Friday, March 4, 2016
Islands in the Sky
I stumbled upon the oddest connection this morning. Stuff is always bubbling away oddly in my head anyway, but why thinking about logistics again in the context of a vastly more complex world should all of a sudden have popped back to the surface is something for which I have no clue.
One factor involved here, for me at least, is the fact that a truly integrated sense of "Strategic Response," and the ability to carry that out with the kinds of throughput of people and material it ought to require, has hardly ever been given the full consideration it deserves. And when I say "Strategic Response" I am talking about a good deal more than just putting arms and combat boots on the ground. Bio Event response (as in another major contagion outbreak). GeoPhysical event response (as in another, perhaps bigger, earthquake, volcano, hurricane, tornado, or earth impact event), as well as the Crimes Against humanity, or new WarLord, event that seems to occur far too often these days.
All of this has also been swirling around my admiration for whoever in the military came up with the idea of pre positioned supply depots; as in the case of the island Diego Garcia. Don't get me wrong. I don't mean to suggest that using that island in particular was a good idea, but that having resupply hubs out and about in the world is a good idea.
But even in bringing up the distinction there do we see a part of the problem of having these hubs be in fixed, preexisting physical locations. Not only does it presuppose problems of not necessarily being close to where it is needed, it necessitates creating a, usually, overbearing presence on pieces of real estate that other people, and a good deal of interconnected life, might find other than optimal to live with.
This is where not only new kinds of water floating, city platforms, and long chains of hybrid dirigible blimp craft, might come in, but the idea of large scale platforms in the sky might come into use.
I have already described modular approaches to floating platforms (for Tornado Turbines), and the Max-Tac platform for hybrid Drimps, in a series of posts in the past. It seems to me that these could be combined with a more recent post on the possibility of lighter than air lift, wire braided, columns.
The idea there was to segment the columns into connected links of lift rings; basically doughnut sections of lift gas bladders to keep each section aloft. Doing this with wire braided columns not only gives you an anchor link to whatever you use secure it to sea level, or ground level facilities, but it also gives you an automatic framework with which to engineer a lifting capacity within.
But then the question might become: Why launch supplies from a large platform in the air? And in that the answer lies in using the altitude you start from as an energy source (if you were also producing energy from wind turbines, you could save a lot in aviation fuel); as in allowing the last leg of delivery to be achieved by newly developed, large shipping containers (another way to use hemp composites perhaps?), to be para-glided to where they are needed; autonomously without putting transport pilots, and cargo crews, in jeopardy
Another question might be: Aren't you then simply creating a new airborne target? Which is, of course, quite true, but always so no matter if it is airborne, or on the ground, as well as for whatever the GPS coordinates might be. And, as I also pointed out in the MaxTac post, new kinds of electric drone sentinels, mass produced by multi-matter jet, automated drone printers (on the spot if designed correctly), deployed in continuously recharging swarms, might be able to provide ample protection (think of not only flying claymore mines, but of dispensers of beam scattering aerosols, and electromagnetic decoys).
The beauty of this kind of approach is that you could have ultimate flexibility in setting up, and moving, dozens of fractional sized Diego Garcia support hubs. Ready to put multiple brigade sized task groups where ever needed, but to also keep them resupplied as even large scale winged cargo systems now have to struggle to near the breaking point to do; resupplied as well without having to have roads for which unstable, or unsavory, nations provide, and for which all too often end up being IED proving grounds.
Just a thought. Open source as always of course as there is nothing here I could ever own, even if I wanted to.