Former Marine Colonel Roosevelt Lafontant first pushed the idea of a Marine space plane in 2002. Long a sci-fi fantasy, it’s becoming a reality, sooner than you think. With the Air Force launching a space plane this week, the Marine Corps has issued a ConOps, or Concept of Operations regarding a space-bound aerial drop platform for the Marine Corps.
It seems I got out of the Corps too early. That’s uber-badass.When the United States wants to go into a country, it needs permission from surrounding countries to use their airspace. Recently, with the turmoil in Kyrgyzstan, we see a problem. We had an airbase in Kyrgyzstan. Personally, I’ve spent about two weeks there when I headed in and out of Afghanistan in 2005. It’s a transient base, and a logistics center for troop movement.
Well, with a coup going on, that was disrupted.
Country’s airspace, per United Nations law, extends 50 miles above that country. Hence the reason spy satellites are able to fly all over the world. The US, therefore, needed strategic allies such as Turkey, Germany, Kyrgyzstan, Kuwait, and other nations, in order to get our troops there. Well, what if Marines could fly up in space and come down wherever they wanted?
Sign me up for that gig.
I learned something while I was deployed. When the command came out with a ConOps, that meant some serious shit was going down. All the logistics of the mission have been figured out, and it is execution time. Of course, I’ve only seen these at the company and battalion level, and it was serious business every time we got them. Large operations only.
Currently, the Marine Corps can land a BLT, or Battalion Landing Team, a Marine Expeditionary Unit, with tanks, artillery, a battalion of infantry, Amtracs, and all the supplies and logistics, anywhere in the world, in 96 hours. Anywhere.
The Pentagon’s goal with the new program is 2 hours.
(edit: probably not a battalion, however. Maybe a squad of 12 Marines at first!)
The Marine Corps is known as America’s 911 force. A Space Marine capability would be a complete paradigm shift in the way warfare is conducted. This is a game changer, for sure.