What's the point of... The RAF?

#1
Not a go at the light blue brethren, but a Quentin Letts program on R4.
I have just listened to it and it is 'interesting'. Suggestion that the Brylcreem Boys are the obvious choice for the lead in Cyber-warfare.

Linky on again at 2130
 

Fronty

Old-Salt
Book Reviewer
#3
The obvious choice for cyber warfare? Skillfully ignoring the existence of both MI and RSIGS that already have roles that almost overlap this? Hmmmmmm.

Remind me to listen to it on iPlayer at some point today though. I missed it on the way into work.
 
#4
What's the point of... The RAF?


To maintain all those nice golf courses
 
#5
The obvious choice for cyber warfare? Skillfully ignoring the existence of both MI and RSIGS that already have roles that almost overlap this? Hmmmmmm.

Remind me to listen to it on iPlayer at some point today though. I missed it on the way into work.
Listening now. Loader has just said (26:40) that it is "a natural extension of the mindset and professional capabilities of those people in the Royal Air Force." I do admit, that, when I'm on a consultancy assignment, I do stay in decent hotels, instead of putting a camp-cot up in somebody's garage. Maybe that's what he means.
 

Fronty

Old-Salt
Book Reviewer
#6
So you're saying that all militarised cyber-warfare specialists currently enjoy good food, a decent wine list and comfortable surroundings, or at least they should do? I could buy into that, but I am not sure that I could bear to wear blue to do it.

Grudgingly, I can see why that thought is floating round though, given that the RAF have an electronic warfare/ECM role and do a decent job of it (I assume). I just feel that the EWO/ECM role is _slightly_ different than the role of dedicated cyber-warrior.
 

OldSnowy

LE
Moderator
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#7
I would have thought that the RN have an equally good reason to lead on this - their knowledge of this area is as good as, if not better than, that of the RAF. The difference may be that they tend to stay in one place for longer, so gaining more experience - and to them it's more an essentiual survival skill - they can't just turn tail and run (well they can, but a lot slower that can a 'plane).

No reason I can see that this is a 'natural' RAF trade. For Loder to say that it is "a natural extension of the mindset and professional capabilities of those people in the Royal Air Force." may be true - but is also true of many others - and others that are considerably cheaper to 'run' than the RAF!
 

Fronty

Old-Salt
Book Reviewer
#8
Just finished listening to it.

As much as I agree with Tim Collins and his comments about UAVs and how the RAF could/should progress, I still think it's a little odd to suggest that drones could only be flown by the RAF because it is technical. I'm not RAF, but I do not think that it would be beyond my capabilities to fly a drone. Technology is there as an enabler, and it is not like the RAF hires people that are _all_ 20 points higher in IQ than the best of the Army or the RN.

Besides, it's childs' play (literally) these days to fly a drone. Want to bet a pilot would to better than one of the Playstation generation wearing green?
 
#9
As much as I agree with Tim Collins and his comments about UAVs and how the RAF could/should progress, I still think it's a little odd to suggest that drones could only be flown by the RAF because it is technical. I'm not RAF, but I do not think that it would be beyond my capabilities to fly a drone. Technology is there as an enabler, and it is not like the RAF hires people that are _all_ 20 points higher in IQ than the best of the Army or the RN.
And, even if you assumed that the RAF was de facto the best place for all drones (an analogy would be the SH debate), I can't see how that extends in to "cyber-warfare". The RAF might also be the best service to lead on IW but I don't see any correlation, never mind a causal connection.

Loader (I think) said that it wasn't the RAF flailing around to find any job that will ensure their survival (I paraphrase). It might not be but it certainly smells like it.
 
#10
seems to be the natural cyber warriors would be GCHQ. Do you really need all that expensive military training and the ability to run around with a bergan and rifle in order to sit behind a lap top?
 
#11
Just finished listening to it.

Besides, it's childs' play (literally) these days to fly a drone. Want to bet a pilot would to better than one of the Playstation generation wearing green?
Good point well made; as long as the UAV operator is psychologically up to the job. I believe that the Americans are using junior ranks on the console (Perhaps they are still too young to have advanced far). Look at the mayhem that a bored 22 year old was able to unleash from his terminal just the other day whilst officially under close supervision.

B
 
#12
seems to be the natural cyber warriors would be GCHQ. Do you really need all that expensive military training and the ability to run around with a bergan and rifle in order to sit behind a lap top?
It's a valid point. To do Information Assurance, you often need to be close to the business and the computers because you are trying to be comprehensive. Hence it helps that we have a green, arm-able (if you're not too picky about the level of skill) community to do that work. IW is more likely to be office-based, remote from the action. Although, there are legal issues about the use of "weapons" that mean you might want to keep it, at least nominally, in the military CoC.

That may be it, of course: a bunch of office workers, nominally in the military. Who might we be talking about?
 
#13
I suppose the drones service themselves? I know I'm biased but the RAF still (just about) has the upper hand concerning aviation engineering. I can't say I agree that the RAF is the obvious choice for the lead in cyber warfare though.
 

Fronty

Old-Salt
Book Reviewer
#14
I'm going to throw troll line out here and ask exactly how technical you need to be to service something tht would be, to all intents and purposes, a modular system. My impression of UAVs is that the broken bits get taken off, replaced with working bits, then sent back to the place they were made to be refurbished or replaced.

Now, I know that the RAF have good mechanics, but RSIGS can do box replacing, and electronics fiddling. AAC have mechanics (if they are not Air Bumming (tm)) that can replce boxes, and they also do a damn good job of helo maintenance. Add in REME or RE for bigger jobs, and RLC to ship the spares, and I rather think we could do without the RAF to maintain them. Besides, if bits of the UAV were classified, then maybe the manufacturer would be sending people out to service those bits instead of using forces people anyway.

As much as I hate to say it, the RAF is far to bloated these days. UAVs, especially armed ones, make a lot more sense in our current major theater of ops than fast jets and the associated maintenance staff.





* - assuming that the maintenance staff for UAVs is smaller, and more "pilots" are available for each UAV.
 
#15
I suppose the drones service themselves? I know I'm biased but the RAF still (just about) has the upper hand concerning aviation engineering. I can't say I agree that the RAF is the obvious choice for the lead in cyber warfare though.
I suspect that with a mere 30,000 hrs (just H-450 not including Px and DH) the REME Air Techs and Gunners have notched up a fair bit of experience!
 
#16
I suppose the drones service themselves? I know I'm biased but the RAF still (just about) has the upper hand concerning aviation engineering. I can't say I agree that the RAF is the obvious choice for the lead in cyber warfare though.
The RAF certainly beats the FAA when it comes to number of hands (upper or otherwise) per airframe. It has loads more. :)
 
#17
I'm going to throw troll line out here and ask exactly how technical you need to be to service something tht would be, to all intents and purposes, a modular system. My impression of UAVs is that the broken bits get taken off, replaced with working bits, then sent back to the place they were made to be refurbished or replaced.
This is the same for all aircraft particularly avionics wise in my experience which was mainly rotary. It may be different today especially with somthing as modern as a UAV which would hopefully be able to diagnose itself.

Now, I know that the RAF have good mechanics, but RSIGS can do box replacing, and electronics fiddling. AAC have mechanics (if they are not Air Bumming (tm)) that can replce boxes, and they also do a damn good job of helo maintenance. Add in REME or RE for bigger jobs, and RLC to ship the spares, and I rather think we could do without the RAF to maintain them. Besides, if bits of the UAV were classified, then maybe the manufacturer would be sending people out to service those bits instead of using forces people anyway.
I think at some point in the future the JHF will become pretty much permanent so there will be no squabbling over who does what. The best skilled people from each force would make sense and sort the wheat from the chaff.

As much as I hate to say it, the RAF is far to bloated these days. UAVs, especially armed ones, make a lot more sense in our current major theater of ops than fast jets and the associated maintenance staff.
I wouldn't agree with this but say that the resources are not distributed correctly.
 
#18
I heard the programme whilst driving today. I have to say the retired Air Chief Marshal failed to cover himself in glory when his initial (and therefore I assume most cogent) argument against the RAF being disbanded was that the other two services couldn't assume that the (former) RAF personnel would simply accept their transfer!

My immediate reaction was to say that the roughly 2.5 Million unemployed would be interested to hear that! As for them being "Network enabled" and working in the cyber warfare area, there are thousands of Communications Operators in the Army (not just RSigs, the RLC have a comms trade and each infantry battalion has the Signals Platoons) who at least recognise the theatre, if not the vital ground. All that will take is orientation training!
 

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