18:22 01.03.2024


Quality Training of Big Numbers of Drone Pilots Is a Priority!

6 min read
Quality Training of Big Numbers of Drone Pilots Is a Priority!

Oleksandr "Tykhokhid" Dmitriyev, author of "Ochi" Project


Quality training of a big number of drone pilots is important. We need more than a million drones, and this means that the number of operators should be increased, too. These days, unmanned aircraft systems partially replace traditional means of fighting the enemy, efficient at the start of the war. Kamikaze drones, for instance, have shown their efficiency in hitting both stationary and mobile targets. 

The enemy’s equipment and training is constantly improving, and the enemy’s economy is growing. Though we are better motivated because we are defending our land, we also have to achieve superiority in the quality of equipment and technologies. In contrast to us, "meat-grinder assaults" are the Russians’ day-to-day tactic. Ukraine, unlike our enemy, does value human lives.   

We have to secure our superiority in the means of warfare. This means, firstly, increasing the number of drones we can have. Secondly, it is important to have enough operators of unmanned systems, with high levels of working skills, in order to target the enemy efficiently.

These days, many people who display their interest in serving as unmanned system operators, attend private courses even before they are mobilized. This approach may be useful as these people have certain skills and experience when they join the army, and therefore may start their active duty as drone operators. It should be noted, however, that civilian training is different from military training. There are high-quality civilian schools for drone pilots, but there are also schools where the level of training is not high enough. 

Schools and centers for training unmanned systems pilots are, in the first turn, teaching how to avoid the loss of drones in combat and fulfill your combat tasks. Similarly, during the basic military training conducted by any training center, trainees are learning, in the first turn, how to protect their own lives.  For example, they are being taught how to choose a safe position, how to move, dig trenches, take cover, engage in defense, and only then they learn the tactics of the offensive. "Do no harm" is the main rule for medical doctors. For the reconnaissance drone operators, the major task is "Don’t overlook", and "Don’t miss" is the rule for kamikaze drone operators.  

It is important to have predictability in relation to whether the school provides specialist training to the level needed to perform combat tasks. Training will be made more efficient as a result of creating an ecosystem among civilian education establishments, schools attached to drone-producing enterprises, and military training centers. Increasing the number of trainings going on simultaneously will result in having great numbers of unmanned system operators sooner.

Constant upgrading of training programs may happen in synergy between civilian and military schools. For military commanders, it is important to know what is the scope of knowledge of an operator who has the certificate of graduating from a civilian or military school for pilot training and therefore to expect relevant results of their work. Even the initial specialist training of unmanned system operators should be of high quality both at civilian and military schools.   

If a person trains to become a military drone operator, there has to be a typical system of completion control (exams) in order to assess the level of knowledge they have gained during their civilian training. The recommended minimum requirements to the program will help civilian schools create their training programs.   

At military training centers, they run similar training programs. In the civilian sphere, training programs are sometimes very different at different schools. There is a need for public-private partnership, cooperation between civilian and military instructors in order to synchronize training programs. Joint work of civilian and military instructors has to be based on synergic combination of resources in order to achieve higher quality of drone operators’ training.

In order to achieve this strategic goal, it is important to develop and implement efficient tools of joint work. We need even the basic training, including takeoff and landing, often called "kindergarten" for the military, conducted to high standards. We have to make sure that people who join armed service have practical skills and knowledge, not just theoretical. Although online training is becoming ever more popular, the efficiency of such training depends on many factors, including trainers’ quality and students’ ability to work on their own.   

It often happens that certificates obtained from online courses do not reflect real knowledge and skills of a person. This can seriously affect military service as operators’ low standards of work may result in losses of equipment and low efficiency of combat.

Taking into account high rates of development of military technologies, it is extremely important that training programs for unmanned systems operators are relevant and efficient.  

Both civilian and military educational establishments play the key role in training drone operators for successful performance of their tasks in combat conditions. This training embraces not only technical aspects of drone usage but also tactical ways, as well as methods of protection and safety.

At present, great attention is being paid to developing unmanned systems in the Armed Forces. The "Drone Office" has been set up within the Ministry of Defense, aimed at raising the efficiency of the use of unmanned aircraft, at reacting timely to the necessary organizational challenges, and at developing this sector. This Office, in close interaction with the Main Directorate of Unmanned Systems of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, as well as with the commanding structures of all types of the Armed Forces and Defense Forces, coordinates actions in this direction.  This Office has the goal of securing efficient policies in order to increase the capabilities of the combat unmanned systems sector.  

It is expected that later, a special type of forces specializing in using unmanned systems, will be created. President has signed the Decree for the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine to involve the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in order to jointly work on the issue of creating, within the structure of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the Unmanned Systems Forces as a special type of forces. This work is to result in submitting proposals for consideration by the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine. Creating a special type of forces for unmanned systems will become a key step in developing Ukraine’s military capabilities. 

To sum up, further success in this sphere will depend on comprehensive systematic approach involving technological innovation as well as active work on preparation and incentives, and developing scientific-and-research sphere along with the quality assurance system.