The Strategic Nature of the Tactical Satellite. Part 2
AIR UNIV MAXWELL AFB AL AIRPOWER RESEARCH INST
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Using General Jumpers metric of effects on the ground, the difficulties in tactical satellites actually being tactical become apparent. Continued funding of the tactical satellite program under the misguided notion that they can provide tactical effects on the ground only serves to drain scarce budgetary resources from other programs that could provide these desired effects. The myth of the tactical satellite is that they are tactical. Accordingly, this paper will present the tactical satellite program in the best light possible to show that even if all systems work better than advertised, the projected tactical satellite program still fails to provide required tactical effects on the ground. These generous programmatic assumptions will demonstrate that the failure to provide effects is not due to engineering shortfalls, where more money might solve the problem, but instead is due to physical limitations that cannot be overcome until the satellites become inexpensive enough to field constellations of hundreds simultaneously. The purpose of this paper is as much to educate the tactical satellite proponent on what the warfighter needs as it is to educate the warrior on what tactical satellites can offer. The tactical satellite program needs a change of name and a change of focus as the effects it can provide lie much closer to the strategic end of the spectrum of conflict. Such a change of focus would allow operationally responsive launch to compete in the strategic arena where it actually has a great deal of utility. As it stands, the money the program receives comes from money intended to support tactical warfighters on the ground, support it cannot provide.
- Unmanned Spacecraft
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics