21 May 2012

Get Ready for... MARINES IN SPACE!

The Marines are going all Starship Troopers meets ICBM...

As any battlefield commander will tell you, getting troops to the fight can be as difficult as winning it. And for modern-day soldiers, the sites of conflict are so far-flung, and the political considerations of even flying over another country so complicated, that rapid entry has become nearly impossible. If a group of Marine Corps visionaries have their way, however, 30 years from now, Marines could touch down anywhere on the globe in less than two hours, without needing to negotiate passage through foreign airspace. The breathtaking efficiency of such a delivery system could change forever the way the U.S. does battle.
The proposal, part of the Corps's push toward greater speed and flexibility, is called Small Unit Space Transport and Insertion, or Sustain. Using a suborbital transport-that is, a vehicle that flies into space to achieve high travel speeds but doesn't actually enter orbit-the Corps will be able, in effect, to instantaneously deliver Marine squads anywhere on Earth. The effort is led by Roosevelt Lafontant, a former Marine lieutenant colonel now employed by the Schafer Corporation, a military-technology consulting firm working with the Marines. Insertion from space, Lafontant explains, makes it possible for the Marines-typically the first military branch called on for emergency missions-to avoid all the usual complications that can delay or end key missions. No waiting for permission from an allied nation, no dangerous rendezvous in the desert, no slow helicopter flights over mountainous terrain. Instead, Marines could someday have an unmatched element of surprise, allowing them to do everything from reinforce Special Forces to rescue hostages thousands of miles away.
"Sustain is simply an ability to move Marines very rapidly from one place to another," says Marine colonel Jack Wassink, director of the Corps's Space Integration Branch in Arlington, Virginia, where the program is based. "Space lends itself to that role."

By: Brant


Brian said...

I first read about this idea in an Army Times article from 2008 (http://www.armytimes.com/news/2008/10/gns_space_troops_101408/), which in turn says that the Marines have been thinking about this since the early 60s.

I really question what 13 lightly armed troops could do arriving within two hours of Something Happening Somewhere, even if they are Marines. If anyone got hurt, medevac would be a chore and a half.

mad padre said...

I take it the Space Marines will be using private sector transport to get them somewhere incredibly fast?