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(Daily Mail)   US Air Force facing a problem that fighter jocks would rather play in a basement. Oh and something about a $225k signing bonus for a 9 year extension   ( dailymail.co.uk) divider line
    More: Interesting, U.S. Air Force, United States, USS George H.W. Bush, F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, Wired for War, combat aircraft, Peter W. Singer, Andersen Air Force Base  
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12335 clicks; posted to Main » on 23 Jul 2013 at 7:07 AM (4 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

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2013-07-23 03:06:05 PM  
1 vote:

Warthog: I'll concede I have a limited sample size (my brother and his co-workers, who fly F-16's and F-15's), but NONE of them WANT to go into UAVs. They sneer at the UAV guys.  BUT it's getting harder and harder to get flying time with budget cutbacks.  Entire units are at risk of losing their current status in their aircraft, which means when the sequester lifts, they all need to go to a different base to re-qualify in a jet they should be allowed to fly every week.  They'd love to be flying ever day, even in a war zone, but the sad fact is most of the Air Force has been parked on the ground for a while now.  If offered a chance to actually do something on a day-to-day basis as a UAV pilot for full pay+, or sit at a desk and get paid 75% of your prior salary not to fly, some of them conclude they have to take the UAV assignment to feed their families.  That huge retention bonus is a myth that is not available to any of the guys who are currently in and flying.  The system appears, at least to me, to be entirely broken.

The system is broken because people who want to fly amazingly cool jets don't get to fly them? The system does not exist to let people play with hugely expensive toys! The military exists to protect American interests. Or more accurately, to bomb the hell out of any nation with oil that looks at us funny. UAVs can do that job better than the alternative.
2013-07-23 09:56:12 AM  
1 vote:

Dubya's_Coke_Dealer: Why do we put humans in these planes anyway, a 12-year-old with an Xbox controller could do the job?

Oh yeah, for macho, and elite, and spending lots and lots of money we don't need to.

Defense Contractors gotta Contract.
2013-07-23 09:11:51 AM  
1 vote:

Brick-House: I wonder how much of this is related to BOB and his policies related to the military.

My guess, having more than few years military service, is that social engineering is not the biggest reason but plays a role. Fighter pilots, infantry , Special operations etc. are professions pretty heavy on the testosterone for obvious necessary reasons and there is some resentment, I am sure, making them take down hooters calendars is resented, but not the main reason. Not even gays serving openly is that big a problem. Most to them will tell you that gays are less of problem than women because at least they will not become unavailable for deployment or go on light duty due to pregnancy. The whole pregnancy thing is a bigger issue than feminists and many politicians like to admit.

The two biggest reasons are first is drones and precision munitions counting as one and the other is money.

As to the first fighter pilots like to be fighter pilots and fly. Drones have relieved them of many of their missions and indicates there may not be much of a career future for many of them. Precision guided munitions have turned them into little more than bomb trucks. They fly to an area coordinates are fed into the bomb guidance system they release the bomb and it does most of the work of getting itself on target. takes a lot of the challenge out of the job.

The Second being money and I don't mean pay. I mean money being available for actual flying. budget cuts mean less time in the air. Fighter pilots , who like to fly naturally, don't get to do it has often. Planes may not even be a available because maintenance and parts also cost money. Of course training and skills suffer as not everything can be done by drones yet-like air superiority.

The money side is nothing new. We went through this during the search for the peace dividend after the of the cold war during the 1990s (only there was no peace). Budget cuts meant less money for training , maintenance (even troops living condition's suffered) etc.. There was also Social engineering going on with Army and Navy replacing basic training with low stress coed summer camp. along with military becoming job corps fore single parents. But actual deployments increased-less money to do more work.

During this time the Air Force and Army moved to address their serious retention and morale problems. With a remarkable display of a lack of leadership ability by people who attained such high rank the Air Force went with new Navy officer style uniforms (A failed attempt that cost a lot of money) and old style leather flight jackets for pilots, which I am sure upset PETA. The Army decided to buy everyone a new hat-that stupid looking beret.

The real fix is money but despite what you read on Fark things like the F-35 are other weapons procurement a re not the money problem they are made out to be as that spending is drawn out of many years even decades in the case of ships. One of biggest, if not the biggest, yearly costs in the military budget is personnel This not limited to just pay, benefits and housing but also training them. Troops that are well trained have less morale and discipline problems. Good training cost money for things like live ammunitions (the best training) as well as training/inert ammo, transportation (fuel). equipment used in training is going to need to maintained , repaired and or replaced. The places and ranges they train on need to be operated and maintained

This is not to say the military budget needs to be increased because like all government spending there is waste. It is getting the politicians and military leadership to do something about that waste and shift that money were it is really needed. For example we have more Flag officers (Generals and Admirals) than we need but you are not going to get them to say that and politicians like the positions of being "gad fathers" or political mentors to these guys. There are many other areas like stateside DOD dependent school system etc. that could be eliminated and save a bunch of money.
2013-07-23 08:51:12 AM  
1 vote:
Good that pilots are weighing the risks and refusing the riskier job.  It's the first tiny step towards everyone refusing to have anything to do with killing people.  Next, the PTSD of drone work will drive people out of that.  Then the ground troops will say, "WTF am I  doing here, shooting and getting shot at so Halliburton's stockholders can get richer?"

Don't enlist, kids.  It's a deal with the Devil. If you're drafted, flee to Canada.
2013-07-23 07:43:00 AM  
1 vote:
The good old Air Farce. I like to make fun of them, but they do have the benefit of sending the zeros into combat while the enlisted stay home and sleep with their wives someone's wife.

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2013-07-23 07:38:08 AM  
1 vote:
I think the issue is emblematic of a culture shift in the air force: The old guard which promotes the lone wolf fighter jock with all of the mystique and machismo that go with it. On the other side: the new guard which has figured out that if you take a pass on the mystique and machismo you get to go home at the end of your shift and see your wife and kids on a regular basis.

Drones aren't sexy, but they get the job done, the pilot survives to fight again if he gets shot down, the drone is cheaper to replace and the pilot gets to go home at the end of his shift. And the air force wonders why they are having trouble retaining pilots for fighter jock roles?
2013-07-23 07:34:58 AM  
1 vote:

Molavian: I thought drone pilots weren't real pilots, or something.

I think they should put the medal on the drone. It's taking all the risks.
2013-07-23 07:32:26 AM  
1 vote:
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2013-07-23 07:32:01 AM  
1 vote:

Molavian: I thought drone pilots weren't real pilots, or something.

They're not, but they get paid good money, have no loss of life threat, can get coffee and bathroom breaks during long sorties, can work much closer to home, and have a overall less stressful job.
It's no wonder many pilots are moving.
2013-07-23 07:23:37 AM  
1 vote:
Ah the Chair Force - not happy unless they are sitting in a shipping container stateside shooting missiles at people with towels on their head
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