RAF urged to recruit video game players to operate drones

The commander who oversaw the use of Reaper drones in Syria has said the relentless demand to deploy the unmanned aircraft means the RAF needs to test recruiting “18- and 19-year-olds straight out of the PlayStation bedroom” to operate the weapons.

Air Marshal Greg Bagwell, a former RAF deputy commander of operations, disclosed that the psychological pressure on drone operators in the UK was such that some had quit due to mental stress or illness. Continue reading

Cripin Blunt on Trident

Cripin Blunt, the Conservative chair of the Commons foreign affairs committee, spoke after Angus Robertson in the debate and he said he would not be voting for Trident renewal.

Earlier, in an intervention, he said that his current estimate was that Trident renewal would have a lifetime cost of £179bn.

  • Blunt said Trident renewal would be “the most egregious act of self-harm to our conventional defence”.

Continue reading

UK to spend tens of millions of pounds more to refit £1bn warships’ unreliable engines

In an email seen by the BBC, a serving Royal Navy officer wrote that “total electric failures are common” on its fleet of six £1bn Type 45 destroyers.

The Ministry of Defence said there were reliability issues with the propulsion system and work to fix it would be done to ensure “ships remain available”.

One Royal Navy officer said the cost could reach tens of millions of pounds. Continue reading

The MOD’s £178 billion equipment plan

The review promises nine new maritime patrol aircraft for surveillance, two new Army strike brigades, an additional F-35 Lightning II squadron, and extending the service of Typhoon jets by 10 years through to 2040. …

The MOD will spend £178 billion on equipment over the next decade, an increase of £12 billion on previous plans. The Defence budget will increase by 0.5% above inflation for the rest of this Parliament allowing investment in people, equipment and the MOD estate.

Continue reading

MoD’s secret cyberwarfare programme

Ben Quinn, “Revealed: the MoD’s secret cyberwarfare programme,” 16 March 2014, Guardian

The Ministry of Defence is developing a secret, multimillion-pound research programme into the future of cyberwarfare, including how emerging technologies such as social media and psychological techniques can be harnessed by the military to influence people’s beliefs.
Continue reading