LONDON - Royal Air Force pilots were asked by a senior RAF official to consider flying so-called “kamikaze” flights as part of the war on terror, the British defence ministry confirmed on Tuesday.
Air Vice-Marshal David Walker did not, however, say he would order his crews on suicide missions, a spokesman for the ministry stressed, saying that Walker was instead simply posing a scenario for pilots to think about.
According to The Sun tabloid, Walker told air crews at a conference on Monday: “Would you think it unreasonable if I ordered you to fly your aircraft into the ground in order to destroy a vehicle carrying a Taleban or Al Qaeda commander?”
The defence ministry spokesman, however, insisted that Walker did not say he would order his crews to conduct “kamikaze” missions, named after suicide attacks by Japanese pilots during World War II.
“As part of a training exercise, he wanted them to think about how they, and their commanders, would react, faced with a life and death decision of the most extreme sort — for example terrorists trying to fly an aircraft into a British city being followed by an RAF fighter which suffers weapons failure,” the spokesman said.
“These are decisions which, however unlikely and dreadful, service people may have to make and it is one of many reasons why the British people hold them in such high esteem.”