Skip to comments.Pentagon battle breaks out over a spy plane
Posted on 03/21/2008 10:19:29 AM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach
WASHINGTON -- Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates has ordered the Air Force to put nearly all of its unmanned Predator aircraft into the skies over the Middle East, forcing the service to take steps that officers worry could hobble already-stressed drone squadrons.
Pressure from the Defense secretary in recent months has nearly doubled the number of Predators available to help hunt insurgents and find roadside bombs in Iraq. But it has forced air commanders into a scramble for crews that officers said could hurt morale and harm the long-term viability of the Predator program.
Some officers said pressure from Gates resulted in one plan that could have taken the Air Force down a path similar to the German Luftwaffe, which cut back training in World War II to get more pilots in the air.
"That was the end of their air force," said Col. Chris Chambliss, commander of the Air Force's Predator wing. The Air Force plan, presented to the military leadership in January, eventually was scaled back.
The surge in drone flights is Gates' latest push for short-term measures to win the Iraq war that will have long-term implications for the U.S. military. In recent months, Gates has campaigned to increase the size of the Army and to ship new, heavily armored troop transporters, known as MRAPs, to Iraq.
Because of the far-reaching implications of the Predator debate, a fight has broken out between the Army and the Air Force over control of one of the most heralded technological successes of the war.
(Excerpt) Read more at latimes.com ...
Please, don’t go there.
The USAF has folks working as convoy guards driving the shitty srteet of both the ‘Stan and in the sandbox.
You’ll also notice a lot of USAF stripes working with the ARMY SOF as Forward Air COntroller/ETACs calling in CAS.
Maybe not as many, but sure as hell as often.....
I work with these guys daily, tough as nails and just as mean as any Grunt....even if they are POGs.
I have to be honest, I would soooo love to paint some asshat in the weeds and watch a MK84 make him a martyr.....
You don't think the USAF is working on countermeasures to unmanned fighters, such as those I suggested? I'd be surprised, not to mention disappointed, if they weren't.
What HTML tag did you use to create that box?
Sounds good to me and I vote we give them a chance.
They are complete idiots for this.
Put a JDAM aboard and load an FAE warhead at the nosecone of the Predator. That way if there is battle damage to the drone the pilot will be able to kamikaze it and get one last little F-U at the enemy before the UAV is lost.
“All Predators to the ME”, per SECDEF, ping.
What about other UAV platforms? Any word on new, forward, deployments of them?
WW2 Luftwaffe fighter pilots often flew more than five missions a day, for the entire war. They were outnumbered for most of the war and fighting opponents who flew aircraft that were superior after the first years yet there were 15 who scored more than 200 victories and 92 with more than 100. That with a high command that never really understood how to use them.
By the end, if a pilot could get a plane off the ground he was launched at the waves of bombers and their escorts, and, as you say, they were getting slaughtered. Allied fighters would loiter over the Luftwaffe airbases and jump the survivors of the air battle when they tried to land.
It's astounding to me that any German pilots survived. It's an amazing story.
Before the war, many Germans learned to fly in gliders. Today, our video gaming industry is preparing new operators for us to train to fly Raptors and Predators and death in combat is much less likely. Sounds good to me.
I'm afraid a computer chip can pull a lot more Gs than a person and I see that being the future of the Air Force. But someone will have a job using the joystick sometimes and monitoring the cameras.
Just the way things are.
A huge part of the problem is that the Air Force believes that either driving an aerial bus or fighter requires the services of an officer and a gentleman
And the Navy as well.
You hit the nail on the head.
Sure you can...there arent enough Predator pilots and/or bandwidth to run them with. The locals may launch them, but they are flown from the US.
My buddy sent me an audio file of training at Luke AFB a while back...with a bunch of funny new callsigns.
Turns out the Predator/Reaper type aircraft was acting as the Forward Air Controller for F16s and marking their targets....and also working with ground special forces units. It was very interesting listening.
Agreed. These are great guys, but they are only a small fraction of the Air Force.
Well, if they are no longer able to pilot a plane then they need a new job somewhere.
Tactical drones for the Army and Marine Corps. Strategic for the USAF.
Their top aces generally fought the entire war and with some exceptions entered the Luftwaffe before the war began. The Luftwaffe failed to maintain a stream of young, qualified pilots to replace those lost in combat. The allies did have the advantage of training far from the front lines, while most German territory was subject to attack.
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