The Times reports that there is 'alarm' over the quality of Britain's 'drone' pilots. This is somewhat misleading. The article is based on a Service Inquiry that refers only to Royal Artillery operation of the Hermes 450 Unmanned Aircraft System which was published by the Military Aviation Authority (MAA) on 26 September 2012.
It is important to note that the Hermes 450 is an unarmed capability that has been and continues to be a success in Afghanistan, providing vital intelligence for our ground forces. The MAA report did make a number of recommendations which included training and organisational issues - all of which are being followed through.
Importantly, it is incorrect to link this incident to any other UK remotely-operated air system, such as the Reaper Remotely Piloted Air System. Reaper is operated by the Royal Air Force which has its own well-established training and organisational frameworks.
The RAF is assisting the Royal Artillery in implementing many of the training and supervisory recommendations made in the Service Inquiry.