PILOTS NEEDED NCOS WELCOME: HOW ENLISTED RPA PILOTS CAN ENSURE AIR SUPERIORITY IN THE 21ST CENTURY
AIR COMMAND AND STAFF COLLEGE, AIR UNIVERSITY MAXWELL AFB United States
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The United Sates Air Force is entering into a new, dynamic, age where technology and air power operations are pushing boundaries. The Air Superiority 2030 Flight Plan, which was published this past May, highlights that the current Air Force structure and manpower may not be able to meet and defeat future adversaries, and calls for new approaches to ensure that air superiority is maintained. One aspect of this changing world is that it requires a new approach to staffing the pilots for Remote Pilot Aircraft RPA. Recently, the Air Force announced that enlisted pilots would be allowed to fly the RQ-4 Global Hawk, one of the three primary RPA in its operational inventory. The Air Force is experiencing a pilot shortage for RPA, which is affecting combat operations, leaving the Air Force to question how future RPA missions will influence air superiority goals. A problemsolution research framework will be used to review steps taken by the service to alleviate the manning crisis and possible solutions to try going forward. It will include a review of RPA training, staffing, and retention issues. This paper will determine if the Air Force could have enough pilots to meet the future demands of air superiority if it allows enlisted personnel to fly every RPA platform in the USAF inventory.
- Pilotless Aircraft
- Personnel Management and Labor Relations