Remember that old line, “When It Absolutely, Positively Has To Be Destroyed Overnight”? We’re going to have a one-hour while-U-wait version.
Every military in history has had one pressing concern that had absolutely nothing to do with the fighters or their training.
If supply lines get cut off, even the most terrifying military forces are in deep yogurt.
What if we got to the point where having a network of forward positions that needed defending was not the same critical issue it has been through history?
Elon Musk is getting ready to completely redefine ‘rapid deployment’.
A cargo-delivery rocket that can deliver weapons via space to anywhere in the globe within an hour is being developed by Elon Musk’s SpaceX for the US military.
The system would allow materials to be transported the 7,500-odd miles from Cape Canaveral, Florida, to the US-run Bagram airfield in Afghanistan in under an hour.
In contrast, a Boeing C-17 Globemaster III — a military transport aircraft the US owns a 233-strong fleet of, that can fly at maximum of 590mph — would take 15 hours.
The rocket will be able to carry an 80 ton payload, similar to that of a single C-17 — and proof-of-principle tests are expected to begin next year.
…SpaceX has previously demonstrated the ability to vertically land and reuse the booster rockets for its Falcon 9 system onto drone ships out at sea.
However, the aerospace technology firm has never landed a rocket carrying a full payload — and the newly-proposed rocket would carry four times the cargo.
Beyond speed, one major advantage of ferry military cargo via rocket is that — at present — flying over another country via orbit does not require permission from foreign governments, unlike when transporting goods by air.
At present, each C-17 cargo aircraft cost the US military around $218 million — it is unclear at present how this, and operating costs, would compare with the rocket. —DailyMail
As with any new leap in technology, there are still practical details to work out — like landing a fully-loaded cargo, and figuring out whether controlled descent or parachutes will be the landing technique, not to mention the pricing details — but it doesn’t take a lot of imagination to see how this could open up a lot of options for a military that can otherwise be stretched rather thin.
Manufacturing has already benefitted from shifting to a Just-In-Time model to maximize cost efficiencies. How many idle pieces of military equipment that are kept in caches around the world, (‘just in case’) could be reduced to a skeleton crew with the expectation that same-day reinforcements could be shipped out to answer the call.
It’s a global rapid-deployment system that could rival even Hollywood’s imagination. Like the X-jet, except — since Elon Musk will be designing it — probably cooler.
People mocked Trump when he first mentioned Space Force. But now that it’s taking shape?
Space Force is looking lit AF.