Posted by Lex, on March 14th, 2008
Gambling, live shows, dancing girls, night clubs.
Predator pilots *.
What strikes you when you first enter a ground control station is just how much the control panel looks like a two-player arcade game. The pilot and sensor operator each have three main TV screens: one showing a car navigation-style map, the next a live video feed and the third displaying technical data…
How do the pilots feel about giving up their Top Gun fantasies for a system that is practically indistinguishable from a video game? “It’s not as glamorous,” admitted Colonel Montgomery. “But we try to ingrain in our pilots that this is a serious business. It might seem like a computer game, but it is not. If you mess up, people die.”
To prove the point, he showed us recorded footage from a Predator of a Hellfire missile being fired at a sniper in an apartment building in Iraq. Having detected the muzzle flash, the Predator, controlled from the Nevada desert, used a laser beam to send the missile through the window where the sniper was standing, killing him instantly but leaving the two apartments to either side of him intact.
After which shift the married men returned to air conditioned base housing units to have supper with the family before reading the kids to sleep, while the single guys headed down to the strip to see what kind of trouble they could get into.
Our brave new world.
* 09-28-2018 Link Gone; no replacements found – Ed.