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Military applications for P2P (split from SpaceX)


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24 minutes ago, tater said:

Yeah, it's like 5 C-17 flights? 6?

I’m not entirely sure what you mean but I will assume you mean that a starship can carry the equivalent of 5 C-17 flights. A C-17 carries 77 tons and starship will carry around 100 tons. A Humvee weighs around 3 and a half tons. So a C-17 could carry 25 Humvees if it could fit that many, irl it can only hold 8, it can also drop those 8 Humvees from 5000 ft. The problem with military equipment isn’t that it weighs a lot, it’s that it’s big and outsized. I really don’t see how starship could actually deploy Humvees especially in a combat zone when a C-17 can already do that perfectly well.

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Honestly I don't see SS ever being used outside of permissive environments. It's too big a target and too fragile. It would need some exceptional countermeasures to avoid being shot down in contested airspace. Although, Northrop Grumman did recently patent a system which would have the B-21 launching interceptor missiles at incoming SAMs. That could really help...

3 minutes ago, SpaceFace545 said:

I really don’t see how starship could actually deploy Humvees especially in a combat zone when a C-17 can already do that perfectly well.

I don't think that's what they want SS for. It seems like it would be better for getting high-priority stuff somewhere fast. Maybe fly in a couple loaded with a complete air defense system to a base which needs its own bolstered?

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Posted (edited)
16 minutes ago, SOXBLOX said:

I don't think that's what they want SS for. It seems like it would be better for getting high-priority stuff somewhere fast. Maybe fly in a couple loaded with a complete air defense system to a base which needs its own bolstered?

I guess but if it needs air defense so badly why don’t you setup lasting air superiority. This whole think likely won’t ever happen though so whatever.

I really just don’t understand what they would do with an empty starship sitting in the middle of a desert. 

Edited by SpaceFace545
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2 hours ago, SpaceFace545 said:

And what do you do with an empty starship afterwards. Just leave the multi million dollar piece of equipment there or somehow ship it back over most likely uneven terrain under suboptimal circumstances.

Depending on the mission, they'd probably blow it up to deny the enemy any intel

 

do you understand the scale of the US military budget? we spend over a hundred thousand dollars *on individual missiles*

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1 hour ago, SpaceFace545 said:

I’m not entirely sure what you mean but I will assume you mean that a starship can carry the equivalent of 5 C-17 flights. A C-17 carries 77 tons and starship will carry around 100 tons. A Humvee weighs around 3 and a half tons. So a C-17 could carry 25 Humvees if it could fit that many, irl it can only hold 8, it can also drop those 8 Humvees from 5000 ft. The problem with military equipment isn’t that it weighs a lot, it’s that it’s big and outsized. I really don’t see how starship could actually deploy Humvees especially in a combat zone when a C-17 can already do that perfectly well.


My bad, I didn't multiply the payload mass right.

 

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Posted (edited)
On 6/1/2021 at 9:53 PM, SpaceFace545 said:

I guess but if it needs air defense so badly why don’t you setup lasting air superiority. This whole think likely won’t ever happen though so whatever.

I really just don’t understand what they would do with an empty starship sitting in the middle of a desert. 

Setting up lasting air superiority is very hard these days. US forward air bases and the bases of American allies on the Russian and Chinese periphery are extremely vulnerable to mass ballistic missile attacks. The likes of RAND and the DOD are fairly positive that if war came tomorrow, most of the American bases in those regions would be put out of action very early on in the war (like within hours). Even if the bases survive, they will have to fight with the [snip] air forces of Russia and China, and ammo and planes will runout quick.

This is where Starship hypothetically shines. Instead of having to wait 12-14 hours for a resupply of air-to-air missiles or spare parts, you could have them in an hour.

On the other hand the concept of using Starship in a combat transport role is very poor. The launches will be very easily detected with existing ballistic missile early warning satellites and once Starship drops to a low enough speed it will be an easy target for long range SAMs like the S-400 given its size and predictable trajectory (it's not like it can perform evasive maneuvers, or take back off or anything). Not to mention dedicated ABM systems if the enemy happens to have them on hand.

To bring up the comparison with helicopters, while a helicopter can perform evasive maneuvers and use terrain for cover, and abort a mission if new intel comes up preventing it from happening, Starship can't. Starship would be just as vulnerable to MANPADS during the final descent phase if the enemy is close by.

Worse, the landing point would be visible to ballistic missile early warning satellites when the rocket engines light up to perform the propulsive landing, giving the enemy the exact location of where the troops are disembarking.

I myself do not think Starship will achieve enough reliability for commercial P2P or military transport anyways, however.

Edited by Vanamonde
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I completely agree with the commercial one, and I'd say there isn't a marked either for it, but it could be possible imo cor the military to start using/keeping in storage one for fast intercontinental transport of cargo

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If I were to find a military use for Starship, and didn't care much about the relevant international treaties or future human suffering, I'd explore the mining potential of the thing.

No, not digging minerals out of the ground. Laying mines in an area. The Starship would be an enormous, disposable mine dispenser.

150 tons point to point, that's approximately 750,000 anti-personnel mines, or 100,000 Claymore mines, or 30,000 anti-tank mines. Subtract a few for the dispensing mechanism. No need to land the Starship intact, you only need it to survive re-entry and slow to terminal velocity, at which point mines would be scattered from it and rain over a limited area right before impact. There are already plenty of mine systems designed to disperse mines from the air, like the american M136 Volcano. This would just do the same at a much larger scale at a practically infinite range. Using Starship, you could saturate a few strategical square kilometers of land with explosives at moment's notice, in one go. It would be a real invasion-stopper, or at least an invasion-slower. 

It would probably generate all sorts of controversy, however. Clearing hundreds of thousands of mines from an area is not easy or cheap, never mind the Starship wreckage in the midst of it. It would also be horrible PR for SpaceX.

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8 hours ago, SpaceFace545 said:

I guess but if it needs air defense so badly why don’t you setup lasting air superiority.

Um, no. Today, even the Air Force is talking about opening up "windows of temporary air superiority" as something great. They realize that it could take weeks during a major conflict to establish total superiority. During a hypothetical war with China, the US would lose a lot of infrastructure overseas in the opening days (and so would China). Runways, base buildings, etc. Hence the military's new focus on austere locations.

If they're looking at Starship, someone must think it's a good idea.

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Posted (edited)
On 6/2/2021 at 6:18 AM, SOXBLOX said:

Um, no. Today, even the Air Force is talking about opening up "windows of temporary air superiority" as something great. They realize that it could take weeks during a major conflict to establish total superiority. During a hypothetical war with China, the US would lose a lot of infrastructure overseas in the opening days (and so would China). Runways, base buildings, etc. Hence the military's new focus on austere locations.

If they're looking at Starship, someone must think it's a good idea.

This is very accurate. It is trivial for the United States to set up complete air superiority when we are dealing with tiny insurgencies. Not so much in a hypothetical battle with another superpower.

[snip]

Edited by Vanamonde
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What I wrote above, aside - the RU and CN strategic planners have had decades to watch us and analyze our critical vulnerabilities.  Their missile tech (and in the case of RU, artillery) is no joke. They have what they think are ways to disrupt our command and control.  They're trying for tech parity in the form of planes and tanks but they are actually behind.  Same with the blue water navy capability. 

 

Massive caveat - CN has probably the second most capable Maritime force, and one particularly suitable for their local seaways (and neighborhood).  If you really want to get your local congressmember worked up about something we need to spend on - it's our Navy and Marine Corps capabilities, not airforce.  Our ability to project power is greatly reduced in the South Asia Sea region 

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1 minute ago, JoeSchmuckatelli said:

What I wrote above, aside - the RU and CN strategic planners have had decades to watch us and analyze our critical vulnerabilities.  Their missile tech (and in the case of RU, artillery) is no joke. They have what they think are ways to disrupt our command and control.  They're trying for tech parity in the form of planes and tanks but they are actually behind.  Same with the blue water navy capability. 

 

Massive caveat - CN has probably the second most capable Maritime force, and one particularly suitable for their local seaways (and neighborhood).  If you really want to get your local congressmember worked up about something we need to spend on - it's our Navy and Marine Corps capabilities, not airforce.  Our ability to project power is greatly reduced in the South Asia Sea region 

Yep, China is rapdily growing their navy. Even if they don't have as advanced of technology as the US they are plenty capable of making it up with the shear size of their armed forces. Its like a clone army.

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Posted (edited)

Let me go back a moment - b/c I think you all glossed over a very real possibility of using SS to support US overseas ambitions - and that's in the area of humanitarian lift. (It's always more fun to talk about 1st world vs 1st world military capability) 

The US Military (esp. Navy and Marines) are very often the 'first responders' to friendly nations experiencing natural or political /humanitarian disaster (notwithstanding the past administration's conduct).  This 'habit' and capability really pays dividends in soft power currency. 

Where SS could be used is to enhance this by allowing the Navy /MC team to get established and then ask for need specific rapid resupply. 

In this scenario - SS can be recovered on site, or perhaps retain just enough propellant to launch again and ditch in the local waters for recovery at sea if the site is chaotic and kinetic 

Edited by JoeSchmuckatelli
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1 minute ago, SpaceFace545 said:

OR you take a flight from one of the nearly 800 US military bases around the world. Worse case scenario you have to sit on a ship for a day or two.

Mundane. 

You want to get a generation of people to love you?  In the middle of the crisis you land a freaking ROCKET full of food and water and medicine?!?  A SPACESHIP!!! 

"ZOMG - the Americans are soooo awesome!" 

 

(p.s. We can use a little more of that, these days) 

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Here’s a thought. Where are they intending to land Superheavy again? That’s right, on a floating platform. If they can land the boosters on a floating platform, they can readily land Starship on a floating platform. If they can land Starship on a floating platform, they could readily land Starship on an aircraft carrier.

It should be quite safe. I assume that with a negligible payload penalty, starship can perform the same off-target maneuver that the Falcon 9 boosters perform, correcting for a landing burn at the last second. A landing failure wouldn’t necessarily do much damage to a carrier. The carrier can either refuel Starship and allow it to fly back under its own power, or it can carry the empty Starship back to US soil.

Landing at sea on a carrier in the center of a battle group ensures that Starship isn’t flying into enemy territory. It’s not going to get shot down. It has a safe place to land and the ship can even be equipped with a crane to offload cargo.

I am sure that if you asked the US Navy, “hey, if you could deliver 150 tonnes of cargo from US soil to any carrier group on the world in under two hours, would you have a use for that?” they would say “Uh yep definitely.”

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3 minutes ago, sevenperforce said:

I am sure that if you asked the US Navy, “hey, if you could deliver 150 tonnes of cargo from US soil to any carrier group on the world in under two hours, would you have a use for that?” they would say “Uh yep definitely.”

Yeah - but can we print 'NAVY' on the side?  It's kind of galling to have to see anything USAF on the carrier deck. 

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3 minutes ago, sevenperforce said:

Here’s a thought. Where are they intending to land Superheavy again? That’s right, on a floating platform. If they can land the boosters on a floating platform, they can readily land Starship on a floating platform. If they can land Starship on a floating platform, they could readily land Starship on an aircraft carrier.

It should be quite safe. I assume that with a negligible payload penalty, starship can perform the same off-target maneuver that the Falcon 9 boosters perform, correcting for a landing burn at the last second. A landing failure wouldn’t necessarily do much damage to a carrier. The carrier can either refuel Starship and allow it to fly back under its own power, or it can carry the empty Starship back to US soil.

Landing at sea on a carrier in the center of a battle group ensures that Starship isn’t flying into enemy territory. It’s not going to get shot down. It has a safe place to land and the ship can even be equipped with a crane to offload cargo.

I am sure that if you asked the US Navy, “hey, if you could deliver 150 tonnes of cargo from US soil to any carrier group on the world in under two hours, would you have a use for that?” they would say “Uh yep definitely.”

I guess but carriers are full of sensitive stuff that doesn't like being blasted by rockets. You'd have to move off all of the fighters and other aircraft to makes this possible. And then add tanks to hold methalox. Even if you  can do all of this stuff, then how do you unload it. And is all military equipment designed to be subjected the insane Gs of a rocket launch and reentry?

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15 minutes ago, SpaceFace545 said:

I guess but carriers are full of sensitive stuff that doesn't like being blasted by rockets. You'd have to move off all of the fighters and other aircraft to makes this possible. And then add tanks to hold methalox. Even if you  can do all of this stuff, then how do you unload it. And is all military equipment designed to be subjected the insane Gs of a rocket launch and reentry?

They’re made to be durable and have enough fuel for hundreds of jet flights. 
Also Methalox could be made in situ using the reactor aboard the carrier. Or a tanker could come along. 

18 minutes ago, SpaceFace545 said:

And is all military equipment designed to be subjected the insane Gs of a rocket launch and reentry?

It’s not that insane. 3gs isn’t that much

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6 minutes ago, SpaceFace545 said:

I guess but carriers are full of sensitive stuff that doesn't like being blasted by rockets. You'd have to move off all of the fighters and other aircraft to makes this possible. And then add tanks to hold methalox. Even if you  can do all of this stuff, then how do you unload it.

Carriers are designed to have giant flying bombs plummet toward them at terrifying speed and slam onto the deck violently. They’re also designed to easily absorb surface explosions. A nuclear supercarrier can easily produce LOX from seawater and is already accustomed to tanking large amounts of fuel for a number of different vehicles, but it could also just take the empty Starship back to land.

Existing carriers can easily be equipped with cranes capable of unloading cargo rapidly from a Starship as soon as it has safed.

6 minutes ago, SpaceFace545 said:

And is all military equipment designed to be subjected the insane Gs of a rocket launch and reentry?

I suspect most military equipment can handle plenty of stress, yes.

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Just now, Spaceman.Spiff said:

They’re made to be durable and have enough fuel for hundreds of jet flights. 
Also Methalox could be made in situ using the reactor aboard the carrier. Or a tanker could come along. 

But what are you going to do with the aircraft that the aircraft carrier was designed to move. Aircraft carriers are crowded with planes and helicopters above and below decks. So what, you just halve your plane storage by keeping them below deck and afterwards the starship will take up too much room for the flight deck to even be useful. There also isn't any equipment people would need so desperately that it needs for a rocket to bring it to the fleet. That equipment is available in redundancy across numerous ships and bases.

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