Print 130 comment(s) - last by Seemonkeyscanf.. on Oct 22 at 10:36 AM

Military officials eye inserting troops anywhere on the globe in two hours by rocket

In the future, U.S. troops could be on the ground in hotspots anywhere on the globe in only two hours. This may sound like science fiction, but it is exactly what a group of civilians and military officials met to talk about at a two-day conference.

The meeting's purpose was to plan the development of the Small Unit Space Transport and Insertion (SUSTAIN) program. USA Today reports that the invitation to the conference called the idea a "potential revolutionary step in getting combat power to any point in the world in a timeframe unachievable today."

The biggest challenge for the SUSTAIN program is certainly the technology. Air Force Lt. Col. Mark Brown, a spokesman for the space office said that the next step in the plan is addressing technological challenges and seeking military input.

The goal of the program is to be able to insert a team of 13 soldiers anywhere on the globe in two hours. John Pike, a military analyst told USA Today, "This isn't even science fiction. It's fantasy." Pike says that the concept defies physics and the reality of what a small number of lightly armed troops could accomplish.

Burt Rutan, the rocket pioneer who won the X Prize in 2004 for building a private spacecraft capable of flying into space says that the plan is technologically possible. Rutan wrote in an email to USA Today, "This has never been done. However, it is feasible. It would be a relatively expensive way to get the troops on the ground, but it could be done."

The need for a program like SUSTAIN was restated in 2005 in a document from the Marines titled the Expeditionary Maneuver Warfare Capability List signed by Gen. James Mattis. The document called for the program to be realized as early as 2019.

2005 wasn't the first time military officials have dreamed of inserting soldiers into combat zones from space; the concept has reportedly been discussed sine the 1960's. General Wallace Greene mentioned the capability in a speech from 1963 and hoped Marines would be in space by 1968.

The technology needed for such a force would likely make SUSTAIN a viable program by 2030 according to military analyst Baker Spring. Spring says that it will be just as important for military officials to determine what such a small number of troops could do if they were inserted into a hot zone by rocket.

Perhaps the biggest question surrounding the SUSTAIN program in many minds is how safe will it be. Rockets have to be light to reach space and the bulk of their weight is fuel to reach space. Significant challenges for the program will center on a ship that can carry enough fuel to reach space and then be able carry enough fuel for lift off and removing the soldiers from the battlefield.

It would seem that the rocket ship would be very vulnerable as well. It would be virtually impossible to design a ship armored enough to withstand any incoming fire on ascent or decent to a battle. The ship would also not likely be able to carry any weapons of its own.

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

By Brainonska511 on 10/17/2008 11:59:23 AM , Rating: 5
This just seems like a case of wasteful defense spending. US Marines can already be sent to most parts of the world within 6 hours due to the small battle-groups afloat or the number of bases that we have overseas.

RE: Why?
By GaryJohnson on 10/17/2008 12:27:44 PM , Rating: 2
Because the government wants to shut down those bases, pull back our ships, and shut off all communication with the outside world?

RE: Why?
By headbox on 10/17/2008 2:39:42 PM , Rating: 4
Who said anything about cutting off communication?

The USA shouldn't be the world's police, and we could save trillions by close foreign bases and focus on problems at home.

China doesn't have bases around the world, and no one wants to attack them.

RE: Why?
By therealnickdanger on 10/17/2008 2:57:17 PM , Rating: 1
China doesn't have bases around the world, and no one wants to attack them.

It has nothing to do with fearing them. They couldn't afford it anyway.

RE: Why?
By random2 on 10/18/2008 12:26:19 AM , Rating: 5
Wanna bet on that?
The only reason we don't see China exporting aggression, is because, 1) They'd just as soon not get into the whole cold war thing again, and, 2) China has always been a country of introspection, and navel gazing, rather than expansionist.
They have enough on there plate domestically without having to go outside their borders looking for issues or taking on causes.

RE: Why?
By Malhavoc on 10/18/2008 11:01:32 AM , Rating: 2
Always is a long time, and using that term would make you incorrect.

RE: Why?
By Samus on 10/19/2008 4:35:15 AM , Rating: 2
It's like Battlefield 2142's Titan launch system ;)

RE: Why?
By phxfreddy on 10/20/2008 4:24:45 PM , Rating: 2
Inserting rockets into troubled areas? OUCH

That's gotta hurt.

RE: Why?
By JackPack on 10/18/2008 9:23:07 PM , Rating: 4
They couldn't afford it anyway.

LOL. The irony of that statement....

RE: Why?
By Shadowmaster625 on 10/20/2008 11:38:01 AM , Rating: 2
It's true though. Actually, no one can afford it, unless they want a peasant population. Not even the country with the world's reserve currency can sustain it. An economy based on IMF riots and economic hitmen cannot be sustained.

RE: Why?
By kenji4life on 10/17/08, Rating: -1
RE: Why?
By Screwballl on 10/18/2008 11:29:35 AM , Rating: 3
Dealing with men and women coming back from Iraq (at Eglin AFB), I am told by more of them that it is more hostile in Afghanistan and elsewhere in the world than it is in Iraq right now. With their own military force climbing daily with our training and a slow pull back of our troops, our main goal right now is training their forces and civilians for jobs, and protecting the contractors so they can complete their jobs and get the infrastructure back up and running well (or at least to a point where the Iraqis can fix it).

RE: Why?
By Nik00117 on 10/18/2008 12:39:04 PM , Rating: 1
I agree with you, my job is also based on US troops living overseas.

However I see this being practical in purpose. Thing is that this wouldn't be a every day use type situation. I mean lets say a Embassy is attacked in Africa somewhere and they need reinforcements NOW. With this system we could drop in a team of 13-26 or so men to really boost their ability to defend. Or even cross country within Afganisitan. I mean rapid deployement within like an hour cross country? believe me speed can be EVERYTHING. Any solider will tell you who has been or almost was injured that second of movement saved his life, or didn't.

RE: Why?
By Ringold on 10/17/2008 9:22:18 PM , Rating: 3
I once read part of textbook on political science; the heavy liberal bias dripped from every page.

Even so, it admitted that while global hegemons, such as ourselves, incur a large expense in being the global cop we also reap benefits. Namely, I encourage you to look in to what has happened with piracy after we stopped our Cold War era naval patrols. As a nation deeply connected in to international trade, we have a vested interest in controlling piracy, even if local nations are unwilling or unable. Countries like Somalia threaten everybody; while some coalitions could deal with one or two problems, there are far too many issues the UN, NATO, AU and other regional groups are dealing with already. At the end of the day, if something is to be done, it has to be us. For now. (But not always)

Another example, related to the article. Off hand, was the Marine Corp not born of the need to have someone go and kick the Barbary pirates asses? This has all been piracy related so far, but theres something to be said for keeping everything else as stable as possible. The UN is completely incapable of enforcing anything, and NATO without the US would be nearly as useless.

China does also have problems. Nobody wants to "attack us," asides really from terrorist groups, and China has terrorist groups of its own. They've got some organized crime in the east, and along their western frontier they're pretty worried about Islamic groups of various flavors. Plus, if you don't think China would take foreign bases if China could, you're delusional. ;) I fully expect China to get at least some sort of base in Africa sooner or later.

To think the worlds problems would melt away if we simply stuck our heads in the sand is a little naive.

RE: Why?
By random2 on 10/18/2008 12:40:54 AM , Rating: 2
I think you might be underestimating the intelligence of the Chinese people.
As mentioned in a previous post they have never in their history been ones to look longingly outside their borders.
Think about it. Almost all of...if not all of the history of lands being conquered throughout the ages involving the Chinese, have been lands inside what is currently China.
Now they are so capitalist reliant, I don't think they would risk the economic backlash associated with being perceived as a war like nation. Not that I don't agree they are very capable, but I cannot see how the will is there. And as you have also mentioned in a previous post, they do have there own issues at home to deal with. Just keeping up with the rapid expansion of their economy and all the associated trappings of such, would keep any society hunkered down and busy for decades.

RE: Why?
By ayat101 on 10/18/2008 2:18:48 AM , Rating: 4
You MISS THE MAJOR point. All those lands currently in China have not always been Chinese (Chinese government propaganda notwithstanding). China has ALWAYS been an expansionist power, except it only managed to conquer territories in its "near abroad". The most recent examples are Tibet, Inner Mongolia, Taiwan... all areas which were conquered, taken over, or colonised... all areas with racially and linguistically different people. Plus, if you look further into Chinese history you find MANY examples of smaller kingdoms and ethnic groups which suffered the same fate earlier in history, Hmong, the Southern Tai peoples (this is how Thailand came to be when those people were pushed out by Chinese, and some managed to survive and band together), Tangut, Vietnamese (they managed to resist Chinese invasions and kick out the invaders on multiple occasions... love that nation :) )... this is just a few examples off the top of my head, as there are more.

RE: Why?
By AnnihilatorX on 10/18/2008 8:38:36 AM , Rating: 4
All of those are pale in comparison to the Age of Sail when many European countries, especially Spain, Portugal, Britain, France, many more; drive indigenous tribes around the world and set up satellite colonies.

Do you call the aforementioned country expansionist nowadays? No you won't.
Now tell me why China is one.

RE: Why?
By masher2 on 10/18/2008 12:40:01 PM , Rating: 5
> "All of those are pale in comparison to the Age of Sail "

Err, China invaded Hainan and Tibet in 1950, and China fought a war with India in 1962 to claim a province in the Himalayas, and another war with Vietnam in 1979. That's not exactly the ancient history the Age of Sail is.

RE: Why?
By Ringold on 10/18/2008 3:46:30 PM , Rating: 4
I'm not sure where all the expansionist talk comes from. I didn't say they were. I said they'd take bases if they could. When was the last time we fought for territorial gain? Our bases aren't for territorial gain but to protect allies and protect our interests. It'd be the same with China.

They have major, and increasingly important, investments in Africa. Africa will only become more and more important as a source of raw materials, semi-processed goods, cheap labor, etc for China. Africa is volatile as all hell. Therefore, for some of the same reasons we probably have a presence there, I reckon China would (if they could) like to have a base in a host nation in Africa so to look after their interests, maybe even promote political stability or peace.. just not in the way we may prefer. But still, that's not expansionist. In my book, its just realistic.

RE: Why?
By ayat101 on 10/19/2008 1:21:04 AM , Rating: 2
The reply was to the post where it was claimed that China never looked outside its borders to expand territory, while the Europeans/Americans were evil colonisers. I gave SOME examples of how China colonised, or took over territories.

RE: Why?
By djkrypplephite on 10/18/2008 1:00:54 AM , Rating: 5
The US Marine Corps was founded on November 10, 1775 In a bar called Tun Tavern, Philadelphia, Pa. We were made to kick British ass. We won our first battle with the British without firing a shot: they ran away, and we took over one of their forts in the Bahamas. I'll let history speak for itself, but yeah, we kick all kinds of ass.

RE: Why?
By Ringold on 10/18/2008 3:51:46 PM , Rating: 2
I stand corrected. I knew a Marine would correct me before long!

RE: Why?
By NullSubroutine on 10/18/2008 2:16:29 AM , Rating: 2
I once read part of textbook on political science; the heavy liberal bias dripped from every page.

I would be considered liberal and I think we should have a strong military including bases around the world. I also think we should use our military where it is needed, just that we need to be more wise where we send them.

While I supported going into Iraq at the time (believed weapons of mass destruction) in retrospect I would have rather spent a trillion dollars and 4000+ soldiers deaths in say Africa stopping genocide, rather than unstablizing Iraq and sowing the seeds for their civil war (which has killed hundreds of thousand of Iraqi's as a byproduct). I do believe evil prevails when good men fail to act, but I also believe we best take care because evil is perpetrated by those who attempt to do good.

RE: Why?
By NullSubroutine on 10/18/2008 2:17:38 AM , Rating: 2

but I also believe we best take care because evil is *often perpetrated by those who attempt to do good.

RE: Why?
By bigboxes on 10/18/2008 10:22:40 PM , Rating: 1
I wish we could insert Bush into troubled areas via rockets.

RE: Why?
By JKflipflop98 on 10/19/2008 1:56:43 AM , Rating: 3
I wish I could insert my rocket into some bush about now.

RE: Why?
By lco45 on 10/19/2008 4:15:27 AM , Rating: 2
One of the most amusing posts I've read this year.


RE: Why?
By random2 on 10/18/08, Rating: 0
RE: Why?
By phxfreddy on 10/18/2008 12:27:16 AM , Rating: 2
China is not the leading culture of the world. However we best focus on leading with our minds and not blunt force. That being said there would be unintended consequences from pulling out of the world.

RE: Why?
By ImJustSaying on 10/19/2008 11:25:07 PM , Rating: 3

I just don't understand the world police argument. Especially when, say, state sovereignty is invoked by the 'world peace keeper (The US Govt)' in the case of Georgia but is not invoked in the case of the invasion and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan (or Pakistan for that matter, since it seems that both presidential candidates support violating Pakistan's sovereign territory). There seems to be a consistent policy of inconsistency.

Can someone clarify these murky hypocritical waters for me?

RE: Why?
By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 10/17/2008 12:50:01 PM , Rating: 3
A cruise missile can be sent faster and do more damage than 13 soldiers, without ever considering the time to deploy 13 troops.

Perhaps they anticipate sending a fleet of these, so there would be 100 missiles with 1000 troops to deploy, assuming a small shoot down rate.

On the other hand, if you wanted to deploy them at altitude, they parachute in, and then take out personal targets. Now that would scare the heck out of heads of state, because now they are targets in any conflict.

Of course, you have to write the troops off once they are inserted. There has to be a better way of making a living...

Then again, this would add a lot of excitement to stand-by military flights. Shades of Dr. Strangelove.

RE: Why?
By masher2 on 10/17/2008 1:00:45 PM , Rating: 4
> "A cruise missile can be sent faster and do more damage than 13 soldiers"

13 soldiers can do things a cruise missile cannot -- things like rescue hostages, retrieve lost or stolen items, and locate targets whose precise position may not yet be known.

It's rather like arguing over what's better-- a screwdriver or a hammer? Both are necessary, and have their roles.

> "Of course, you have to write the troops off once they are inserted. "

Err, why? They're only inserted in two hours. They can be extracted in a few days.

RE: Why?
By snownpaint on 10/17/2008 5:27:38 PM , Rating: 4
Agreed.. However.
Shooting Cruise or IC missiles at countries isn't a good idea. No Country likes seeing missiles on their radar, even if they are not the target.

At the same time fast deployment with reduced bases of operations, help increase security and reduce scramble logistics. I can see why the military is interested.

NASA has explored the difficult prospect of making a failing object land nicely, and determined it isn't as easy as one hopes.

Unlike Paratroopers or HALO missions it is hard to bury a landing vehicle. Self Destruction still leaves your traces and technology you may not what laying around.

I'm a fan of "leave no man behind". Cowards are people that allow fear to overpower what is right. You may have to take losses on a mission, but you can at least make sure the soldiers are properly buried where the family can visit to mourn.

RE: Why?
By MrDiSante on 10/17/2008 5:48:34 PM , Rating: 1
This entire debate is pointless. Go read Robert A. Heinlein's Starship Troopers: all the points you're going to come up with for and against are covered in there, as well as a bit of an interesting implementation of such an idea.

And I mean read the book, not watch the abomination that is the movie.

RE: Why?
By masher2 on 10/18/2008 2:05:37 AM , Rating: 2
I first read that book some 30-odd years ago.

RE: Why?
By BarkHumbug on 10/20/2008 11:24:22 AM , Rating: 2
That was the first thing that came to my mind as well! Excellent book by an excellent author. Movie sucks big time though...

RE: Why?
By mcturkey on 10/17/2008 7:03:17 PM , Rating: 2
Precisely. There are some things that 13 marines could do that a cruise missile cannot. If we receive actionable intelligence that a highly sought-after enemy were in a heavily populated location where a cruise missile would cause considerable collateral damage (eg. basement of a schoolhouse), deploying some Marines would make it possible to take out or capture that target with far less risk to the local population. No guarantees of course, but it presents a practical alternative when a direct missile strike is an unpalatable option.

RE: Why?
By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 10/20/2008 7:49:39 AM , Rating: 2
Shades of Blackhawk Down, now.

RE: Why?
By TechIsGr8 on 10/17/2008 12:54:55 PM , Rating: 5
Just take a listen to Eisenhower's speech, warning America about the dangers of power and control by the military industrial complex. It's all about big money, big ongoing budgets, forever war, and invoking fear in the American people to go along with it. By today's standards, the neo-cons would paint him as a traitor.

Here is the transscript:

RE: Why?
By Amiga500 on 10/17/2008 1:51:05 PM , Rating: 5

I cannot emphasis enough how many within the US* need to seriously pay attention to what Eisenhower said. His prophesy has definitely come true - it might even be argued that a lot of the US's cold war expenditure was mostly a result of self-funding paranoia created by the military-industrial companies within the USA.

Unfortunately, due to the democratic structure of the US, it is very hard for candidates to get elected without sizeable support of such industries.

*That includes many readers of Dailytech.

RE: Why?
By jskirwin on 10/17/08, Rating: -1
RE: Why?
By evenjr on 10/17/2008 2:52:32 PM , Rating: 3
Cute edit.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

RE: Why?
By evenjr on 10/17/2008 2:55:46 PM , Rating: 2
Sorry forgot to mention the quote in my last post was from the same hippy myth source

RE: Why?
By masher2 on 10/18/2008 12:44:44 PM , Rating: 2
Why not quote the summary from that link?
- Eisenhower didn't believe the Military Industrial Complex was to blame for the Cold War. He laid the blame on communism: "a hostile ideology global in scope, atheistic in character, ruthless in purpose, and insidious in method."

- Eisenhower felt the Military Industrial Complex was necessary.

- Eisenhower felt the influence of the Military Industrial Complex might be "sought or unsought." For 60s leftists, "unsought" power for the Military Industrial Complex was inconceivable.

- A principled Republican, Ike was also skeptical of agricultural and research programs fostered by the federal government. He did not consider military industrial interests uniquely insidious, but rather he distrusted government expansion generally.
That seems to counter your basic point fairly thoroughly.

RE: Why?
By Ringold on 10/17/2008 9:52:37 PM , Rating: 2
Perhaps you're all talking past each other, reading only what you want out of his speech.

Eisenhower, and every president since Roosevelt, has understood that whatever the cost endured and whatever the dangers it brings, a powerful standing military is without question a necessity. Troops take too long to train, their arms too long to design and manufacture, their tanks and their aircraft can take years or even decades to mass produce, and a similar story with warships and carriers. Wars can be fought and lost in the time it takes to just build a new carrier. Even WW1, we were a little flat-footed getting in due to the time involved in spooling up the army from, I think, a just couple hundred to millions. I think most people understand that the Cold War stayed cold partly because any direct conflict would be a lose-lose due to our strength.

It seems as though hippies think Eisenhower implied that risk must be avoided. No, it is inescapable, and it looks to me like Eisenhower is saying it must be managed instead.

RE: Why?
By Ammohunt on 10/17/2008 2:08:55 PM , Rating: 1
Forever war? thats called the human race war will disapear when humans become extinct. To believe otherwise is extremely naive.

RE: Why?
By random2 on 10/18/2008 12:48:27 AM , Rating: 2
And Dwight would know wouldn't he?
Anyone who thinks all this is about good and evil was raised on to many Disney shows, and really cannot think critically, or at least outside the box now and again.
Just keep watching your TVs.... specially Fox, and that way, you'll really come to understand how things really are.....NOT!!!
One of the brightest comments in this blog Tech :-)

RE: Why?
By joeld on 10/17/2008 4:55:54 PM , Rating: 2
I wish I could give you a 6.

RE: Why?
By rippleyaliens on 10/18/2008 12:27:44 AM , Rating: 2
Actually i am liking this idea. people laugh at 13 men,
LOL- 13 Seal team 6 (DEVGRU) , Folks that is 13 dudes, i would not want comming after me. Or 13 Delta guys.
MORE importantly, if 2-3 pods (26-39).. That is a serious force to be dealing with. And yes those guys are real..

Now, if the Tech can be utilized to, provide a platform for instance, via ICBM tech, or even just a launch from Andrews, with those troops, to be anyplace in the world within 2 hrs, safely. That is a serious punch.
Rescue ops..
Material destruction.. (Iran nuke, Korean, etc..., Swift silent deadly insertion of Teams in hot spots...

As a US Marine, yah, we are sitting off the coast, per say. but talk about hitting a fly with a hammer. It still takes time to get marines ready, get the helo's.. If the target is beyond the range of a Osprey, have to get a Navy Carrier on standby, with a fuel plane... There is no element of surprise, and the enemy could see us comming.

A high level insert platform, would just Rock..

ALSO- Once again, folks, what is Fantasy today, is reality tomorrow. 20 years ago, a GPS cost $1000, only gave lat/long and was pretty big. Same time frame, Cell phones were huge, and a call cost $1 a minute.
Now- a Cell is a GPS/Camera/Video Camera/messaging platform.
100 years ago, someone would have stoned you for mentioning that one day, people will be able to fly.
50 years ago, we just got jets,
25 years ago, BOOM a color tv..
10 years ago, the fast computer took up a full floor of a office building, today, $1000 buys a computer that is faster than that..

Me personally i can forsee, hyper sonic transport, >mach5-6.. Transporting 5-10 Spec Ops, anyplace in the world within 2hrs, and them just parachuting..
Other than Mach 5-6 we have that ability now, just need the Jets/Rockets to catch up.

RE: Why?
By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 10/20/2008 7:54:45 AM , Rating: 2
Just a note, 100 years ago, we were flying, so I don't think anyone would have stoned anyone over it. I think stoning was not prevelant in the US 100 years ago anyway. It still is in some countries, but even they wouldn't have thrown stones when the thing was already proven and in practice by 1908.

RE: Why?
By Mithan on 10/18/2008 8:11:09 PM , Rating: 1
The US will collapse. None of this is going to happen.

RE: Why?
By cleco on 10/20/2008 11:48:14 AM , Rating: 2
In order to get to some countries we have to fly over their air space. which requires permissions. usually that takes time. With this system they can be flow over the air space which only extends a couple miles without permissions and do what they need to do. While this is happening they can get the permissions to extract

This program was covered earlier this year or so in Popular Science.

Starship Troopers
By stryfe on 10/17/2008 12:31:17 PM , Rating: 2
Apparently someone in the US military has been reading Robert A. Heinlein's book Starship Troopers.

In the book (not the movies) the marines wear robotic battlesuits that allow them much greater speed and strength than a regular human as well as the ability to carry a great deal of weaponary, including a tactical nuke.

The marines in their battlesuits are loaded into pods which are then fired from orbit of the planet their mission is on. The pods protect them through reentry and as they get lower in the atmosphere start to go through a process that is like peeling an onion, each layer through a series of flaps and parachutes slowing their descent. Once they are very close to the ground (something like 500-1000m) they eject themselves (still in their battlesuit) from the pod and land on the ground as if they'd simply jumped off a 5' ledge.

The marines carry out their mission and then secure a landing zone for a transport to land and pick them up.

It's really a great book, Heinlein was a brilliant man.

RE: Starship Troopers
By FITCamaro on 10/17/2008 12:59:10 PM , Rating: 1
I read the book long before the movie ever came out. Then when I was 16 the movie came out and I had my dad take me to see it expecting something at least similar to the book. Boy was I wrong....

At one point in the movie he turned to me and was like "Why did you want to see this?"

RE: Starship Troopers
By stryfe on 10/17/2008 3:15:40 PM , Rating: 2
I read on the IMDB page for the movie that the director started to read the book, got through the first chapter, got bored and never finished it. It sure shows.

RE: Starship Troopers
By FITCamaro on 10/17/2008 5:41:13 PM , Rating: 3
What the hell was boring about guys in mech suits and portable nuclear missiles as armaments?

RE: Starship Troopers
By EODetroit on 10/20/2008 10:09:53 AM , Rating: 2
That's fine because Starship Troopers, the movie, is a great movie. I never read the book, I understand its a lot different than the book, and that's ok. The movie is awesome, and anyone that doesn't understand what makes it awesome just doesn't "get" it.

Now Starship Troopers 2 is terrible.

RE: Starship Troopers
By FITCraparo on 10/18/08, Rating: -1
RE: Starship Troopers
By on 10/18/08, Rating: -1
RE: Starship Troopers
By stryfe on 10/18/2008 7:04:49 PM , Rating: 2
Lord of the Rings

Other than a couple skipped sections to keep the length semi-sane it's an exceptional representation of the book.

RE: Starship Troopers
By FITCraparo on 10/18/2008 10:04:42 PM , Rating: 1
LOTR sucks donkey d**k heres the perfect take on it

RE: Starship Troopers
By masher2 on 10/17/2008 1:03:33 PM , Rating: 2
I remember in the early 90s, the military began working on powered armor, due to the concepts Heinlein pioneered in that book in the early 1960s.

RE: Starship Troopers
By Strunf on 10/17/2008 1:54:04 PM , Rating: 2
In Starship Troopers 3 they get those suits near the end... the movie is a complete waste of time even for the fans of the first.

RE: Starship Troopers
By codeThug on 10/17/2008 2:37:18 PM , Rating: 2
RE: Starship Troopers
By roastmules on 10/17/2008 2:59:06 PM , Rating: 2
Armor by Steakley was, in my opinion, one of the best books on this subject. (There was some weirdness about 3/4 of the way through, that didn't seem to go...)
The first and last sections are what I'd think a World-War II style combat with that technology would be like. (I site WWII, since the casualty rate was so high. We don't have many casualties in combat these days by comparison.)

RE: Starship Troopers
By helios220 on 10/17/2008 3:01:16 PM , Rating: 2
While Starship Troopers is certainly not the only science fiction work featuring space marines, it's what came to my mind when I first read this article a few days ago on Defense News. Despite the questionable technical feasibility of this (currently), space marines just seemed too cool so I figured I'd submit the article to DT and here it is, kind of cool. Glad to see other people find it interesting too.

RE: Starship Troopers
By MonkeyPaw on 10/17/2008 4:11:31 PM , Rating: 2
Here I was thinking they stole this idea from Quake 2 and 4. ;)

RE: Starship Troopers
By MrWho on 10/18/2008 3:30:23 PM , Rating: 2
Just what I was about to add! :)

Silly military...
By Seemonkeyscanfly on 10/17/2008 11:50:59 AM , Rating: 2
why not just use transporters? Much quicker and safer.... :)

RE: Silly military...
By wht1986 on 10/17/2008 12:22:04 PM , Rating: 2
not me man. I saw what it did to the pig creature in galaxy quest and to president screw's head on space balls ...

"no more beaming .. I'll walk"

RE: Silly military...
By Seemonkeyscanfly on 10/17/2008 12:32:37 PM , Rating: 3
That's why you use the one from Star Trek. They have a much high safety record, and I would never let Mr. Monk whacked out on some sort of drug run the transporter.

RE: Silly military...
By guacamojo on 10/17/2008 1:51:47 PM , Rating: 2
Star Trek transporters... safe?

Umm, from what I recall, those transporters are good at splitting you into good and evil people, sending you to alternate universes, scrambling you to death, and usually don't work when it suits the plot.

RE: Silly military...
By Seemonkeyscanfly on 10/17/2008 2:47:20 PM , Rating: 2
I did not say perfect... Just higher safety record. :)

RE: Silly military...
By PhoenixKnight on 10/17/2008 2:58:53 PM , Rating: 2
But what about some of the benefits, like when Borg nanoprobes get spliced with 29th century mobile emitters and we then have some Super-Borg on our side?

RE: Silly military...
By stryfe on 10/17/2008 3:18:59 PM , Rating: 2
On the other hand Scotty was able to save his own life by storing himself in the transporter's buffer for something like 90 years.

RE: Silly military...
By codeThug on 10/17/2008 3:06:38 PM , Rating: 3
Humans are so last century..
By Agitated on 10/17/2008 5:00:42 PM , Rating: 1
This sounds something like Dick Cheney thought would be a good idea after hearing "it's raining men" and imagining rocket fired troops landing on democrat campaign headquarters and shooting everyone..

I'd imagine in the beginning of the Afghanistan war this would have been nice to set up the sniper/laser guiding units into key positions given the lack of sophistication of their air defenses or army.

As others have mentioned for anything short of a long range rescue attempts or capturing key targets, I can't imagine this being useful.

I would think that putting robots in these things would be a much better alternative. Let the robots take the ground fire while landing or roll over possible land mines, let them secure the landing zone so the human troops can hopefully have an easier time of getting in.

I would think in another decade the robot tech should be good enough to pull this off. And just in time for when the American people finally revolt after two more rigged elections and the complete removal of whatever personal rights are left by then.

RE: Humans are so last century..
By Ringold on 10/17/2008 10:03:42 PM , Rating: 2
I tend to agree, the cost:benefit doesn't look too hot here. The 101st claims it can be anywhere in the world in 48 hours already; that's good enough for government work.

And just in time for when the American people finally revolt after two more rigged elections and the complete removal of whatever personal rights are left by then.

Whichever way this goes, people will say its rigged. If it goes for Obama, Republican's can (correctly) point to ACORN and all the fishy things that have already come to light, like Florida discovering tens of thousands of felons still registered to vote (predominately Democrat), and if McCain pulls it out, Democrats will whine about the good old boy network rather than admit that despite the election being theirs to lose, Obama just couldn't close the deal and perhaps they should've gone with a proven candidate.

Unless, of course, it ends up being a popular vote landslide victory, but the polls suggest that's not very likely so far.

RE: Humans are so last century..
By Agitated on 10/18/2008 10:43:53 PM , Rating: 2
I was trying to be facetious with my implication of rigged elections. Maybe the first bush election could come closest to that definition since a court decided that, which I thought was a travesty, even though I voted for the guy. (I really hated clinton at the time)

I like how in your examples of what parties could use in their claims of fraud, you provide two examples of malfeasance for the republicans to use while the democrats simply were defeated by the old boy network and being unable to "close the deal". This made me chuckle.

It's rather sad since the actual list of things done in this country on getting the vote out, or silenced, is rather sizable and yet despite it being known, we still limp along with the same broken system and no hint of reform of the election process.

By Seemonkeyscanfly on 10/22/2008 10:36:39 AM , Rating: 2
The system is not broken... 1 citizen = 1 vote. That work perfectly fine.

The people over seeing the counting of the votes are corrupt. If you want to see corruption at it's "best" come to Chicago... Where if you do not run under the democratic party you will not win (at least 14 out of 15 times). It's been that way for about 80 years. The best thing is if something goes wrong/bad the democrats and their followers will all blame the republicans. Even though you would have to go back to 1920 something to find an era when the republican were in control.

So how to you fix a broken honesty problem? A death sentence to those found guilty of messing with the vote??

RE: Humans are so last century..
By withchza on 10/19/2008 2:00:34 AM , Rating: 2
Sorry, didn't mean to rip off your idea. Didn't scroll down far enough.
You are right, although I wouldn't put ANY human soldiers on the ground, until the enemy is cleared out.

Maybe by the next conflict we'll have robot (remotely controlled of course) soldiers.

No thanks!
By InvertMe on 10/17/2008 11:56:01 AM , Rating: 5
I have seen entirely too many rockets blowup, go off course, break apart in air or fail to deploy parachutes to even consider this.

Unless our rocket technology has improved dramaticaly in the last few years I will pass on this.

RE: No thanks!
By Bluestealth on 10/17/2008 7:11:30 PM , Rating: 2
This is dark but....

Isn't possible depending on the altitude that part of the force would still reach their destination?
I think given our rocket technology, one could consider that a success.

Almost There!!!
By Grast on 10/17/2008 12:33:40 PM , Rating: 2
The article had me all the way till is spoke about the rocket taking off again. I could see this idea with todays' technology but not with the idea of a landing rocket. If we take the idea of using a rocket for troop deployment, the most logical evolution of this idea would drop ships/pods. The rocket would not land nor would it need enough fuel to get into space. Rather the rocket would meerly propel armored drop pods into low earth orbit. The pod would then reenter the atmosphere and use exotic technology to not slam into the earth at MACH 20.

I would think that parachutes would be to slow and obvious of a decent method. This leaves rocket or jet decelleration.

1. The rocket launches with 13 drop pods.
2. Rocket delivers pods to low earth orbit.
3. The pods use ACS thrustors to control decent into upper atmosphere. Most of the decent is already controlled by the launching vehicle. IE. only deliver enough energy to get the pod to the target.
4. The pods use drag device (parachute,air foil,Etc...) to slow down to terminal velocity.
5. Pod computers/marine direct to GPS desigated landing zone. Optical or radar systems verify clear landing site and direct as needed. No need to land on a oil well, ox, or big boulder if can be helped.
6. At X distance from landing, rocket thrustors (solid propellant) ignite (4-5 G decelleration) and slow pod to landing velocity. I have no idea how big or how much energy would be required.
7. Either internal shock systems (Marine sits is a chair which is cushioned by floating in the middle via hydrolics or bungie cords, or what ever lets get creative) or airbags on the bottome of pod cushion the final hit to the earth.

All of these items are with-in current tech. However I will conceed that none have ever being constucted and required to work 100% of the time.

Just my two cents.

RE: Almost There!!!
By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 10/17/2008 12:53:25 PM , Rating: 2
Or Halo's 2 cents. =)

RE: Almost There!!!
By Bruneauinfo on 10/17/2008 1:41:32 PM , Rating: 2
nice idea, but you want the marine able to work when he gets there... not traumatized by the trip...

By choadenstein on 10/17/2008 12:47:11 PM , Rating: 2
Pike says that the concept defies physics and the reality of what a small number of lightly armed troops could accomplish.

Clearly Pike has never watched the A-team.

RE: A-Team
By japlha on 10/17/2008 1:43:09 PM , Rating: 2
Or MacGyver.
Imagine what 13 MacGyvers armed with a paperclip, elastic band and the junk parts left over from the rocket could do.

RE: A-Team
By Strunf on 10/17/2008 1:59:26 PM , Rating: 2
You forgot his swiss army knife and of course duct tape.

Shame on you for having forgot those :D

game over man
By codeThug on 10/17/2008 12:51:43 PM , Rating: 3
nuke 'em from orbit. It's the only way to be sure

RE: game over man
By bespoke on 10/17/2008 1:31:27 PM , Rating: 2
I believe a more relevant quote is

We're on a express elevator to hell - going down!

Listen people...
By LS8 on 10/17/2008 11:58:41 AM , Rating: 2
We all know how well this worked in Quake II... and that was the future for crying out loud!

RE: Listen people...
By bubba551 on 10/17/2008 3:38:13 PM , Rating: 2
Darn! I didn't scroll down far enough!

By pirspilane on 10/17/2008 12:04:13 PM , Rating: 1
So we're going to stick some poor souls in a missile and shoot them to the other side of the world where they have to jump out and start killing people? Wow, talk about the jet lag from hell.

I thought our military was here to defend OUR nation, not rocket around the globe policing the entire earth.

RE: Frightening
By aapocketz on 10/17/2008 1:51:39 PM , Rating: 3
method of delivery is demonstrated here:

Probably not an good for the drive through though...
By austinag on 10/17/2008 12:06:21 PM , Rating: 2
I want one.

My commute would go from 45 min. to 38 seconds.

By murphyslabrat on 10/17/2008 5:08:32 PM , Rating: 2
that must be an awesome job, to warrant millions of dollars a day spent on rocket-fuel.

It could work!
By ThisSpaceForRent on 10/17/2008 12:16:34 PM , Rating: 2
I've played Planetside and read Starship Troopers. This idea could totally work! Wait, those were works of fiction? about a giant space laser? Perhaps in some sort of orbiting platform, spherical in shape...

RE: It could work!
By bodar on 10/17/2008 10:28:11 PM , Rating: 2
They're STILL doing the bare-metal restore on the last one, and that was a long, long time ago.

By ecbsykes on 10/17/2008 12:23:40 PM , Rating: 2
Orbital Drop Shock Trooper!

Friggen awesome!

By JediJeb on 10/17/2008 3:00:45 PM , Rating: 2
If you are a Star Wars fan it sounds like Mandalorian Commandos in action.

Eerily reminiscent
By masher2 on 10/17/2008 12:58:26 PM , Rating: 2
This isn't even science fiction. It's fantasy." Pike says that the concept defies physics
Sounds like Vannevar Bush who, in the late 1940s, called the concept of an intercontinental missile sheer fantasy, and against the laws of physics.

RE: Eerily reminiscent
By TerranMagistrate on 10/17/2008 1:21:03 PM , Rating: 2
The German V2 rocket must not have been public knowledge back in the late 1940s. Of course it did not have the intercontinental range but it was able to reach sub-orbital spaceflight proving that ICBMs were not far off.

By FITCamaro on 10/17/2008 1:00:37 PM , Rating: 2
"This isn't even science fiction. It's fantasy." Pike says that the concept defies physics and the reality of what a small number of lightly armed troops could accomplish.

Apparently this man has never heard of the Navy SEALs or Delta Force.

RE: Inept
By bodar on 10/17/2008 10:34:28 PM , Rating: 2
But why would you take such highly trained assets and strap them to a rocket? I've heard of SEALs deploying from a moving sub, but this is just crazy-town.

Oneway Trip
By SpaceJumper on 10/17/2008 12:10:53 PM , Rating: 2
The enemy may be able to shoot it down during deceleration. It takes an hour to speed it up to the maximum speed and an hour to slow it down. It is not like the airplane that you can fly away.

Deportation just got easier!
By Schrag4 on 10/17/2008 12:14:27 PM , Rating: 2
Sneak in illegally? Commit a serious crime? Prepare to launch!

Cap Troopers
By nbachman on 10/17/2008 12:16:09 PM , Rating: 2
Come on you apes, you wanna live forever?

Who played the C&C !*@*?
By dflynchimp on 10/17/2008 12:21:08 PM , Rating: 2
jump jet troopers...very...very...expendible.

Build a rocket, plug a man inside, that's already a sizable base cost if you're including all the safety precautions and equiptment. Then you have to send them en masse into a battlefield for effect. Man, there are so many things that could go wrong with that.

Not the fall, but the landing...
By AmberClad on 10/17/2008 12:23:14 PM , Rating: 2
Kit those soldiers out in some MJOLNIR Mk. IV armor or the suits that the ODST troopers wear, and they might even survive the landing...

Warhammer 40K... Drop Pods...
By klazomaniac on 10/17/2008 12:50:32 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, well I think drop pods like the ones in Dawn of War would be awesome, just a thought. Just the Firing them from space would be a problem... yeah.

By Spacecomber on 10/17/2008 1:35:42 PM , Rating: 2
How would you know what kind of attack you were under and what was an appropriate level of response, if you faced this kind of threat? Do you throw in all your chips, or do you dispatch a couple of helicopters?

By aapocketz on 10/17/2008 1:50:14 PM , Rating: 2
seems like a pretty outlandish application

eventually when hypersonic combined cycle scramjets are practical and affordable we can see this type of application be possible. The LM skunkworks project Blackswift brings us a step closer.

Could be done today
By omgwtf8888 on 10/17/2008 2:10:57 PM , Rating: 2
Forget the rocket. Modify existing nuclear submarines by taking out missile launch tubes and inserting below deck helicopter bays. Could easily surface and launch 2 fully loaded choppers with weapons in close proximity to any country. Could have other subs equipped with harriers to bring in fire support.

By the time anyone knew what hit them, the choppers and harriers would be back onboard and tucked away.

Drop Ships
By 325hhee on 10/17/2008 3:02:25 PM , Rating: 2
Aren't the Marines working on a supersonic air frame that would be able to drop troops around the globe within two hours. I could have sworn I read somewhere about a sub orbital plane that can house about 10-20 troops fully geared that would be able to reach anywhere around the globe within hours. And they'd egress via low altitude when they reached their destination and parachute to the LZ.

Looney Toons
By Sylar on 10/17/2008 3:02:54 PM , Rating: 2
First thing that came to mind was Wile E Coyote strapping himself on an Acme rocket to catch up to Road Runner.

By bubba551 on 10/17/2008 3:37:14 PM , Rating: 2
The Strogg would shoot most of them down as they enter the atmosphere!

By Souka on 10/17/2008 4:05:25 PM , Rating: 2

Just reading headline, a thought came ot my mind.... Rocket Man by Elton John.

To put it this way....

Government thinks it'll get this:

But in reality, they'll get this for a "Rocket Man"


Anybody else think of
By Cygus on 10/18/2008 4:58:43 AM , Rating: 2
those gel landing pods in final fantasy: the spirits within?
(i think it was that movie)

Combine done that too
By lijenstina on 10/18/2008 10:39:45 AM , Rating: 2
HL2 Headcrab filled rockets come to mind.

Why bother sending soldiers?
By withchza on 10/18/2008 11:56:17 AM , Rating: 2
Why bother sending humans at all? Send remotely piloted robots. You can drop them off, perform the mission, and if necessary, self-destruct. Surely if we can come up with hyper-velocity vehicles we can also come up with some sort of communication that cannot be jammed (lasers, masers, etc.). That way you don't have to worry about casualties, except maybe hostages. It would also be cheaper to drop bots since you don't have to worry about providing oxygen, heat, etc.
I really wonder why it's taken so long to get it going in Iraq. It's not like the terrorists have a lot of jamming equipment. Why put soldiers on the ground when you can send remote controlled bots? I can't believe the government is further behind this development than the Robot Wars shows I saw years ago. I think we need some more forward-looking leadership in the military.

By Murloc on 10/18/2008 12:13:30 PM , Rating: 2
unless they got nanosuits they are just useless.
13 light soldiers? The missile would just be shooted down, and if not it would be tracked and without the cloak ability they would just be slaughtered on arrival.

By roadrun777 on 10/18/2008 12:16:05 PM , Rating: 2
Funding is 95% loot, and 5% budget expenditure.
Rocket fuel is nice and all but a maglev facility powered by one of those "new" reactors they are playing with, and you have your goal. It requires a large facility with a rotating base, not really that difficult, and the tech is already mature.

By pajimdiver on 10/18/2008 4:59:11 PM , Rating: 2
I was in Special Ops for almost 10 years, shot down twice while on choppers. HAHO {(high-altitude high-opening),say hay-ho} was developed to permit parachuting by exiting up to 40 miles from the dropzone, pop and drive to target. I shan't say more about it but you can use your imagination. But you would be astounded at what we could do with this 20 years ago. Combat troops are much tougher than 'pilot' astronauts. A little sleepy bye juice for launch, and the vehicle can splash or crash for all we care. And what can "just" 13 guys do? When we oprated deep behind enemy lines there were usually one or two of us. Special Ops. is NOT Special Forces. Kill people and break things. It's called war.

By RoberTx on 10/18/2008 5:25:15 PM , Rating: 2
This subject was covered by Popular Mechanics about a year ago. They had cool pictures.

Brain dead ideas from the MICC
By on 10/19/2008 11:43:39 AM , Rating: 2
Will they be taking their ray guns with them?

Stewie G.
By EODetroit on 10/20/2008 10:10:53 AM , Rating: 2
This needs to be mentioned in this thread:

W. Pauli's quote...
By Josett on 10/20/2008 12:28:17 PM , Rating: 2
Technically feasible indeed, but conceptually... not even wrong.

By LivingDedBoy on 10/20/2008 4:32:08 PM , Rating: 2
the concept has reportedly been discussed sine the 1960'


Do I win a prize?

Limited use
By lifeblood on 10/17/2008 12:59:23 PM , Rating: 1
The use for these troops would be incredibly limited. Maybe they could be used for small scale hostage rescue (ala Entebe) or something similar, but beyond that they would be useless. Like an airborne unit, they are too lightly armed to stand against armor, and have only a few days worth of food, fuel, and ammo. They would have to be extracted or reinforced rapidly if deployed.

Part of the training certain Marine battalions go through is for "In extremis" hostage rescue. That is, hostages have been taken and they have only a few hours before they are all executed. If time permits, the US has far better hostage rescue teams then a Marine infantry battalion, but they take time to get them loaded and moved there. If all you have close is a battalion of Marines, that is what you use. This "rocket force" would take over that type of duty.

"I'd be pissed too, but you didn't have to go all Minority Report on his ass!" -- Jon Stewart on police raiding Gizmodo editor Jason Chen's home
Latest Headlines

Most Popular ArticlesAre you ready for this ? HyperDrive Aircraft
September 24, 2016, 9:29 AM
Leaked – Samsung S8 is a Dream and a Dream 2
September 25, 2016, 8:00 AM
Yahoo Hacked - Change Your Passwords and Security Info ASAP!
September 23, 2016, 5:45 AM
A is for Apples
September 23, 2016, 5:32 AM
Walmart may get "Robot Shopping Carts?"
September 17, 2016, 6:01 AM

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki