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Old 2006-04-18, 12:18   Link #41
Newtyped
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Laughing Manji
Don't underestimate nukes. That warship is toast. Its hard to say whether the absence of an atmosphere makes the nuke more or less deadly.

You could possibly make a warship that could survive near-miss nuke blasts, but your ships are going to have hull thickness in the tens of meters. Think a solid tube of titanium. Even then, most of the exterior systems are going to be destroyed.

Once you start slinging nukes about, space combat becomes a zero sum game. Once you are detected, you launch your long range nukes - expect that weapon travel times could take days, and that your target is going to launch nuclear countermeasures to destroy your nukes in transit.

Space combat could start to look a lot like submarine combat. Lots of stealthy designs, doppler radar to determine relative speed and heading (so you know where to launch your missiles to intercept), towed array (your active sensors dragged 30/50km behind you) and advance intelligence (UAVs etc.).



No a laser is travelling light. Once those photons impact matter they will excite and heat it. The absence of matter between them and their target is in fact a good thing, as the laser won't lose energy heating the intervening air molecules that it would normally encounter in an atmosphere.

An ideal laser weapon would not 'cut' a hull but dump as much of its energy in as concentrated a spot as possible in as short a time as possible. Instantaneously boiling off a section of the hull and causing a surface explosion that would cause more damage.

'heat' is a property of matter. In order to transport heat from one ship to another you would fire a plasma (very hot gas). THough a favoured staple of science-fiction, plasma isn't that effective as a weapon really. Slow, by comparison with light, which limits its range, its charged, so its trajectory will be affected by magnetic fields (thats its countermeasure right there) and the one thing a hot gas won't want to do is stay in a nice coherent beam.
yes however the heat will effictivily cut the object it strikes. but yet again we do not have that much laser technology now, so i myself am spectacle to how this will work in the future. Right now most of our "cuttin" lasers are very close range (i kno theres a term dam i forgot -.-)
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Old 2006-04-18, 15:16   Link #42
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A laser only cuts because one is using it at low-intensity and moving it slowly across a surface. A more practical space laser would be a short, high-energy burst like Manji mentioned.

The heat does not cut. It's the intensity and motion of the laser that creates a "cutting" effect, but all that's really happening is that you're melting a thin line across the target.

A practical laser would cause the target point to heat up so quickly it would basically explode. So instead of a "cutting" laser it's more like an "explosive" laser, really.
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Old 2006-04-18, 15:23   Link #43
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ofcourse at those distances one would have to use FTL projectiles
or any enemy would just turn right and watch it fly by days/weeks/years later


But there's another problem
I once heard a statement about 'dogfights' which -if crowded enough- could also
sound true for spacecombat:

"Even our most advanced radar can't see the difference between a bomber and civil 747.
To really be sure, you gotta go closer take a look, and what happens when you get close
enough and it turns out to be the enemy?

You've got a dogfight on your hands"


remember that in WWII huge ships, even entire fleets could "hide" for weeks among all other naval traffic

One would not expect civilian traffic in a warzone, but one can expect warships
in a civilian traffic route
Without visual identification,... who will push the button and send a cat shelter-transport
ship to oblivion?

For god's sake, think about the kittens
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Old 2006-04-18, 15:50   Link #44
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if they have an advanced radar they can pick up the crafts silloute, and be able to identify it as such
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Old 2006-04-18, 16:35   Link #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Newtyped
if they have an advanced radar they can pick up the crafts silloute, and be able to identify it as such
That's ASSUMING that:

- the radar is that advanced
- the craft doesn't have stealthing or some kind of jamming
- the craft is flying conveniently close to you and not far, far away
- the weather or environment is clear and free of any interference


That's a lot of assumptions, there.
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Old 2006-04-18, 16:41   Link #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Newtyped
if they have an advanced radar they can pick up the crafts silloute, and be able to identify it as such

-Sorry, forgot the part about missileRadars not being accurate beyond a certain distance
(20 miles??? there must be some aviation-geniusses here)
I believe this is why the use of the well know long range Phoenix missile was restricted-


But still: catching a planes silhoutte is only possible at a certain angle
(a plane viewed from left-front gives a different signature than one from dead center)
if -example- an F14 were to carry bombs instead of AA weaponry it already has a
very 'unknown' radarsignature
ie: once a missle locks on to something, it coud be a stray weather ballon, or a passengerplane
a target's a target
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Old 2006-04-18, 16:43   Link #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nightbat®
-Sorry, forgot the part about Radars not being accurate beyond a certain distance
(20 miles??? there must be some aviation-geniusses here)
I believe this is why the use of the well know long range Phoenix missile was restricted-


But it still catching a planes silhoutte is only possible at a certain angle
(a plane viewed from left-front gives a different signature than one from dead center)
if -example- an F14 were to carry bombs instead of AA weaponry it already has a
very 'unknown' radarsignature
I am sure in the future they will improve their radars...
and you can catch a plane at many angles and be able to identify it (well most likly you would need an advanced computer program ^^;; )
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Old 2006-04-18, 16:51   Link #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Newtyped
I am sure in the future they will improve their radars...
and you can catch a plane at many angles and be able to identify it (well most likly you would need an advanced computer program ^^;; )
"Programmers are developing idiot-proof programs, while the universe is building better idiots
So far: The universe is winning"

Never forget: if the predator improves, so will the prey
If one can develop a radar so advanced it can identify targets 100%
someone can develop something to make a target look 100% like something else
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Old 2006-04-18, 16:52   Link #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NightbatŪ
"Programmers are developing idiot-proof programs, while the universe is building better idiots
So far: The universe is winning"

Never forget: if the predator improves, so will the prey
If one can develop a radar so advanced it can identify targets 100%
someone can develop something to make a target look 100% like something else
BUT if you looked like the enemy on radar, than your allies will attack you
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Old 2006-04-18, 17:12   Link #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Newtyped
BUT if you looked like the enemy on radar, than your allies will attack you
But if you look like your ally, you'll have a rocket up your *** in 5, 4, 3, 2,...




if I'm in a formation, and we get "long distance lock-on" my buddies know where 'I'
am, and as long as you're in visual reach and the enemy far away, everyone knows
that there's no need to pull the trigger

and making the enemy scared ****less to blow their own men out of the sky
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Old 2006-04-18, 17:15   Link #51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Newtyped
BUT if you looked like the enemy on radar, than your allies will attack you
Not if all you allies look like the enemy as well.
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Old 2006-04-18, 17:15   Link #52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NightbatŪ
But if you look like your ally, you'll have a rocket up your *** in 5, 4, 3, 2,...




if I'm in a formation, and we get "long distance lock-on" my buddies know where 'I'
am, and as long as you're in visual reach and the enemy far away, everyone knows
that there's no need to pull the trigger

and making the enemy scared ****less to blow their own men out of the sky
THat cant always be accounted for. What if your squad meets with another ally squad? Say one that was lost or something. AS soon as you see them you gonna blow them up?
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Old 2006-04-18, 17:28   Link #53
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Current trend is to get long-range contact via something, then get a scout aloft. Right now, this is done by fighter or helicopter, but it's changing to UAV. I can't see why long-range unmanned drone couldn't do the visual detection. If it gets blown up, well at least you know you aren't dealing with a defenseless civilian ship.
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Old 2006-04-18, 17:33   Link #54
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Quote:
I'd recommend legend of the galactic heroes for some really good space battles.
Quote:
Jebus! No one mentioned Legends of Galactic Heroes. I think this one is the most realistic one from all above mentioned!
OMG! I watched first two episodes and deleted them forever, because if thats the kind of space battles i'll have to look at throughout the series - somebody kill me. The strategic level of that first battle is on the "D'oh !!!" level, it's so stupid. Maybe it was depicted rather good in books, but the artists clearly had no idea what that supposed to look like, and all that "smart maneuvering" and "advanced unpredictable tactics genius" just fail. On so many levels.
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Old 2006-04-18, 19:20   Link #55
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We'd also need major advancements in information communication. As it stands now it takes a long, long time for the light of distant sights to reach us. At only a few thousand kilometers this isn't such a big deal but when evading every second counts. The last thing we'd need is finding out we were shot at and COULD have evaded certain doom, if only we'd known about it 3 seconds earlier.

Basically, for space combat we're looking at so many much-needed technological advancements, we may as well just assume we have tech that's far more advanced than what's there now and not just "the next step up".

A novel I once read had an interresting idea where ships were discovered by sensors that carefully monitored wayward gasses/dust/miniscule gravitational effects on other nearby objects, etc etc etc. I liked the idea, as cumbersome as it was. And the calculations could be done to determine the mass of the object and tell if it was a stray-floating screw or a huge battleship. It was kinda like whatever martial art it is that teaches how to see everything around you by disturbances in the environment.
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Old 2006-04-18, 19:21   Link #56
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well sonar can find objects size
idk how it would work in space...
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Old 2006-04-18, 21:35   Link #57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Newtyped
well sonar can find objects size
idk how it would work in space...
It wouldn't work at all. Sonar requires sound waves, which don't exist in vaccuum.

The superheating laser idea actually sounds pretty interesting, but I'm curious at what point diffraction would become a problem (I left physics behind looooong ago). Wouldn't it be easier to launch short range (relatively speaking of course) drones and launch missiles from significantly closer? Of course then anti-drone measures would become the norm.

Really if you look at the history of military technology, it doesn't matter what one side or the other comes up with, the other side is going to either come up with a defense or get wiped out (possibly both): it's why there's an arms escalation.
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Old 2006-04-18, 21:52   Link #58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Laughing Manji
Don't underestimate nukes. That warship is toast. Its hard to say whether the absence of an atmosphere makes the nuke more or less deadly.
No it's not. The normal effects of the nuke (blast overpressure and thermal radiation) are gone. With a proximity detonation, the only thing hitting the warship is very intense nuclear radiation (gamma rays and neutrons). The crew might be toast but the warship stays intact.

The widespread usage of nukes will eliminate small manned fighters due to their inability to withstand radiation. Only heavily radiation-shielded warships will enter combat.
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Old 2006-04-19, 01:37   Link #59
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Radiation also drops off pretty significantly in space so you need point-blank detonation for it to be really useful (or a missile that hits the target, drills or penetrates into the ship, and then detonates). A shaped nuclear warhead would help too, I imagine.
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Old 2006-04-19, 07:04   Link #60
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I think space combat could be very effectively fought with drilling devices Nothing puts the fear of death in an astronaught more than a half dozen little holes in his ship.
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