The Pentagon is working with Elon Musk’s company, SpaceX, to explore the possibility of using the company’s rockets to drop troops and equipment to flash points around the world.
According to a partially edited research agreement, military work with a private space company originally covers a wide range of research initiatives. Obtained It was intercepted at the request of the Information Disclosure Law and was released on June 19.
Cooperative research and development agreement (pdf), An overview of the joint efforts of the United States Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM) and SpaceX. “We will jointly investigate commercial space transport capacity as a mode of transport to facilitate the global delivery of Pentagon (DoD) materials and personnel.”
USTRANSCOM is one of the military’s integrated combat commands. It relies heavily on commercial infrastructure and technology to fulfill its mission of providing military transport needs and projecting and maintaining military power.
There is a growing tendency for military projects to utilize commercial-priority space technology to convert them to military use at a much lower cost than if the military were to research and develop their own technologies from scratch.
Among the expected outcomes of the research agreement is a rocket-based “quick reaction force.” It leverages the Starship of SpaceX, a fully reusable super-heavy launch vehicle, to quickly deploy troops and equipment anywhere in the world. Currently under development.
The Pentagon believes that Starship’s fully integrated, reusable launch and landing system will be feasible between 2025 and 2030, and some very for using this technology. I have a specific scenario in mind.
“The ability to deliver theaters directly from the United States to a bare base in Africa will prove to be very important in supporting the Department of State’s mission in Africa,” the agreement said.
“Ability to demonstrate PTP [Point-to-Point] Space transport can discourage non-state actors from taking offensive action against the United States. “
The subtle idea that the US military could ride a rocket to launch an army into Africa was taken up by Intercept. A militarized starship to strengthen the besieged complex.
Despite the overtones of the proposed project’s science fiction novels, rocket-based troops have long been in the Pentagon’s view.
Dating back to 1964, the proposed “Ithacus” project (pdf) Presented “a concept for Rocket propulsion army shipping Which May Potentially evolution from the Reusable amplifier of tomorrow.“
The project aimed to visualize the future of rocket technology being adopted by the military and used as a battalion-sized military transport aircraft capable of responding quickly to crises anywhere in the world within an hour.
In a fast-forward 60 years later, military leadership believes that vision is being realized, with the prospect of applying SpaceX technology to modern warfare issues.
“For the past 75 years or so, air transportation, the fastest logistics delivery method, has been limited to altitudes of about 40,000 feet and 600 miles per hour.” Said At that time-in 2020, USTRANSCOM Deputy Commander, Dee Mewbourne.
“Now, if the need for assistance on the other side of the world is urgent, what is the potential for logistic fulfillment at about 10 times those numbers? Current to predict and maintain force. It’s time to learn how strategies evolve with new means of transportation. “
Still, given the armed forces and the various technical and legal challenges of crossing space and airspace, space-based Marines and rockets are unlikely to arrive on the battlefield immediately.
Nonetheless, the agreement mentioned two other important scenarios that would benefit from technology.
The first is to provide a very vulnerable base within the missile range of the enemy army. The second is to provide logistical support to establish a deployable air force base system on the fly. This will allow US troops in conflict zones to set up fully operational forward bases and perform power projections in areas where there is no permanent presence.
In particular, each scenario will significantly enhance the United States’ ability to conduct amphibious and island wars in potential conflicts with Communist China.