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JUSTAS: the project to buy armed Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) UAVs

CBH99

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What UAV Trade?

UAVs will be flown by pilots, with AESOps and possibly ACSOs colocated.

The actual airframes can be based anywhere, and will have the usual support folks - a token AERE officer who pretends they are in charge, with Air Maint Supervisors to keep the AVN, ACS and Air Weapons folks doing their jobs (plus the supply folks to keep the parts flowing).

And a metric shit ton of Int Os and Int Ops to actually leverage the tremendous streams of data that yet another platform with a wide array of sensors will generate.
Sorry, I should have worded my post differently. I know there is no UAV trade.

You had mentioned "Yet another tiny CAF det where you're going to be moving lots of people in and out doesn't act in the best interest of the institution to retain talent."


My counter-points were simply that:

- While it will be a small det, it will also be a small community overall within the CAF.

- We wouldn't be moving lots of people in and out. Once someone is qualified and has become an experienced UAV operator, that talent should be retained within that community/posting if at all possible. As you stated, the UAVs themselves will be pretty far away, along with their various support staff.

- If they are located in an area that is appealing (vibrant communities, can live off base and not always be surrounding by CAF, employment opportunities for spouses and educational options for the kids, etc) - that IS one of the best ways for us to retain talent.



Question for anybody with UAV experience (Max? Dimsum?) - would that community require a metric shit-ton of Int O's and Int Ops? Or would a smaller, more streamlined group be a better fit? (I'm not disagreeing with you at all dapaterson. Curious to hear what anybody with direct UAV experience thinks would be the perfect/ideal place to be posted, and why.)



Posting people to fairly isolated communities with limited employment for spouses or kids, and not much to do, is a great way for us to encourage members to start seeing what is available on civi-side.

I think members would be far more inclined to stay if they lived somewhere they found appealing, the family was happy/employed/had more opportunities, members were satisfied that they were directly contributing to the success of operations overseas, and the unit/community was pretty tight-knit due to it's size and classified nature of their operations.

🍻 0.02
 

PuckChaser

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As long as you have a stable a secure link, your GCS/pilots don't have to be anywhere close to your Int folks (pretty sure it's an Int Op specialty course to analyze ISR). UAS could be in Afganistan, flown from Winnipeg and viewed in Ottawa. The GCS will need to be somewhere near a major urban center, as the bandwidth requirements to spit to video out onto DND networks will be intense.
 

captloadie

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Posting people to larger vibrant locations where they have to live on the economy has a down side though - affordability. Currently Ottawa, Toronto, Victoria, hell even Trenton, have become areas where many CAF members can't get into the housing market. In the past it was Edmonton. So what happens in those situations? Members try to get military housing, and are stuck with the down sides of some of the aspects of military life.

Let's be honest, if I were a maintainer right now, I would be looking at the decisions being made on basing, and likely be thinking that the Officers are looking out for themselves, and once again screwing the troops. That isn't necessarily the true case, but that's how it appears. We can cage it as pilot retention if we like, but there will be others who ask the question why does it need to be pilots operating the UAVs, if there is already a shortage. And the answers they will be given are not going to satisfy them, because honestly, it doesn't need to be fully trained CAF pilots doing the job. We could, if we wanted, pipeline individuals off the street, instruct them on what they need to know to operate the vehicles, and train them on the civilian flying regulations they need to know to operate in controlled airspace (just like private pilots learn). The real issue with this is what to do with them to give them a break from the job. Probably not an issue when there are no real kinetic operations happening, but in speaking with former UAV operators who flew in Afghanistan and Iraq, you can only do it for so long before they needed a break from that type of work.
 

Good2Golf

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I’d be surprised if the UAS went anywhere other than 2 Wing Bagotville.
 

Eye In The Sky

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We wouldn't be moving lots of people in and out. Once someone is qualified and has become an experienced UAV operator, that talent should be retained within that community/posting if at all possible. As you stated, the UAVs themselves will be pretty far away, along with their various support staff.

I wouldn't be surprised if there was a "high wall" ( hard to get out of the community, once you're in it and trained) for the working ranks (Capt/Lt for Officer...NCM up to say....WO) for the aircrew trades, especially if the platform is armed. We tend to do this now, to a large extent.

Something else to consider, especially from an expeditionary ops perspective; the crews might experience 'burn out' faster than manned crews. The sustained op LRP put on for several years at IMPACT comes to mind, and there is an article about this that might have been already posted on here...Dimsum might know the article I'm thinking about (while I swat cobwebs and try to search for it).

My trade (AES Op) has the thumb on the pulse to an extent as we will definitely be manning the Payload Op positions, and "location" is a significant consideration for most people when considering the "interested/not interested" question for RPAs....but that is true for any fleet we are/will be active on.

I wouldn't be surprised if there is something akin to our current restricted OT/release dates once we complete Wings training for RPAs folks, more so at the start when trg costs are likely to be higher (the first...5? 10? years).
 
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Eye In The Sky

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As long as you have a stable a secure link, your GCS/pilots don't have to be anywhere close to your Int folks (pretty sure it's an Int Op specialty course to analyze ISR). UAS could be in Afganistan, flown from Winnipeg and viewed in Ottawa. The GCS will need to be somewhere near a major urban center, as the bandwidth requirements to spit to video out onto DND networks will be intense.

Critical mass for the analysis stuff is in the Int mafia....I know a couple/handful of people who've completed the lower level courses, like FMV Analysis which is likely 'part' of the larger qual that is (was?) limited only to Int folks.

Ideal world, the operators would have similar trg for the 'real time' analysis; PMA (Post Msn Anal), PED, etc would keep the 'big course'. It's dumb to set things up that the guy/gal on the stick can't say "CERT MBT"...
 

Eye In The Sky

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I’d be surprised if the UAS went anywhere other than 2 Wing Bagotville.

That means transits to "anywhere"....you don't think like SAR, LRP and MH they'll be divided coast to coast with a central GCS facility?

B-ville was mentioned before as a "possibility" for location and I can say for certain, interest in my trade for the Payload positions was negatively affected.
 

SupersonicMax

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Posting people to larger vibrant locations where they have to live on the economy has a down side though - affordability. Currently Ottawa, Toronto, Victoria, hell even Trenton, have become areas where many CAF members can't get into the housing market. In the past it was Edmonton. So what happens in those situations? Members try to get military housing, and are stuck with the down sides of some of the aspects of military life.

Let's be honest, if I were a maintainer right now, I would be looking at the decisions being made on basing, and likely be thinking that the Officers are looking out for themselves, and once again screwing the troops. That isn't necessarily the true case, but that's how it appears. We can cage it as pilot retention if we like, but there will be others who ask the question why does it need to be pilots operating the UAVs, if there is already a shortage. And the answers they will be given are not going to satisfy them, because honestly, it doesn't need to be fully trained CAF pilots doing the job. We could, if we wanted, pipeline individuals off the street, instruct them on what they need to know to operate the vehicles, and train them on the civilian flying regulations they need to know to operate in controlled airspace (just like private pilots learn). The real issue with this is what to do with them to give them a break from the job. Probably not an issue when there are no real kinetic operations happening, but in speaking with former UAV operators who flew in Afghanistan and Iraq, you can only do it for so long before they needed a break from that type of work.
Why is it, in your opinion, seen as « officers taking care of officers? » NCMs really want to live in the middle of nowhere? Where do NCMs want to be posted for longer term?

And yes, people need a break from the front line but there are plenty of positions to rotation people around, especially if we can establish HQ positions remotely (Standards and Eval Teams, Fleet Readiness staff, Ops, etc). In this day and age, it shouldn’t be an issue.
 

Good2Golf

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That means transits to "anywhere"....you don't think like SAR, LRP and MH they'll be divided coast to coast with a central GCS facility?

B-ville was mentioned before as a "possibility" for location and I can say for certain, interest in my trade for the Payload positions was negatively affected.
Nope.

Perhaps a deployed Det now and then, but I think for maintenance and service support purposes, they’ll be centralized at a single MOB, like the CH-147F.
 

captloadie

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Why is it, in your opinion, seen as « officers taking care of officers? » NCMs really want to live in the middle of nowhere? Where do NCMs want to be posted for longer term?

And yes, people need a break from the front line but there are plenty of positions to rotation people around, especially if we can establish HQ positions remotely (Standards and Eval Teams, Fleet Readiness staff, Ops, etc). In this day and age, it shouldn’t be an issue.
In the discussions I have been in on, the proposed locations where the vehicles and the maintainers would be located are not in large vibrant areas, but in some of the current locations individuals already complain about as postings. The main GCSs however are expected to be in a centralized location that would lend to providing decision makers with real time access (even though in this day and age this could be done from anywhere).

I wasn't very clear. I'm not saying that officers are looking out for themselves, I'm saying that there may be a perception of that. There are some very valid reasons to the proposed basing locations that are in fact operationally driven, and not HR focused, but individuals will choose to believe the worst some times.
 

SupersonicMax

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The main GCSs however are expected to be in a centralized location that would lend to providing decision makers with real time access (even though in this day and age this could be done from anywhere).
Perhaps the “Centralized Control” portion of the Air Force tenet of “Centralized Control, Decentralized Execution” is taken too literally…..
 

dimsum

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It will be a fairly small and closed community regardless, given it's size
Maybe for now, but I (personally) don't think it'll stay a small community.

For example, the USAF trains more RPA pilots than traditional aircraft pilots now, and at least one fighter squadron has converted to flying MQ-9A Reapers.

Also, the Comd of the Royal Air Force has suggested that by 2040, 80% of the RAF's combat fleet will be remotely crewed or uncrewed.

2040: Changed mindset

ACM Wigston, again, speaking as if it were 2040, said the Integrated Operating Concept of 2020 had been brought to life "physically, and conceptually, driving a change of mindset across the Armed Forces".

This included a "pivotal shift" from crewed to uncrewed systems over the two decades from 2020.

He added: "When you look at the totality of our Lightning, Tempest, Mosquito, Alvina, Protector and the last of our Typhoon squadrons, it's quite remarkable to think that the Royal Air Force combat air force is now more than 80% uncrewed or remotely crewed."
 

Good2Golf

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Location. C2 likely otherwise.
 

Good2Golf

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I honestly don’t think there’s enough physical space to base those big UAS there…
Might not be an issue if they can find the $1.8B of infrastructure money that Catherine McKenna lost...
 

Eye In The Sky

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I hear "possibilities" only and don't track this topic out of personal interest, but the RUMINT I've heard points to central C2, airframes distributed to more than 1 MOB.

I'll likely be CRA, or close, before this happens so...
 
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