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Author Topic: Any Real Orbital Dropships in development?  (Read 7669 times)

Offline Grey Havoc

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Re: Any Real Orbital Dropships in development?
« Reply #15 on: January 07, 2014, 04:18:30 pm »
1-The only reason the assault glider disappeared is because a better option, the helicopter, came along.  If not, they would have continued in use after WWII, warts and all

2-i was more focused on how you'd do it rather than should you do it.

1-They weren't used in Korea, when the helicopter still was not used for troop insertion. Did the U.S. Army even have gliders in 1946?

2-That's a classic mistake of lots of space stuff--everybody gets caught up in how cool it would be to engineer stuff and doesn't look at minor issues like budget, requirements, usefulness.

If I recall correctly, US assault & cargo gliders were by and large scrapped/sold for scrap/otherwise disposed of, and associated formations deactivated, in the post-WWII defense draw down due to the Truman Administration's belief (helped along by the USAF) that large conventional forces were no longer necessary in the age of the Atomic Bomb. Their British counterparts suffered much the same fate due to financial constraints (Labour had to pay for things like the NHS and groundnut schemes somehow). So when it came to Korea, airborne assaults were mostly stillborn quite simply because of a lack of equipment and trained personnel. Incidentally, there were some attempts at using helicopters for troop movements late in the war, though on a small scale. More airmobile than airborne ops, for the most part AFAIK.
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Offline Triton

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Re: Any Real Orbital Dropships in development?
« Reply #16 on: January 07, 2014, 04:51:15 pm »
SUSTAIN (Small Unit Space Transport and Insertion) or Project HOT EAGLE might make sense if you are sending SOF operators to kill or capture drug lord(s), terrorist(s), insurgent(s), or some other high-value target(s) or a hostage rescue when time is the critical element. It doesn't make much sense to me to use it to rapidly insert a squad, or squads, of Marines behind enemy lines like Operation Market.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2014, 04:59:52 pm by Triton »

Offline TomS

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Re: Any Real Orbital Dropships in development?
« Reply #17 on: January 07, 2014, 05:01:28 pm »
Helicopters were used fairly often for troop insertions during the Korean War, especially by the Marines.

Offline Orionblamblam

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Re: Any Real Orbital Dropships in development?
« Reply #18 on: January 07, 2014, 05:06:26 pm »
If you can use a V-22 to pull them out, you could use a V-22 to put them in...

Incorrect. There are potential missions where Mobile Infantry falling out of the sky on a (relative) moments notice would be needed and possible, but it'd take hours to get a V-22 on-site. At the same moment that the MI are battling it out in, say, the embassy, the extraction team would be battling it out heading in-country via more conventional means. As an example: as the Tehran embassy is being taken over, a platoon of MI are rocketted in and slaughter the grounds invaders while defending the embassy staff; while they're doing so, the B-52's are loading up in Guam and Diego Garcia, the C-130's are launching from West Germany and the F-14's and F-18's are launching from the carriers in the Gulf. While the MI are making a mess locally, the Navy planes make a mess of the local air defense and helicopters. The C-130's, with air supremacy courtesy the USN, land where they need to and the MI escort the embassy survivors to the extraction planes. As the passenger planes leave the area, the B-52's arrive and convert the nearest 1000 square kilometers into radioactive ruin. Make sure that the MI are caught on television and broadcast live; further, make sure that their uniforms/armor are not recognizable as just uniforms or armor, but are... "theatrical."

Obviously, the technology described here is a bit anachronistic, but what has happened before may happen again. Replace "1979" with "2040," and "Tehran" with, say, Cairo or Islamabad or Paris or wherever.
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Offline Orionblamblam

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Re: Any Real Orbital Dropships in development?
« Reply #19 on: January 07, 2014, 05:10:17 pm »
It doesn't make much sense to me to use it to rapidly insert a squad, or squads, of Marines behind enemy lines like Operation Market.

Indeed. It will be a loooooong time before drop-troops are anything beyond the very tip of the spear. But as with a spear, rather a lot follows along after the tip.
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Offline Triton

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Re: Any Real Orbital Dropships in development?
« Reply #20 on: January 07, 2014, 05:38:49 pm »
Incorrect. There are potential missions where Mobile Infantry falling out of the sky on a (relative) moments notice would be needed and possible, but it'd take hours to get a V-22 on-site. At the same moment that the MI are battling it out in, say, the embassy, the extraction team would be battling it out heading in-country via more conventional means. As an example: as the Tehran embassy is being taken over, a platoon of MI are rocketted in and slaughter the grounds invaders while defending the embassy staff; while they're doing so, the B-52's are loading up in Guam and Diego Garcia, the C-130's are launching from West Germany and the F-14's and F-18's are launching from the carriers in the Gulf. While the MI are making a mess locally, the Navy planes make a mess of the local air defense and helicopters. The C-130's, with air supremacy courtesy the USN, land where they need to and the MI escort the embassy survivors to the extraction planes. As the passenger planes leave the area, the B-52's arrive and convert the nearest 1000 square kilometers into radioactive ruin. Make sure that the MI are caught on television and broadcast live; further, make sure that their uniforms/armor are not recognizable as just uniforms or armor, but are... "theatrical."

Obviously, the technology described here is a bit anachronistic, but what has happened before may happen again. Replace "1979" with "2040," and "Tehran" with, say, Cairo or Islamabad or Paris or wherever.

Is that Mobile Infantry a Marine squad or SOF operators like United States Naval Special Warfare Development Group aka SEAL Team 6 or 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta aka Delta Force protecting the embassy?

Offline Bill Walker

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Re: Any Real Orbital Dropships in development?
« Reply #21 on: January 07, 2014, 06:08:16 pm »
Just a minor point: the US Troop Carrier Command did operate assault gliders up to the late 1940s, including some joint exercises in the Canadian Arctic.  The Canadian Army also used war surplus gliders in these same exercises.  They were employed as back up to paratroops dropped earlier, bringing in things that couldn't be air dropped at the time like vehicles, artillery and long range radios.  From everything I've read, the exercises all showed the gliders were not cost effective, being one way vehicles plus having a high loss on landing rate, even when coming into secured and surveyed landing sites.

What killed the glider was a combination of helicopters, and long range transport fixed wings that could open a big back door in flight.

One big draw back to the drop ship, at the current technology, has to be the obviously one way nature of the mission.  Western countries today have a hard time getting volunteers for out of country missions that don't include cheese burgers (for the Americans) or Timmies (for the Canadians).  I don't think you would get many volunteers for a quick ride to the centre of Russia or China if you told them they would have to walk back.  Now, give them a stealth VTOL transport that will come back in a few hours, or even in day or two and that is very different.  I think we will see that before we see drop ships or even suborbital one way missions, both from a technology viewpoint and a utility viewpoint.

OBB's scenario includes a massive WW3 type follow up to extract the intial small team and a few civilians.  How likely is that type of mission into a nuclear power today?  If the enemy is not a nuclear power, and not the size of a Russia or a China, V-22s and their stealthy followups will do just fine.
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Offline blackstar

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Re: Any Real Orbital Dropships in development?
« Reply #22 on: January 07, 2014, 06:32:32 pm »
From everything I've read, the exercises all showed the gliders were not cost effective, being one way vehicles plus having a high loss on landing rate, even when coming into secured and surveyed landing sites.

I vaguely remember reading somewhere that their loss rate during the D-Day invasion was over 30%. I think there's a scene in "Saving Private Ryan" where they go walking past a crashed glider with the dead troops still inside. The gliders had a bad reputation. Of course, they were going into unprepared strips, and I suspect that they were not flown by the best pilots.

Offline aferguson

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Re: Any Real Orbital Dropships in development?
« Reply #23 on: January 07, 2014, 08:38:32 pm »
assault gliders were used very effectively several times during WWII.  They had high loss rates in the initial waves, but that's true of the initial waves of any asset (paras, troops on the beach etc).   Their best use was for rapidly re-supplying an area that had been temporarily secured (ie waves of gliders flying into an area with fresh trrops, ammo, small artilery pieces, jeeps etc. after the area had been temporarily secured by the initial wave).   Yes gliders were in use in 1945; used during the assault across the Rhine.   In the lack of other more effective modern options, they were still a pretty good option.

Anyway, i suspect there wil be orbital dropships in use one day, many, many years from now.

Offline Orionblamblam

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Re: Any Real Orbital Dropships in development?
« Reply #24 on: January 07, 2014, 09:38:27 pm »

One big draw back to the drop ship, at the current technology, has to be the obviously one way nature of the mission.

But as has been pointed out, the *mission* is NOT one-way. It would hardly be novel for a special forces team to extract in a way different from insertion. How do HALO jumpers get out? It hardly seems likely that SOP is to pack their chutes up, refill their oxy tanks, and then jump 35,000 feet straight up in order to be air-snatched by cargo planes.

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I don't think you would get many volunteers for a quick ride to the centre of Russia or China if you told them they would have to walk back.  Now, give them a stealth VTOL transport that will come back in a few hours, or even in day or two and that is very different.

And that's how you'd do it... shoot 'em in because you need them on-site *now,* and at the same moment the rocket vehicle launches, the subsonic stealthy (or perhaps not-so-stealthy) recovery planes also launch, timed to arrive when the troops are looking for pickup.

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OBB's scenario includes a massive WW3 type follow up to extract the intial small team and a few civilians.  How likely is that type of mission into a nuclear power today?

The scenario I described was very nearly what befell Iran. I knew I guy who worked B-52's during the Jimmy Carter Peacetime Fly-In Club, and when the Eagle Talon balloon went up, the B-52's of the Pacific were loaded for bear, everything from iron bombs to citybuster nukes. There was apparently a bit of a communications foulup, and B-52's were prepared for war that weren't supposed to be prepared; the crews were more than ready to lay waste to Tehran upon word of the rescue of the hostages. It would not have taken much for things to have gone radioactive in Iran. And so long as you're going to do that, it'd be best for propaganda purposes to have footage from before the nukes popping off of American monsters falling from the sky, rescuing the American civilians, and then leaving a trail of horrific destruction in their wake... followed by the night sky lighting up kinda bright.

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  If the enemy is not a nuclear power, and not the size of a Russia or a China, V-22s and their stealthy followups will do just fine.

How long did it take the V-22's to get to Benghazi?
« Last Edit: January 07, 2014, 09:48:27 pm by Orionblamblam »
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Offline Orionblamblam

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Re: Any Real Orbital Dropships in development?
« Reply #25 on: January 07, 2014, 09:45:51 pm »
Is that Mobile Infantry a Marine squad or SOF operators like United States Naval Special Warfare Development Group aka SEAL Team 6 or 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta aka Delta Force protecting the embassy?
http://up-ship.com/blog/?p=19538

At least initially, the MI will probably be their own separate sort of group, sort of the best of the best of the best of the best of the...

Sadly, the US military is unlikely to do the rational thing and build a low Earth orbit space base for several thousand troops anytime soon, so the MI will necessarily be relatively small in number. I would expect that the Navy would be heavily involved... carriers would seem an obvious launch platform, so you might have one Hot Eagle per ship and two crews. This would put a platoon almost anywhere on Earth in a matter of a few minutes.
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Offline Mat Parry

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Re: Any Real Orbital Dropships in development?
« Reply #26 on: January 08, 2014, 01:28:55 am »

Reply #35 in the discussion below is clearly not an orbital dropship and as a result would not offer the rapid response time OBB describes

http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,20555.msg201781.html#msg201781


Extraction method might be relevant?

Offline Bill Walker

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Re: Any Real Orbital Dropships in development?
« Reply #27 on: January 08, 2014, 06:17:39 am »

How long did it take the V-22's to get to Benghazi?

At the risk of going off topic:  if your government didn't launch V-22s in a timely way, why would they launch super-duper drop ships?  The problem there was not the technology.
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Offline Orionblamblam

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Re: Any Real Orbital Dropships in development?
« Reply #28 on: January 08, 2014, 07:16:27 am »
if your government didn't launch V-22s in a timely way, why would they launch super-duper drop ships?

Because, for one, there might have been perceived no such thing as "timely" with the V-22. How long would it have taken the V-22's to travel hundreds of miles after the decision to send them?

As with the argument against gun control: "when seconds count, the cops are only minutes away."  A factor in decision-making must be "how fast can we get troops to the scene." The *only* real advantage that rocket-troops bring to the table is speed over great distance.
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Offline blackstar

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Re: Any Real Orbital Dropships in development?
« Reply #29 on: January 08, 2014, 08:58:08 am »

How long did it take the V-22's to get to Benghazi?

At the risk of going off topic:  if your government didn't launch V-22s in a timely way, why would they launch super-duper drop ships?  The problem there was not the technology.

I think it's clear by now that we can easily justify drop ships by invoking science fiction.