LONDON – British fighter pilots were asked by a military chief to consider flying suicide missions as a last resort to stop terrorists, the defense ministry acknowledged Tuesday.
Air Vice-Marshal David Walker told crews to consider the scenario at a training conference, Britain's The Sun tabloid newspaper reported.
Walker asked pilots what they would do if they suffered weapons failure as they pursued terrorists attempting to fly an aircraft into a British city, or as they chased ground vehicles carrying militants to a target.
"Would you think it unreasonable if I ordered you to fly your aircraft into the ground in order to destroy a vehicle carrying a Taliban or Al Qaeda commander?" the newspaper quoted Walker as asking the pilots, in editions published Tuesday.
Britain's defense ministry said Walker had posed questions about how pilots react to life or death situations, but did not say he would order crews on kamikaze missions.
"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," said a ministry spokesman, on condition of anonymity in line with policy.