The Royal Air Force will create a new breed of pilots who may never have to fly to the battle ground.
The new class of air force personnel will remain firmly on the ground, and control unmanned aircraft remotely.
Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton, the Chief of the Air Staff, announced that the RAF is creating a new class of pilots within its Flying Branch for personnel who control unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
They will be known as Remotely Piloted Air System Pilots and will have their own badge, bearing the same wings that are given to pilots of conventional aircraft, the Daily Telegraph reported. The development comes as unmanned aircraft becomes more common within the force, the Daily Mail reports.
Used for both surveillance and offensive operations, UAVs like the Reaper, armed with 500lb bombs and Hellfire missiles have drawn political controversy, the report said. It comes after MPs are set to probe Britain’s use of controversial spy drones after a report found pilots are poorly-trained and being ‘pushed to the limits’.
The Defence Select Committee will examine Britain’s increasing deployment of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) after an investigation by the Military Aviation Authority found surging demand is ‘constraining the length of time available to train and qualify’ new operators, the report said.
According to the report, five new UAV s will be controlled above the skies of southwest Afghanistan by airmen sitting at computer screens 4,000 miles away in the UK by XIII Squadron.