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In Pacific Rim they need two pilots because the mental load of piloting a skyscraper sized Jaeger is too much for one person. But why don't they just make smaller Jaegers and double team the Kaiju? You don't need to depend on these quirky unreliable duos and can instead employ actually trained disciplined soldiers.

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    "Why don't you just make ten louder and make ten be the top number and make that a little louder?" "These go to eleven."
    – Radhil
    Commented Jan 30, 2018 at 2:25
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    Ah...like raptors from Jurassic Park. Smaller. Meaner. Viciously Fast. Nothing wrong with the concept. Probably doesn't play well in the movie maker imaginations. But a gang of raptor mini-jaegers could be an impressive back-up team, or a story line all by themselves. Commented Jan 30, 2018 at 3:12
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    Why do you assume that the size of the Jaegers is what requires the shared neural load? There's nothing in the movie, book, or supplemental materials to support that idea.
    – phantom42
    Commented Jan 30, 2018 at 3:15
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    The Jaegers are also all walking on the bottom of the ocean to get to the Kaiju. The Jaegars are only exposed from the waist up. A smaller unit, if possible, would likely be half the height and defeat the purpose of taking the fight to the spot they all emerge from (i.e. keeping them away from people)... The question I always asked is why not fly a nuclear tow missile through their mouth or eyes...
    – Odin1806
    Commented Jan 30, 2018 at 4:20
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    Because that would be half as awesome. You know what would be four times as awesome? A double-sized super-Jaeger that the normal Jaegers need to fight for some reason.
    – Valorum
    Commented Jan 30, 2018 at 7:32

4 Answers 4

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Why does our current military build tanks which require more than one person to operate? Wouldn't more, smaller tanks be more effective? It's because the calculations indicate that a three or four-person crew will be more effective, in part because each can focus on their own responsibilities in a complex battlefield as opposed to each one worrying about each individual aspect of operations.

Will this equation change as technology advances? Undoubtedly. But that is the technology level where we are now. I expect the situation with the Jagers is similar- less to do with the actual size than the number of operations and responsibilities required to be juggled in mind all at once.

And the smaller= more effective in force only goes so far. There's a reason why the military also still has a multi-person crew manning an entrenched m60 rather than giving each person a pistol; in the right circumstances, it acts as a force multiplier to be greater than the sum of its parts, so to speak.

In other words: a smaller Jager does not substantially reduce the mental load on a pilot. The pilot must still track location, balance, weapon aiming, movement, limb coordination, etc. it may well be in in their future, many of these techs can be automated, but until that time it requires a team to reduce the mental strain. And if you need a team of two, and the number of pilots is limited, you would probably prefer to build a size that can go toe-to-toe rather than an intricate coordinated dance of a fight (in which you may end up harming your allies).

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    Good realistic reasons. I think you're missing a (very) important factor on why they would do this. Costs!!! A 5-man tank (do tanks hold that many? I have no idea) would cost a lot less than 5 tanks of 1/5th size. Manufacturing more smaller parts is definitely more expensive, let alone surface area considerations that mean you would require more material to make 5 1/5th sized tanks. Even if you only got 2.9 men's power from 3 men using a M60; there would be a point where they get better bang for the buck by grouping up. Cost effectiveness is a big factor for large armies.
    – JMac
    Commented Jan 30, 2018 at 18:28
  • @JMac damn fine point you make, which I hadn't considered. When paying for skyscraper sized robots, you're going to need to look at bottom line considerations for getting the most bang for your buck.
    – Broklynite
    Commented Jan 31, 2018 at 11:59
  • @Broklynite Funnily enough, both your and JMac's points are wrong! The military has been trying to minimize the crew size of tanks since their invention! In fact a tank can be effectively driven by 2 person crews with one guy driving and another guy manning the gun. Everyone else is just for redundancy and extra gunners. Also: its actually cheaper to build smaller vehicles. The main appeal of light tanks is exactly that you can produce them in bulk because they are cheaper to make. Thanks for the effort though! Commented Feb 5, 2018 at 19:36
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    @Elazertwist I think you misunderstand to a degree. I didn't say it's better to have more people, I said that they're using the minimum viable number, and that number decreases as technology advances. Technology is the greatest force multiplier. If two people can run a 2018 tank as opposed to a WWI tank, that's because the technology has progressed to allow them to do so. There's also a reason why we have tanks rather than just a fleet of APCs.
    – Broklynite
    Commented Feb 5, 2018 at 22:06
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In the prequel comic "Pacific Rim: Tales from Year Zero" - (from now on "TYZ"), this is actually addressed, to an extent.

The problem isn't the size of the Jaeger - after all, they aren't telekinetically moving it with their mind. It's the complexity of controlling it via the neural link.

This is why:

  • Pentacost was able to control a single arm built early on as a prototype (TYZ page 46)
  • Yet, the first test pilot (Captain Casey) had a seizure - as per Dr. Lightcap, "his motor cortex can't handle it"
  • Also, the second test pilot for the demo (D'Onofrio) had a seizure when he tried to control the weapons (though he could move the Jaeger by himself). The technobabble term used was "Neural cascade" and "Neural load is too high". (TYZ pages 57-59)
  • The conclusion was "The tech was too much for just one mind. It needed Two pilots". (TYZ page 60)

TL;DR: with the PONS neural link technology they had, controlling a Jaeger by one pilot wouldn't work even if it was smaller - it was a function of technology and complexity.

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  • I actually mistook the first point (with Pentacost) as when he had to pilot the Jager alone, until I realised you mentioned it was an early on prototype.
    – Clockwork
    Commented Aug 9, 2021 at 5:39
  • Isn't this contradicted by Amara and Scrapper in Uprising? Scrapper's a smaller, single pilot Jager.
    – Jontia
    Commented Aug 9, 2021 at 8:04
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    @Jontia - "they had" being the key word. Presumably, by the time of the sequel, the technology improved significantly from initial prototypes - remember they also had auto (pilotless) jaegers too. That, or they just pulled a "Highlander 2" and we should ignore the sequel as far as canon :P Commented Aug 9, 2021 at 12:25
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As of Pacific Rim Uprising we know that this would have been possible and that there is significantly more leeway in the two linked humans required to control a Jaeger 'rule' than is suggested in the first movie.

The first example of this is Amara's Jaeger Scrapper. It is very small by Jaeger terms with the wiki giving its height as just over 12 metres and weight as 278 tons. However, she is entirely able to control it on her own without any apparent ill effects.

Secondly, we have the Kaiju-Jaeger hybrids introduced later in the film. While it isn't made clear exactly how they work they don't seem to have dual operators unless these are sharing the same 'body'. If humanity had been able to understand and reverse-engineer the technology there would have been nothing stopping them from creating similar hybrid Jaegers.

As to why they didn't pursue this option, it could be that bigger Jaegers were more efficient kaiju fighters, able to operate quicker and with easier logistics over long distances or could mount heavier weaponry. Also, the human commanders don't always make the best decisions as shown by the anti-Kaiju wall project.

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  • Bigger Jaeger means bigger mass to throw at the meat (punches).
    – Clockwork
    Commented Aug 10, 2021 at 21:33
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Several reasons, I suspect. But these two are 'real life' (well, sort of) but might not fit in the Jaeger world.

1) The first would be, little guys just don't have the "cool" factor movie makers with $100 million budgets are looking for. Sort of like how Star Trek kept coming up with bigger and fancier Enterprises, then went backwards when writers say, why do we have flying cities? We don't need them to promote a plot. But the movies still went for "big" in Darkness. So in the end, it gets kiddies (and the young at heart) excited and has a 'wow' factor.

2) But, what about raptors from Jurassic Park? Smaller. Meaner. Viciously Fast. Nothing wrong with the concept. As said, how will this play in the movie maker imaginations? A gang of raptor mini-jaegers could be an impressive back-up team, or a story line all by themselves. The concept of "smaller but effective" works very well in big mining operations around the world. Sure the trucks and diggers are huge, but after a point, it seems to make more sense to make more of what works, instead of just bigger. The biggest thing is, as has been learned, when the Big One breaks, you have a problem. When one of the small ones breaks, just roll out another one. This takes us back to the money people. Little guys just don't stir the imagination, in the movies... they think.

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    Welcome to Sci-Fi/Fantasy Stack Exchange! Check out the tour if you haven't already. While this is a fair answer for out-of-universe reasons (although it lacks sources), I think that the OP is looking for in-universe reasons. Commented Jan 30, 2018 at 3:39

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