GENERAL DISCUSSIONS

Space Combat

POSTED BY: CITIZEN
UPDATED: Monday, May 22, 2006 11:09
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Thursday, April 13, 2006 2:58 PM

CITIZEN


I've been thinking about how future space based conflicts will take place, and realistically this is what I think:

Space combat won't take place in deep space, there's no point, nothing to fight over. Also the chances of Starships running into each other out there are astronomical. This also depends on what if any FTL there is. Assuming some sort of Jump engine ships won't even travel through deep space. I think Space battles will take place at least within a planetary system, and most often within the orbital space of a contested planet.

The job of the Navy would be to gain space superiority, so that ground and air units can operate without intervention from space, and gain intelligence from orbiting satellites, while denying these advantages to the enemy. There would also be the added bonus of space bombardment.

I see the actual battles as more like submarine warfare, most of the time manoeuvring and hiding from the enemy while trying to get the drop on them, and in the end the ship that shoots first is the ship that survives.

Essentially space battles will have two stages. An initial slow drawn out stage where both sides are trying to manoeuvre into an advantages position, flush out and find the enemy, while keeping themselves hidden. The second and final stage would be when one or both sides have found the other and the shooting starts. This will be a brutal and short stage, as without Star Trek force fields once a ships hit it'll either be crippled and out of the fight, or destroyed.

I also don't see the use of fighters; small ships wouldn't be able to carry enough fuel to do much manoeuvring, so I literally see them as sitting ducks in space warfare, especially in planetary orbit.

I think the main weapons will be guided missiles, that'll be small spacecraft in their own right, using AI decision makers to calculate intercept vectors, decide what is a ship, what are countermeasures and so on.

Kinetic weapons will simply be weapons that launch a large piece of dead weight at a target, which simply because of it's kinetic energy gleaned from its weight and speed will cause huge amounts of damage on impact. I think these will come in two flavours: Rail Guns and Mass Drivers.

Rail Guns will use a particle accelerator to accelerate plasma to near light speed, then use this super heated plasma and alternating magnetic fields to launch a projectile to high velocities, and heat it up to produce secondary damage and aid penetration. Largely I think weapons like these would be used to lay down 'covering fire' and bombard ground targets.

Mass Drivers are similar, but will launch a ferrite projectile using just magnetic fields. I think these will have a high rate of fire but a lower destructive potential than Rail Guns. I think weapons like this would be mainly used for point defence against missiles and small craft/satellites.

There will also be directed energy weapons, in the form of powerful particle accelerators and possibly lasers. These will have the advantage of being immediate, unlike missiles, and accurate unlike kinetic weapons. The problem will be that as distance from the target increases the weapon yield decreases dramatically. Also unlike missiles the 'DEW' line will give away a ships position to the enemy.

Any thoughts?



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Thursday, April 13, 2006 3:48 PM

RMMC


Quote:

Originally posted by citizen:


Any thoughts?




Just that people planet-side will be in a hell of a bind when the fireball debris starts raining down on them.

You asked.

I do think you're right about them needing to be in proximity to planets or solar systems. At least for the bulk of the battles. I could also see them being in major 'shipping lanes,' so to speak. Because, quite frankly, while there are countless permutations in space to get to point a from point b, due to fuel and monetary restrictions, the most direct routes will be the most used and therefore, regulated to avoid mishaps.
Then again, when you think about how vast the oceans are (take the Pacific for example) using your reasoning, subs and battleships shouldn't have been able to find one another to do battle, but they did. By using radar. So I think that if we're advanced enough to be doing routine interplanetary travel, someone somewhere (ie: some governmant or lunatic fringe...they're all the same ) will develope the technology to track the ships.

I'll have to have a think on the rest.

****
RMMC

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Thursday, April 13, 2006 4:28 PM

CITIZEN


Quote:

Originally posted by RMMC:
Just that people planet-side will be in a hell of a bind when the fireball debris starts raining down on them.


They'll have umbrellas. Really really big umbrellas .

I'm thinking that most detection would be down to LIDAR (Laser/Infra-red Detection and Ranging, basically finding a ship by actively sending out a laser beam and picking up any echoes, and passively searching for heat radiation sources) and RADAR. These are going to have a finite distance. On Earth that's less of an issue, EM radiation travels at the speed of light so it's only really the curvature of the earth that restricts RADAR range.

In space the distances, in comparison to the effective range of the detection schemes, are much greater.

Naval conflicts are a little different to what can happen in space. The best example would probably be the Second World War. In that the majority of conflicts took place because one side knew where the other was or would be, something not possible in space.

For instance the German U-Boats could lie in wait at shipping lanes. The Royal Navy knew where German ships would be because they knew where the ports were, and the courses ships would have to sail to leave them. Even with the relatively restricted arena of Naval combat the intercepts were largely hit and miss.

In the Pacific theatre I believe the fleets made contact because they knew more or less where each other were due to previous engagements and scout planes. They also spent a lot of time fighting over islands, which would be roughly analogous to planets.

Now in space you can't lie in wait. Stars are moving in relation to each other constantly, thus you can't have space lanes because the shortest route between two planetary systems is different from one minute to the next.

The idea is that in interstellar space you'll be travelling at supra-light speed, making detection systems based on RADAR and LIDAR useless, and even if they weren't the likelihood of an enemy ship coming within range of your detection capability is pretty remote, even if your travelling across the same transport vector (which is fairly unlikely itself).

Also if your ship is crippled or destroyed during a battle you have no chance of survival unless there’s a nearby planetary body to escape too.

So I think that the likelihood of starships running across each other even if they're looking is so remote as too make it a pointless exercise, therefore not something a military would realistically plan on doing, and something you really don't want to do even if it were possible.



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Thursday, April 13, 2006 5:14 PM

FINN MAC CUMHAL


I suspect there will be no faster then light travel, and space battles will consist almost entirely of orbiting batteries and directed energy weapons. I can’t imagine why there would ever be the need for actual spaceships, analogous to modern submarine warfare. These kinds of things would be horribly expensive to operate and extremely fragile. If you can imagine two men in a room of cyanide gas with hazmat suits and guns, told to kill each other. A bullet doesn’t even have to puncture flesh to kill; all it has to do is tear the hazmat suit. Now if you took the man out of the loop, then you no longer have to be concerned with your battle plan depending on humans surviving in space which is perilous enough without actually trying to kill one another.

There will be no dog fights with clever banking maneuvers. It is doubtful that anything could carry that much fuel. And the truth is that the laws of physics are much simpler in space then they are down here on earth, so there is very little left to chance, very little margin to play with. When a target is acquired and fired upon, survival of that target will depend upon the success of its electronic countermeasure; otherwise the resolution of the battle will begin and end with targeting solution.

Battles could be fought with interplanetary missiles. Several independent missiles or something like a MIRV could be fired from interplanetary or planet orbiting batteries from millions of miles away, which will travel ballistically to their target and upon proximity, days or possibly months in the future, they will intercept using intelligent seek and destroy algorithms.



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Thursday, April 13, 2006 5:36 PM

KWICKO

"We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false." -- William Casey, Reagan's presidential campaign manager & CIA Director (from first staff meeting in 1981)


I see the aerial bombardment phase as being more effective and cost-efficient if you just let gravity to the majority of the work. Drop a cluster-bomb (suitably shielded for re-entry, of course) into atmo, and it disperses above your selected battlefield. The "bomblets" would only need to be 1- or 2-pound unpropelled projectiles with a rudimentary guidance and acquisition system (say, something that can identify the shape of an enemy tank or armored personnel carrier, and can glean the difference between "us" and "them" and use steering vanes to aim at "them"). Kinetic energy and heat will do the rest. A pound of steel dropped from the stratosphere would be DEVASTATING to any earth-bound obstacle it might hit. Call it a "smart meteorite". :) It doesn't need any explosive charge; the heat of falling from 30 miles up or more, and then of "burning through" the armored hull of a tank, would superheat the air inside the vehicle and incinerate the crew. Not nice, but effective.

For orbital weapons, think "bucket of sand". Same kind of cluster-bomb concept, only this time you'd pack it with millions of much smaller projectiles. If you're in an orbital trajectory, coming up against something else in a *different* trajectory (you're not following right behind them, in other words), you simply throw what is essentialy a bucket of rocks at them. At a closing speed of thousands of miles per hour, even a small metal pellet would go right through a spaceship's hull like a hot knife through butter. Throwing millions of tiny pellets toward them, you're more likely to hit them with at least hundreds, which should pretty much disintegrate their craft.

It ain't pretty, and it's not very sophisticated, but some of the BEST parts of the whole "Star Wars" defense plan of the Reagan era were based on simple ideas like this - NOT firing huge, costly, and complicated lasers at incoming warheads.

The scariest part is, these things have already been proposed, and there's been research done. Haven't heard whether they've been deemed usable, but it'd demoralize the hell out of the enemy to find that they're being killed by a rain of death from above, when they can't even see what's coming.

Mike

"Also, I can kill you with my mind..."

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Thursday, April 13, 2006 5:43 PM

AWESOMO


Ok my thoughts (well these are the things i disagreed with =) ):

"...and in the end the ship that shoots first is the ship that survives."

i think that will depend very much on the attack vs defense technology. Just like it has before, the balance between them shift. Walls were great in early ages, now they arent in that widespread use.

"as without Star Trek force fields once a ships hit it'll either be crippled and out of the fight, or destroyed"
Why is that? a tank can take a hit and keep fighting, just slap on big chunks of armor. And a spaceship would probably be able to have a lot of it. And battleships of old could also keep going for a while, and they too had to work where the environment is hostile to a damaged ship.

"I also don't see the use of fighters"
Well, the good thing about fighters is that they inrease the action radius. Modern fighters cant really take a hit either.

"Rail Guns will use a particle accelerator to accelerate plasma to near light speed"
Rail guns function much like you described mass drivers. Using force from a magnetic field to fire. ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Railgun)

"Stars are moving in relation to each other constantly" ... "is different from one minute to the next"
The stars in starsigns have been looking about the same for a long time i think? They at least certainly doesnt change by the minute (except to a small degree due to earth rotation). Though astronomy really isnt my area of expertise, i think the milkyway is basically a disc that spins around its centre, with stars in fairly fixed positions on the disc.

"So I think that the likelihood of starships running across each other even if they're looking is so remote as too make it a pointless exercise, therefore not something a military would realistically plan on doing"
While i do agree with you, I dont think the military just sends out people saying 'hope you see the enemy, good luck' Much as today, they'd probably use intel to find out where the enemy is. And deploy defensive troops at important places (ie basically planets as you said)

BTW if you like spacebattles. Watch Battlestar Galactica (if you havent already =) ), some of the episodes are full of it.


I've been sane a long while now, and change is good.

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Thursday, April 13, 2006 6:13 PM

J6NGO1977


Citizen. Great game in the making is that. Ill back it all the way :) Im from the Silent Hunter 2 schoolof gameplaying. I love Sub games. As a comparison that sounds great :) I play Eve online and that uses Rail guns. In fact best guns in the game

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Thursday, April 13, 2006 9:18 PM

FREDGIBLET


I would say that stationary defenses would be widely used and widely ineffective, since kinetic weapons launched from outside of the solar system could easily target anything stationary. In my opinion the main types of space battles would be fought by medium-sized ships flying by at very high speed (.99 light perhaps) in order to get surprise followed by larger battleships (which would probably have actually left earlier) that would take out the leftover targets. I would say that the majority of weapons would be guided missiles with either kinetic payloads (big chunks of iron), or nuclear payloads (close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades and atom bombs, plus no real worries about radiation), the main backup weapons would probably be lasers since they are easy to aim, have no recoil, and can be made quite powerful.

That being said, I think that in the real world, interstellar battles would be a very bad thing. Picture this: a very large ship, almost completely made of metal, a large engine set deep inside the chunk of metal, the ship is sent to the planet with no programming to decelerate.

Result? planet gets split in half.

Granted this removes any chance of conquest but the speed\size could be decreased to make it only like a gigaton-class nuke (with the advantage of not having radioactive fallout)

The biggest advantage of this approach is that the ship would be relatively cheap (especially if they just dropped an engine into a ferrous asteroid) there would be little that the defenders could do to stop it (1000 ton ship moving at .99 lightspeed would barely be nudged by a nuke and probably wouldn't even be seen until a few days before it hit), and they would not need to be manned.

To see something like this (albeit on a much smaller scale) in action read the book The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress by Heinlin, best argument against moon colonization around.

I see minefields as being quite useful, if you surround all of the likely approaches then any ships coning in would have to come through tight channels. And yes you could block off likely approaches, while there are virtually infinite directions to approach a planet the fuel cost and length of time exposed to sensors (and thus defenses) increases dramatically when you move out of a direct line.

I don't see fighters being used since without force fields they woudld be too vulnerable, and they would not have the fuel to manuver very much.

I don't see a lot of gauss cannon\railgun type weapons being used since they would have several disadvantages compared to lasers (e.g. recoil, need to carry large amounts of ammo, moving parts, need to lead the targets which at long ranges would be relatively easy to dodge)

If there is FTL travel it would probably be of the wormhole variety which would be un-interceptable. But thats just a guess.

The biggest problem with interstellar war would be the relativistic affects of time. This is shown in the book Forever War by Haldeman. By the end the protaganist is in (I believe) his early 30's, but because of relativistic effects he is actually over a thousand years old and he actually fought in only 5 or 6 battles. Additionally technology would be advancing as the wars raged, it would be entirely possible for an attack to be launched at a planet only to find that the war is over or another attack fleet with better engines passed the first one a while ago or the super secret stealth system has already been compromised by the enemy.

Quote:


"as without Star Trek force fields once a ships hit it'll either be crippled and out of the fight, or destroyed"
Why is that? a tank can take a hit and keep fighting, just slap on big chunks of armor. And a spaceship would probably be able to have a lot of it. And battleships of old could also keep going for a while, and they too had to work where the environment is hostile to a damaged ship.



armor=heavy=slow=dead, simple as that.

Anyways thats just my 2 cents.

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Friday, April 14, 2006 1:13 AM

MERCURY002


Reavers are different and they just drift out into space unlike the navy how you explain that?

Simon:"If the battle was so horrible, why did he name the ship after it?"
Zoe:"Once you've been in serenity you never leave"

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Friday, April 14, 2006 2:13 AM

CITIZEN


Please forgive the long post, there’s a lot to reply too:
Quote:

Originally posted by Finn Mac Cuhmal:
Now if you took the man out of the loop, then you no longer have to be concerned with your battle plan depending on humans surviving in space which is perilous enough without actually trying to kill one another.


I agree to a point. I think automated weapons systems, the natural evolution of current UAVs will play a big part, but your still going to need manned ships, even if they're just transporting troops. Plus I don't see an AI intelligent enough to come up with the tactics and strategies that a Human could for a very long time.
Quote:

There will be no dog fights with clever banking maneuvers. It is doubtful that anything could carry that much fuel. And the truth is that the laws of physics are much simpler in space then they are down here on earth, so there is very little left to chance, very little margin to play with. When a target is acquired and fired upon, survival of that target will depend upon the success of its electronic countermeasure; otherwise the resolution of the battle will begin and end with targeting solution.

Totally agree.
Quote:

Battles could be fought with interplanetary missiles.

Well we have ICBM's now, but battles are never exclusively fought with them. Wars aren't fought (or very, very rarely if they are) to wipe out the other side. They're fought to gain trade concessions, resources and land, thus you'll need 'boots on the ground' to secure these things. You'll need ships in orbit to keep enemy fire off their heads and get them there, and act as a hub for command and communication. I think that will require Humans in the loop somewhere for sometime. An analogy, if I play a really good chess program, it will beat me, for a couple of games, after that I've worked out the algorithm and it's quirks and I never lose.

Interplanetary missiles may be used to soften a target prior to arrival, but I don't see them used for much else.
Quote:

Originally posted by Kwicko
Drop a cluster-bomb (suitably shielded for re-entry, of course) into atmo, and it disperses above your selected battlefield. Drop a cluster-bomb (suitably shielded for re-entry, of course) into atmo, and it disperses above your selected battlefield.


Dead-drop weapons, I agree. Though these will have a disadvantage in so much as they won't be able manoeuvre much, being un-powered, so hitting a moving target will be much harder than a powered or more immediate weapon. They'll also be easier to counter, since the free fall will superheat them so that they kick out a lot of EM radiation. They'll be lit up like a Christmas tree and not have a lot of manoeuvrability.
Quote:

For orbital weapons, think "bucket of sand".

I'd thought of that, something like flak. Problem is this will quickly fill up a planets orbit with debris making it un-navigable, everyone loses.
Quote:

Originally posted by Awesomo:
Why is that? a tank can take a hit and keep fighting, just slap on big chunks of armor. And a spaceship would probably be able to have a lot of it. And battleships of old could also keep going for a while, and they too had to work where the environment is hostile to a damaged ship.


Firstly tanks are usually destroyed by a single hit, unless you go for a soft kill to something like the tracks, in which case it is crippled.

Now a Submarine is a better analogy than a battleship, since the entire boat operates in an environment where the external pressure is different to the internal pressure. If a submarine is actually hit, even once, the whole thing will be destroyed.

Furthermore more armour means more mass which means more inertia, which means less manoeuvrability and more fuel needed to accelerate slow down and manoeuvre. Also we're talking about a huge amount of destructive force.

The weapons I'm describing, travelling at realistic orbital speeds would pass straight through any armour we could realistically build and equip a starship with. Also if a starship is holed anywhere near a pressurised compartment you’re likely going to end up with explosive decompression, which could realistically tear an entire ship apart.
Quote:

Well, the good thing about fighters is that they inrease the action radius. Modern fighters cant really take a hit either.

A small fighter can easily be hit, they're advantage is speed and manoeuvrability. Without the fuel to manoeuvre and boost them to significant speeds you've got a nice target, nothing more.
Quote:

Rail guns function much like you described mass drivers. Using force from a magnetic field to fire.

Plasma can be used as an Armature in Railguns, the design I talk about is slightly different, in so much that it also uses a hybrid of a plasma Railgun and a plasma accelerator. There’s many different types of magnetic projectile weapon, Gauss Guns, Railguns and Coil guns to name a few. They use magnetism and electromagnetism as an emotive force but operate it and employ it in different ways.
Quote:

The stars in starsigns have been looking about the same for a long time i think? They at least certainly doesnt change by the minute (except to a small degree due to earth rotation). Though astronomy really isnt my area of expertise, i think the milkyway is basically a disc that spins around its centre, with stars in fairly fixed positions on the disc.

The universe is constantly changing; stars are constantly shifting in relation to each other. This may equate to a difference of only a few fractions of a degree, but will equate to a change of billions, even trillions of miles.
Quote:

Originally posted by fredgiblet:
I see minefields as being quite useful, if you surround all of the likely approaches then any ships coning in would have to come through tight channels. And yes you could block off likely approaches, while there are virtually infinite directions to approach a planet the fuel cost and length of time exposed to sensors (and thus defenses) increases dramatically when you move out of a direct line.


I agree, to a point. Minefields I think will be small hard to detect objects in orbital space, that are kept in a geosynchronous orbit. That way the planet defenders will know where they are, so can avoid them, but the attackers won't and are likely to hit the mines. Putting them on likely approaches to the planet has a problem. These likely approaches are going to be constantly shifting as the planet orbits it's parent star, other planets shift relative position, and moons and other satellites orbit their parent body.
Quote:

I don't see a lot of gauss cannon\railgun type weapons being used since they would have several disadvantages compared to lasers (e.g. recoil, need to carry large amounts of ammo, moving parts, need to lead the targets which at long ranges would be relatively easy to dodge)

DEW's are not ideal when attacking a planet. Due to thermal blooming most of their energy will be lost passing through the planets atmosphere for instance. Also they require huge amounts of power, power that has to be generated, generated by expending fuel. In the case of particle accelerators, and even some kinds of Lasers and Masers they also require expenditure of Ammunition. Moreover energy weapons lose destructive power at a rate that is the square of the distance of the beam i.e if the distance to the target is doubled the destructive power is reduced by a factor of four, and that's just in a vacuum.

My idea for Railguns were as mainly a planetary bombardment weapon of hard immobile targets, such as bunkers, and too give the enemy something to dodge. If they're dodging your shot they're spending less time thinking about shooting you down. The other type, mass drivers, would probably be something not unlike a coilgun or guass gun, and would be used as a point defence against missiles, mines and orbital satellites.
Quote:

If there is FTL travel it would probably be of the wormhole variety which would be un-interceptable. But thats just a guess.
The biggest problem with interstellar war would be the relativistic affects of time.


I was thinking some sort of Jump engine, as personally I feel that a point to point space-time warping is more realistic than any of the alternatives, including the Alcubierre Warp. This is essentially the same thing as a 'wormhole' drive. With such a system there would be no relativistic effects, since the ship never actually even approaches c, nor breaks it. These types of drives are not, strictly speaking, FTL, since the ship never travels Faster Than Light, they what they do is reduce the distance between two points two zero. After all the shortest route between two points is not a straight line, it's zero.
Quote:

Originally posted by Awesomo:
BTW if you like spacebattles. Watch Battlestar Galactica (if you havent already =) ), some of the episodes are full of it.


It's great, only managed to see the mini-series and first season all the way through so far, due to living in Britain and having sporadic access to cable. I'm relying on the seasons coming out on DVD .



More insane ramblings by the people who brought you beeeer milkshakes!
No beast so fierce but knows some touch of pity. But I know none, and therefore am no beast.

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Friday, April 14, 2006 2:20 AM

CITIZEN


Quote:

Originally posted by j6ngo1977:
Citizen. Great game in the making is that. Ill back it all the way :) Im from the Silent Hunter 2 schoolof gameplaying. I love Sub games. As a comparison that sounds great :) I play Eve online and that uses Rail guns. In fact best guns in the game


I originally started thinking about this stuff in about 2000 when I had the idea for an animated on-line series charting an interstellar war from the points of view of members of the fleet and ground forces from both sides of the conflict. It kind of slipped in the mean-time, but Battlestar Galactica and FireFly have rekindled my interest. You see my idea had a lot of similarities to both, for instance no Aliens, something I wasn't sure could work at the time, but I didn't see the need. Jump based FTL like Battlestar, hard sci-fi, much like both FireFly (in it's own little way) and Battlestar.

I also thought about doing it as an online multiplayer game, since you could have teams where one player controlled the space battle, another player the land battle. The key to success would be to coordinate the land and space conflicts.



More insane ramblings by the people who brought you beeeer milkshakes!
No beast so fierce but knows some touch of pity. But I know none, and therefore am no beast.

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Friday, April 14, 2006 5:23 AM

CYBERSNARK


I've always been a fan of the (pre-thud) Andromeda style of space combat:

Slipstream (basically wormholes, with a few Heisenberger effects) allows travel between solar systems (meaning that, while battles aren't technically "interstellar," they aren't exactly in close orbit either). You drop out of slipstream somewhere around Neptune, then motor for an hour to reach Earth. Slip-routes are tied to the stars, so stellar drift isn't really a factor (well, technically it's just that the slip-points are moving at the same rate as everything else).

Battles are fought beyond visual range, with ranges measured in light-seconds, light-minutes, and even light-hours. Communications work at lightspeed, but Andromeda seems to have some sort of low-res FTL sensors (she can "detect" things but be unable to get a good "look" at them due to ECM stealth [which, of course, wouldn't affect visible light]). Speeds are measured in PSL (percent of lightspeed) --there's time dilation, but it tends to be so minor (and battles so short) that it's easily shrugged off (and ship's time rarely aligns with local planet-time anyway). Ships deploy sensor drones to triangulate and calculate range (and to check external damage), and fighter drones serve as an unmanned fighter screen against incoming threats.

Starfighters are useful for swift strike-and-fade attacks that need more accuracy and a wider variety of ordnance than can be handled by long-range strikes. With their own ECM packages, they're harder to hit than larger ships. They also tend to have organic pilots (though they can be remote-piloted at closer ranges), who are mostly immune to ECM. Admittedly, this presupposes that the fighters carry sufficient fuel, and Andromeda's fighters are slipstream-capable (not sure if the fighter-sized slipstream drives are in common use in the Long Night).

Of course, Andromeda carries her own refineries, so fuel isn't really a factor for her or her support craft, as long as there are asteroids to eat and gas-rich planetary atmospheres and nebulae to "drink."

There's a wide array of AI-guided missiles to chose from for offensive weapons (ranging from nukes to kinetics to scatter-shot to plot-device-equipped warheads ). Laser/plasma projectile technology exists, but it's close range only, so it's only really usable as Point-Defense Lasers to shoot down incoming warheads. There's also a variety of electronic countermeasures, including stealth [against targetting systems], jamming [against guidance systems], disabling [against control systems], and decoys [using drones that "look" like the mothership]).

The most deadly projectiles are PSPs --Point Singularity Projectiles. Basically tiny (2-3 millimetre) artificial black holes, they'll seek out the largest mass along their vector, and then will rip right through it (can't be jammed, can't be shot down, can barely be dodged, if you have a very skilled pilot and a hair-trigger helm), possibly coming back if the target's mass is high enough. Fire one at a planet, and the entire rock will be rendered uninhabitable (a portion of the planet will be sucked up until the PSP reaches critical mass and detonates, probably not before reaching the planet's core. Planetquakes rock the world, the atmosphere gets shredded, the magnetic field hiccups, possibly terminally, part of the crust collapses, and gravity drops by a fraction). Of course, the people who use such weapons aren't really interested in conquering territory. As the planet's dying, they'd just swoop in and feast on the survivors.

-----
We applied the cortical electrodes but were unable to get a neural reaction from either patient.

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Friday, April 14, 2006 5:32 AM

AUSSAY


I dunno, thinking about how objects react in space, battles would be a bad idea

The debris from these types of battles would probably continue to travel in space, orbit planets, pick up speed and will most likely cause some damage to people or other objects at some point

The less junk the better IMO. We've already mucked up earth with war and technology, I hope we don't do the same to space

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Friday, April 14, 2006 6:27 AM

CITIZEN


Quote:

Originally posted by Mercury002:
Reavers are different and they just drift out into space unlike the navy how you explain that?


Huh?



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Friday, April 14, 2006 7:55 AM

SICKDUDE


What a great thread!!!

Quote:

Originally posted by Finn mac Cumhal:
the resolution of the battle will begin and end with targeting solution.



I agree with this. I also agree with Citizen's comments about the fleet being used to achieve and maintain 'space superiority'. All the actual goals and interesting stuff is planetary.

I can see all the battles happening in proximity to planets and moons, and deep space being used for hiding, staging, etc. I don't see how deep space is patrollable at all. Note that this could include space inside the solar system but outside of the orbital plane.

I also agree with Finn's comments about AI fleets. Personally I think that level of AI is not too far at all, and five minutes later the AI begins to surpass us quite fast, especially in tactics/ 3D visualization, etc. The human brain is just not setup for contemplating the distances/ speeds/ bearings/ and technological limitations as well. Yep, unmanned ships with 30g's of thrust.

Keeping in mind AI aiming and that there is no drag or gravitational drop to slow down a bullet (ever), I see ranges being QUITE long, hundreds of thousands of miles or more. Far enough that EM radiation takes a measurable amount of time. I'm not sure if detection will be due to RADAR, LADAR, visible spectrum vision, or all of the above. Either way, the trick will be who spots who first; then fires the deadly shot(s) and starts evasive manuevers while waiting for the shot to hit.

Missiles and guns both seem too slow. Something that moves at or near the speed of light is crucial. That means lasers or possibly rail guns. This is so the enemy will become aware of you about the same moment the deadly first shots arrive on target. Some slight scatter and/or multiple rapid succession shots would be helpful, to negate the enemies' evasive manuevers.

The scenario I keep seeing (make it go away!) is a 300-ft automated patrol craft jumps into system in the distant shadow of a gas giant. It immediately starts a rapid scanning algorithm with high resolution optics. Twenty minutes later (a lot of sky to look at) it finds an enemy craft 200,000 mi away. It fires 100 shots in under two seconds with pinpoint accuracy and a projected spread of two hundred feet (requires VERY precise gun turret motors). It begins randomly firing thrusters to evade a possible attack launched minutes ago. Minutes later, the enemy gets obliterated, having never seen the patrol craft at all.



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Friday, April 14, 2006 8:03 AM

SICKDUDE


You all might really enjoy the "Crest of the Stars/ Banner of the Stars" anime available. Especially you, Cybersnark!! Fantastic fleet battles that utilize technology really well. Start with Crest o' Stars, and give it at least five episodes.

"It's a cow."

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Friday, April 14, 2006 8:07 AM

REAVERMAN


I agree with Aussay that space battles would be a bad idea, simply because of how expensive and fragile any "warships" would be. If there was, say, an interstellar war, Here's how I think it would be fought:

1) missiles would bombard the orbital defenses before an invasion force arrives(they could be launched from one system to another STL or FTL, whatever works).

2) Troop transports arrive. They would carry minimal weaponry (probably just point defense lasers in case all the orbital defenses weren't destroyed) and would proceed to release dropships carrying soldiers, tanks, planes, etc...

3) At the same time as the troopships are arriving, large transports carrying orbital batteries would seed the planet's orbit, both securing the planet and providing a platform to support the invasion army with orbital recon and bombardment.

4) The primary weapons would be missiles, railguns(only carried by the defense platforms because of their size and unweildy nature), and point defense lasers.

5) There wouldn't be any "warships". The primary fighting platform in space would be orbital defense batteries. All decisive battles would be fought on the ground or in the air of a planet.

Just my thoughts on the matter ...

You're welcome on my boat. God ain't.

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Friday, April 14, 2006 8:26 AM

CHRISISALL


Quote:

Originally posted by Sickdude:

Quote:

Originally posted by Finn mac Cumhal:
the resolution of the battle will begin and end with targeting solution.



I agree with this. I also agree with Citizen's comments about the fleet being used to achieve and maintain 'space superiority'.

I disagree entirely; once mankind reaches that technological level, we will have, as Jean-Luc says, evolved beyond that (war).

Upbeat Chrisisall

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Friday, April 14, 2006 8:49 AM

CITIZEN


Quote:

Originally posted by SickDude:
Personally I think that level of AI is not too far at all, and five minutes later the AI begins to surpass us quite fast, especially in tactics/ 3D visualization, etc.


I disagree. No computer can even really think to the standard of stupid animals. All current AI does is operate clever Human written algorithms to make it appear like they're thinking. They're not, not really. I think true thinking AI is a long, long way off, and I doubt it'll be running on anything we know of or recognise as a computer.

In fact that's another reason why I like the new BSG, the robot enemies are bio-engineered, including the ships. I think growing a brain for your spaceship is the way forward.

Though I do see AI taking a pivotal roll. Ships will be largely automated. For instance if the ships computer picks up an incoming missile it will launch countermeasures and evade automatically, but it will be the crew that decides the strategy/tactics employed in the battle.
Quote:


Missiles and guns both seem too slow. Something that moves at or near the speed of light is crucial. That means lasers or possibly rail guns. This is so the enemy will become aware of you about the same moment the deadly first shots arrive on target. Some slight scatter and/or multiple rapid succession shots would be helpful, to negate the enemies' evasive manuevers.


My thinking as too why missiles will be the main weapon is simple: You can fire a missile and put it in the rough area of where the target will be for intercept, then you let the missile make the intercept itself, i.e. from your end aiming is much easier, no hitting a dot 1000's of miles away.

Also a DEW loses energy at an exponential rate. A weapon that'll blow a hole in hull plating at 10,000 miles might, at best, fry electronics at a 100,000. Also a ship can manoeuvre to let the beam play over more of the ships surface, reducing it's effectiveness. Conversely a missile is as deadly close up as it is at long range.

I don't think, simply due to detection and weapon limitations, confrontations will happen at extreme range, and as I indicated earlier personally I think it would mainly happen in the orbital space of a planet. In that circumstances the relative slow moving missiles will still intercept a target in seconds, and the AI guidance, allowing the missile to get the best intercept vector and decide what a countermeasure is and what is the ship.

Also it's a lot easier to defend against DEWs. You can have heat conducting layers that will massively reduce their effectiveness; electromagnetic fields can also be deployed to 'bend' a beam around the ship, at least in the case of Particle Accelerators. Likewise a ship could vent gas or fine particulate matter between itself and the attacker, which would cause thermal blooming and scatter the beam.



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Friday, April 14, 2006 8:50 AM

CITIZEN


Quote:

I disagree entirely; once mankind reaches that technological level, we will have, as Jean-Luc says, evolved beyond that (war).

Or in the words of GWB Jnr jnr jnr jnr:
"Let's bomb terrorworld!"



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Friday, April 14, 2006 9:17 AM

CHRISISALL


Why do I sense a really LONG and tediously link-filled response from Piratenews on actual space combat being waged on us as we speak from Alien-Jew Space-Nazis comming?
*shudders*

Chrisisall

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Friday, April 14, 2006 9:24 AM

REAVERMAN


Don't forget the British-Commie-Alien-Jews, dude! They're even worse!

You're welcome on my boat. God ain't.

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Friday, April 14, 2006 1:01 PM

CYBERSNARK


Quote:

Originally posted by chrisisall:
I disagree entirely; once mankind reaches that technological level, we will have, as Jean-Luc says, evolved beyond that (war).

Yes, yes we will.

Pity the Borg/Jem'Hadar/Xindi/Romulans/Cardassians/Whoever-the-hell-else-is-out-there haven't.

*Remembers Captain Archer's naively hopeful comment about not needing weapons in Klingon space*

-----
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Saturday, April 15, 2006 7:43 AM

SICKDUDE


Quote:

Originally posted by Cybersnark:
they'd just swoop in and feast on the survivors.


Mmmmmm... survivors..... *slobber*

Cybersnark, I've been meaning to compliment you on your fantastic descriptions of the Andromeda Ascendant (BTW, why is it "Rommie" instead of "the Ass"? Nevermind, I think I know ) in the last few 'favorite ship' threads. Based on your descriptions, I think it is the best SF warship, with the possible exception of the Battlestars (the newer ones, not the Bucket). And I totally agree with your mention of light minutes and PSL.

Relatedly, I've always believed in fully outfitting expeditionary or exploratory ships. What is the purpose of going light years just to find out you need another flashlight, can opener, or bulldozer?! That's why I like the Invincible (from the out-of-print book by Stainslaw Lem), the Sulaco (from Aliens), and even the ship from Forbidden Planet. However, warships would probably be much more specialized, with the emphasis on building enough of them so they have a chance of encountering the enemy and being useful.

Reaverman, I agree that spaceships would be extremely fragile. But that leads me to the opposite conclusion. Which would be better: to take out ten thousand troops on the ground or take them out all at once in orbit when they are so vulnerable? That leads to orbital defenses, which leads to escorts to clear out orbital defenses, which leads to heavier ships in orbit, and so on. In no time at all, we're talking space battles to clear the way for a ground invasion.

I've always seen weapons technology as being in a cycle of improved defense leading to improved weaponry leading to improved mobility leading back to improved defenses. Obviously, without knowing exactly what technologies we are talking about, we can't make accurate predictions. However, we seem to all agree on some basics: no dogfighting, a lot of automation, very little deep space battles, etc.

And yes, Citizen, missiles may work. My main point is that if the hit wasn't delivered fast, the defender would counter it. And goodness knows a bullet would take a long time to go thousands of miles. However, missiles do continually accelerate...

I don't see mines as being effective, mostly due to the size of space to be covered. Mines only work here because they can be hidden, and even then they are mostly to demoralize and slow down an enemy, not inflict kills.



"It's a cow."

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Saturday, April 15, 2006 8:08 AM

SICKDUDE


As to long range versus short range:
Let us consider two ships, both capable of either mode of fighting. Also, let's dismiss the case of one jumping out from behind an asteroid at very close range and saying Boo! Now, with computerized aiming, fine tuned actuators, long barrel lengths, no gravitational drop, no "turbulence" in space (just Newtonian straight lines), and no wind or outside interference, trajectories are really straight and really long. How far away could that ship be to hit something, say, half the size of a football field? Also, things move relatively slow, and do not suddenly get from point A to point B; it takes, what 15 minutes to get into orbit? Similarly, things can be seen at huge distances. It's mostly a matter of finding a needle in the haystack. In other words, things will be exposed and vulnerable for a longtime. Thus, the ship who spots the enemy and fires first wins. Therefore, the designers are going to put a lot of emphasis on helping this along. Things like many multidirectional sensor arrays that work real fast. They will build a rapidly scanning and accurate firing ship that clean and control a large volume of space. Any ship that needs to get close won't last, short of relying on the asteroid-boo manuever.

"It's a cow."

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Saturday, April 15, 2006 8:31 AM

CITIZEN


In the case of DEWs they have a finite range due to energy loss at range. As for kinetic weapons they have an accuracy built in that goes beyond who is aiming them. Even if you have the perfect aiming system and nothing to knock the shell of course it still won't end up where you want it.

The further the range the bigger the divergence.



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Saturday, April 15, 2006 12:40 PM

FREELANCEPILOT


I always saw space battles being a variation to naval combat in the modern age.

It is pretty safe to assume laser weapons shall be used in space combat. As sci fi as this may seem, the United States Airforce has already began experimenting with the concept as they have a boeing 747 with a laser capable of destroying an ICBM. The weapon needs to be miniturized a bit, but the progression is coming.

The guided missile would be a pretty bad weapon against a spaceship. If the combat happens in a comparable range as naval combat, the use of a Vulcan Anti-missile cannon would be used. This automated weapon destroys missiles going after an aircraft carriers. Ever see Sum of All Fears? Like that, but more accurate. It probably would not have missed the few missiles that hit. It is an incredibly effective weapon.

The use of nuclear weapons in space is an option. However, with the immense blast radius of the weapons in space, it would be dangerous to fire it unless your enemy didn't have long range (i.e. laser) vulcan cannons to destory the weapon. Now you can do the same thing that the subs do, and arm the torpedoes only after a certain distance, but the prospect of those weapons being destoryed at close range to your ship (even if an unarmed, non-exploding device) would waste a weapon.

I think fighters can be used, as short ranged, fuel laiden, ships. Yes, fuel will be a problem, but quick, manuverable fighters would have a chance to slip past anti-aircraft weapons.
PLus you can create nuclear powered craft. Subs are nuclear powered now, but could miniturize it. Perhaps, larger than the modern f-18, but still comparable.
The use of Un-Manned Vehicles would grow in prominence. There is a significant difference in AI to human fighters. ask any military officer, which i have, and all have stated they would not like a totally AI fighter. Rather, like the predator, and unmanned, remote control fighter.


I don't believe that the space craft would only be able to take a single hit. THe Los Angelos class submarine is apartmentalized. The LA class Sub can take a direct hit, even a hull rupture and survive. The Compartment would shut off, and all in that section of the ship would die, but the rest of the ship would be able to limp back to port, depending on the section hit. The size and nature of the ship would be similar, and able to shut off compartments from explosion. Remember, there are no shockwaves or fire in space. so the damage would be a little different in space.

Rail cannons are already in existance too. I have seen it. It is pretty sweet. It rammed through a steel plate. It could be used in space as well.

Shields, however, are not as far away from reality than you might think. I have seen the developement of certain gas containment fields (able to use in a vacuum). So stating certain magnetic fields, set to repulse certain things (like rail fire) could be developed. Whether or not they will, is the question. Also, you could flow plasma around a ship to incinerate objects. You couldn't fire any weapons from within the plasma field, but it would provide protections.

Anyway, this comes from my friends (who are scientists), my family (who are military), and my own research as a mini-clancy (i am a huge clancy fan).


By the way, my brother in Military Counter Intelligence says, "Don't forget those damn terrorists... In SPACE!"

Wash: Yeah, but psychic? That sounds like science fiction.
Zoë: You live on a spaceship, dear.
Wash: So?

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Saturday, April 15, 2006 1:53 PM

STAKETHELURK


Freelancepilot has already questioned the efficacy of using missiles in space combat, due to the possibility of accurate anti-missile defenses. I have another question regarding the possibility of using missiles in such an environment.

Earlier in the thread, the use of small, manned fighters was dismissed because the fuel costs were seen as too prohibitive. Wouldn’t the same limitations on fuel also apply to using missiles in space, especially over dramatically long distances? The advantage of a missile over a kinetic weapon seems to be its ability to maneuver and correct course. Sickdude also mentioned the missile’s ability to continually accelerate. But such maneuvers require expenditure of fuel; why wouldn’t the same fuel constraints that apply fighters apply to missiles?

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Saturday, April 15, 2006 4:29 PM

CITIZEN


Quote:

Originally posted by FreelancePilot:
It is pretty safe to assume laser weapons shall be used in space combat. As sci fi as this may seem, the United States Airforce has already began experimenting with the concept as they have a boeing 747 with a laser capable of destroying an ICBM. The weapon needs to be miniturized a bit, but the progression is coming.


I don't think the weapon you’re talking about is all you say it is:
Quote:

The laser doesn't have to melt through an enemy missile's metal skin to kill it. The beam only has to weaken the missile's exterior, the Air Force believes; the projectile's speed and pressure exerted on it should finish the job.

"What we're out to accomplish is ... weakening the metal," said Capt. Eric Moomey of the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory. "We intend to cause a rupture from within the rocket."


http://archives.cnn.com/2001/US/01/12/airborne.laser/index.html
Quote:

The guided missile would be a pretty bad weapon against a spaceship. If the combat happens in a comparable range as naval combat, the use of a Vulcan Anti-missile cannon would be used. This automated weapon destroys missiles going after an aircraft carriers. Ever see Sum of All Fears? Like that, but more accurate. It probably would not have missed the few missiles that hit. It is an incredibly effective weapon.

Those anti missile weapons are nowhere near as good as you make them out to be. If they were no one would bother using anti ship missiles any more. The exercet is still in use and that was sinking ships in the early 80's .

Now it's a funny thing about military tech, when someone builds a better missile defence system, someone else builds a better missile to get past it.
Quote:

The use of nuclear weapons in space is an option. However, with the immense blast radius of the weapons in space, it would be dangerous to fire it unless your enemy didn't have long range (i.e. laser) vulcan cannons to destory the weapon. Now you can do the same thing that the subs do, and arm the torpedoes only after a certain distance, but the prospect of those weapons being destoryed at close range to your ship (even if an unarmed, non-exploding device) would waste a weapon.

You really don't need them. Using a nuke to destroy a space craft would be like using a sledgehammer to crack a nut. Sure it'll work but you'll wreck your table to, and a nut cracker is easier and really more effective.
Quote:

I think fighters can be used, as short ranged, fuel laiden, ships. Yes, fuel will be a problem, but quick, manuverable fighters would have a chance to slip past anti-aircraft weapons.

So a Fighter can get through point defence but a faster smaller more agile missile can't?
Quote:

PLus you can create nuclear powered craft. Subs are nuclear powered now, but could miniturize it.

And how would these ships move? Nuclear power isn't a magic wand; a sub works because the nuclear reactor creates electricity which is used to drive an electric motor that turns the prop shaft. The only 'electric motor' for space is really the Ion engine, which won't give you the acceleration or agility you want.
Quote:

I don't believe that the space craft would only be able to take a single hit. THe Los Angelos class submarine is apartmentalized. The LA class Sub can take a direct hit, even a hull rupture and survive.

If a Los Angeles-class attack sub was hit by a torpedo, even one, it would at the very least sink, probably implode, especially if it was submerged. Doesn't matter how many compartments it's got.

Furthermore the amount of energy that would be inherent in space-borne weapons just simply out strips anything conceivable material technology can sustain.
Quote:

The size and nature of the ship would be similar, and able to shut off compartments from explosion. Remember, there are no shockwaves or fire in space.

Fire burns with oxygen, there's oxygen inside spaceships. There is also shockwaves, in so much as when you get an explosion the gases still expand, unchecked by an environmental liquid or gas they will expand unchecked. Space on a Starship is at an even greater premium than on a submarine, so if it's hit it _WILL_ be hit in a vital area.

The only way it may survive if the ship was lucky enough to be holed in a cargo bay, by its nature empty space.
Quote:

Rail cannons are already in existance too. I have seen it. It is pretty sweet. It rammed through a steel plate. It could be used in space as well.

Yes, RailGuns, like Guass guns, coil guns and other mass drivers already exist, I didn't say they didn't . The RailGun I talk about is actually a hybrid of a plasma accelerate gun and a plasma railgun.
Quote:

Shields, however, are not as far away from reality than you might think. I have seen the developement of certain gas containment fields (able to use in a vacuum). So stating certain magnetic fields, set to repulse certain things (like rail fire) could be developed. Whether or not they will, is the question. Also, you could flow plasma around a ship to incinerate objects. You couldn't fire any weapons from within the plasma field, but it would provide protections.

I have to strongly disagree. I'm not sure what gas containment fields you're talking about, but a particle has to be an Ion or ferrite (iron) in nature in order to be affected by magnetic fields. Plasma is gas ionised by heat so plasma can be controlled, which is the only gas containment I've heard about, specifically used within Fusion reactors.

You won't be able to stop a rail-gun round unless the enemies kind enough to always use ferrite based rounds, and even if they were you'll need an EXTREMLY powerfully magnetic field to stop a round with all that Kinetic energy, a field that could very well by totally impractical or impossible to generate.

A plasma field could be projected away from the ship, contained within carefully constructed magnetic fields. These fields would be open to disruption and require a lot of power to maintain. Then you have to create the plasma and keep it hot, which again takes a lot of energy. Also a fast moving round will pass straight through unharmed and hit regardless, while all that Plasma kicking out IR and EM radiation will announce your position to everyone in the system, while stopping your own sensors from detecting anything out side the Plasma shield.
Quote:

Originally posted by StakeTheLurk:
Earlier in the thread, the use of small, manned fighters was dismissed because the fuel costs were seen as too prohibitive. Wouldn’t the same limitations on fuel also apply to using missiles in space, especially over dramatically long distances? The advantage of a missile over a kinetic weapon seems to be its ability to maneuver and correct course. Sickdude also mentioned the missile’s ability to continually accelerate. But such maneuvers require expenditure of fuel; why wouldn’t the same fuel constraints that apply fighters apply to missiles?


For a start because a fighter has to return home, a missile doesn't. A missile will be smaller, with more space for fuel, so less inertia, meaning less fuel needed for acceleration and manoeuvres, and more space for the fuel.

I missed the constant acceleration assertion but that's the last thing you want. The way I see a ship to ship weapon would be as a two stage rocket. The launch phase would boost the missile to a high velocity and put it on an intercept vector with the target, then it would run out of fuel and be jettisoned. The terminal phase would coast to the target until very close too and then it would power up, perform any course corrections and evasive manoeuvres and boost to intercept.

Where as a fighter would constantly be expending fuel, since by the nature of its employment, a missile would only need to expend fuel for boosting and intercept. Even then fuel is a big limiting factor. You could shoot a missile off and then let it fly off to the target, you'd have to put it close to the target, otherwise it would never have enough fuel to make the intercept.



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Saturday, April 15, 2006 5:45 PM

ZISKER


Be that as it may . . .

(Yes, science makes dog-fighting impractical and near impossible in space and the reality of the situation gets in the way of all Star Wars/BSG etc scenarios)

I still want Sci-Fi shows and movies to have the awesome space spectacles. I want to dream that I could take off in my Y-Wing and blow a few squints and eyeballs to kingdom come.

Besides, we're an impractical species. And we're war-like. Maybe we'll find a way.

Fruit's Oaty Bar! Is a person from the mouse! Fruit's Oaty Bar! Makes your bust from yours female shirt! Continuously eats them! Let them cause you to be surprised!

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Saturday, April 15, 2006 6:04 PM

REAVERMAN


Quote:

Originally posted by FreelancePilot:
The use of nuclear weapons in space is an option. However, with the immense blast radius of the weapons in space, it would be dangerous to fire it unless your enemy didn't have long range (i.e. laser) vulcan cannons to destory the weapon. Now you can do the same thing that the subs do, and arm the torpedoes only after a certain distance, but the prospect of those weapons being destoryed at close range to your ship (even if an unarmed, non-exploding device) would waste a weapon.



I agree that large nukes would be overkill, but, who says they have to be big? You could make a warhead in the 1-2 kiloton yield range that would be enough to annihilate just about any ship in space, provided the warhead is close enough to the ship. Plus, the missile that carried such a weapon could be small and light, meaning smaller fuel requirements and increased maneuverability. Also, because Uranium is an extremely common element (at least it is on Earth), one would be able to easily mass produce these "mini-nukes".

You're welcome on my boat. God ain't.

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Sunday, April 16, 2006 4:47 AM

CYBERSNARK


Quote:

Originally posted by Sickdude:
Cybersnark, I've been meaning to compliment you on your fantastic descriptions of the Andromeda Ascendant (BTW, why is it "Rommie" instead of "the Ass"? Nevermind, I think I know ) in the last few 'favorite ship' threads. Based on your descriptions, I think it is the best SF warship, with the possible exception of the Battlestars (the newer ones, not the Bucket). And I totally agree with your mention of light minutes and PSL.

Thanks.

Back when I had spare time, I used to write Andromeda fanfic (as practice for my professional writing, 'cause I have a little trouble with plot and scene breaks --I'm better with characters and dialogue), so I'm reasonably immersed in that 'verse. Given how the series degenerated, I have no qualms about throwing out the series and going off in my own direction (with internal continuity and character development) --that's why I can't write Firefly fanfic, I like the finished product too much to tinker with it.

-----
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Sunday, April 16, 2006 3:19 PM

RMMC


Quote:

Originally posted by citizen:
Quote:

Originally posted by RMMC:
Just that people planet-side will be in a hell of a bind when the fireball debris starts raining down on them.


They'll have umbrellas. Really really big umbrellas .



And they're with it...a mile or so underground on the far side of the planet, eh?

Quote:

Posted by Citizen:

Now in space you can't lie in wait. Stars are moving in relation to each other constantly, thus you can't have space lanes because the shortest route between two planetary systems is different from one minute to the next.



But not unknown. While the 'lanes' would be constantly shifting, it would be by known variables and therefore able to be plotted from minute to minute. In otherwords, you plot to get to planet X, but knowing it should take six days, you plot (or rather let the computer plot) the course for there planet X will be six days and however many hours and minutes later. It would be possible, but inefficient.

However, as you also pointed out, they'd have to have intel as to exactly when the target left and supposing no problems along the way....

I looked at some of the other posts and now I'm just depressed, and somewhat nervous. Splitting planets? Eeek! But this [planet splitting] I somewhat doubt. Most war is for some sort of gain, usually land (and the available resourses) or if we up the ante, planets and solar systems. While the 'I'll destroy it so nobody else can have it' mindset does exist, it's usually in a vast minority. It usually comes as a 'we're already screwed, so we've got nothing to lose' kind of last resort. Blowing up the planet, while being effective, would be seen by most as a terrible waste of potential resourses.
What they'd actually want to do is destroy the enemy , but not the world. Which is now making me think of the Bradbury short story (the name of which I can't remember right now) which is a story of a world where all the life was suddely destroyed, but all the automated machinery just keeps going on. *shiver*
I think I need a little light reading after this.

******
RMMC

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Thursday, May 4, 2006 10:43 AM

BROWNCOATSANDINISTA


I think the story is called "There will come Soft Rains"

Anyways, Fighters in space would be incredibly effective provided we have some way to couteract the effects of g-forces on the human body. In space, I use an Estes D-12-12 rocket booster, and it will reach a higher peak velocity than it would in atmo, due to the lack of friction. But in addition to that, as long as it doesn't his something, it doesnt slow down. Ever. This equates to only needing enough fuel to accellerate, manoeuver, and return home. Now, in the field of nanotechnology, they are ((Or were at some point, I could be wrong)) working on miniature "High-Efficiency" rockets. They are 400nm diameter circles that would propel a nanobot in a given direction in a vacum. Apply millions of these things to a ship's control surfaces, and you have quick manoeuvering capabilities, and due to the small size of the rockets, you could layer them. This would mean you eject or otherwise remove the expended ones, and use the next batch. Really it comes down to our ability to nullify the effects of g-forces. The human body can only take so much, and machines can take a bit more. If we can beat that, we could make feaseable space-fighters.

My question is, would we have Orbital Drop Shock Troopers like in the Novel Starship Troopers ((Much Much Better than the movie)) Or Halo 2?

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Thursday, May 4, 2006 11:32 AM

CALHOUN


I think space battles will be fought very similarly to what David Weber describes in his book series "Honor Harrington". Granted there may not be military grade sidewalls(shields) or warshawski sails(FTL) but I imagine the weaponry and tactics to be very sound(missiles and point defense lasers etc)..

Read David Webers "Honor Harrington" series and tell me you cant vividly picture realistic space battles playing out.

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Thursday, May 4, 2006 12:36 PM

CITIZEN


I will do thanks for the heads up.



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Thursday, May 4, 2006 1:02 PM

DRACOS


Citizen, you have entered my ledger of personal heros with this one. I've been trying to think out how large scale fleet engagements would work for an RPG rule-set I'm writing and this seems to be just what I needed.

Also, I feel sort of embarrassed to be bringing this up given what a bad movie it was, but have you by any chance seen Wing Commander ? Horrible, horrible film but the way that they handle capitol-class ship combat seems to have a lot in common with what you discussed in your initial post.

I'm not going to try and contribute anything serious here just yet, as I haven't read the thread in depth, but yeah, looking forward to it.

-Dracos

"Dont ask me silly questions.
I wont play silly games."

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Thursday, May 4, 2006 1:08 PM

RMMC


Quote:

Originally posted by BrowncoatSandinista:
I think the story is called "There will come Soft Rains"



Thanks! I read that in grade school, about, um..*tries to mentally count and gives it up as a lost cause*..some years back.

I've got several short story collections by him, but that story just isn't among them.

****
RMMC

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Thursday, May 4, 2006 1:33 PM

STILLFLYIN


I think that the use of explosive weapons of any sort, conventional, nuclear or otherwise, would be impractical in space combat. An explosive detonation against the hull of a warship would leave a cloud of debris spreading from the impact area. In the immediate sense, this would give the enemy a large cloud of the equivalent of modern-day chaff to hide in during the battle. Afterwards, the victor would have to spend a lot of time cleaning the debris so that it would not pose a navigation hazard to civilian vessels. I think that the weapon of choice in a space battle would be a directed energy weapon that would vaporize the impacted area. This has the double benefit of eliminating the debris problem and at the same time punching a hole clean through the targeted ship opening the most compartments to decompression, killing a larger amount of the crew.

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Thursday, May 4, 2006 2:03 PM

CITIZEN


Hi StillFlyin.

I'm not sure I agree. DEW's do produce a vapour cloud of debris, which will likely cool to form a micro debris field that would prove a hazard to shipping. The debris cloud is one reason why a weapon such as a Laser would have to be pulsed in order to be effective, otherwise the debris field scatters and absorbs the beam shortly after impact leaving the weapon strike next to useless. Also reactive armour (also known as ablative) is most effective against this sort of weapon.

I see your point on debris fields, however a 'downed' craft would be a debris field in and of itself, no matter what weapon was used in its destruction. Like all conflicts Space War will leave behind dangerous debris and legacies. Whether this is a mine field or a superluminal debris field its much the same thing I think.



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Thursday, May 4, 2006 2:38 PM

STILLFLYIN


A way to avoid all of the problems of disabled ships and their corresponding massive debris fields would be to think of space combat as similar to 18th and early 19th century naval combat rather that more modern tactics. During that period ships sought primarily to capture the enemy vessel and their cannon were primarily used to immobilize the other ship so that it could be easily boarded. In a situation involving space vessels this could be acomplished by reviving the old purpose of marines. The warship would use its weapons to disable the enemy's engines and weapons and any energy shields that it might have so that a smaller transport loaded with marines could penetrate its perimeter and attempt to capture the vessel. If the marines were sucessful, the boarding ship would transfer a small crew from the main vessel to pilot the captured ship to a friendly port

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Monday, May 15, 2006 1:37 PM

BROWNCOATSANDINISTA


Yes, this is an entirely feaseable possibility. Though if you were to use conventional 'cannon' in the disabling of enemy vehicles, you would still have the problem of debris. I think this would lead to the use of Electro Magnetic Pulse weapons to leave the enemy vessel drifting, though to the best of my knowledge these are only acheivable by way of high altitude nuclear explosion. Could be wrong on that though.

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Monday, May 15, 2006 2:16 PM

STILLFLYIN


Yes, projectile weapons would cause a great deal of debris. Thus, I think that for the reasons I mentioned above that the use of Directed Energy Weapons would dominate space combat. Also EMP generation need not come from an atomic device, there are probably books at your local library to tell you how to make an EMP generatior; albeit at great cost and it would be difficult to do without a professional lab.
Making the pulse into a directed weapon would be the difficult part. The difference is seen that a pulse disrupts everything in a given radius, friendlies nonwithstanding. This would be similar to the EMP seen in The Matrix. A directed EM weapon would be similar to the weapon used by the Reavers in the BDM , Mal's refering to it as EMP was a slight misnomer, it was not a pulse per se but it conveyed the idea well enough. The advantage of an EM DEW is that it affects only its target and not all vessels in the area friends and enemies alike.

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Monday, May 22, 2006 11:09 AM

BROWNCOATSANDINISTA


I think that the Matrix's version of the EMP was one of the most realistic depictions ever on film. That's how I believe it would work, because if all of your friendlies power down immediately before you use the EMP, they would be free to power up again immediately after, no? I could be wrong in that respect, but if I'm right, that would give a force the upper hand, as they would be able to manoeuver unlike their enemies.

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