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Burnthem
29-12-2007, 11:11
Ok, i'm a bit of a sci-fi fan, from books to tv programmes (BSG Razor arrived today :D ) to films, i love most of it. On the other hand, i do like my Sci-fi to have at least a partial grounding of credibility, as do alot of people i expect. One thing that i have been thinking of alot recently, especially after having watched Star Wars and Battlestar Galactica (of which the latter is entirely superior to the former), is the actual physical possibility of Space warfare as its popularly portrayed.

For example, in Star Wars, Fleets of Capital sized ships fly towards each other, firing line-of-sight directed energy weapons, whilst multiple one man fighters swarm around, shooting both each other and the larger vessels.

This simply wouldnt be the best way to fight in space, for a number of reasons -

Despite popular opinion, space is dark, very dark, unless you are in orbit around a large object such as a planet, which is itself reflecting alot of light from a local star, you WILL NOT be able to see anything outside of your ship apart from vague black shapes as other ships move in front of the background stars. This is one reason why the whole 'dogfighting using your eyes' idea is fundamentally flawed.

Another reason that 'dog-fighting' in space would be impossible would be the laws of physics not letting you perform sweeping turns and barrel rolls without *significant* thrust to push you in the right direction. If you want to turn around, you'd have to slow right down, actually stopping dead at one point, in order to accelerate back the way you came. To do this within any appreciable time frame the human pilot would be subject to incredible G -forces.

Distance is also another limiting factor, unless you opponent is within a relatively short range, ie 1 mile/2 km, then actually hitting said opponent with manually aimed cannons etc would prove almost impossible, especially as mentioned before, you can hardly see him.

So, as much as i like them, the following films/programmes are in my opinion very cool, but fundamentally flawed -

Star Wars
Star Trek
BattleStar Galactica
Serenity/Firefly
etc etc etc

On the other hand, these Books are ones that IMO offer the most credible alternative -

the 'Nights Dawn' Trilogy - Peter F Hamilton
'The Forever War' - Joe Haldeman

Let me explain my choices -

Firstly, the 'Nights Dawn' Trilogy (NDT) features space combat quite prolifically, however this combat is noted as taking place over huge distances, ie tens of thousands of km, with the actual combat itself taking the form of the ships undertaking preprogrammed high G evasive manouvres (sp), whilst launching guided missiles (Combat Wasps) at the enemy. These Combat Wasps contain a mix of Electronic jamming warheads, interceptor warheads, and tactical Nukes. No actual 'dog-fighting' as we see it today takes place, very few direct fire, line-of-sight weapons are used, and a ships computer plays a hugely more important role in directing and controlling the ships fire and movement than any of the crew, who are pretty much just along for the ride. :D

Secondly, i direct you to 'The Forever War', written by Joe Haldeman. This book is unusual in that although it was written 30 years ago it still, IMO, contains the most realistic space combat ever described. For example, a human ship encounters an enemy Tauran ship, everybody inside the human ship immediately suits up to survive the approaching high - G evasive action. When everybody is safely entombed the ship then undertakes various high g manouvres (sp) under command of the ships tactical computer, all the time spewing out long range ordnance in the direction of the enemy.

Fighters ARE used in the Forever War, but they are described as little more than small ships, used as missile platforms rather than dog-fighters. This book also actually doesnt ignore the laws of physics, when at one point in the book a fighter slingshots around a planet to atttack an enemy cruiser at relativistic speeds, it takes it a couple of months to turn around and come back!

Battlefleet Gothic also comforms to this way of thinking. Combat is recognised as taking place over huge distances, rarely close enough to see the ship you are fighting with the naked eye, with the ship that fires the most weapons and takes the most evasive action being the ship that wins.

In summary, and yes i know that this was a long post, IMO, when, not if but when space combat eventually takes place, any human crew will just be along 'for the ride'. the actual combat will be dictated by computers, issuing evasive action, launching ordnance and counter-measures at the right time and place, with the winning ship/fleet very likely being the ones with the most ammunition and/or the most advanced tactical ship computer. This will all take place over relatavistic distances, only limited by the range of the ships weapon systems themselves.

Hope you found this an interesting read, C'C welcome :)

Corrupt
29-12-2007, 11:55
Yeah some, like star wars have the scale a tad out, but not completely wrong.
Its quite easy for the ships to voluntarily close distance to use more powerful direct LOS weapons effectively and enter the age old "slugging match"
And relativistic speeds will always be a LOT higher in space remember. I know its huge, but once you get within a system or near a planet (using faster than light travel, ignoring the problems with that theory in this thread) you are still travelling at tens, if not hundreds of thousand miles an hour. Hell the archiac space shuttle of the modern age cruises at somethin like 15,000 mph up there, give it some kinda fusion engine or whatnot, a slight downsize and hey presto, workable fighters. Have you read the HALO books? They feautre some decently written space combat (imho)

salty
29-12-2007, 11:59
Is it not likely however that many space battles will indeed take place in orbit around, or extremely close to, an object like a planet? With the exception of stumbling across and enemy out in deep space, or trying to cut supply lines, there isn't much point in fighting a pitched battle in the middle of nowhere. Furthermore, if it is indeed true that it is nigh impossible to recognise objects in the dark of space (and I'm not disputing you), then it could be the case that tactics will evolve to favour fighting around planets, where fighters and line-of-sight weapons can be of more use.

Salty :)

Wintermute
29-12-2007, 12:05
We can immediately ignore anything in Star Wars, because its not science fiction but fantasy (yes really, there is no science in Star Wars eg The Force which is akin to magic),

Star Trek was always had a scientific basis to it and the space combat can be scientifically explained.

Battlestar Galactica the Vipers do move like real spacecraft in that they do use thrusters to. The also use projectile weapons, not energy weapons.

Firefly/Serenity the less said the better.

I take it you have never watched Babylon 5 which did have dogfights with fighters which did obey the laws of physics and took G-forces and the laws of motion into account?

For more description of 'realistic' space combat try these authors

Alastair Reynolds
David Weber/Steve White

Burnthem
29-12-2007, 12:58
I take it you have never watched Babylon 5 which did have dogfights with fighters which did obey the laws of physics and took G-forces and the laws of motion into account?

For more description of 'realistic' space combat try these authors

Alastair Reynolds
David Weber/Steve White

To be honest i havent seen an episode of B5 in years, i cant reliably remember anything about it so i didnt mention it in my original post, although i did have an inkling that it was pretty good with acknowledging physics and all that malarky.

I will look for some books by those authors, i've heard good things about Reynolds so will probably start there :)

Chaos and Evil
29-12-2007, 13:16
I've always thought that the best way to win combats in space would be to have a sufficiently accurate targetting system, and fire a high-powered laser at the enemy craft.

In space, a laser wouldn't suffer attenuation for distances orders of magnitude larger than they do on Earth, due to the lack of an atmosphere.

Therefore you would switch on your laser, the enemy craft would be hit practically instantly even if it was thousands of km away, and you could simply play the beam over the surface of the enemy craft until it is cut into small chunks.

You would need a ridiculously powerful laser, a large source of energy (Fission reactor), and a highly-accurate targetting system with a gimbal-mount for your weapon, all of which are quite possible with today's technology.


You could also use a second laser as a defensive weapon, able to disable incoming missiles (And other guided weapons), the ship would then automatically manuever to avoid the unguided wreckage (At the distances involved, only very small manuevers would be required).

Since 'shields' don't exist, you'd pretty much be guaranteed that the ship which opened fire first would be the ship to win the combat; Space combats would be short, and very decisive, the winner would be the ship that detected their enemy first and opened fire first.





On the other hand, Battlestar Galactica has dogfights which (mostly) obey the rules of relativity, which is cool. :p

The Guy
29-12-2007, 13:35
One thing I never got is the whole weight factor in space. Some of the games I've played [admittedly star wars] claim that just because a bomber is heavier than the a fighter it moves slower and turns slower. And I always thought that The forces acting on you in space were near zero meaning weight of an object would have very little impact on speed an maneouvarability. Am I right or wrong? :confused:

Corrupt
29-12-2007, 13:40
One thing I never got is the whole weight factor in space. Some of the games I've played [admittedly star wars] claim that just because a bomber is heavier than the a fighter it moves slower and turns slower. And I always thought that The forces acting on you in space were near zero meaning weight of an object would have very little impact on speed an maneouvarability. Am I right or wrong? :confused:

Although there is no gravity or air resistance (except minor amounts near HUGE plantets stars to adjust slightly for) the fact is you still have say 200 tons of bomber moving in a straight line at 10,000km/h instead of just 100 tons of fighter.
Even though there is no gravity to affect the acceleration and turning, one would still need more energy to accelerate the larger mass and more energy to change the direction in which the mass is moving, purely because the larger mass have more momentum to overcome.

I assume during all that there is no uber powerful engine upgrade for bombers of the same size as fighters to take them to the same performance levels as fighters as one would surely put the same engines onto a fighter for much boosted output :)

Firebreath
29-12-2007, 13:47
For "likely realistic" spacebattles try some of Alastair Reynolds' stuff (although there's not much real battles going on, maybe that's the point). They're mainly hurling nukes and countermeasures in their opponent's general direction because they're always guessing where the other vessel is at or is going to be at.

More right in your face would be the Honor Harrington-novels by David Weber. If you don't get bogged down in the political backstabbing... Saturating targets with copious amounts of missiles is bound to get the job done. :p

SV_Harlequin
29-12-2007, 13:57
Reynolds would probably be the best one to go for I agree. His stuff is Gothic Space Opera and very Imperium like. His take and ideas on the future of humanity and how our venture into space seems to most realistic.

Honor Harrington is just Hornblower then Master & Commander with a bit of Sharpe in Space. Not to say it isn't good it is just don't expect much different.

There does seem to be 2 schools of thougt on this subject though:
The out the window Star Warsesque whiz round the Universe space battles
The everyone faces each other and uses broadside as though they were on the seas in 1800.

Neknoh
29-12-2007, 14:02
Hrmm... the comment about turning and rolling and all is probably a bitt off I'd say, you could do it all with small bursts from engines mounted on tips of wings and the sides of the craft, it would still go forward a bit, but you should be able to turn it arround in a 180 degree turn by flicking on your side-thrusters in the nose of your ship for a quick burst and then have the other sides thrusters burst sufficient foce to nullify the rotational movement once you had turned the way you wanted. Then, in order to go in the new direction, you would use bursts of energy, flick on your superstrong-energy-pushing-whatever-you-want-to-call-them-engines for a mere millisecond to give an energy burst and send you forward, using your side-thrusters to prevent you from drifting sideways from the previous force.

Rolls would be done simmilarily to turns, except it'd be thrusters mounted on the top and bottom of wings (the only use for wings in space), basically, one side fires the "down" thruster and the other fires the "up" thruster in a simultaneous burst, putting the plane into a roll. You exit the roll by using a weaker but longer energy outlet from the opposite thrusters to those used to innitiate the roll.

Sight could be solved either with radiation/sub-human-perception-light-screens or by mounting huge (or really, modern technology need not be huge in this case) searchlights, using computer guidance to target and illuminate enemy fighters, you could use ten to focus on one fighter or they could each be programmed to target individual targets. Add in a radar-esque system to avoid crashes and the likes and you're set.

Also, projectile weapons such as birdshot would probably be THE most lethal of all weapons, simply because of the spread and the extreme velocities they can reach in space with the proper launch-method.

Mad Doc Grotsnik
29-12-2007, 14:11
I don't see fighter craft being much cop in Space to be honest. First of all, there is the small case of a lack of mass. The sort of nifty manouveres seen in Sci-Fi, with sufficient engine capacity, would be attainable by ALL craft.

Plus, if you are being pursued by Fighter Craft, Flechette dischargers would rule the day. It wouldn't matter how powerful, as you just the make the hulls of your craft capable of withstanding it. Cover a ship in explosive fragementary charges, then let rip when each wave hits. Fouls engines, breaches hulls, and absolutely no need for any accuracy whatsoever!

Also, you have to consider the human mentality. We get airsick. Extreme manouvers in fighters cause unconsciousness (though this might be cause by increase in Gs, in which case ignore this bit!) and we just don't deal in 3d combat all that well.

And why would you have view ports at all? What is there to see? Your bridge would be better off buried in the middle of the ship (for which, a sphere would be the best shape) safely away from enemy fire.......all you need can be relayed via camera to screen, or even good old fashioned radar!

superknijn
29-12-2007, 14:12
And what about reverse thrusters? That way, you require even less thrusters all over. Ofcourse, it isn't really viable with Space shuttles and the likes, so those thing have thruster 'pockets' mounted on them.

Minister
29-12-2007, 14:12
I like the Honor Harrington books rather too much (and have recently actually managed to get ahold of the fourth and fifth ones after much hunting, though I've not had a chance to read them yet). Whilst the physics setup is very obviously designed to run as a parallel for age of sail warfare it does have the great advantage of actually having a physics setup and sticking to it.

Star Wars is space fantasy. At times it's very good and exciting space fantasy, but that's what it is. Much the same for 40K. As with (most) fantasy, practicality takes a back seat to imagery.

For light ships, the Starfury of B5 fame is the best designed, hands down. Particularly the ability to do a 180 turn to bring fixed weapons to bear whilst still moving in the same direction. Most spaceborne light craft are hampered by being designed far too much like planes (and generally WW2 ones at that).

Galactica is one of the better ones, in my opinion. Half a dozen acceptable breaches from physics (FTL, artificial gravity and so-on) but relies on flinging things rather than projected energy, which just plain looks better. I would like to see EW systems take more of a role, though.

Minister
29-12-2007, 14:19
And why would you have view ports at all? What is there to see? Your bridge would be better off buried in the middle of the ship (for which, a sphere would be the best shape) safely away from enemy fire.......all you need can be relayed via camera to screen, or even good old fashioned radar!

This is actually a feature of the new BSG. Whilst the ship does have viewports, they are a) well away from anything vital b) small and c) never used in combat.

Neknoh
29-12-2007, 14:29
Hrmm... flinging solid stuff got me thinking of railguns, imagine if you have something akinn to a typical "capital-ship" from almost any scifi, mount two or three railguns (a few miles long) in it and redirect engine-power to the magnetic loops... wouldn't you be able to launch asteroid-size projectiles at INCREDIBLE speeds that way?

Mad Doc Grotsnik
29-12-2007, 14:32
You may not even need that much power. Remember, no friction, means you need less power to achieve high speeds, as there is nothing counter acting the thrust.

It would however, be a lot of effort selecting suitable asteroids, yet with the right one, you can wipe out a planet in a single shot.

And it's probably cheaper than a Death Star I'd imagine.

marv335
29-12-2007, 14:34
B5 is ace for space combat.

fighters rolling is not all about manoeuvre.
In atmospheric combat a fighter (mainly) rolls in a turn to present more efficient flying control surfaces for a better turn.
In zero-g the turn would attenuate the effects of g forces due to turning.
the human body can handle high g stresses far better than a low g stress.
although you are flying in space is in zero-g, turning will cause centrifugal/centripetal forces which will have the same effect

as to weapons,
as I see it it comes down to three types
1. focused energy weapons. (Lasers of various sorts. speed of light types.)
2. guided kinetic weapons. (missiles)
3. unguided kinetic weapons. (railguns, cannons)

Mad Doc Grotsnik
29-12-2007, 14:38
I'd prefer unguided projectiles myself. Break up an enemy attack nicely, and hopefully, they will start stacking it into each other, in a comedy stylee!

Neknoh
29-12-2007, 14:53
You may not even need that much power. Remember, no friction, means you need less power to achieve high speeds, as there is nothing counter acting the thrust.

It would however, be a lot of effort selecting suitable asteroids, yet with the right one, you can wipe out a planet in a single shot.

And it's probably cheaper than a Death Star I'd imagine.

The power should be there simply to facillitate even higher momentum, and never siaid you'd use asteroids, just that you could fire projectiles the size of asteroids. . . and Think I just figured the ultimate ammo for railguns of that size... Tungsten, you don't even need all that much due to th extreme preassure that will be exerted on the material at the point of impact. We'd basically be talking a railgun firing deeply penetrating nukes of immense power into enemy ships... or onto planetary surfaces.

Mad Doc Grotsnik
29-12-2007, 14:56
Hmmm....I like the idea of a sub-crust nuking, but wouldn't you need to know the geological topography of the target planet and lots of other variables, to make sure you hit somewhere ? Think of the difference of hitting Everest, or the San Andreas Fault.....

Neknoh
29-12-2007, 15:35
Well, I'd say that it wouldn't matter that much, a hit with that level of force on mount everest would send enough sand into the atmosphere to blot out the sun for quite some time, whereas a sub-crust detonation may force several volcanic eruptions. I'd say your main target would actually be densely populated areas to achieve maximum damage, I mean, the rate of fire for railguns is theoretically very, very high, meaning that you could basically carpet-bomb across europe simply by firing several shots swiftly due to the rotation of the earth. Besides, the sub-crust detonations wouldn't be all too interesting, I'd be more interested in the damage it would deal to an enemy ship, it would rip halfway through a ship and then detonate with the force of I don't know HOW many gigaton

Mad Doc Grotsnik
29-12-2007, 15:54
But the sub-crust explostion could shatter continents, with the resultant weather conditions then finishing the job.

Of course, I'd shoot the moon, thus messing up Seasons and Tide!

Neknoh
29-12-2007, 16:04
As said with enough ammunition, one could do all of it though :angel:

Suoli
29-12-2007, 17:27
Since 'shields' don't exist, you'd pretty much be guaranteed that the ship which opened fire first would be the ship to win the combat; Space combats would be short, and very decisive, the winner would be the ship that detected their enemy first and opened fire first.


Which is why I'd prefer a fleet of smaller ships to scout ahead. My opponent would probably think the same way so dog fighting would very likely occur.


I don't see fighter craft being much cop in Space to be honest. First of all, there is the small case of a lack of mass. The sort of nifty manouveres seen in Sci-Fi, with sufficient engine capacity, would be attainable by ALL craft.

This is very, very wrong. Objects that have mass will still have mass in the absence of gravity. The amount of force required to accelerate an object is proportional to its mass so smaller crafts might be more practical for combat.

Dakkagor
29-12-2007, 17:54
The Halo novels have some fantastic space firefights, and clever use of manouvering/ inertia. And the UNSC fleet is equipped with a nice, realistic low tech arsenal. (railguns and missiles essentially)

And Babylon 5 is easily the best for space dogfighting. The reason combat is fought so close (How close? "right down their throats!") is because ships have effecient jammers and interceptors, so to stand a good chance of hitting you need to be close. Some weapons (like plasma) lose damage over range (The B5 wars game, now OOP, is a fantastically complicated space combat simulator.)

Wintermute
29-12-2007, 18:10
(The B5 wars game, now OOP, is a fantastically complicated space combat simulator.)

And wasn't it relaunched by Mongoose as A Call to Arms (http://www.mongoosepublishing.com/home/series.php?qsSeries=28)?

Burnthem
29-12-2007, 18:39
Hrmm... the comment about turning and rolling and all is probably a bitt off I'd say, you could do it all with small bursts from engines mounted on tips of wings and the sides of the craft, it would still go forward a bit, but you should be able to turn it arround in a 180 degree turn by flicking on your side-thrusters in the nose of your ship for a quick burst and then have the other sides thrusters burst sufficient foce to nullify the rotational movement once you had turned the way you wanted. Then, in order to go in the new direction, you would use bursts of energy, flick on your superstrong-energy-pushing-whatever-you-want-to-call-them-engines for a mere millisecond to give an energy burst and send you forward, using your side-thrusters to prevent you from drifting sideways from the previous force..

Swinging yourself around isnt the problem, thrusters can do that as you say, but you are *pointed* only in the direction you just came from, you are NOT traveling in that direction. In order to do that your engines would have to fire long and hard enough to bring you to a stop and then accelerate your ship back the way it came. The faster you were originally going the longer that is going to take. For example, if it took your fighter 5 minutes to acheive maximum speed, it would take you 10 minutes to slow down to a stop, then accelerate back up to speed in the direction you were just coming from.



This is very, very wrong. Objects that have mass will still have mass in the absence of gravity. The amount of force required to accelerate an object is proportional to its mass so smaller crafts might be more practical for combat.

Its all a question of mass versus thrust, to put it simply, a large cruiser with a large engine is just as manouvrable as a small fighter with a small engine, as the ratio of thrust to mass is roughly the same.

SV_Harlequin
29-12-2007, 19:14
And wasn't it relaunched by Mongoose as A Call to Arms (http://www.mongoosepublishing.com/home/series.php?qsSeries=28)?
Yes who recently ruined it with the new ruleset and sub par new figures.

Dakkagor
29-12-2007, 19:58
^see above post^

(not sure myself actually. Though I have been reliably informed its rubbish. For accuaracy on B5 cannon, you couldn't beat the B5 wars ruleset. The ship control sheets where used as reference for scripting and on set)

marv335
29-12-2007, 20:18
movement in space is all about vector forces. apply enough force, at the right point, in the right direction and you can move any way you want.
the speed of the movement depends on the amount of thrust applied.
the trouble is, Newtons first law states "A body in motion tends to stay in motion" (cut down, but this is the important bit)
the third law tells us that "for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction".

the big ship vs small ship argument over manoeuvrability brings us to Newtons second law.
This one is a little more complex F=ma
Force = mass x acceleration.

the larger the ship, the larger the mass. the more mass, the more inertia, the more inertia, the more force required to change the vector of the ship.
to change the vector of a ship you need reaction mass (fuel) thus a larger ship needs to carry a larger engine and a larger fuel supply to maintain the manoeuvring capabilities of a smaller craft. the larger fuel load and engine mean an increase in mass, just making for more mass, and making your problem snowball.

athamas
29-12-2007, 20:20
Its all a question of mass versus thrust, to put it simply, a large cruiser with a large engine is just as manouvrable as a small fighter with a small engine, as the ratio of thrust to mass is roughly the same.


you have a point but, the chances are a fighter is going to have a greater thrust to mass ratio than a cruiser....

you also have angular momentum to worry about, and a 5m fighter has alot less to worry about that a 500m cruiser... thus it will be more munuverable...

the cruiser will be able to accelorate as fast as the fighter, but when it comes to turning around.. it will be abit slower [you can only turn something that big with such a speed else you start getting additional forces ripping you to pieces...]

Burnthem
29-12-2007, 21:00
@athamas I agree that to do a fighters job a fighter is what you need, just because a cruiser can accelerate at the same rate doesnt mean its fit for the job. But seeing as i dont believe small one man fighters as portrayed in Star Wars etc will ever work the point is slightly moot :)

emperorpenguin
29-12-2007, 21:36
And wasn't it relaunched by Mongoose as A Call to Arms (http://www.mongoosepublishing.com/home/series.php?qsSeries=28)?


Yes who recently ruined it with the new ruleset and sub par new figures.


(not sure myself actually. Though I have been reliably informed its rubbish. For accuaracy on B5 cannon, you couldn't beat the B5 wars ruleset. The ship control sheets where used as reference for scripting and on set)


First of all, no it wasn't relaunched as ACTA. B5 Wars was a very different game. If B5W was akin to Star Fleet Command, then ACTA is akin to BFG.

If you like non-complicated games (and are a fan of BFG) then you'll like ACTA.

Finally the B5 Wars ships often contradicted the show (Omegas with wrong weapons, Centauri with lasers), to regard it as 100% correct is wrong

Sekhmet
29-12-2007, 22:52
B5 is ace for space combat.

fighters rolling is not all about manoeuvre.
In atmospheric combat a fighter (mainly) rolls in a turn to present more efficient flying control surfaces for a better turn.
In zero-g the turn would attenuate the effects of g forces due to turning.
the human body can handle high g stresses far better than a low g stress.
although you are flying in space is in zero-g, turning will cause centrifugal/centripetal forces which will have the same effect

as to weapons,
as I see it it comes down to three types
1. focused energy weapons. (Lasers of various sorts. speed of light types.)
2. guided kinetic weapons. (missiles)
3. unguided kinetic weapons. (railguns, cannons)

/agree

If you want to see what real space combat can be like, look no further than the Starfury. A huge portion of its mass and volume are engines and maneuvering thrusters.

Nasa actually used the starfury design for a forklift of some sort, JMS gave them permission on the condition that they called it a starfury. :D




Now back on topic, I actually discussed this in depth in another board (about the game Escape Velocity: Nova, which is fantastic btw).

The strategies of space combat are almost entirely dependent on one thing: objectives. If we're talking about the near-future, the objectives will be planetary targets / satellites in orbit. If we're talking about the far future, it will depend largely on the mode of faster-than-light transport. For example, if we "find" hypergates (like in B5), most combat will take place around those.

Next, we have to look at finding a target. True, visible light will be basically null in deep space, but why would you EVER fight in deep space? You'll always be fighting in-system, probably very near a planet. Ships also give out other types of emissions in the EM band due to electronics and engines. An EM wave version of a sonic pulse (used by submarines) could also be implemented to detect ships.

Now, we have to hit the target. Even with a directed energy weapon (moving at, or close to, C), at relativistic ranges, you probably won't hit anything. Reason being that even with light, you'll have to lead the target. But you will not be able see where the ship has moved until after it has done so. Also remember that light is affected by gravity. If you fire a directed energy weapon near a planet, the beam itself could be thrown off course slightly. At long range, even a 1 degree change to your aiming would mean you'd miss your target. Thus, at extreme ranges, you'll need to do one of three things: close the distance, launch fighters (who will have to close the distance), or fire guided munitions.

So lets go over the three options of space warfare. Guided munitions are the trend we're moving to in terms of technological development. They can basically be designed as a stealth aircraft (there are stealth cruise missiles in the USA arsenal) and be fired like a bullet, then continually adjust course using minimal fuel until it can perform a full-burn when it knows its in range. The kinetic energy alone would be able to disable most ships, but include an explosive (or even nuclear) warhead and bad things happen.

Tangent - explosive weapons in space are highly reduced in power. There's no air, thus no shockwave. The damage caused is pure radiation and thermal energy, with some damage coming from shrapnel and escaping gases from the compounds itself. That being said, if an explosive weapon were to be detonated within a ship (containing a LOT of gasses), the results would be devastating. It's an almost guaranteed kill, depending on size of the ship and explosive of course.

The second option is fighters. In space, fighters are limited by: primary fuel, maneuvering fuel, electrical power, oxygen for the pilot and of course payload. It takes just as much fuel to accelerate as it does to stop in space, you can't just decelerate due to air resistance as in an atmosphere. They'll need so much mass dedicated to propulsion that their payload will be severely limited. That being said, they can coast (no acceleration but moving at a velocity relative to their target) indefinitely. The fighters themselves can't really act as a stand-off missile platform, as they can't slow down effectively (unless you design something like a starfury). Their strategies will probably consist of making high-speed passes, dropping off munitions and possibly gunfire. What you see in BSG, SW, or basically any other show won't happen. Even in B5, their combat is mostly centered around the station so they have low velocities. In ship vs ship (with fighters involved), it'll be very different.

The third option is the most dangerous: closing the distance. As sudden direction changes are basically impossible, you won't be able to perform "evasive maneuvers" like in ST. At least, if you do, you won't really dodge anything. At close ranges, directed energy weapons are guaranteed hits. The damage they cause is far less than kinetic (guns) or potential (explosive) energy weapons, but the fact that they always hit is a big bonus. The mere fact that directed energy weapons will always hit will cause those giant "bridges" you see in some starship designs with the huge glass viewing windows to be moved to the interior of the ship. There will be few windows at all, and those will have an armored screen lowered before battle. Directed energy weapons also have the advantage of being able to shoot down missiles. This may be the main reason that long-range missiles don't work. It all depends on the quality of tracking system and radar. Kinetic energy weapons will be devastating. If space warfare were sea warfare, then in space every single hit is like hitting a ship below the water line. Except instead of water coming in, everything in the ship is going out. Armored plating adds a LOT of mass to a ship, drastically reducing fuel efficiency and maneuverability. And armored plating may not even stop a round from a rail gun. Potential energy weapons were discussed earlier.


Anyway, this was a short overview of what we discussed, omitting a lot of information. Space warfare will not be gigantic capital ships performing maneuvers well within sight-range (less than 5 miles or so) and blasting each other apart. They'll be long-range engagements with guided missiles, directed energy weapons and possibly fighters doing most of the work (in that order of plausibility). And when ships do encounter each other, whoever sees their opponent first and fires first will probably win, as space combat will be brutal and short.

marv335
29-12-2007, 23:13
the most important weapon in space combat will be the sensor package.
specifically the passive sensors.

a railgun slug will be nigh on impossible to detect unless you're specifically looking for it. which is hard to do when you don't know anyone else is shooting at you.

Sekhmet
29-12-2007, 23:31
the most important weapon in space combat will be the sensor package.
specifically the passive sensors.

a railgun slug will be nigh on impossible to detect unless you're specifically looking for it. which is hard to do when you don't know anyone else is shooting at you.

The problem is... for a railgun to hit, you need see what you're aiming at.


While passive sensors are extremely important, so is stealth, active sensors, accurate targeting gear (you can't afford to be even slightly off in your aiming or you'll miss), maneuvering thrusters, propulsion, etc etc etc.

theunwantedbeing
30-12-2007, 00:00
You dont need to "see" where your aiming the thing, you just need to "know" what will occupy the space the railgun slug is about to pass through at some really rather rediculous velocity.

Simply threatening to punch holes in the opposing planet should stop ship to ship battles anyway, planets are hugely easy to hit as they tend not to change course, or chage their rotation at all. So you can fire off a railgun at some point around a set course to hit a specific city with a several tonne slug going at some silly velocity on a fairly obscure course. You can fire it several months in advance if you have to.

Hitting a ship would be more difficult of course as they tend to move around a lot so you simply fire it from far closer up giving far less warning.
Even firing at 5% the speed of light over a distance from the earth to the moon wont give a whole lot of time to get out of the way. Something around half a minute perhaps....and thats just 1 shot, you could just fire a burst of slugs of which some would strike the opposing ship, and some would just miss...but more importantly the volume of the shots would stop the enemy from getting out of the way in time.

Sekhmet
30-12-2007, 00:08
You dont need to "see" where your aiming the thing, you just need to "know" what will occupy the space the railgun slug is about to pass through at some really rather rediculous velocity.

By "see" I meant "know it exists". You can't shoot at something you don't know exists. I was trying to explain that while passive sensors are important, stealth technology can be equally as important. Basically, whatever combination of technology allows you to spot your opponent first and get the first shot off will let you win.

And another thing is... missiles can quite easily reach a speed higher than a railgun slug... if you're in space and have some distance. While you have to lead a target with a railgun and hope it doesn't move, a missile can re-aim itself and continue to accelerate until it hits the target.



Simply threatening to punch holes in the opposing planet should stop ship to ship battles anyway, planets are hugely easy to hit as they tend not to change course, or chage their rotation at all. So you can fire off a railgun at some point around a set course to hit a specific city with a several tonne slug going at some silly velocity on a fairly obscure course. You can fire it several months in advance if you have to.

Right, as I said before, space combat is largely objective based. You don't simply draw battle lines and fight.



Hitting a ship would be more difficult of course as they tend to move around a lot so you simply fire it from far closer up giving far less warning.
Even firing at 5% the speed of light over a distance from the earth to the moon wont give a whole lot of time to get out of the way. Something around half a minute perhaps....and thats just 1 shot, you could just fire a burst of slugs of which some would strike the opposing ship, and some would just miss...but more importantly the volume of the shots would stop the enemy from getting out of the way in time.
That's the concept of a "full spread", which was a submarine tactic far before Star Trek introduced it. It involved firing 3 torpedoes, one you lead perfectly, one you lead slightly behind and one you over-lead. The idea was that if they tried to change their speed to avoid your torpedoes, you'll get at least one clean hit.

marv335
30-12-2007, 00:13
to pinch an analogy from the silent service....

picture two men in a darkened room. both have a gun and a flashlight.
if you turn your torch on to seek out your opponent, your opponent can see you before you can see him, he then shoots you.

this is how modern submarines fight.

I doubt if spacecraft will behave any different.

@Sekhmet
I don't disagree with you, my point was that the real battle will be between stealth and detection. if you're stealthier than your opponent, he can't take evasive action. if your sensors are better, you can defeat his stealth.

as for railguns vs missiles,
railguns are harder to aim, missiles are easier to detect, and can be "spoofed" by countermeasures.
it's a coin toss. best bet would be to fire both.

Norminator
30-12-2007, 00:17
I'm trying to work out how much energy a railgun could give out, but I'd like someone to check if I've got it right (I'm only GCSE level Physics, so I may be going stupidly wrong somewhere).

If a space mounted railgun fires a 500kg slug at 0.1 C you've got it travelling at 30,000,000m/s. So it Kinetic energy = 1/2 x mass x velocity^2, then the energy in joules should be 2.25 x 10^17. A megaton is 4.184×10^15 joules according to wikipedia, so if my numbers are realistic for a railgun could one expect an energy output to be about 50 megatons (i.e. the same as the Tsar bomba)? Or were my initial figures and/or calculations wrong?

If not, when one considers the rapid fire potential of such a weapon it really is phenomenally powerful for space based combat.

StugMeister
30-12-2007, 00:19
Been reading through all this and its interesting stuff!!


this is how modern submarines fight.

I doubt if spacecraft will behave any different.

Agreed, I think space combat would be far more like submarine warfare than anything we've seen on the TV or big screen.

Sensors, torpedoes, stealth and hunting...

Pokpoko
30-12-2007, 00:23
Sekhmet- you said long range missile would be easy to stop,but then mention that fighters would probably play some part in the battle. wouldn;t they pose even bigger targets and easier to hit too?
i agree however on the submarine-style fight of hide and seek.

*beaten to it.repeatedly><*

Sekhmet
30-12-2007, 00:26
I'm trying to work out how much energy a railgun could give out, but I'd like someone to check if I've got it right (I'm only GCSE level Physics, so I may be going stupidly wrong somewhere).

If a space mounted railgun fires a 500kg slug at 0.1 C you've got it travelling at 30,000,000m/s. So it Kinetic energy = 1/2 x mass x velocity^2, then the energy in joules should be 2.25 x 10^17. A megaton is 4.184×10^15 joules according to wikipedia, so if my numbers are realistic for a railgun could one expect an energy output to be about 50 megatons (i.e. the same as the Tsar bomba)? Or were my initial figures and/or calculations wrong?

If not, when one considers the rapid fire potential of such a weapon it really is phenomenally powerful for space based combat.

Think of it this way, you're not gonna get a railgun to fire at 0.1C in this lifetime or the next.

The speed of sound (at sea level) is 1.13508526 × 10^-6.
If you fired at mach 10 (estimated muzzle velocity for near-future railguns), that's only 3400 m/s, or 1.13411792 × 10^-5.

Even if you fired at mach 100 (yes, one hundred times the speed of sound at sea level), that's still 0.0001C, or one thousand times slower than you estimated.

And remember, kinetic energy weapons derive almost all their energy from velocity. The velocity, in the case of a rail gun, isn't provided by potential energy expended mid-flight (like a rocket engine), but by the ship firing it. Thus according to Newton's 3rd law of motion, you'll accelerate yourself in the opposite direction that you fired the railgun slug at its velocity*(slug's mass)/(ship's mass)

Edit: I just saw that you also gave the railgun slug 500kg mass. That's, frankly, HUGE. Give it a 5-10kg mass (accounting for the future) to be more realistic. Currently they have 2-3 kg railgun slugs.

The energy requirements of railguns is also prohibitively high, especially if you want those huge velocities and a large slug mass. A missile, on the other hand, just requires you to point and shoot... the internal computer will do the rest. Not much of a power drain to speak of, no complicated launch mechanism that is prone to melting, just fire and forget. And as I stated earlier, missiles have the potential to exceed the velocity of a railgun slug.


Sekhmet- you said long range missile would be easy to stop,but then mention that fighters would probably play some part in the battle. wouldn;t they pose even bigger targets and easier to hit too?
i agree however on the submarine-style fight of hide and seek.

*beaten to it.repeatedly><*
They might be easy to stop if you can detect them. Stealth missiles exist in modern times, who's to say they won't exist in the future?

Fighters would most likely be firing short-ranged missiles themselves, because yes, fighters will be easier to shoot down.

Neknoh
30-12-2007, 00:29
I'm trying to work out how much energy a railgun could give out, but I'd like someone to check if I've got it right (I'm only GCSE level Physics, so I may be going stupidly wrong somewhere).

If a space mounted railgun fires a 500kg slug at 0.1 C you've got it travelling at 30,000,000m/s. So it Kinetic energy = 1/2 x mass x velocity^2, then the energy in joules should be 2.25 x 10^17. A megaton is 4.184×10^15 joules according to wikipedia, so if my numbers are realistic for a railgun could one expect an energy output to be about 50 megatons (i.e. the same as the Tsar bomba)? Or were my initial figures and/or calculations wrong?

If not, when one considers the rapid fire potential of such a weapon it really is phenomenally powerful for space based combat.

would it also not be affected by the surface area impacting with the ship? I mean, the resultant force is dependant on the shape and material of the object as well. And if Tungsten in the shape and size of telephone poles would be good enough for Project Thor (penetration of underground bunker systems), then I guess Tungsten in even larger quantities would be ideal for that kind of railguns

Norminator
30-12-2007, 00:33
Think of it this way, you're not gonna get a railgun to fire at 0.1C in this lifetime or the next.

The speed of sound (at sea level) is 1.13508526 × 10^-6.
Even if you fired at mach 10 (estimated muzzle velocity for near-future railguns), that's only 3400 m/s, or 1.13411792 × 10^-5.

If you fired at mach 100 (yes, one hundred times the speed of sound at sea level), that's still 0.0001C, or one thousand times slower than you estimated.

And remember, kinetic energy weapons derive almost all their energy from velocity. The velocity, in the case of a rail gun, isn't provided by potential energy expended mid-flight (like a rocket engine), but by the ship firing it. Thus according to Newton's 3rd law of motion, you'll accelerate yourself in the opposite direction that you fired the railgun slug at its velocity*(slug's mass)/(ship's mass)

What would you say is a reasonable speed for orbital rail gun weaponry then? I admit that I know next to nothing about them other than the basics, and based my speed estimate for space based railguns more on what others in this thread were saying more than anything else.

marv335
30-12-2007, 00:35
I still like railguns.
possibly as a point defence weapon.
with high velocity rounds and high RoF they could be a useful tool.

Sekhmet
30-12-2007, 00:51
What would you say is a reasonable speed for orbital rail gun weaponry then? I admit that I know next to nothing about them other than the basics, and based my speed estimate for space based railguns more on what others in this thread were saying more than anything else.

Maybe something between 0.001C and 0.0001C with a tiny projectile of 5kg.


I still like railguns.
possibly as a point defence weapon.
with high velocity rounds and high RoF they could be a useful tool.

Yeah, railguns are very good weapons. They're just not useful in an extremely long-ranged engagement. Firing at a stationary target (satellite, station, planet, asteroid, etc) gives them a great cost/kill ratio. However, missiles really are the only weapon for long-range fights.

marv335
30-12-2007, 01:17
I dunno though, capital ships will have a fairly predictable vector. combined with sophisticated computer aided targeting/aiming systems.
it all depends on ranges.
at mach 10 a slug is travelling around 10km in around 3 seconds.
the problem with missiles is fuel capacity. they are (by their nature) one shot weapons. for long range you're going to need a decent boost stage. it can run dead after that until its targeting phase for final manoeuvring.
to get it to a decent speed you're going to need a large fuel load.
combine this with the need for a large warhead and guidance unit the missile is going to be quite large.
this will cause storage problems
a warship will need a substantial magazine for any prolonged combat.

edit;

what about missiles launched by a railgun?
launches dead, but with final stage manouvre. cuts down the need for a booster stage, slashing storage requirements.

Neknoh
30-12-2007, 01:25
I think you just combined win with awesomeness for space fighting marv... you get it, win, with awesomeness... aboard ships made of cool

that's like... the ultimate winning of awesome and cool

Sekhmet
30-12-2007, 01:30
Missiles launched by a rail gun would cause problems, but a boost stage is efficient. The guidance unit doesn't have to be large at all, maneuvering thrusters will take up some space though. However, missiles don't even need a warhead. They can just impact the hull and tear through it.

Then again, with the future's assumed advances in rail gun and computer technology, a missile launched by a rail gun may be possible and would be superior to a long-ranged missile with a boost stage.

But even a 1kt nuclear warhead (which can fit on a modern-day artillery shell, albeit a special one) will be enough to obliterate a ship if detonated from within the hull. The blast will vaporize a huge portion of, if not the entire ship. A huge shockwave will pass trough the ship's decks and rebound off of the outer hull (presuming it's heavily armored while the interior isn't), hitting the interior decks with a second shockwave... assuming the interior wasn't completely destroyed by then. Whatever fuel / ammo hasn't detonated by now surely will, causing massive damage from secondary explosions, again assuming the ship isn't dead by now. Basically, if a missile hits its target, the ship is destroyed, end of story. If it hits a space station, same thing. This is not Star Trek where their quantum torpedos (which trekkies claim are in the 100 megaton yield range) only create a hole in the hull, or 40k where you can pound a ship into oblivion piece by piece. A single missile that hits equates to death.

WLBjork
30-12-2007, 08:27
Not sure about some of the other series mentioned, but I know that the Honorverse has covered a lot of the points made.

Indeed, there is a lot of advancement made in the space of about 50 T-years of warfare (mostly due to the fact that the "good guys" have the best R'n'D).

Of course, some things are covered by the usual "handwavium" technologies, such as Inertial Compensators (allowing higher accelerations and tighter turns), Radiation and Particle Shielding (reducing the damage of nukes and protecting against collision with little chunks of matter when traveling at absurdly high velocity).

Oops, digressing a bit there. What I'm trying to say is that there are limitations, which the people involved are always trying to exceed or break, but they are usually acknowledged.

Sekhmet
30-12-2007, 08:59
How does the Honorverse handle FTL?

Wintermute
30-12-2007, 09:41
BTW there is a completea and authorised, miniature starship combat game based on the Honorverse called Saganami Island Tactical Simulator (http://www.genreconnections.com/shop/product.php?productid=16290&cat=253&page=1) from Ad Astra Games. BTW its not cheap.

Pokpoko
30-12-2007, 10:38
Fighters would most likely be firing short-ranged missiles themselves, because yes, fighters will be easier to shoot down.wouldn't it be better to launch AI or just plain "smart" missile pods that launch when nearing the target? cuts down on maintanace,no place lost to cockpit and life support and can be placed as mines around planets or stations. and yes,it is an idea i nicked from Honorverse and starfury series by Weber:p

How does the Honorverse handle FTL?well, it's something between your usual handwavium, and real physics. basically you get "layers of hyperspace that a ship equipped with gravity sails can traverse,slipping for higher or lower "band" to increase or decrease speed. there are bands that are still(at the novel's time) unaccesible to ships, and normal civilian ships due to weaker generators can only traverse the lower bands. while in hyperspace and with working Warszawsky sail you can also ride a gravity wave that passestrhough the hyperspace,giving you a considerable boost. in realspace those sails are re-configured to act as screens of dense gravity(or other nonsense) and prove imperivious to any weapon so far. there also exist wormholes,which act as any other sf wormhole-instant travel from spot to spot. i may have lost something,but i never paid that much attention to it:p

Easy E
30-12-2007, 11:23
I read a book once...

Where the space comabt was two fleets essentially making pre-calculated short light speed hops, and trying to calculate where the other ship was passing during thier own light speed hop and dumping essentially a bunch of space junk in the way. Then, when the target ship made the leap, it would crash into the space junk and be destroyed.

So the dominant technology was navigational and trajectory plotting computers, with detection systems as a secondary to better plot a potential jump route.

Neknoh
30-12-2007, 12:41
just realised something, I think the muzzle-velocity of railguns on earth is down to it's limits o mach-speeds simply because of air-resistance. What if you loaded the railgun in actua space? I mean, a loader-arm or perhaps a rotating drum is fully loaded by humans or similar, then passes through an air-dock and into space where the actual railgun is situated. The railgun then fires as normal, however, with there being no air-resistance, should the railgun not reach much higher velocities than what is capable on earth?

Wintermute
30-12-2007, 13:50
just realised something, I think the muzzle-velocity of railguns on earth is down to it's limits o mach-speeds simply because of air-resistance.

Plus gravity.

Neknoh
30-12-2007, 13:52
forgot about that, but yeah, would probably help as well. Gravity would also help with quite nifty shots as well, aim it close to a planet and the gravitational pull twist the shot's direction slightly, allowing you to curve shots

Burnthem
30-12-2007, 13:58
dont forget that a munition doesnt have to big to cause damage, in The Forever War, one of the most devastating weapons to hit a ship is a small missile about the size of a grape, what does the damage is the fact that its traveling at half the speed of light when it hits :D

max the dog
30-12-2007, 16:13
the most important weapon in space combat will be the sensor package.
specifically the passive sensors.

a railgun slug will be nigh on impossible to detect unless you're specifically looking for it. which is hard to do when you don't know anyone else is shooting at you.

Yes and yes.
The way I see it in the far future space combat will probably look a lot like modern submarine combat today. Large expensive but incredibly difficult to detect weapon platforms that attempt to unleash massive firepower before the enemy does. Those will be the capital ships of tomorrow. The weapons it fires will all be smart self guided and murderously powerful. I'm don't think we will see specialization as we see today where you have a weapon platform design to destroy but not designed for ship to ship combat and another not capable of as much destruction but highly capable of ship to ship combat. I do see that smaller cheaper versions designed for short range combat will exist for almost every space faring power but only major powers will be able to afford the larger, expensive but much more capable versions that can go on long duration missions.

As far as where combat will occur I'm sure it will always be resource based. Planets like Mars, Mercury and many of the various moons and large asteroids will be major battlegrounds. They have the easiest to obtain and most abundant resources to fight over. That will dictate exactly how they will fight and tactics.

What they fight over will be more expensive than what they are fighting with. A fully self sustaining colony in one of those area's is going to be a massive investment and not likely to be destroyed on purpose. So to claim one from someone else you have to take it by force which means ground combat. It will be too expensive to maintain a large force of Imperial Guard type defenders so Space Marine vrs Space Marine ground (corridor) combat will likely be the rule.

So I see the role of the capital ship is to eliminate opposition (other capital ships) and threats to the ship it'self (base defense missles). They will stealthily launch long range self guided missiles to suppress the enemy and then sneak in to deliver a very quick decisive blow. They will then deploy or a follow on ship will deploy small numbers of extremely highly capable assault troops who will land and take over in a surgical strike. Damage to base facilities and population will be minimal.

Bran Dawri
30-12-2007, 19:03
Invisible ships? Then what do they use as propulsion systems? And if your technology is advanced enough to get a propulsion system that doesn't use Newton's famed law to actually get anywhere (and hence has no heat signature/exhaust gases), why would you need to use something as simple/primitive as a torpedo/rocket (easily detectable again because of propulsion system) or big (laser- or other) cannon?

For that reason alone, I do not think shooting (partially) by sight and dogfighting are inappropriate for space combat, though dogfights would/should only really occur when capital ships get near enough to attempt boarding actions, which will need support.

Finally, read some Larry Niven (specifically Protector, Ringworld, and a bunch of other Known Space stories).
Lots of excellent ideas for outlandish space combat weapons that are still feasible within the framework of science as we know it.

Burnthem
30-12-2007, 20:11
Invisible ships? Then what do they use as propulsion systems? And if your technology is advanced enough to get a propulsion system that doesn't use Newton's famed law to actually get anywhere (and hence has no heat signature/exhaust gases), why would you need to use something as simple/primitive as a torpedo/rocket (easily detectable again because of propulsion system) or big (laser- or other) cannon?

Even if a ship uses a highly powerful drive, dont forget that space is big, REALLY BIG. Sensors/scanners will have to be incredibly powerful to detect anything at all at long range, for example many people today are worried about an asteroid hitting Earth for the simple reason that even a huge asteroid will be incredibly difficult to spot until its too late to do anything about it.

Secondly, whats wrong with accelerating to the required speed on the required vector, then cutting all unneeded power? switch your engines off, coast in, launch a shed load of smart munitions at optimum range, then power up and deccelerate when the enemy is destroyed. the ultimate in 'silent running'.

max the dog
30-12-2007, 22:01
Ships don't need to be invisible, just undetectable. The American B-2 bomber is for all intensive purposes invisible to defenders, modern submarines are largely invisible to defenders, and a sniper in camouflage is invisible to defenders. Even a large spaceship can be made to appear invisible to mast means of detection with today's technology. Paint it pitch black, hide it's heat signature, and use all know radar stealth technology. If you can't see it you can't shoot at it.
I'll admit that shooting weapons and using maneuver thrusters can give it's location away but from far enough range it won't matter. The weapons are already launched and the ship is already gone.

Neknoh
30-12-2007, 22:17
The problem will be to hide the heat signature of a ship with a propulsion system strong enough to accellerate several hundred (if not thousend or tens of thousends) tonnes

max the dog
31-12-2007, 03:43
The problem will be to hide the heat signature of a ship with a propulsion system strong enough to accellerate several hundred (if not thousend or tens of thousends) tonnes

That is a tough one but it can be done. Burn only when you need it and cool it with water, turn your hot side away from the enemy so all they see is your cold side, etc....

Burnthem
31-12-2007, 05:59
Dont forget that space is also extremely cold, heat signatures would dissapate far quicker than they do in an atmosphere

WLBjork
31-12-2007, 08:49
well, it's something between your usual handwavium, and real physics. basically you get "layers of hyperspace that a ship equipped with gravity sails can traverse,slipping for higher or lower "band" to increase or decrease speed. there are bands that are still(at the novel's time) unaccesible to ships, and normal civilian ships due to weaker generators can only traverse the lower bands. while in hyperspace and with working Warszawsky sail you can also ride a gravity wave that passestrhough the hyperspace,giving you a considerable boost. in realspace those sails are re-configured to act as screens of dense gravity(or other nonsense) and prove imperivious to any weapon so far. there also exist wormholes,which act as any other sf wormhole-instant travel from spot to spot. i may have lost something,but i never paid that much attention to it:p

Pretty accurate.

The problem with trying to shoot through the Impeller Wedge (normal propulsion system) is that you can't really see through it to have any accuracy. Mostly due to the fact that a gravitiational field several hundred times stronger than that on Earth will bend even light noticably.

Hyperspace (H-space) bands are named using the ancient Greek alphabet. Alpha is the lowest, and during Honor of the Queen (2nd book) warships couldn't enter the Iota band. As you go "up" the bands, space gets more compact - the only example I can think of is that in the Alpha band the distances are reduced 64-fold. So if you wanted to travel to a star 64 light years away, travelling in the Alpha band would make this equivalent to a journey of 1 light year.

However, travelling in H-space does have one penalty - your maximum speed is slower than N-space (IIRC, 0.8c in N-space and 0.6c in H-space), but given the massive shortening of distance this isn't as bad as it looks.

More info:
Honorverse Naval Tactics (http://baencd.thefifthimperium.com/09-AtAllCostsCD/AtAllCostsCD/The%20Short%20Victorious%20War/The_Short_Victorious_War.htm)
General info, including Hyperspace (http://baencd.thefifthimperium.com/09-AtAllCostsCD/AtAllCostsCD/More%20Than%20Honor/More_Than_Honor.htm)
The novels and short stories (http://baencd.thefifthimperium.com/09-AtAllCostsCD/AtAllCostsCD/)




Dont forget that space is also extremely cold, heat signatures would dissapate far quicker than they do in an atmosphere
Heat needs something to transfer to. Space is pretty much a vacuum, so heat dissipation will be much lower than in atmosphere.

Neknoh
31-12-2007, 13:19
Indeed, also, due to the cold of the surrounding space, a sudden burst of heat would be very, very visible

superknijn
31-12-2007, 13:50
Well, the main point for space combat, or space travel in general, would be power. How can you get the required amounts of power? Nuclear fission, fusion? Or perhaps (don't yell at me) cold fusion? Perhaps even antimatter?

Norminator
31-12-2007, 13:51
Well, the main point for space combat, or space travel in general, would be power. How can you get the required amounts of power? Nuclear fission, fusion?

I think that if we can get stable nuclear fusion it will become the power source of choice for large capital ships, not too sure about smaller vessels though.


Or perhaps (don't yell at me) cold fusion?

You just had to open up that old can of worms :p

Neknoh
31-12-2007, 13:54
¤screws lid back on¤ Noone heard anything about CF, understood! ¤wild stare¤

Norminator
31-12-2007, 13:58
¤screws lid back on¤ Noone heard anything about CF, understood! ¤wild stare¤

Actually, I managed to create cold fusion using a jam jar, 100 ml of custard and two rubber bands.

Seriously :angel:

Dakkagor
03-01-2008, 17:06
Finally the B5 Wars ships often contradicted the show (Omegas with wrong weapons, Centauri with lasers), to regard it as 100% correct is wrong

The first page of the B5 rules compendium has the show creator J Michael Stratisky (or however you spell his name) essentially stating that the ships in B5 wars are one hundred percent accurate. The centauri ship sent to attack arrest the crew of the rogue narn G-Quan is an assault variant armed exclusively with particle weapons. Makes it quite nasty too. I've never seen an omega with the "wrong weapons", as there where 3 different omega variants in service (including a pulse variant and command variant)

Norminator
03-01-2008, 17:30
Is it just me or have half the posts disappeared?

Wintermute
03-01-2008, 18:37
Is it just me or have half the posts disappeared?

Its you, trust me on this ;)

Wintermute
The WarSeer Inquisition

Norminator
03-01-2008, 18:42
Its you, trust me on this ;)

Wintermute
The WarSeer Inquisition

The Inquisition are living up to their name once again ;)