April 23, 2010

Make Way For The Space Marines

I'm not expecting it anytime soon, but the concept is slick:

After decades of unsuccessful development, military space planes are finally getting some respect. On April 19 the U.S. Air Force plans to launch the X-37B, an unmanned space plane that will circle the planet a classified number of times before making an autonomous landing. (Popular Mechanics profiled the effort as the magazine's cover story in April.) The idea of a pop-up reconnaissance platform, to be used if a satellite is not available or is disabled, is an importantrationale for the Air Force's project.

The Marines' space plane takes the Corps' slogan of "first to fight" to the extreme: It could transport a squad of Marine riflemen to anyplace on earth within 2 hours, and then extract them after their mission is complete. Though the goal is appealing—imagine delivering well-armed Marines at hypersonic speed to a suspected Osama bin Laden hideout or besieged embassy—the concept seemed outlandish to many when it was first proposed.

Now, this sort of response time would be incredible, but think about the possibilities of how this hypersonic vehicle can be integrated with other technologies in development, such as micro-UAVs, load-bearing armored exoskeletons, ultra-high velocity kinetic weapons, and ever-shrinking smart weapons.

HALO vs. al Qaeda... could be interesting.

Update: More hyper-velocity future weapons at Ace of Spades.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at April 23, 2010 10:31 AM

I love this concept. Combine this with the Land Warrior project, and you get real-world Mobile Infantry.

Posted by: Dixie at April 23, 2010 01:38 PM

This is indeed getting close to a true MI capability.
I want to see the Y rack launcher for pocket tac nukes ! Al Quaeda in a cave ?

Posted by: GreyOne at April 23, 2010 09:20 PM

NEWS FLASH: this idea is -in terms of predictable success- right behind behind the concept of the USAF using nothing but bio-diesel.

We'll see a reusable single stage to orbit booster before we see this crap in the real world.

Posted by: Casey at April 24, 2010 05:40 AM

Not enough to have, must be willing to USE also (use to finish, not play tag with)

Posted by: tracycoyle at April 24, 2010 11:28 AM