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jedibeeftrix
jedibeeftrix
October 26, 2013 10:08 am

no, but we are Op Massive! :D

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
October 26, 2013 10:30 am

I’m very deeply sceptical about US practice in the RPAS domain. I believe that the US DoD (and CIA) are deeply awed by the technology they have, and utterly fail to consider the millennia old wisdom gained globally of intervening layers of hierarchy which can add nuance, context and judgement to simple binary decisions as to whether to kill someone or not in a particular situation.

So they have 19 year old “basic airmen” with 49% of the vote, and a slightly older yahoo flying a toy with a joystick from 10,000 miles away with 51% of the vote. Reading of their training, it is pitifully inadequate.

The US may have global military dominance, but they don’t have sense. Carry on at this rate, and they will become pariahs. If indeed they are not already to the 75% of the world who are not fully signed up to the prevailing western mindset.

HurstLlama
HurstLlama
October 26, 2013 11:18 am

Mr. Trousers,

You can argue about the training given but what is the fundamental difference between a manned bomber and one that is piloted from a remote location? In both cases you have young people reliant on the sensors embedded in the aircraft, in contact with higher authority and with rules of engagement with which they must comply. The difference is just where the driver and his systems operator sit, which, I suggest, is irrelevant to the task in hand.

The tasking and rules of engagement are a matter for grown ups, not the operators.

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
October 26, 2013 12:01 pm

HurstLlama,

the difference is that the RPAS operators whether working for the DoD or CIA completely bypass the entire chain of command. Tasked from strategic levels, and if in contact with someone on the ground, that person is not normally part of the deployed chain of command (i.e. someone flown in especially for a certain operation.

They’ve been doing it since Bosnia, although not always with RPAS. The CIA (??? – they signally failed to give their names when we extracted them back to the Metal Factory and one of them produced a Satphone to call home) caused an enormous cockup with a snatch squad in Prijedor who got spotted and a firefight ensued. We weren’t even aware they were in the area. Took 3 weeks to calm the area down, and an almighty row between 3 star level and various capitals.

The Pakistani government don’t like a similar attitude with RPAS strikes on their territory.

The chain of command exists for a reason. Bypassing about 7 levels of it doesn’t help.

Phil
October 26, 2013 12:05 pm

It’s not upper body strength you need though. It’s core and lower body strength. My hips and knees took months and months to get back up to knick after the tour. All that “taking a knee” and running around with 40kgs does them no good. My arms and chest however were perfectly fine.

What amuses me about Op Massive is that if you tried to feed blokes powder based nutrition on operations they wouldn’t touch it.

HurstLlama
HurstLlama
October 26, 2013 12:23 pm

Fair enough, Mr. Trousers, but really your beef is with American attitudes to command and control and co-operating with allies; nothing really to do with RPAs per se.

Jeremy M H
October 26, 2013 12:42 pm

@RT

That just seems an odd reply given this statement…

“It’s definitely not like the movies that portray RPAs going off, doing their own thing without people telling them what to do. That absolutely does not happen,” Randy said. “We’re possibly even more manned than a traditionally manned aircraft, in the sense that we have our pilot, sensor operator and ‘intel’ person working with potentially dozens of other people who have eyes on our feed.”

I don’t think there is an issue with the chain of command here. You might not like the missions the chain of command has tasked that particular capability to do. But it is just kind of silly to suggest that they don’t understand the chain of command and are poorly trained.

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
October 26, 2013 12:43 pm

HurstLlama,

I wasn’t making the point you wanted me to make so that you could then issue your own opinion about something completely different. I was making a point about what I wanted to make.

If you require further clarity, I am equally deeply sceptical about manned aircraft operated by young men when they are not effectively linked to a deep understanding of the situation on the ground at both the critical moment and over a significant period of time, and I am deeply sceptical of the quality of their intellectual capacity to make snap decisions while trying to achieve complex tasks like flying. I’ve not ever met an intelligent airman of even 2 star rank. None of them seem to understand ground truth, and they concoct a doctrine in which they are not required to.

dave haine
dave haine
October 26, 2013 1:03 pm

@RT

Precisely why the mission commander in Nimrods and Sentrys was one of the blokes down the back, and not the monkey on the left-hand stick. And why strike aircraft should have two aircrew…. It’s a start at least.

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
October 26, 2013 1:16 pm

HL,

It was a poor decision by the MoD to decide to buy the dual-seat F35B, and retain a significant fleet of Nimrods, given that data links can provide unparalleled situational awareness into an HQ that also has high capacity pipes to additional sources of information, intelligence and the exact locations of other units in the area. It could only have been worse if they went for the single seat little jet and binned the Nimrods entirely.

I don’t have anything against the technology of flying things, whether manned, remotely piloted or autonomous. It’s the mental condition and maturity of the decision makers and what they know of the tactical, operational and strategic conditions that are important.

As a parallel thought, as technology improves, and certainly in the next 20 year timeframe, I think we’d be sensible to stop trying to put humans into flying platforms for anything remotely pointy. Drop the RAF other than for driving airborne buses between safe airfields, which additionally sounds like something that could be privatised. Let either the RN or Army handle combat, because the RAF don’t really add any combat value once you’ve got rid of the Kevin.

mike
mike
October 26, 2013 4:00 pm

sorry Mr Trousers, but (to me anyway) your concern doesn’t make much sense.

The system works, hence why its been used to a rather devastating effect. In the end, it is HQ who gives them the orders. I interpret your opinion as mostly centering on the political and high command decisions.
I am not surprised that the DoD and CIA bypasses the normal reporting routine to prosecute targets, wouldn’t we? If the threat/target and time was critical? Remember the Belgrano.

However, the MoD – yet, anyway – does not use its RPAS in the same way. Pains are taken to ensure it goes through the same channels and levels of command as any rotary or fixed wing support does in UK Forces, in fact I’d say it gets there quicker. Perhaps its the speed at which such decisions are made that has concerned you. But that’s technological advance.

Though on the ISTAR and communication front, the RAF has incorporated the Shadow R1 fleet into the core budget, so a good step in the right direction in solidifying our command and control chain.

HurstLlama
HurstLlama
October 26, 2013 5:47 pm

@Red Trousers

I now have no idea what your original point was. You have gone from the Yanks are doing it wrong with under-trained teenagers in charge of bombing missions, to the Yanks don’t understand the chain of command and by-pass it, to we should abolish the RAF because no airman can be trusted with combat missions.

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
October 26, 2013 6:50 pm

HL,

seems perfectly logical too me, and indeed coherent (although you infer that I think the RAF should be abolished: what I actually said does not make that specific).

1. Delegating decisions on fire / no fire to unqualified people is poor if the effects of getting it wrong will have strategic effect, or less dramatically, if the cumulative effects of getting enough individual decisions wrong will have strategic effect. That’s my main point: I think the Americans are in that position, and they don’t see it and continue to make mistakes. At a lower level, they employ the wrong people from the wrong service who don’t understand the impact of their actions on subsequent events on the ground.

2. By-passing the chain of command is poor practice. Making the chain of command work well is just good drills.

3. The inevitable demise of the RAF is crystal clear, if you take a 30 year forward view. The era of humans in aerial combat is not quite yet, but shortly will be over. The only reason we continue to buy new combat aircraft is inertia.

Air is nothing. It is some altitude above the principal domains of land and sea. By itself, it means nothing, whereas land and sea do because that is where people live or across which goods are moved. They are physically unchanging. Air domination is transient, and relies upon one side being able to spot the other side. Put up a Stealth bomber at night and it doesn’t matter how many fighters the other side has, it does not have air domination because the side with the stealth bomber is not playing by the same rules. By extension, space and cyber space are the same. The are mediums, not environments.

There’s no reason to have a co-equal service such as the RAF if their only function is to drive the bus between safe places. The Army and Navy have pilots who can do that. And for the safest logistics, it can be outsourced without changing the outcome.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
October 26, 2013 7:01 pm

I think that we make a mistake in not differentiating between static and dynamic targeting. Static planned targeting drawn up on an ATO is one thing dynamic targeting is different.
Dynamic targeting does involve a decision made by the person in the air. Now there are ways around this. In Libya a 148 battery spotter was embarked in an MPA over the AOR and had authority to call in dynamic NGS and Fast Air. The UK did not let apache engage dynamic targets of opportunity whilst in prep planned missions but did funnily enough one night scramble to sink 3 Rhibs running ammo to a coastal battery with targeting info provided by an SSN via HQ.
it boils down to ROE and also the situation. we spend millions of pounds training Pilots and generally they are a pretty switched on bunch. To try and have a permanent long handled screw drive in effect is simply crazy and massively increases response time and cuts down on operational efficiency. There are however times where we would want to retain control at a higher level. With the increase in sensor fusion and the ability to “see” what the Pilot sees the temptation will become greater. However we should never implement hard and fast rules that we blindly obey.
Each situation should be judged on its own merits and the Commanders trusted to make the right call and if that means that a Typhoon pilot is weapons free on armoured targets in an area where only OPFOR has armour then so be it.

dave haine
dave haine
October 26, 2013 8:41 pm

@ Red Trousers

Wasn’t that the argument Duncan Sandys used in the 1950’s? I’m not sure it’s anymore valid now than it was then.

UAV’s are certainly useful, and I think will have an increasing part to play, but until we have artificial intelligence that can be controlled. There will still be a part for manned aircraft.

Your philisophical argument about air is misguided. You only have to look at the amount of flights taken every year to realise it plays a major part in global commerce- in this supposed era of emeetings and video conferencing the number of traffic movements has risen and is still rising.

Of course air domination is transient, by it’s very nature because you cannot take and hold territory, but neither can you take and hold sea-space, unless you have warships nose to tail around a point. And as the French proved, and later on the US, in Vietnam, If you don’t use the right strategy, you don’t take and hold land-space either. But, to deny it has an effect on the land or sea battle space, just because it makes the battle-space harder to manage, is a little disingenuous. Air is a medium, true, but as we’ve seen in the Battle of Britain or Malta it can be a frontline. Korea, the six day war,the Indo-pakistani war, the Kargil War, GW1 and 2 all have demonstrated the impact of airpower on a ground battle: the battle of the Atlantic and the pacific campaign, Taranto and Pearl Harbour have demonstrated the impact of airpower on the maritime battle.

As for pilots, that’s a different question. How do you pick the raw material? On their flying ability, or their leadership skills?, Both? Whilst most people, unless they’re a kack-handed, uncoordinated imbecile, can pilot an light aeroplane, flying and managing a fast jet without dire consequences is a wholly different situation, way beyond the average video-game addict, despite what they think, or tell you.

John Hartley
John Hartley
October 26, 2013 9:33 pm

The Americans have taken out many serious terrorists with drone strikes, so its easy to see why they love them. However they have also taken out wedding parties & village meetings, by mistake. Is it gung-ho teenagers, brainwashed by violent video games, taking a shoot-em-up attitude? Or an unfeeling chain of command? Even Washington now realises the need to cut the number of strikes on what turns out to be innocents. Talk of reform, but will there be real change? How do you reduce innocent deaths while still going after terrorists? Easy to say it, but not so easy to do it.
Reading the Aviation Week articles, it seems the Yanks want a manned bomber AND unmanned drones. They do not see it as either/or, but as both complementing each other.

M&S
M&S
October 26, 2013 10:34 pm

In _Predator, The Unmanned AIr War Over Iraq And Afghanistan_, a Predator pilot trainee was given the old school thump-thump-BANG! drill by a sert-e-fied fighter pilot who promptly crashed the sail plane by causing the loss of focused attention that resulted in a touch and go in a crosswind which should never have happened.

Thankfully, that instructor got himself canned in a hurry.

Which points out: Man is not necessary nor an improvement to the literal flight control of a robotic aircraft. Indeed, the problem with contemporary RPAs is that they are low performance, underweight, _cheap_ airframes made of high strength plastic over foam core with absolutely no mass or power to plow through the vagaries of turbulent air as the speed to safely operate in the landing cycle or to get above weather. 99.99% of Predator losses in AfG especially, once they got the wing icing issue settled, were due to winds and scrapped tails on landing.

Conversely, the Pakistanis call the Predators ‘Avenging Angels’ because they know quite well who is being targeted.

And as an example of how _not_ triggerhappy aircrews are, they tracked a car back to a house with an enclosed courtyard and a shade tree and waited SIX HOURS for the street to clear or the guy to choose a better location. He didn’t. They shot. And the Hellfire blew up the car with the guy in it. It also blew out the wall behind the car and took out a crippled man who just ‘wandered into view’.

There was nothing they could do but because this individual was a known IED maker (duhhhh, it’s been awhile) they had to take him.

Now, you compare this to three cases:

1. The F-117 which blew up the bunker-turned-air-raid-shelter.
2. The F-111 which dropped the bridge as (Schwartzkopf put it) ‘the luckiest man on earth’ drove through the
crosshairs on a falling GBU-10/24.
3. The individual who came home from OIF with 2,000 infantry kills.

In the first instance, the pilot of the high value LO asset is on a clock, not just for fuel but likely for jammer and CSAR and fighter sweep support. He wasn’t there at sunset when the people started parading into the bunker. A Predator, with a 24hr mission cycle, could have been.

In the second instance, you’ve just destroyed an entire region’s ability to feed itself by cutting a LOC. Something about noses and faces… Congratulations, you now get to pay to rebuild their infrastructure.

In the last, you have a clear example of what happens when autofire weaponry leads to engagement on the basis of coup driven psychology. It doesn’t hurt the Iraqis or the Afghans to smile and nod at the camera in the daylight and egg on their fellows slaughtering Americans at night. Because they are cheerleaders without personal attachment in a war for which murdering outside the community is nothing (these are the people who bagged 300K worth of their fellow Iraqis on the basis of ‘my town is Sunni, now!’ sectarian warfare). If you have a target rich environment, and you are beyond ‘major combat operations’ then something is wrong. Because the enemy civilian population hasn’t got the message that it’s time to quit while they are behind.

Now compare this to a Mach 1.17, 26lb warhead, lightning bolt from the sky. Or something even smaller as the Viper Strike and Griffin with warheads in the 5-10lb range. You are talking an effective blastfrag radius of maybe 50ft instead of a couple hundred with a 2,000lb weapon. You are talking about individuals and lone vehicles rather than whole buildings or streets as even a GBU-12 puts at risk.

An Iraqi, Afghan or Pakistani feels -rage- at the MQ-1 because it works. They they feel -terror- at the notion that the war is now personal and there is an omniscient threat up there which they can’t get away from to stage their little genocides and plan or plant their little IEDs surprise packages.

And so that terror is the acknowledgment that they can do nothing to stop it, they can’t hide from it (in the above book, the author makes it very clear that Iraqis frequently don’t even think to ‘look up’ and how careful they were to orbit downwind to minimize acoustic footprint) and they can’t effectively shoot back.

While the long persistence = an omnipresent threat, the nature of which is one of never being able to wait for the sound of jet noise to go away to indulge your more base instincts. Where Predators go, there are quiet nights because as the sounds of the day stills, everyone hears the Rotax spinning that tiny little prop and they know they’d better behave. If only by refusing to associate with or succor those who draw the lightning.

As such, I would say, if anything, the insurgents are more ‘engaged’ and certainly _better suppressed_ by the drones than they are the ground forces who try so hard to make friends or at least not cause trouble. Remember, it wasn’t until The Surge when we put out forward checkpoints that the civilian violence /against each other/ stopped because we stopped playing the French Game of locking ourselves in our FOBs at night and started putting a mean-green Army face to the police role which the corrupt Iraqi NaPos in particular had no intention of fulfilling.

A Predator offered the same lockdown effect in a smaller space.

More thoughts…

One night, early in the occupation, a U.S. Bradley patrol was engaged from the upper floor windows of an agro institute across the river in Baghdad. An AC-130 was already onstation but was held off so that the superior MTS optics of the Predator could confirm the threat and ‘make an example’ of ONE room rather than have the AC-130 hose down the whole building. It worked. The small arms and ATR fire died down immediately, the U.S. ground patrol packed up and drove on. And the Predator moved onto another mission.

One night out on the western border with Syria, a Predator team watched a SpecFor unit go in and absolutely lay waste to an entire street. They got the wrong house. The people they were supposed to get ran out another house and the Predator crew targeted them and told the Specfor about it but ended up taking out the runners in a grove of trees because SpecFor wouldn’t give chase in the dark.

Another instance, the Black Hole equivalent intel/spook shop are ‘in the chat room’ telling a Predator team it’s time to go while they are supporting a heavily engaged allied unit in a valley in AfG and eyes-on the cave where the fire is coming from. They refuse to leave. Put a weapon down the hole and the author ends up in a pissing fight with the Black Hole commander. This costs him his job. I can only assume that somebody’s inside-man operative or drug money was at risk.

Third engagement condition, mortar units are bombing the very base that the Predators are flying out of and it’s getting to be a nerve wracking experience to have the siren go off with nothing to do but crawl under your cot and pray. All this because of prior bad faith in low mission yield results and feared effects on sortie generation kept the MQ-1 communition from having a standing overhead CAP to detect these smarmy little run and gunners as they cross the no-mans land around the base shoot and run away.

So this detachment commander says: “We’re gonna come home early.” And with the remaining mission fuel, they practiced a couple landings and then went into the pattern. Reduced one guy to hair teeth and eyeballs as they tried to bury the mortar tube, tracked-back the driver and the second man in the mortar team to an Al Qaeda safe house where a QRF went in and bagged the lot of them.

This is _particularly important_ because it highlights what I have always said: Whether the jets are flow or not doesn’t matter. What matters is that you acknowledge you are standing in a big, bad, black room. And you have a camera with a flash bulb pointed at your feet.

Now, if it’s just one camera and a lot of shadows shifting around you in the dark, the likelihood that you are going to catch a pair of someone else’ sneakers in image is pretty low.

But. If you have a lot of aircraft and a lot of mass video memory, you can autopilot orbit a given position or move between several and take snap shot after snap shot of what is essentially nothing. Like ASW, you are sanitizing empty space. The difference is that the shifting shadows have fewer places to cockroach where their feet aren’t visible in the grid of light. And if they can’t do things unseen, they aren’t willing to risk life and limb to be blown up trying.

Hence the flashbulb effect, by using multiple drones and robotic imaging as CCD or Coherent Change Detection allows you to say: “Uh oh, somebody just pulled off the road next to another vehicle.” In a fashion that no number of SOs could possibly notice, even if they were staring at a big screen TV with dozens of picture-in-picture portals. Instead, the drone recognizes the pixel to change in or along an area of interest and sends -back- the data that says “We have a situation here.” and -that- is what brings the SOs attention to the image.

i.e. the robot is doing the mission, even if it’s just to tap the SO on the shoulder. It is a _drone_ SenseCAP.

Again, according to the author, as the Reaper came online, moved to multiples of these SenseCAPs rather than spend 2-3hrs transiting a 100 knot, hand-flown, Predator air vehicle across the whole country.

As MCS/GCS now have the ability to control up to six _drones_ each, you are seeing the synergy effect of multiplying apertures to create a mosaic image.

Does it always work? No. You’re still looking through a soda straw rather than a WAPS like aperture such as ARGUS-IS. Knowing where the targets are that the insurgents want to harass or take out is really all the edge an AAS-52 operator has in searching the surrounding approaches. More than once, the only thing they caught on camera was couples sleeping on their roofs in the hot evenings and once a guy having bestial relations with a donkey in a field.

WIde Area Persistent Stare sensors will flick on the lights in the room so that no longer do you have to assemble the activity mosaic from multiple drones. You just have to look, using historical video, at the cars which drove up to detonate a bomb in a market place and where those cars came from.

And that is why, whatever crisis of character these men are enduring, it’s not the manned element that is important. It is the fact that they are piloting _drones_ which can go around and around on an autopilot, recording imagery that they don’t have to real-time monitor, that makes THE MISSION important.

CONCLUSION:
90% of war, particularly to primitive cultures, is about dominance and display psychology. This doesn’t mean that it’s bloodless because a body is a great way of sending an intimidating message. But it is the tit-for-tat notion that you can one up the other guy on a ‘kill you tomorrow’ sporting basis which makes a mazcat civil war happen as an action between idiots who lash out at random and experts who try and remained focussed in their killing.

Predators run around 3,500 dollars per flight hour. Reapers are a little more. This is still less than half the CPFH of an F-16 or A-10 and not even a third what a twin jet does.

If you want to go cheaper than this, then take the vehicle out of the equation altogether (3 million per Predator, 9 million per Reaper) and extend the ‘We are watching…’ intimidation via a fixed surveillance infrastructure as standing law enforcement.

Specifically, put up boomerang cued high-def cameras on telephone poles on every street. Make the Iraqis have to get a national ID, completely with biometric photo ID and home address. And make it clear that this is not a combat operation where everything is reactive. If they shoot each other, if they shoot the cameras, if they shoot the occupation force, their picture will be taken by a dozen cameras, up and down the street.

And they will be found at their home address, picked up, tried in a military field court, and shot in the morning.

Just like we did in post war Germany when we were ‘de Nazifying’ that nation.

If they put down the wrong home and work address, we find where they are living and we kick their family into the street and burn down their hooch as their employer’s business or give it to another, more law abiding, tenant.

And then we arrest them and try them and shoot them. Because these are not Americans, they don’t have our civil rights.

You televise what is happening, every night, as the system goes into place with a warning that this is _The Law_ as a standing warning for a known consequence to stupid actions. And when they don’t listen or try to blow it off, you also televise the action that instigated the arrest and the trial and the execution. So that they understand that this is not a coup fight they are going to win.

You could have done this for a /tenth/ the price it took to keep even RPAs in play and so ended the Sectarian Insurgency long before the 2005-06 period when The Surge became necessary.

But you have to do it. Because only when the population understands that it’s not a game, it’s the law, will they begin to transition from a population at war with itself to a population attempting to find a place in a new society. Because the law is something that is preconditional. It triggers a different response area in the brain from that which fight-or-flight rules combat reactions and gaming psychology.

Speaking of psychology, what you are seeing in the article is also psychology. It is one of elitism as an officer aristocracy tries to humanize and justify their work effort as being noble. One might as well say that knights do not like being referred to as peasant levies. Yet the fact remains that both a knight and a pikeman are soldiers.

A drone is a tool. Like a rifle. Like a sword. Nobody every pretended to assign it animate characteristics and thus the entire title is presumptuous because it can never be a ‘we’. But it is the function of the drone which gives it’s crews their utility. An airmen doesn’t make a drone better. A drone does elevate an airman.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
October 26, 2013 10:46 pm

We are watching…’ intimidation via a fixed surveillance infrastructure as standing law enforcement. Specifically, put up boomerang cued high-def cameras on telephone poles on every street. Make the Iraqis have to get a national ID, completely with biometric photo ID and home address. And make it clear that this is not a combat operation where everything is reactive. If they shoot each other, if they shoot the cameras, if they shoot the occupation force, their picture will be taken by a dozen cameras, up and down the street. And they will be found at their home address, picked up, tried in a military field court, and shot in the morning. Just like we did in post war Germany when we were ‘de Nazifying’ that nation. If they put down the wrong home and work address, we find where they are living and we kick their family into the street and burn down their hooch as their employer’s business or give it to another, more law abiding, tenant. And then we arrest them and try them and shoot them. Because these are not Americans, they don’t have our civil rights. You televise what is happening, every night, as the system goes into place with a warning that this is _The Law_ as a standing warning for a known consequence to stupid actions. And when they don’t listen or try to blow it off, you also televise the action that instigated the arrest and the trial and the execution. So that they understand that this is not a coup fight they are going to win. You could have done this for a /tenth/ the price it took to keep even RPAs in play and so ended the Sectarian Insurgency long before the 2005-06 period when The Surge became necessary. But you have to do it. Because only when the population understands that it’s not a game, it’s the law, will they begin to transition from a population at war with itself to a population attempting to find a place in a new society. Because the law is something that is preconditional. It triggers a different response area in the brain from that which fight-or-flight rules combat reactions and gaming psychology. Speaking of psychology, what you are seeing in the article is also psychology. It is one of elitism as an officer aristocracy tries to humanize and justify their work effort as being noble. One might as well say that knights do not like being referred to as peasant levies. Yet the fact remains that both a knight and a pikeman are soldiers. A drone is a tool. Like a rifle. Like a sword. Nobody every pretended to assign it animate characteristics and thus the entire title is presumptuous because it can never be a ‘we’. But it is the function of the drone which gives it’s crews their utility. An airmen doesn’t make a drone better. A drone does elevate an airman”

“And then we arrest them and try them and shoot them. Because these are not Americans, they don’t have our civil rights.

You televise what is happening, every night, as the system goes into place with a warning that this is _The Law_ as a standing warning for a known consequence to stupid actions. And when they don’t listen or try to blow it off, you also televise the action that instigated the arrest and the trial and the execution. So that they understand that this is not a coup fight they are going to win.”

You talk about De Nazification yet quite happily endorse SS tactics?
Quite scary. have you ever actually been to Iraq? I have and the people there are human beings, no better or worse than you or I but caught up in a horrible situation both before and after the Invasion.

It has been proven that people who control drones are more likely to press the trigger than someone flying an aircraft as the detachment makes it seem like “a video game”. I blame the PS generation personally.

An airmen makes a drone based upon his human responses. war is not a game and it is not a degree in applied sciences, it suck and it always should less we get too fond of it. HETL

Chris.B.
Chris.B.
October 27, 2013 12:41 am

@ M&S,

That whole thing sounds like some bizzare Rumsfeld techno fantasy. Except Rumsfeld wouldn’t even be that stupid. The value of what you call “Coherent Change Detection” is significantly over rated.

As an example, an old boss of mine in a previous job was very high on the possibilities offered by wunder weapons in the field of security. I had the chance to go along with him and some others to check out one of these sorts of systems in action. We were given a budget black and white sales leaflet upon which was printed the early system name, which at the time was “Persistent Image Surveillance System”. Yes, I shit you not, the acronym was PISS. Which ironically enough is what I did to myself for the next 30 minutes during the demonstration.

It was fucking hilarious. A gnat farting on a blade of grass could set the system off. Imagine a salesman spending 30 minutes trying to convince an audience about how low the false alarm rate was…. while a technician spent 30 minutes with his finger over a button to silence the system every 10 seconds or so. Every gust of wind, every fly passing through the field of regard, even the bloody clouds passing in front of the sun set it off.

Then just to top it off, he finally opened the floor to questions. He’d given it a similar spiel to what you were talking about with the shadow detections. The first question was; “So what happens at night then?”. Cue the entire audience, with the exception of my boss, stuffing their ties into their mouths to stop themselves from crying out with laughter.

All that said, apparently the system is doing well (with a new acronym) in indoor applications.

@ APATS,
“it has been proven that people who control drones are more likely to press the trigger than someone flying an aircraft as the detachment makes it seem like “a video game”
— Following that theme, there’s been a bunch of these sorts of studies with similar results. It’s the same reason you get so many kids on YouTube videos telling people to go and have intercourse with their parents etc. The annonymity is a key driver. Derren Brown did some experiment a few years back in a similar mould, where the audience wore masks or hoods or something, and pushed buttons on a keypad to make decisions in a mock reality game show. Almost without exception they turned into a bunch of c**ts, because of the detachment from the victim and the feeling of being hidden from any consequences.

M&S
M&S
October 27, 2013 1:44 am

APATS,

>>
You talk about De Nazification yet quite happily endorse SS tactics?
>>

The ‘SS’ in the Balkans would respond to one German being sniped in a car by going into a town and grabbing 10-20 people at random and shooting them or hanging them. It got so bad that people became used to walking down roads filled with corpses hanging from trees.

(Time Index 1:05:00)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U4gLURNf_h4

And yet the Germans -did- stabilize the region. By essentially depopulating it of large segments of the competing Serb and Croat, Christian and Muslim minorities who had become intermixed in their hatred and now were cleansed.

The problem is that the Germans became hated for doing what they did because these people were used to thinking that this was -their war-, their private little feud. As an exercises in coup counting.

And yet the Germans didn’t care because, when the war was over, all the Slavic peoples would have been subjugated if not expatriated to the Eastern Reichskommisariats as menials.

I do not advocate that, I also do not advocate leaving a country with a balkanized government based on sharia law after equipping them with Western Weapons and Comms with a decade of thoughtless U.S. abrogation of Article 42 and 43 of the Hague Conventions-

>
Art. 42. Territory is considered occupied when it is actually placed under the authority of the hostile army.
The occupation extends only to the territory where such authority has been established and can be exercised.

Art. 43. The authority of the legitimate power having in fact passed into the hands of the occupant, the latter shall take all the measures in his power to restore, and ensure, as far as possible, public order and safety, while respecting, unless absolutely prevented, the laws in force in the country.
>

http://www.icrc.org/applic/ihl/ihl.nsf/ART/195-200052?OpenDocument

To incentivize them to further acts of depravity and ultimately (with Iranian help) an even larger bloodbath that will likely result in a Shiia state rapidly absorbed by her neighbor as all minorities are slaughtered.

That said, Coup Counting isn’t about eliminating a threat to your people. It’s about status improvement in the community as a function of the number of a designated exo-group enemy you kill in trade for real or imagined past offenses. It’s about street cred. And entertainment.

You play into that condition by making it a ‘sporting fight’ whereby blood buys blood through ambush and runaway tactics and they will never surrender because they will see you as free practice without any social consequences because nobody will take offense at the death of an invader.

It’s when you change up the game and display the sheer plodding certainty of “See this guy on the camera?” (one of multiple FOR views) he just shot your neighbor. We came to his house, we picked him up, we gave him a fair trial, with a lawyer, and now you get to watch his execution.”

You see, once these ‘heroes’ are a spectacle of social denigration and downfall the elitism reverses. The people who survive this numbnut’s pointless action now have an illustrated example of what it’s like to be excoriated by the weight of social rules and they may even have some sympathy for his victims if he was particularly brutal.

But more than anything, they will be quietly telling themselves that “I always knew he would get into trouble one day, _and because I stayed off the radar_, now I am the better man. Because I’m not about to take that last walk up the steps to a hangman’s noose.”

Survival vs. Certain Death, one’s native instincts will make up all kinds of excuses to justify cutting loose the loser.

Which is the first step to civilizing a nation. By making them coparticipants in the notion that there are laws, and consequences and they will follow them now can transition from one of punishment for stepping out of line to inheritance. As a world where they are safe to succeed.

>>
Quite scary. have you ever actually been to Iraq? I have and the people there are human beings, no better or worse than you or I but caught up in a horrible situation both before and after the Invasion.
>>

Iraqis are like any primitive culture. They feel their way through life and are opportunistic and exploitative in the extreme. In their empathy with the moment, they can be kind one day and viciously sadistic the next.

The good ones, will welcome a chance to live and work and raise families in peace.

>>
It has been proven that people who control drones are more likely to press the trigger than someone flying an aircraft as the detachment makes it seem like “a video game”. I blame the PS generation personally.
>>

No it has not. Nor should it matter. Because soldiers getting out of control because they are fighting an enemy that doesn’t have the honor to form a standup force but instead use criminal assassination tactics, don’t have to be sitting in an MCS to be guilty of war crimes-

Narang
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narang_night_raid

Uruzgan
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uruzgan_helicopter_attack

Haditha
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haditha_killings

Video Of U.S. Callousness
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7v9weKtTR-Y&oref=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3D7v9weKtTR-Y&has_verified=1

There is such a thing as exigent threat. And it is when you see soldiers lash out at what are not obviously civilians using pain as a messaging system, that you realize you are caught up in a coup driven psychology. And have to take a step back and break the connection as the killchain loop.

>>
An airmen makes a drone based upon his human responses. war is not a game and it is not a degree in applied sciences, it suck and it always should less we get too fond of it. HETL
>>

Nope. Drone crews react to ground fire as if it was being shot at them. They are not however at risk and typically have better options as the ability to leave the trashfire envelope and come back later and so are in fact more likely to pick their targets well.

In the book, the lowly drone operator talks about a Marine F/A-18 pilot called in, after the Predator went Winchester, to ‘make an example’. Expending every one of his Zuni rockets and Mk.82 bombs before switching to guns and hosing down the target area with about 10 passes and multiple KIA.

He said that, upon viewing the carnage in an after action report, he was disgusted that the surgeon was replaced by a butcher.

A helicopter never leaves the threat envelope of the cheapest weapons out there. A man on the ground, no matter how well trained, is essentially operating on a half second trigger reflex which he will lose if he doesn’t go into a fight with shoot first, ID later, intent to win, based on knowing that all his people are on the same side of the fence and everyone else is a target.

A pilot in a fast jet may seldom be at serious risk but he is always time compressed in his heads down look through a sodastraw optical aperture, displayed on a 5X5 MFD, while rapidly approaching no-shot overflight at 400-500 knots.

None of which changes the fact that if you want to instigate rule of law over a country you just knocked over, you had better instigate some choices that require an active participate or don’t decision by the subject population as compliance saves lives and identification as a threat brings an unending warrant for arrest.

We lost Iraq when we handed over control to a bunch of corrupt, religiously extremist and intellectually impoverished shysters who were interested only in their own power. And we did so because we were embarrassed at having found no WMD. I am more chagrinned by the 300,00 dead whose care we were fiduciarily responsible for.

A military governance with a thoughtfully created constitution _not_ embodying Islam and a period of martial law as enforced pacification by _policing techniques_ would have ended the insurgency and brought forward the stabilization and nation building phases, by years.

We screwed up. And now Iraq is a basket case, worse than ever before.

Phil
October 27, 2013 6:23 am

M&S

People can’t control or take the culture in their own companies to exactly where they want yet you seem to think that it can be done on a countrywide scale in a far more sociologically complex situation, I am keen to hear more on how this can be accomplished.

Iraqis are like any primitive culture.

Interesting. What defines Iraq as a primitive culture? I note your singular use of the word culture also. Please. I am keen to hear more.

We lost Iraq when we handed over control to a bunch of corrupt, religiously extremist and intellectually impoverished shysters who were interested only in their own power.

We have a word for those: politicians. So you don’t think that Iraq going to hell had anything to do with an institutional reluctance on a part of the US to properly resource and initiate a systemic rebuilding and recovery phase? Or the latent error of going to war with a creaky coalition that was never prepared to stump up the kind of resources needed to conduct anything approaching a proper rebuild? Or the complete lack of experience everyone had at nation building? Or the massive in-fighting between the DoD and State and other agencies over how to rebuild and if to rebuild?

break the connection as the killchain loop

Killchain loop. This sounds like bollocks to put it mildly.

wf
wf
October 27, 2013 9:23 am

@dave haine: piloting a fast jet is indeed I highly specialised skill that the majority of us cannot even be trained to do. But that’s an argument for aircrew selection, not a separate service. As a practical matter, the numbers of fast jet pilots, whom quite rightly have to form the leadership of the RAF as a fighting service, are dropping into the low hundreds. Starred appointments are even harder to recruit for than aircrew, and pool of possible candidates is very small.

dave haine
dave haine
October 27, 2013 9:27 am

Sounds like white supremacist theory to me…..

dave haine
dave haine
October 27, 2013 9:40 am

Indeed, and that is the problem I think all the services will face as the numbers get below a critical mass.

However, as the command and control of an air force is a specialised task, just as the command and control of a navy or an army is. And it can’t be done effectively by a guy, stirling chap though he be, whose last post for instance, was, say commanding 4 armoured division. I wouldn’t expect a Group Captain to be able to effectively command a ship either.

You need specialists in charge of specialisations. Because ‘management’ isn’t another specialisation! It’s just a task, and you need to have knowledge of what your managing to make it effective.

Maybe ‘jointery’ training should be better.

Mark
Mark
October 27, 2013 9:42 am

I see the drones are cheap line getting trotted out again

A. A perfect example is drones. We fall in love with drones. We think, this is great, we don’t have to have people in there. But the facts are that it costs more money to put up a CAP [24-hour combat air patrol] than it does to have a squadron of F-16s. It costs more people to man a CAP than it does to man a full squadron. The data link is vulnerable. The machine is vulnerable. The command and control is vulnerable. So we have built into it the one thing you don’t want to build into any military approach, and that is vulnerability.

http://www.defensenews.com/article/20131019/DEFREG/310210013/USAF-Leader-QDR-Process-Helps-DoD-See-Vulnerabilities

I believe the current head of the airforce is a helicopter pilot!

wf
wf
October 27, 2013 11:09 am

@dave haine: indeed, agreed. 1 AEW would not be effectively commanded by an RAC general. But having the RAF as a separate service ensures that the tail of demands for starred people for departments that are duplicated between services: recruitment, infrastructure etc.

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
October 27, 2013 2:22 pm

Bloody hell M&S, can I have the abridged version, not Volumes One and 2? I’m afraid after about 3 lines my eyes glazed over and I scrolled on through. I’m sure it was all well meant and cogently argued, whatever it was.

I saw a brilliant presentation by an academic who was a ninja in human communication. If you have to use Powerpoint, no more than 8 words per slide, no more than 5 slides. Quite hard to stick to that limit in real life, but it’s an aspiration.

McZ
McZ
October 27, 2013 2:44 pm

Hartley
“How do you reduce innocent deaths while still going after terrorists? Easy to say it, but not so easy to do it.”

The point is, that going after terrorists in third-world countries, even if they are failed states, even if they are allies on paper, is just a sign of a bankrupt strategy. As long as each and every innocent creates new terrorists, which in turn ensures defence dollars and NSA privileges, I don’t see, who should break this circle.

And RT is right, in the long run it will make the US a pariah state, because it will reach the point, where there is no trust or ally left. Just as the NSA-sniffing on allied heads of state is doing, I’d like to add. Talking about GCHQ sniffing on Belgium, that host of terrorism, the liberty of we entered WW1 for.

The “war on terror” cost multiple trillions of dollars. Setting a bounty of $1b on each of the 50 top terrorists would not only have provided an easy to check definition on “victory”, but would have been a huge incentive.

HurstLlama
HurstLlama
October 27, 2013 3:27 pm

@ Red Trousers

Powerpoint is an invention of Satan and is surely the most misused computer application so far invented, and probably the cause of more speakers, who had something interesting to say, boring their audience into inattentiveness than anything else.

Anyone using Powerpoint should be forced, by law, to read Presentation Zen by Garr Reynolds (ISBN 978-0-321-52565-9) before they are allowed in front of an audience.

dave haine
dave haine
October 27, 2013 5:01 pm

@ WF

Indeed, but you could aim exactly the same argument at the RN, and the army. So we’re into the realms of the defence force, and we’ve seen how poorly that has worked in most cases.
Whilst there is a certain amount of duplication, between all three services, It goes back to specialists for specialisations.
I certainly agree that there are some skill sets that are common to all three services, some that are common to both the RAF and RN, and some that are common to the RAF and army. But importantly, there are skillsets that are unique to the RAF, or the RN or the Army. You wouldn’t want an airframe/engine technician to be a trained infantryman, the core skills, requirements and competencies are very different. Equally, from my own experience the last thing I would want is an RAF erk steering a vessel. (I was crap- and provided much amusement to the CPO, and much heartache to the OOW). Different skillsets, different processes, different management/Leadership requirements.

Don’t get me wrong- I have nothing but admiration for the other services, they do the best job they can, just like the RAF, but like the RAF, there are issues that need addressing. And merging services isn’t going to solve anyone of them.

Besides, why don’t we split the RN? Naval aviation can go to the RAF (the RAF can have the bombers too) And the army can have the amhibious stuff, split the escorts between them.

And before you say it…I was being ironic…it sounds daft even to my ears, just as, I’m afraid, splitting the RAF does.

The real issue, before all three services, is that their ‘can do’ attitude is being abused, to absolve the mistakes, and ideology of some politicians, and civil servants, that can’t see beyond money, or indeed that, that there is a limit to what can be achieved, without adequately resourcing the people we ask to do it.

Phil
October 27, 2013 5:27 pm

The “war on terror” cost multiple trillions of dollars. Setting a bounty of $1b on each of the 50 top terrorists would not only have provided an easy to check definition on “victory”, but would have been a huge incentive.

Yup, an incentive for people to fund terrorism by bumping off their leaders and using the bounty.

WiseApe
October 27, 2013 6:33 pm

@dave haine – Yes. A while ago I toyed with the idea of merging our forces together, comparing them to the USMC, but I was reminded that they have the luxury of operating under the umbrella of the USAF/USN.

We can argue about where the lines should be drawn (should the army have Chinooks; or how about FAA crewing shipborne Apaches) but three distinct services is definitely the way to go.

Mark
Mark
October 27, 2013 7:17 pm

Those other “drones” it would seem are deflating rapidly despite $7b worth of investment

http://www.defensenews.com/article/20131027/DEFREG02/310270005/US-Military-s-Airship-Programs-Lose-Altitude

The more things change the more they stay the same

wf
wf
October 27, 2013 7:44 pm

@dave haine: and then we get onto the subject of organizational dynamics. It is probably a fact that early in the development of a new type of equipment, having separate organizations is beneficial to their development by protecting them from vested interests who wish to strangle them at birth: the RAF and the RTR both performed those roles in the 20’s.

Unfortunately, once these storms are weathered, too much independence breeds flights of fancy mixed with empire building: Douhet et al.

The easy work to do would be to move the RAF Regt and SH force to the Army, who generate 95% of the taskings for the latter anyway. Clearly the RM need to move there for the same reasons. Personnel in these units will enjoy better careers for the most part.

I suspect the RAF itself will end up moving to the Army/RN eventually later.

dave haine
dave haine
October 27, 2013 8:44 pm

@ WiseApe

I agree. You can say, on the face of it, that there are synergies in combining the three services, or even breaking up the RAF. But I think the difficulties created, far outweigh the positives, and indeed we’ve seen that it doesn’t work in many cases, anyway.

Also, when the navy raise the question of the RAF, they always ignore the areas that don’t sit anywhere else. The two that most readily come to mind, are the UKADGE (United Kingdom Air Defence Ground Environment) and air transport. Do we go back to WW1, Where we had two organisations responsible for air defence: RNAS and the RFC, both of which did their best to not get on, and often wouldn’t act together. Or the napoleonic era where the army found it neccessary to operate/charter their own fleet of transports, because the navy often wouldn’t assist, or was too busy with it’s own affairs.

@ WF

One of the reasons that the RAF regiment was set up, was because, the army were unwilling to allocate resources to defend RAF airfields. They still aren’t, and from personal experience, soldiers and airfields do not mix- I’ve seen army NCO’s run their units across an active runway, raising two fingers to the tower, rather than actually phone ATC, to get permission, or having to call out a fire engine to stop an army MK playing ‘chicken’ with a Hercules, because it was a ‘laugh’. Not sure that the aircraft recovery team, thought it was too funny, after having to extricate the Herc, because the crew went off the taxiway, to avoid the green idiot.

Support helicopter force? You have a point. However, I doubt the aircrew, or the techs would have a better career, with the army, than they currently have with the RAF. The RAF don’t regard Heli, as a separate career path. Many FJ pilots have moved to SH, and from there to Large Aircraft. Same as the techs, my friend started out at 33sqn (Puma’s), went through most of the fleets in the RAF, ending up in the MOD in a requirements post as a Wing Commander, Not a bad career and not unique.

I think your last comment is wishful thinking, which is sad really, because the RN’s time and energy would be better spent, like the army’s, getting a bigger budget for the MOD, rather than the slightly hair-shirted, pandering to the divide-and-rule wishes of the civil service and our politicians.

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
October 27, 2013 9:02 pm

DH,

your views on the RAF Regiment might be useful if the RAF Regiment were any good. We had a Squadron of the RAF Regiment in Bosnia to provide local defence for the Metal Factory which was the Div HQ. Number One Squadron, they thought themselves quite Gucci and certainly had more kit than you could shake a stick at. Had a Wing Commander boss (not sure if he was on the establishment, it was the first time the RAF Regiment were let out to play, and the RAF seemed quite interested in having some adult supervision for the toddlers).

They were totally fucking crap. Huge sigh of relief when they completed their 4 month tour (wow, a whole 4 months) and got fucked off back to wherever they came from.

Of course, that was a couple of decades ago. Sad then that very similar views exist today from more recent deployments. The RAF Regiment clearly haven’t learned anything.

But then, the RAF shouldn’t try to play at soldiers.

Topman
Topman
October 27, 2013 9:24 pm

@ RT

‘RAF Regiment might be useful if the RAF Regiment were any good.’

They’re very useful indeed, I mean who else would you squaddies have to winge about if they didn’t exist? The post count on AARSE would probably collapse overnight as well :)

mike
mike
October 28, 2013 7:47 am

RT

I’ve berated you before about your stories :D

That is why the pebble monkeys should stay to airfield defense, a job the army doesn’t want to do, doesn’t understand – nor should, really. That is why the pebble monkeys still exist.

My career has been as varied as Haines’ friend, which included working with ‘the regiment’ *cringe* was alright really. I raised the question of “why doesn’t the army do it” and the answer was simply that the Army doesnt want to do it; focuses entirely on being in the field, not an airfield. Bang to rights and Fair cop then, but rather ironically the one service the pongoes love to berate primarily exists because said pongoes dont provide their own service.

Opinion3
Opinion3
October 28, 2013 9:32 am

Isn’t this far less complicated than this thread suggests.

Drones are eyes in the sky. They subsequently gained weapons that enabled a quicker response. As a side effect their weapons were smaller and available on station for much longer periods of time. There will be consequences with the introduction of any new technology. I rather think the German U-boats were yesteryears drone. They had a massive impact on the war, and most of the arguments for and against the roleing of the drone could be applied to the Uboat.

SR
SR
October 28, 2013 2:09 pm

Military forces always trump the latest technology as absolutely necessary to win the campaign, usually because it guarantees funding. It is absolute bollocks. Helicopters were ‘essential’ for the Russians in Afghanistan and the Americans in Vietnam. TLAM was ‘critical’ in Iraq. Now we ‘must’ have drones. Campaigns fail not for lack of the right tools, but when the aim is unclear from the beginning, when the military and political authorities lose track of their objectives.

The original point about whether the operator is sufficiently qualified is moot. If they are capable of operating the platform correctly, then there is no question. What is essential is that the authorising officer is identifiable, correctly qualified, and understands his ROE. If he has authority to engage within his ROE set, then there is no question. If the US has lost control of its chain of command, that is another matter entirely.

It is something I understand absolutely as a Naval officer and PWO – ROE is crystal clear, black and white. Either we have permission to shoot (or deliver other effect), or we don’t. If we need permission from higher authority, the requirements are spelled out and I signal for a ROEREQ. That is understood not just by me, but by my Chiefs and PO’s, so when they are running an ASW battle they are the ones asking me for ROE. Because the Army in Afghanistan is incapable of understanding anything beyond Card Alpha at anything below Captain level, they created this monstrously complex system of targeting boards and fire chains that we now live with. However, if that is the system we must now obey, then so be it. Our ROE remains clear.

The military steers a dangerous course when they are the ones telling the politicians what to do. Government decides the objectives and the effect required. The military delivers, nothing more. If placed in a situation where the Government in question loses sight of the objective, we have an obligation to stop what we are doing. Military effect does not work without political direction and in most cases makes things worse.

RT, still sad to see your poor attitude towards the other Services. I’d have thought an apparently experienced chap who had attended Shrivenham would have a more balanced perspective.

dave haine
dave haine
October 28, 2013 6:07 pm

@SR

Exactly as I understand it. If the situation or environment changes, then new ROE is required, which must originate from government.

RT’s problem appears to be with (young) pilots, and his perception of their freedom to operate. I suspect he’s forgotten that aircrew work to ROE, just like the rest of the armed forces. So if there is a misstargeting/shoot, then the ROE is at fault, not the poler.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
October 28, 2013 6:17 pm

ROE is tossed around like some mysterious bible. In reality the the OPCOM looks at what it has been tasked to achieve by its Op Authority. It then writes an ROE profile that delegates certain authorities to certain level of command/units. Movement of permissions between levesl is achieved by what is called an ROEREQ as described by SR.
The normal format is 3 fold.
1. The ROE you want delegated or amended.
2. The reason why.
3. The military penalty for refusal.

It is actually a simple and flexible system when all involved know how it works.

wf
wf
October 28, 2013 6:20 pm

@dave haine, @SR: the issue @RT mentions is a factor in a lot of SF operations too, where the sneaky beakies drop in with minimal or no warning, and then are nowhere to be seen when the locals blow their top. Not just a RPA issue, more an issue with a non-linear battlefield where forces usually doing deep strike instead butt heads with local commands.

Local tasking of this sort of asset would seem a good solution. But neither the RAF nor the SF are likely to enjoy being told they are more trouble than they are worth at times. A recent example would be the USAF’s moaning at the USA’s buying of Predator-like Avengers for combat brigades, which it called inefficient, while the Army wanted local commanders to have dedicated assets…

dave haine
dave haine
October 28, 2013 6:55 pm

@APATS

Thats a much better way of saying what I was trying to say, thank you. Don’t get me wrong, I like RoE’s, I see the point.

This is really an argument for CEC, isn’t it. But we’ve seen and solved this issue before. The ‘cab rank’ principle developed by the Desert Air Force, in WW2. In brief, the CAS assets all joined on station, from where they were ‘called forward’ as required by the Forward Air Controller. Maybe that’s what’s needed here, what ever asset it is, needs to be unleashed by the local C4, upon targets required by the Local C4. If a strategic target develops, then you bring that target/objective into the the local matrix, with the appropriate force/ resource allocated for as long as required.

SR
SR
October 28, 2013 8:33 pm

Agree with all, except I’m not entirely sure it’s a case for CEC exactly, more about identifying the true line of authority and accountability and the methods for requesting modifications and/or delegations of authority to engage. If that can be done by remote TV, eyes in the sky, etc (as seen in so many movies) then excellent, otherwise the level of delegation needs to be appropriately set before the task begins. I think we trust our SF and other teams to apply more restraint than the US do.

The ROE profiles are drafted by the relevant theatre commander (usually a 1*) with direct support from PJHQ, but they are still sanctioned at Government level. The military provides the necessary operational guidance, which the politicos (should) marry to the effect they need to achieve.

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
October 28, 2013 8:40 pm

SR,

thanks for your delicate little put down. Unfortunately, you seem to interpret the legalistic application of ROE to any particular situation on the ground (or even on water, or in the air) as the final step in an engage / don’t engage decision. It’s not. It is at best the penultimate step, coming before the “is it sensible / in line with the Commander’s intent” line of thinking and final judgement. Just because the ROE allow a certain action does not make it sensible. I’d have thought your PWO course would have taught you that.

By the way the Army is equally well versed in asking for changes to ROE. If you have a go at me for not being very grown up in treating the RAF Regiment poorly, it doesn’t really help you come across as all sensible and mature if in the same post you make an equally throwaway comment about the Army being unable to make decisions below Captain. And my barb in regard to the RAF Regiment was evidenced: if you want to look up the POR on 1 Squadron RAF Regiment in Bosnia in the second half of 1996 go right ahead. It’ll be on DII somewhere. Your throwaway remark about the Army in Afghnistan is a general assertion (and I’d be fascinated to hear how a naval PWO has such insight to a land-based campaign in a land-locked country. At least I know about Number One Squadron in Bosnia as I wrote that part of the POR having controlled them for 4 months. You’ll find that the detailed part of the POR is structured along staff branch lines, after the GOC’s and PJHQ sections at the front. Flick to the G3 Ops section and it’s towards the end of those 20 pages, IIRC).

So, to put matters completely straight, I made two assertions up at the top of the comments:

(1) I am deeply sceptical that the USA is doing the right thing in this striking from afar using RPAS, and are in love with the capacity to do so, and seemingly ignorant of the cumulative effect these decisions have in the rest of the world.

(2) It is very sub-optimal to those managing – often for many months at a time – a complex situation on the ground when strategic forces “do something” without consulting the tactical commander first, particularly when they cock it up. Legalistic interpretations of ROE and who has the best staff process for changing them – a discussion introduced after my comment was made – is not an excuse for doing something silly.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
October 28, 2013 9:06 pm

ROE causes more arguments than Carriers :)

@RT are we on Commanders intent or one up intent? Pure buzzword bingo there :)

I am not going to get into an argument with you vis the RAF regiment but have never had any issues with them personally.

Ref the RN and land based campaigns. Whilst I have never seen an Army Officer appear as a qualified contributor appointed to an operational job on a Ship I have seen loads of Naval Officers appointed to Operational land jobs in Iraq and Afghanistan, I have been there.

Have worked operationally in Iraq, Yemen and Afghanistan, 5 jobs 2 of which should have been filled by Army Officers. The difference being that before I went to Yemen I spent nearly a month at JCTAT which gave me far better CQB and driving skills than most army equivalents. So MA jobs in terms of general staff skills were easy, Never seen an army Officer go through 2 years of OOW/PWO training to do the equivalent at sea.

the RN ade a huge contribution to Afghan, generator techs, CIWS operators, engineers on bases, air crew and of course during an RM Brigade Deployment were actually the largest service contributor. You know that though.

every service makes contributions where you would nor expect them.

Chris
Chris
October 28, 2013 9:07 pm

RT – you are coming close to my (somewhat draconian) suggestion that the Geneva Convention should rule weapons remote from the finger on the trigger to be outlawed. OK I really meant self-determining UAS choosing and prosecuting whatever they think makes an adequate target, but I too think there is something in the human psyche that allows a much more cavalier attitude to engagements when the prosecutor is safe and comfy several continents away. Much as I value and wish to advantage our brave armed forces, I fear I need them to engage at a personal level in order to keep a proper balanced perspective of their options and actions. Being personally at risk has a deeply focusing effect on decision-making.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
October 28, 2013 9:25 pm

@TD
There was a multi national multi service EOD team. A friend of mine lost his Army equivalent and good friend (did their training together) in their last week. He was called out to the aftermath :(

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
October 28, 2013 9:35 pm

APATS, I’m not denying at all that RN people don’t serve in Afghanistan (and other places, of course), my original statement to SR was about how he acquired the insight. I don’t think a PWO would be employed servicing generators, nor do I think a generator servicing person of any service would have the insight into forming rounded judgements of one particular service’s ability to replace a unit of a different service out of its’ own role.

What might be slightly uncomfortable is to delve into what the naval officers in Afghanistan were doing, if you want to advance your argument. I’m prepared to be corrected of course by your more recent knowledge, but I’d start with an assumption that they are nowhere near the key decision making nexus of Commander, COS, G3 Ops, G3 Plans and DACOS representing the logistic branches. i.e. 5 people in a one or 2 star HQ. Everything else is supporting.

I’m not convinced that you are really comparing apples with apples on your OOW / PWO training metric. The Army equivalent to a PWO is probably an Ops Officer within a Battle Group (i.e. same rank, roughly similar length of service, level of responsibility). An Ops Officer will have commanded 2 Platoons or Troops (one role specific, one specialist, total 4 years), have qualified as a weapons or communications instructor (16 weeks), have attended the junior staff course (20 weeks), have been a Squadron or Company 2IC (2 years), and have attended 3 months of role-specific and 3 months combined Battle Courses (total 6 months). Only then is he allowed to act as Ops Officer. He’ll be just as highly thought of as his PWO-designate opposite number with a minimum of 5 OJARs at Excellent grade, and be recommended for the position by his Second Reporting officer. Typically, the best Ops Officer in a Brigade will get appointed to the Brigade (or another Brigade) SO3 G3 Ops position, and one Ops Officer in the Division will be appointed to the Divisional SO3 G3 Ops position on the recommendation of both the GOC and Commandant of the Army’s staff course. So, not a single course as the PWOs take, but a broad and balanced set of learning interspersed with specific courses and recommendations by officers of one or 2 star.

I have to bow my head to you on JCTAT. Wow, better at CQB than most Army equivalents. Must be a waste all of that combat arms training the infantry, RAC, and indeed lots of others do to teach them how to not only be alive after a battle, but make sure that OPFOR are not. Send ’em all on JCTAT.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
October 28, 2013 9:46 pm

@RT
it is an interesting comparison on courses v experience and courses. PWO course to me seem stretched these days at 13 months but an Officer from it will generally nto be considered at OPS for another 6 months plus in posts.
JCTAT does not exist to train leadership it exists to train people going some where they prob should not be on CQB and driving, You fire more rounds in 5 days than most Army officers do in 5 years, not my quote but from a CSGT instructor. In 4 weeks you fire a lot and learn to survive in an urban environment.

It is completely different and totally focused in one area.

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
October 28, 2013 9:59 pm

“You fire more rounds in 5 days than most Army officers do in 5 years, not my quote but from a CSGT instructor.”

Things must have changed, and I don’t know what current practice is. As a Troop Leader I’d be on the range 2 possibly 3 times in a month, each time firing towards 200 rounds (SMG – I think SLR then SA80 drills were a little less), and then of course annual firing was 3 weeks firing both main armament and coax, as well as your personal weapon. But CQB is about so much more than weapon handling – it’s unarmed combat, some form of blended type of martial art (not quite ever one definable sort or another), grenade throwing, knife fighting and first aid, and movement across open and close ground. Pre-deployment training is another month of weapon and CQB refresher.

Do they still do the firing practice for getting out of a car that’s been ambushed? Hoots of fun, that one. I first did it before a NI tour, but again several times pre-Bosnia and Kosovo. Firing through the windscreen or side window, taking appropriate cover (“not over the roof, Sir! behind the pigging engine, you dickhead, Sir!”). Then a really wild exercise in rolling like a young child does down a slope, all the while firing a pistol at a Figure 11. Rounds every bloody direction, dangerous as hell, until you learned the trick.

EDIT: just recalled, night firing, with the very high-tech trick of rubbing a stick of white chalk along the fore end of your weapon to be able to vaguely sight along it in near total darkness. Very sophisticated back in those years. Happy days ;)

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
October 28, 2013 10:18 pm

@RT

We were firing well over 1000 rounds of 9mm and 7.62mm short a day. Were using AKMS and a browning copy. 3 months in we switched to Gloicks and MP5 much preferred the AKMS.
Yes anti ambush drills, passenger fires through windscreen then rakes glass and keeps firing.
As for blended martial arts etc they did select people for the job, not just randomly pick them.

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
October 28, 2013 10:55 pm

APATS,

seems all a bit odd to me. A one month course in which you fire well over 1000 rounds a day, and moreover a course for individual reinforcements from non-combat arms? I’ll take your word for it, but it does seem a bit odd. Perhaps I misunderstand what JCTTAT actually does? Must be like the first day of the Somme in Folkestone with all of that going on.

I don’t recall that even SF were doing that level of training when I knew a few of them. I had no interest in the SAS, but I did attend a briefing day for potential 14 Int selection (and then never applied, as it wasn’t really what I wanted to do, which was to go to BRIXMIS as it was then. Bloody Cold War ended, as did BRIXMIS just after I’d done all of the language training and got my posting order. Bastard Gorbachev). Anyway, 14 Int were certainly on the list of sort-of-but-not-quite SF who did lots of weapon drills, and again I didn’t see that level of shooting practice going on on the training we visited.

Still, I’ll bet you are a good shot, after all of that.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
October 28, 2013 11:08 pm

You have to remember we were off to do something we do not do. we were teaching the Yemenis how to drive their US purchased patrol vessels. the Americans would not send anyone to Yemen, the RAF or Army had noone suitably qualified.
I spent a month doing a Bodie and Doyle course.

Still miss the occasional pheasent.

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
October 28, 2013 11:23 pm

APATS,

Main Effort: teach the Yemenis to drive a boat, by definition offshore and therefore unlikely in the extreme to be subject to ambush in a car.

Clearly, you’ll have been under some threat on the transit to and from the classroom and / or the dockyard from your accommodation, but I’d love to have seen the TNA for the task that concludes you need a month’s worth of enormously intensive combat shooting. I can only conclude that the training for the task you were actually sent out to do was several years long, of which the minor element of combat shooting took a proportionate mere one month. I mean, how long did you spend on learning the new ship’s combat systems, propulsion, radar systems and counter-measure procedures, all of which seem more relevant to delivering training on teaching Yemenis about their new boats than re-enacting Blackhawk Down just on your morning commute?

“Hard-pressed taxpayer” mode now fully engaged, I’m wondering whether it would have been cheaper for HMG to charter some gin palace and moor it 15 miles offshore, then chopper you and your crew to the Yemeni boat twice daily, than to send you on the sort of training that James Bond himself would be in awe of?

;)

SR
SR
October 28, 2013 11:23 pm

RT,

I do not need to spend 6 months of my life in a hole in Afghanistan to make the assertion that time, money, blood and lives are being wasted wholesale. The entire Afghanistan campaign is total waste of life. The second we leave, the country will revert to type. That alone is bad enough; it sickens me that the attitude continues to prevail that the campaign can be referred to as a success in any way, shape or form. The campaign, rudderless and without clear objective, has set UK defence strategy back by years.

My targeting training extends to before PWO course, thanks, and has included a thorough understanding of the new ‘targeting’ process. No, not by being shot at or blown up but through teaching and instruction; sorry, not very Joint of me. We didn’t need it, but lo and behold it’s been invented and because we (rightly) gave it a stiff ignoring, we got left behind and had to get used to a whole new, quite unnecessary process. My time on the ground was in Iraq, actually, but I happen to know that many RN officers, both PWO and non-PWO, Warfare and non-Warfare have served in J3/J5 jobs in both theatres. In fact, becoming a PWO is rather a bonus as we are seen as being quite desirable for Joint employment. I’m looking forward to my forthcoming Joint job.

I’m flattered that you consider me dull enough to need an explanation of how just because I can shoot, I do not need to. This perhaps exemplifies the limited understanding that prevails of what ROE is. Forgive me, but it governs far more than lethal force; it governs approach distances, when to approach, whether to board or not, to understand the legal basis for boarding, to lay down when we can and cannot enter territorial waters, whether to harass or counter-harass, the warnings and statements that must be adhered to when interacting with other nations, hostile or not, the definition and understanding of hostile act and hostile intent and, last but not least, when to operate in self defence. Yes, amazing, all this we know and understand. It enables a full range of options to influence and deliver effect, not simply ‘can I shoot’.

As I’m sure you are aware, land campaigns are not restricted to those that are land locked. As made quite clear in most Defence Strategic Outlooks, the importance of the littoral (that lovely word) is both underestimated and growing in significance, and most of the world’s population and resources are in that area that can be influenced from the sea. We Navy boys know a thing or two about delivering effect on land as well as at sea – maybe you have heard of the Marines? Or perhaps the Navy hasn’t been involved in any land campaigns recently, apart from Iraq. And Bosnia. Sierra Leone? Oops – sorry, we just provided the Spearhead with food, after they ran out. The Islands That Shall Not Be Named? Libya? Wait, sorry, no boots on the ground there. Afghanistan – but as you point out, all we did was drive trucks and fix generators. At least at sea I had some RAF and Army chaps to work with – oh no, wait, that’s not right either is it?

No, I do not understand the intricacies of CQB or COIN (thank God), but I do understand that if you deploy land forces you commit a sizeable force, that has only one express purpose, to kill, to an objective. What, exactly, was the objective in Afghanistan? Or Iraq, for that matter? This brings me back to the question – what is your moral responsibility when your political leaders have lost sight of their objective?

I would rather hope you keep your shooting skills up – that’s part of the job, no? I keep my skills up on a regular basis only my gun is 4.5” – how big is yours?

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
October 28, 2013 11:36 pm

@RT

“Main Effort: teach the Yemenis to drive a boat, ” the problem is you have zero idea what that entails. ” You have also obviously never worked out of uniform. Yes it was a very intense course but at the end of it we went and lived in Aden wore civvies and drove to work every morning

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
October 29, 2013 12:06 am

I now appear to have tweaked not one but two naval tails. Golly, much more of this and virtually the whole of the Andrew are going to be jolly upset.

SR,

I do not need to spend 6 months of my life in a hole in Afghanistan…”.

Yes you do, if you want to make unevidenced assertions about what Army people of below the rank of Captain, in Afghanistan, are capable of doing. You’ll notice that my remark about an RAF Regiment Squadron was quite specific, naming it and giving the specific dates of the tour, and when I wrote the critical comments which if not in the public domain, freely available to anyone in the MoD. And, signed off by a 2 star after being staffed appropriately to make sure the original author was not wildly off-beam.

As I didn’t raise ROE in my comments, I don’t really give a monkey’s how excited they make you feel (probably quite a lot, if you are a typical Naval officer). I’ve applied ROE in combat, from both the observer’s end right through various permutations at Battle Group level via running Divisional operations in Bosnia, and at the strategic / political level when I minuted the evolving conversations during a 12 hour period in Yasushi Akashi’s office in Zagreb between him, the Force Commander, UN New York SitCen, and several NATO capitals during the 12 hours before NATO struck advancing Serb forces in Srebrenica. Legal stuff, or at least the notes were kept and secured as legal material for the lawyers to pore over, and it wasn’t merely minuting, it was background briefing my opposite numbers on the evolving situation on the ground via distilling operational reports from the UN and a couple of national feeds, so that the Principals were fully lined up when they had their hourly conferences.

…but I do understand that if you deploy land forces you commit a sizeable force, that has only one express purpose, to kill, to an objective. “

Oh dear, back to Britannia with you. Show again understanding of modern conflict.

APATS,

not worked out of uniform? Can’t think why I’ve been paid anything at all then for the last ten years. Nor why I also wore civvies on a number of tours (well, 2 and a bit, the bit being taking over someone else’s role mid tour when he had a compassionate and returned home to look after his mother)

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
October 29, 2013 12:20 am

TD, I’ll see your 70’s bad pun and raise you:

http://www.jantoo.com/cartoons/lowres/118/11832442_low.jpg

(Bad form to interrupt an enjoyable banter. I was just getting into the way of thought that taking on the might of the Navy is like shooting fish in a barrel. It’s not as public as their annual humiliation at Twickenham, but you have to do something in the off season :) )

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
October 29, 2013 2:24 am

APATS, re training for Yemen.

It’s important to make crystal clear that my comments below do not refer to you at all in any personal sense. While slightly distrustful in a generic, and jokey sense of the capacity of the Andrew not to do something ridiculous like beaching a submarine in plain daylight next to a bridge connecting Skye to Scotland (wow, what a star of Perisher he must have been), I do quite explicitly not impugn any individual’s personal integrity.

But your recollection of your JCTTAT training raises some quite serious questioning in my mind as to how our defence money and more importantly the time of reasonably senior people s being spent, worthy enough to ask questions. Given the essential nature of the training task (maritime training), and your report that you drove to and from the task in civilian clothes, several top level questions come to mind:

1. Who / which organisation did the threat assessment to come up with a need for such serious training? I wouldn’t expect a person only on the course to know that background detail, but it’s a decent question, especially if the threat assessment also OK’d you to drive to the task.

2. If the threat was so high, were you also escorted by outriders from the SF? What were the security precautions around the accommodation? After all, the drive is only a short period, there is the rest of the day to consider.

3. Given the Main Effort was the ship and training thereon, what was the proportion of time spent on self-defence training versus time spent on learning the new shipboard systems to then train the Yemenis – after all as you say they were not British systems? You never quite (or even vaguely) answered that. You don’t have to, it’s only the internet and an unofficial forum, but it’s also a decent question.

4. Why the need for civvies at all? A military task, openly delivered from the UK to Yemen. We’ve all done the “coat on over the combats while I drive to the bank” gig, but you imply it was much more hostile than that.

5. If your training was to protect yourselves on a training mission, why the AKMs? Alarm bells, for me at least.

And a question for you. All service rivalries aside, good-natured or cantankerous, do you really expect to make a convincing case that either tri-service individual or ad hoc drafts for military training tasks abroad would really get the level, depth and intensity of CQB training that SF themselves don’t get, that you say most of the Army don’t get, and to have a higher level of capacity after a four week course than a career infantryman won’t get despite training over many years? You may well believe that to be the case: I find it extremely hard to believe that to be so. I don’t know exactly what training you received, not having had the pleasure of attending a 4 week JCTTAT course, nor being once an infantryman. All I can relate it to is what I knew, and I am very much surprised that things have changed so much. Extremely surprised. Gob-smacked. I have difficulty in forcing myself to think that. I can’t think that.

“Well over 1,000 rounds a day” as merely the headline to describe your training. Quite incredible, as a reasoned use of defence money.

x
x
October 29, 2013 7:46 am

@ RT

I am surprised you find the 1000 rounds surprising seeing as none of the modern RN’s three combat options were available; soft kill, call the USN, or surrender to men with beards.

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
October 29, 2013 8:00 am

x,

:)

It is a bit of a shock to find so much combat experience in one so young.

Been up all night with a bad back – stupidly wrenched a muscle with some ill-advised lifting of a box in the attic at the weekend, and that’s me also having done the compulsory Manual Handling 45 minute death by Powerpoint annual briefing at work. Why they think a BD bloke needs manual handling courses at work is beyond me. Anyway, awake most of the night with nothing but the laptop and Google to follow through on research.

Anyway, I’ve think worked out I did the same course as APATS (not JCTTAT, but a navigation course at HMS Dryad before Collingwood took over the instruction) well before he even joined the Andrew. We are brothers.

( I only did the course as it was in the back of the tri-service courses handbook, and I had a girlfriend in Hampshire at the time. Regimental 2IC was very dubious of my military intentions, but eventually signed off the form. I was buggered when a year later we went off to Gulf One and I was appointed the Regimental Navigating Officer – a hitherto unknown appointment)

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
October 29, 2013 8:10 am

…clarification. I did 3 months navigating training at Dryad in 1990, before the course transferred to Collingwood. Looking at the syllabus now, it’s much more advanced than back then.

I only did the ruddy course as I had a girlfriend at the time in Hampshire, and Dryad was in Hampshire, and Herford in West Germany wasn’t. Took some persuading of very dubious grown ups to wangle my attendance, but technically it was a tri-service course.

EDIT after posting: not sure what happened to the earlier comment. It was there, then it disappeared. Anyway, it seems APATS and I have a common link.

Obsvr
Obsvr
October 29, 2013 8:13 am

The reason for the RAF Regt is that the Army doesn’t want the job. Not least because of the infantry regimental system and not wanting the job. It’s true that in WW2 there was some limited use of infantry to protect HQs in Burma, but that was exceptional. Subsequently the role went to the RPC, they also had a couple had a couple of coys in Germany defending 2nd line nuc ammo stocks. I won’t make any judgements about whether the Royal Pioneer Corps were better infantry than the RAF Regt, but the chunkies were competant. Of course the RAF Regt’s AD role has been passed to RA on the recommendation of an RN officer.

wf
wf
October 29, 2013 9:24 am

Shh everyone, I’m imagining @RT in the middle of the Saudi desert, 5 minutes after being presented with a stack of almanacs and a sextant :-)

Chris.B.
Chris.B.
October 29, 2013 9:26 am

@ RT,

“Why they think a BD bloke needs manual handling courses at work is beyond me”
— To keep their insurance premiums down,

Dunservin
Dunservin
October 29, 2013 9:53 am

@RT

“I now appear to have tweaked not one but two naval tails. Golly, much more of this and virtually the whole of the Andrew are going to be jolly upset.”

– So much for the teaching of social skills at Sandhurst. You’re gradually getting there.

– RN officers routinely serve in J3/J5 posts for land operations; I’ve done so myself. Your woeful ignorance is surprising because some of your previous comments suggest that you shared a junior staff course with an old naval crony of mine who has also done this on several occasions and in some fairly critical positions. His current appointment makes him unlikely to share your derision of doctrine developers and his recently-shipped second star is still in the ascendant (didn’t you claim to have left the Army as a tombstone SO1?).

– As has been pointed out, pongos are unable to make any useful reciprocal contribution to running operations at sea which is why it doesn’t happen. Sadly, your often trotted-out acquaint on board HMS Bristol, the current sea cadet training vessel, doesn’t count for much, especially as you seem to have absorbed so little about the ship and what was going on around you. Your dismissive reference to teaching the Yemenis ‘how to drive a boat’ further demonstrates your lack of understanding of what’s entailed in training personnel to command, operate, maintain, store, fuel, feed and, when necessary, repair (i.e. float, move and fight despite battle damage) a warship effectively in a multi-threat, three-dimensional environment, not to mention in a safe and legal manner. Incidentally, it has always been the RN’s ethos to train and trust the judgement of ships’ COs of whatever rank to take decisions locally (within given ROE), not constantly subject them to a long-handled screwdriver wielded by HQ.

– In response to your most recent post querying the need for discretion in Aden, have you not heard what happened to USS Cole? Also, if you have ever supported defence sales and/or the provision of international training (the RN deemed the term ‘foreign training’ non-PC), then you would know that one way or another, the customer always pays even if only in kind via the FCO. As someone who spent four of his 32 years in uniform running a training package for al-Yamamah, I can testify that money is no object where certain cases are concerned. It is seldom a drain on the defence budget but I don’t believe your faux concern anyway; it comes across more as childish frustration.

– I must say you can spin a dit (tell a yarn) like the best of sailors (e.g. attending a three-month RN ocean navigation course as a pongo – what a waste of defence funds!?!) but isn’t it a shame that your so-called ‘fish in a barrel’ are capable of firing back with bigger, more plausible guns than you? Possibly ‘trigger fish’ but definitely not ‘Fijian ringers’. ;-)

– Let’s have more dits from you about your Great Uncle Marmaduke or whoever. I enjoy those.

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
October 29, 2013 9:56 am

wf,

the course’s handbook is your friend when you are a young subbie.

I can operate not just a sun compass, but a moon compass as well. I can also make a cogent argument as to why the Andrew and Kevins use Lat Longs rather than proper grids. I impress even myself. ;)

However, the course syllabus I looked at for the modern course that APATS did seems like doing an MSc compared to O levels. It’s mostly bloody digital, for a start, and they have 2 weeks in the channel, not just some day or night trips and a 4?? day I think final exercise that I remember. I don’t think I’d have survived that course unscathed. :(

Simon257
Simon257
October 29, 2013 11:09 pm

I don’t want to worry you all… But the BBC are now operating their own Drones!!!!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-24712136

El Sid
El Sid
October 30, 2013 3:44 pm

– Not just journalists, they’re now talking about autonomous drones for pizza delivery….