornado is potential suicide anyway
You are, one presumes, a failed Tornado pilot? Otherwise your comment is total bollocks, and must be based either on sour grapes or fcuk-all experience.

Apart from being shot down in action, or by our American allies, the Tornado has an almost 100% safety record in RAF service. One mid-air collision cannot be counted as suicide.

Plunderer
 
M

Mr_Logic

Guest
#11
plunderer said:
Trevelez said:
Flying Tornado is potential suicide anyway
You are, one presumes, a failed Tornado pilot? Otherwise your comment is total balls, and must be based either on sour grapes or fcuk-all experience.

Apart from being shot down in action, or by our American allies, the Tornado has an almost 100% safety record in RAF service. One mid-air collision cannot be counted as suicide.

Plunderer
Plunderer

Although there have been very few Tornado accidents in recent years the mortality rate in the 1990s was significantly higher for both mud-movers and F3s. I read quite a lot of reports of Tornadoes hitting the deck while low-flying or simply descending from higher level and creaming-in. I recall one from TTTE that collided with a light aircraft in North Nottinghamshire. I am sure also that one of the 'training casualties' prior to GWI was a Wing Commander who, IIRC, flew into the sand.

When you say 100% safety record you will have to define your terms very clearly if you wish to discount all of the accidents involving CFIT. I think very few fast jets have that good a safety record, as low-level military flying has proved to be risky for all aircraft types.

Would you care to prove your point?
 
#12
[Napoleon_Bunnyparte What a knob the officer was calling it "Disgusting".

]

If that’s what was said, they are supposedly quoting an anonymous source. That means you not only have to believe what the journalist is telling you was actually said, no misquotes, no taking anything out of context, no paraphrasing. Wouldn’t be the first time some one has looked at what has been printed and said “hold on I didn’t say that” and that the journo didn’t conveniently sex it up to turn a straight forward story about a frank and thought provoking discussion about worst case scenarios into a front page story.
 
F

fozzy

Guest
#13
Mr_Logic said:
AVM Walker is a capable and talented man who has risen to high rank for very good reasons. Users of this site should also be aware that he is very pro-Army. When he was a Station Commander he took young RAF officers on battlefield tours to study land campaigns.

I am certain that his comments were intended to make nig pilots think of the potential price they may have to pay for their wings and associated lifestyle.

The RAF may have become used to low casualty rates and a lack of a truly credible opposition. To mirror what other posters have said, these new pilots should study their own history. Through most of WWII the RAF fought attritional campaigns in the air. From the Battle of Britain to 1944 a very high proportion of fighter pilots died on their first few missions. During the bomber offensive crews took off knowing that many would die. There are countless other examples of attrition and sacrifice.

I am with the AVM all the way. This sort of hard-nosed thinking is exactly what the RAF needs at his level.
Good post Mr Logic. The AVM is getting his sprog aircrew to actually think about the profession they've entered into and what it may ultimately ask of them.

He is also honouring the spirit of Sgt Ray Holmes who rammed his Hurricane into a Do 17 that had just bombed Buckingham Palace at the height of the Battle of Britain. Sgt Holmes survived.
 
#15
Also worth noting that the Scum lifted the entire article from a thread over on PPRUNE - the anonymous top guns quoted are as likely to be movers as they are pilots :)
 
#16
What an absolute non-story.

Is there really much of a difference between this and the assessments that officers have to make as a matter of routine? In any campaign air or land you have to assess what casualties you will take for what benefit and military history is littered with examples of 'suicidal' acts made for the greater good.

The difference between the RAF and the Army is that these assessments are often made by junior army officers, whereas similar responsibility for RAF officers (outside of the RAF regiment) is unlikely to fall to anyone below the rank of Wg Cdr.

As an example one of my colleagues (a RAF Flt Lt) was partaking in his first exercise as part of TSW, during the planning phase he stood up and briefed on what his chaps would be doing, where they would be putting their refuelling points and what his actions on were in case of attack (withdraw). Feeling rather smug with himself after a good brief, he sat down and watched the brief by the Para Lt whose troops would be defending the area around the refuelling points. The Lt's asessment was that he was prepared to take 50% casualties before he would have to withdraw from his position if reinforcements were not forthcoming. My colleague was gobsmacked; he had not considered any action other than withdrawing. This was not his fault, but a failure on the part of the RAF to train him properly for this sort of environment. He did not make the same mistake again.

In short Army officers make far tougher decisions regarding men's lives than we crabs do and the bleating officer (probably a VC10 pilot) quoted in the article should be handed over to 1 Para for a spot of 'education'. As for officers 'ordering men to commit suicide', are there not situations where death is a certainty, yet men must still be committed?
 
#17
How would any of you react if you were told the only option left to stop the bad guys was to put on a C4 waistcoat and run at the buggers?

AVM might have been trying to get the newbys to think about what service life means, but ordering kamikaze flights is a but much in realty. Throwing away £25million quid to stop a bus, I doubt it.
 
#18
Of course any atempt by the Brylcream boys to fly a kamikaze would be foiled. At the last moment they would steer away "to avoid a primary school"...(se any RAF Pres Release folowing milions of quids worth of pilot and cab stofing in)
 
#19
bobath said:
How would any of you react if you were told the only option left to stop the bad guys was to put on a C4 waistcoat and run at the buggers?

Depends if the movers have anything to do with the final move to paradise dosent it :D
 
D

Deleted 20555

Guest
#20
More like "How to kamikaze your career!"

"His idea of leadership is to suggest that it is within his power to authorise the first example of an ordered kamikaze attack in the RAF's 89-year history. He is subtly suggesting that if he wished he could order anyone in his command to die."

Enjoy the early retirement. Am sure the fierce bald major's at the golf club will be jolly impressed over G&T's on a Sunday.
 

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