Patrick Rogan has written some good stuff lately on the conventionalization of SOF (Special Operation Forces). Regardless of what profession or industry you’re in, it’s good to stop on occasion, and reflect on where things are headed.
As a private pilot and aviation hound, I can’t help but think about the changing role aviation will play in the future of SOF. Unmanned Drones are now common place, and serve a variety of missions, from Recce, Improvised Explosive Device detection, and a personal favorite, HVT assassination. I was reading from favorite general aviation magazine and it got me thinking about the future of SOF insertion platforms. In my lifetime I believe we will see unmanned cargo planes and passenger air travel. It just makes too much sense, and it’s more cost efficient. There’s no crew rest issues and theoretically one pilot could control multiple aircraft. It’s something to talk about that’s fore sure.
Another area that I see evolving is rapid global SOF insertion. In the unpredictable and asymmetric battlefield of today, it’s expensive in more ways then one to pre-stage Spec Ops troops around the world, ready to go in a moments notice. What if we could deploy small teams of SOF from the CONUS anywhere in the world within hours, or even minutes? An unmanned, quiet supersonic insertion platform could be the chopper insertion of the future. Several hushed projects have been exploring quiet, supersonic flight since 2001. I’m not going to get in over my head and start talking pressure wave management, but quiet sonic booms, and a supersonic insertion platform is something to think about.
It puts a smile on my face to think about a situation where US Spec Ops can be on alert from their stateside team area and be launched half-way around the world to win hearts and minds (two to the heart and one to the mind) and be home for supper.