Pentagon considering a fleet of militarized SpaceX Starships

starship render
Credit: SpaceX

The Pentagon is considering utilizing a fleet of militarized SpaceX Starships to be used as a “rapid reaction force” to foil a future Benghazi-style attack.

The idea started in October 2020 when the U.S. Transportation Command, or USTRANSCOM, announced it was partnering with Elon Musk’s aerospace company to see if it is possible to quickly blast supplies into space and return them to Earth at their destination instead of flying them.

The goal was to build a rocket roughly equivalent to a C-17 cargo plane that could transport weapons systems anywhere on the globe in just 60 minutes.

However, according to documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request by The Intercept, the Pentagon is considering taking it a step further and implementing a fleet of militarized Starships.

The documents outline three potential use cases. The first notes that “space transportation provides an alternative method for logistics delivery” in the Pacific, potentially hinting at altercations that might happen with China.

A second use suggests SpaceX rockets could deliver an Air Force deployable air base system, described in the documents as “a collection of shelters, vehicles, construction equipment and other gear that can be prepositioned around the globe and moved to any place the USAF needs to stand-up air operations.”

The third is where it gets interesting. Simply titled “Embassy Support,” the documents describe a scenario in which “rapid theater direct delivery capability from the U.S. to an African bare base would prove extremely important in supporting the Department of State’s mission in Africa.” There was also mention of a “quick reaction force,” a military term for a rapidly deployed armed unit, typically used in crisis conditions.

The document explains that even just demonstrating this ability would make potential foes think twice before conducting an attack on the U.S.

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“The ability to demonstrate PTP space transportation could deter non-state actors from aggressive acts toward the United States.”

Despite the claims in the document, the reality of seeing militarized Starships is something that will take place far into the future, if ever. Perhaps the biggest stumbling block would be finding a suitable spot to land Starship, the world’s largest rocket which stands 165 feet (50 m) tall, near the planned target. Not only is it a massive rocket, there is also the logistics of getting countries to agree to have Starship touch down within their borders with US forces inside of it.

You can read the full document here.

Starship will be ready to fly in July, aiming for monthly flights by September

Source: The Intercept

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