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Old 2008-10-19, 10:47   Link #1121
Anh_Minh
I disagree with you all.
 
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
And how are you going to bend anything?

I mean, sure, if your ship is made out of black hole... or some kind of magical material that breaks the presently known laws of physics, you may yet get stealth. But at this point, we might as well posit the existence of super sayajin who'd outclass any kind of man made weapon.

Or invest in Star Trek cloaking technology. Or some kind of FTL device (able to do what sci-fi writers often call "micro-jumps"). With those, you could conceivably get close to the enemy by surprise.

But the problem with those things is that, presently, we don't even know the physical principles they'd be based on. So speculating about them is rather fruitless.
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Old 2008-10-19, 10:52   Link #1122
Daigo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ithekro View Post
My analogy is the torpedo boat rather than a speedboat. Because a swarm of torpedo boats can and have destroyed battleships in war.
The same arguments against space fighters can also apply to other classes of warships for the same reason. See here, http://www.projectrho.com/rocket/rocket3as.html

In short, the reasons for those other classes of naval vessels is due to vulnerabilities that battleships have, that space juggernauts don't have.

Quote:
As for the article: The basic concussion would be that there will be no war in space...ever, because you cannot possibly get an advantage on anyone else due to the amount of heat you give off. There would be no point. One could simply fire from the surface of a planet and destroy any intruders before they even came close to the planet.
Actually the exact opposite. The website argues heavily in favor of the space-based invaders.

Quote:
If the basis for locating an energy source is just a telescope, than all one needs to do is make it so the specrum that is causing on to be detected does not get viewed. Thus bend it.
Look, I don't understand all the physics behind it, but that website makes it pretty clear that stealth in space just isn't going to happen. No amount of active jamming, ECM, bending light, etc is going to work.


Anh_Minh, there's a pretty easy way to find out if Tri-ring is wrong or not (in this case, I'm pretty sure he is). Just ask on wikipedia's science reference desk. They're a lot smarter than he is, and will be able to determine whether a hypervelocity tungsten slug fired at 9km/sec will be profoundly affected by Earth's pathetically weak electromagnetic field.
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Old 2008-10-19, 12:26   Link #1123
ReddyRedWolf
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Guess you've never heard of optical camouflage either.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JKPVQal851U

Never assume that the otherside will paint a bulleye on themselves.

Never assume you got the perfect FCS because the otherside will constantly develop methods to circumvent it.

What are current the currect detection systems? RADAR, Infrared, LIDAR ...

ECM or even absorbent materials can ruin targeting systems.

ECM attempts to reduce the information content of the signals the defense receives with its sensors. The objective of ECM, then, is to force defense systems to make mistakes or errors.

Warfare detection and anti-detection technology isn't static it is a constant game of being ahead.
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Old 2008-10-19, 13:16   Link #1124
Wild Goose
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*shrugs* Full Metal Panic had a rather interesting solution in ECS (Electronic Camoflage System - yes, that is what it's called, don't ask me why), which used a holographic "laser screen" to mask the user mecha from radar, IR and optical sensors (electronic and Mk 1 Eyeball), essentially using the hologram to play with light and create a see-through image. It wasn't perfect though; the hologram tended to get disrupted by even the slightest impacts, making it useless in light rain and sandstorms, and ECS use could be detected by ECCS (Electronic Counter Camoflage System) due to certain characteristics of the system (I forget what, since it's a while since I've read FMP, but ECS puts out emissions of some sort which can be picked up by ECCS, which means that while using ECS means you're mostly undetectable to everyone else, the people with ECCS will be able to spot you and take you out).

Mind you, FMP admittedly ran on handwavium and applied phlebotium

Also, it should be noted that in the context of Macross heat masking systems do exist, but are not perfect; the active stealth systems on the YF-19 and YF-21 worked to eliminate radar returns and reduce thermal signatures at range. (Close up, staring at the exhausts was a different matter entirely.)
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Old 2008-10-19, 13:37   Link #1125
Anh_Minh
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ReddyRedWolf View Post
Guess you've never heard of optical camouflage either.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JKPVQal851U
Those things work by adding light to the object. Making it even hotter and radiant. It works well enough on Earth, with all that shiny background, against human eyes, restricted to visible light. In space, against mechanical eyes, though? Looks to me like it'd only make things worse.


Quote:
Never assume that the otherside will paint a bulleye on themselves.
Never assume you'll always have a choice.

Quote:
Never assume you got the perfect FCS because the otherside will constantly develop methods to circumvent it.

What are current the currect detection systems? RADAR, Infrared, LIDAR ...

ECM or even absorbent materials can ruin targeting systems.

ECM attempts to reduce the information content of the signals the defense receives with its sensors. The objective of ECM, then, is to force defense systems to make mistakes or errors.

Warfare detection and anti-detection technology isn't static it is a constant game of being ahead.
Yes. But space, with its lack of background and its lack of atmosphere stacks the odds in favor of detection. We do have the science to detect objects. To hide them, we only have science fiction.
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Old 2008-10-19, 13:53   Link #1126
ReddyRedWolf
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anh_Minh View Post
Yes. But space, with its lack of background and its lack of atmosphere stacks the odds in favor of detection. We do have the science to detect objects. To hide them, we only have science fiction.
Then pray tell why the PRC managed to blind a US satellite using a laser.

They will always find ways to stack the odds against detection systems.

Vice-versa detection systems must cope with countermeasures.

To be complacent is asking for a downfall. Never discount EW.

That is why the AVF program in Macross Plus was made along with the vernier heavy unmanned AI Ghost X-9.

To stay ahead of their opponents.
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Old 2008-10-19, 14:19   Link #1127
Anh_Minh
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ReddyRedWolf View Post
Then pray tell why the PRC managed to blind a US satellite using a laser.
They damaged a satellite with a laser. That's not stealth. That's punching someone in the eyes so he can't see.

Quote:
They will always find ways to stack the odds against detection systems.
They haven't yet, outside of applied phlebotinum.

Quote:
Vice-versa detection systems must cope with countermeasures.

To be complacent is asking for a downfall. Never discount EW.
Or black magic. You shouldn't discount that either. Yes, there may be extraordinary developments that lead to stealth in space. But right now, we just don't have the science for it, anymore than we have the science for FTL travel. It's different for, say, space elevators. We don't - yet - have the technology for them, but the science exists.

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That is why the AVF program in Macross Plus was made along with the vernier heavy unmanned AI Ghost X-9.

To stay ahead of their opponents.
It's just a show.
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Old 2008-10-19, 15:04   Link #1128
Daigo
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Lol yea, optical camo is about as useful as windows on a submarine. There's nothing useful to see in space combat anyway. If for some stupid reason you had windows on your spaceship, and you looked in the direction of the enemy ship, all you would see is empty black space and stars. The ranges in space combat are exorbitant, especially when the ships are armed with weapons that hit at the speed of light. 1 light second = 299 792.458 kilometers. At 300k kilos, you won't see anything except with a telescope, and even then it's nothing particularly interesting.
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Old 2008-10-19, 15:12   Link #1129
ReddyRedWolf
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Quote:
That's punching someone in the eyes so he can't see.
So is outright jamming.

Whoever said EW has to be subtle?

Depending on the primary mission objective of course.

There are many ways to frustrate detection systems.

Like Transponders, a stored replica of the radar signal after it is triggered by the radar. The transmitted signal is made to resemble the radar signal as closely as possible.

Also range deception. If a repeater were to simply retransmit the received pulse as soon as it was received, it would reinforce the return echo and would help rather than frustrate the radar.But if the received pulse (as opposed to the echo that returns to the radar) could be briefly sorted and then transmitted a short time interval later, the radar would first receive the weak natural echo-return followed by an identical but stronger pulse. If a repeater transmitted a series of time-displaced pulses, identical to the radar pulse, it could produce a series of spurious targets, each at different ranges.
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Old 2008-10-19, 15:23   Link #1130
Anh_Minh
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ReddyRedWolf View Post
So is outright jamming.

Whoever said EW has to be subtle?

Depending on the primary mission objective of course.

There are many ways to frustrate detection systems.

Like Transponders, a stored replica of the radar signal after it is triggered by the radar. The transmitted signal is made to resemble the radar signal as closely as possible.

Also range deception. If a repeater were to simply retransmit the received pulse as soon as it was received, it would reinforce the return echo and would help rather than frustrate the radar.But if the received pulse (as opposed to the echo that returns to the radar) could be briefly sorted and then transmitted a short time interval later, the radar would first receive the weak natural echo-return followed by an identical but stronger pulse. If a repeater transmitted a series of time-displaced pulses, identical to the radar pulse, it could produce a series of spurious targets, each at different ranges.
But we're not talking about active systems. We're talking about the fact that passive ones would detect you long before you get to weapon range, even just the range needed to target and destroy an enemy's sensors.

And by the way, that kind of approach to "stealth" doesn't favor fighters, but big ships, with their longer ranged weapons, armor, and redundant sensors.
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Old 2008-10-19, 15:41   Link #1131
Ithekro
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It is called Metamaterials. Look them up. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metamaterial
They were announced this year as at least being able to bend light around an object. The scientist working on it believe it can and will be used as a "cloaking device" of sorts. This is not handwavem, this is a new technology.

If such a material can be used to bend specific spectrums, it can make you effectively invisible. If the telescope has nothing to see, or not enough to see, you have defeated passive sensors.
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Last edited by Ithekro; 2008-10-19 at 18:44.
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Old 2008-10-19, 15:53   Link #1132
ReddyRedWolf
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And big ships can't act as support to fighters?

Heck in the confusion a ship can launch fighters with strike packages.

Thing is never rely on a machine to do the thinking for you. (FCS)

The enemy will rely on strategy and battle tactics to achieve the primary and secondary objectives.
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Old 2008-10-19, 19:34   Link #1133
Tri-ring
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anh_Minh View Post
I meant my question about the variation of the magnetic field.
There are two reason for flux in the earth's magnetic field one concerns the dynamo theory and heat vortex within the earth's magnetic core which is way to out of topics here anyways but read here if you're interested.
The other is a feedback loop from solar winds.
Since solar wind are not constant and are in constant flux the feed back will be also.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Anh_Minh View Post
There needs to be an electric current passing through. Thus the name, electromagnet.
So I see you haven't read the link I have posted.
Try examining an electric generator. It's a coil of conductive material that spins around a magnet to create electricity. Once electrcity running within the coil it creates a magnetic field that is what a feed back loop is.
As long as there is conductive material with velocity in a magnetic field it generates a charge.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Anh_Minh View Post
Constant speed in a straight line. There's also the question of where and when you launched them.

Asteroids aren't hot like spaceships. So your balloon would need some kind of heater. It would also need to be made of the right material, or its emission spectrum will give it away.
Again inertia in space will carry you as long as you do not need to accelerate or change vector and if you do not need to change vector in a hurry you just release the propellant without igniting it.
As for launch, well if you launch the drones with a super conductor mass driver it produces little heat so it is likely that you will not get detected and I have from the start said the drones will be unmanned therefore there will be no life support.

Now that I have cleared these question let me take you through a space battle scenario between two fleets, one fleet that has drones while the other does not.
First of all we need to level the playing field by setting the range of infrared sensors and shooting range of primary weapons to be the same.
There are four large ships within each fleet, the one with drones have a carrier, a battle crusier and two escorts(Team A).
The other have two battle crusiers and two escorts(Team B).
With limitation in space a carrier can only carry twenty drones and a hundred decoys.
The drones have communications, navigational and, tactical computers with a railgun that fires one Kg slugs with 100 rounds as ammunition.
Decoys are primarly a balloon with a reciever, navigational computer and thrusters. It also carries radar/heat chaff(Radioactive dust) that are released when destroyed.
The rail gun within the drones is not enough to destroy a battle crusier but it will cripple it enough and badly damage an escort.
The primary weapon of a battle cruiser is a hundred Kg railgun enough to destroy a battle crusier with one~two shot.

Due to the spectrum, infrared sensor in long range can not identify individual ships within a fleet and will only see one big red blob unless one fires it's primary weapon which will light up as a spike to the sensors.
The drones detection through infrared is limited further due to it's size.

Both fleet detects each other at the same time.
TeamB tries to narrow the distance so they can identify individual targets before they fire their primary weapon.
TeamA on the other hand trys to evade the other fleet since they want to keep their only battle cruiser from being destroyed.
TeamA launchs their drones and decoys in two~ three waves.
TeamB visualizes the first wave and fires destroying mostly decoys. Now a curtain of chaff blinds each other's sensors. The drones and decoys moves in and the drones start shooting at TeamA.
TeamA fights back releasing more chaff. One drone nestles away from the battle field and paints each indiviual ships and relys the coordinates back to TeamA.
TeamA battle cruiser can now identify each target and shoot it's primary weapon without fear of being detected because of chaff interfereing TeamB sensors.
TeamA destroys one battle cruiser and cripples the other.

Last edited by Tri-ring; 2008-10-19 at 19:45.
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Old 2008-10-19, 19:47   Link #1134
squaresphere
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sooo the ultimate stealth ship in space would be painted black, made out of composites/plastics, and used pressurized gasses release for movement?
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Old 2008-10-19, 21:00   Link #1135
Wild Goose
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More like stealth in space is impossible due to heat detection systems, unless someone figures out a way to jam those. In the real world it's impossible, but the active stealth system in Macross kills RCS and reduces heat sigs (albeit at a distance for the latter, which means that at dogfight range you're still going to have a sufficient heat sig for heatseekers to lock onto you).

Another option is something that the US Navy has considered and employed in the past, using antisensor weapons to kill the sensors of the enemy ship (HARM has been tested against ship-based threats), but the obvious conclusion there is that if you're going to carry a missile, you might as well carry a shipkiller and blow up the whole ship instead of just the sensors.
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Old 2008-10-19, 22:00   Link #1136
squaresphere
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So wouldn't something like a flare work as anti thermal counter measure? For battle ships have something that could out put a large heat sig and basically "smear" the whole area with a thermal bloom.

Not a 100% counter measure, but if they're relying on heat seekers they'll be firing blinding into a huge blob signature rather than a distinct one.
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Old 2008-10-19, 23:03   Link #1137
Ithekro
The Comet is Coming
 
 
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What a minute. Stealth in space is impossible due to heat detection systems.

Heat detection systems I am aware of use the infrared spectrum to deturming how hot something is. A metamaterial designed to negate the infrared spectrum is used so that you don't effectively generate that spectrum towards your enemy.

(I believe part of the term they use is "Negative refractive index")

It does not erase your heat, it simply makes it so that spectrum is effectively cancelled from your location. Other spectrum may pass through, so you may actually be visable to light or x-rays or something else, but on infrared, you are a hole in space, or at least effectively heavily reduced from your normal "hot" self.

They been doing experiment on this with the microwave spectrum already as well as the visible spectrum.
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Old 2008-10-20, 02:37   Link #1138
Anh_Minh
I disagree with you all.
 
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tri-ring View Post
There are two reason for flux in the earth's magnetic field one concerns the dynamo theory and heat vortex within the earth's magnetic core which is way to out of topics here anyways but read here if you're interested.
The other is a feedback loop from solar winds.
Since solar wind are not constant and are in constant flux the feed back will be also.
I accept that the magnetic field changes over time. But that still doesn't answer the question: how much is it changed between the time a slug is launched and the time it lands? 1%? 10%? 0.0001%?

Quote:
So I see you haven't read the link I have posted.
Try examining an electric generator. It's a coil of conductive material that spins around a magnet to create electricity. Once electrcity running within the coil it creates a magnetic field that is what a feed back loop is.
As long as there is conductive material with velocity in a magnetic field it generates a charge.
Two points: the current in a generator has somewhere to go, and the magnetic field used is orders of magnitude stronger than Earth's. You can't just spin a copper rod in the atmosphere and expect it to spit electrons like crazy. In fact, why don't you try it? Spin two coins. See how much they repel each other.


Quote:
Again inertia in space will carry you as long as you do not need to accelerate or change vector and if you do not need to change vector in a hurry you just release the propellant without igniting it.
As for launch, well if you launch the drones with a super conductor mass driver it produces little heat so it is likely that you will not get detected and I have from the start said the drones will be unmanned therefore there will be no life support.
I actually have nothing against the idea of unmanned drones used for scouting. It doesn't make sense to move the whole big ship every time you want a closer look at something.

What I'm against is tin cans with a couple of guys in it going against mastodontes.

But whatever, let's go with your scenario.

Quote:
Now that I have cleared these question let me take you through a space battle scenario between two fleets, one fleet that has drones while the other does not.
First of all we need to level the playing field by setting the range of infrared sensors and shooting range of primary weapons to be the same.
There are four large ships within each fleet, the one with drones have a carrier, a battle crusier and two escorts(Team A).
The other have two battle crusiers and two escorts(Team B).
With limitation in space a carrier can only carry twenty drones and a hundred decoys.
And in exchange, Team B will have missiles. Smart, multiple-warhead missiles. Naturally, so will Team A. But Team B will have more of them.

Quote:
The drones have communications, navigational and, tactical computers with a railgun that fires one Kg slugs with 100 rounds as ammunition.
Decoys are primarly a balloon with a reciever, navigational computer and thrusters. It also carries radar/heat chaff(Radioactive dust) that are released when destroyed.
The AIs of tomorrow (or even today) may be able to tell the difference between drones and ballons. For example, the first time they thrust, they'll give away their mass. And there's also the hull material, given away by its emission spectrum. But let's say they don't care and consider the ballons as targets anyway.

Quote:
The rail gun within the drones is not enough to destroy a battle crusier but it will cripple it enough and badly damage an escort.
The primary weapon of a battle cruiser is a hundred Kg railgun enough to destroy a battle crusier with one~two shot.
No. That's used for close quarter combat. The primary weapon of a battle cruiser is nuclear missiles that can destroy another ship with a solid hit, or seriously mess its electronics with a near miss. Or maybe just kinetic missiles that can destroy a ship with a solid hit.

Quote:
Due to the spectrum, infrared sensor in long range can not identify individual ships within a fleet and will only see one big red blob unless one fires it's primary weapon which will light up as a spike to the sensors.
The drones detection through infrared is limited further due to it's size.

Both fleet detects each other at the same time.
TeamB tries to narrow the distance so they can identify individual targets before they fire their primary weapon.
TeamA on the other hand trys to evade the other fleet since they want to keep their only battle cruiser from being destroyed.
They're light-hours away from each other when they spot each other. They both perform evasive maneuvers while closing in to reduce that time lag.

Quote:
TeamA launchs their drones and decoys in two~ three waves.
TeamB visualizes the first wave and fires destroying mostly decoys. Now a curtain of chaff blinds each other's sensors. The drones and decoys moves in and the drones start shooting at TeamA.
Depending on tactical choices and technologies, the drones may not be relevant, but Team B fires missiles anyway. Some destroy the drones, some punch right through the chaff to have words with Team A. The missiles are smart: they'll sort out the targets once they're closer.

Also, due to the movement they've made since the drones were released, the chaff may not be relevant either. And is it possible to mask exhaust with mere radioactive dust?
Quote:
TeamA fights back releasing more chaff. One drone nestles away from the battle field and paints each indiviual ships and relys the coordinates back to TeamA.
They're still light-hours or light-minutes away: those coordinates are outdated. But no matter, Team A has its own smart missiles. Also, those emissions give the drone away. It's destroyed.

Quote:
TeamA battle cruiser can now identify each target and shoot it's primary weapon without fear of being detected because of chaff interfereing TeamB sensors.
TeamA destroys one battle cruiser and cripples the other.
As I said... Team B has more missiles. While it doesn't guarantee victory, it gives them better odds.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ithekro View Post
What a minute. Stealth in space is impossible due to heat detection systems.

Heat detection systems I am aware of use the infrared spectrum to deturming how hot something is. A metamaterial designed to negate the infrared spectrum is used so that you don't effectively generate that spectrum towards your enemy.

(I believe part of the term they use is "Negative refractive index")

It does not erase your heat, it simply makes it so that spectrum is effectively cancelled from your location. Other spectrum may pass through, so you may actually be visable to light or x-rays or something else, but on infrared, you are a hole in space, or at least effectively heavily reduced from your normal "hot" self.

They been doing experiment on this with the microwave spectrum already as well as the visible spectrum.
I had a quick look. While it does make the object "transparent" to outside light, what about the light that comes from within? That's what enemy sensors will be looking for. Also, and mostly, the light from the exhaust. You can't exactly confine it in a box.
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Old 2008-10-20, 05:49   Link #1139
Tri-ring
The Censor Bat
 
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anh_Minh View Post
I accept that the magnetic field changes over time. But that still doesn't answer the question: how much is it changed between the time a slug is launched and the time it lands? 1%? 10%? 0.0001%?
I don't have any numeric figures but I think the movement of aurora borealiswill be a good reference.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Anh_Minh View Post
Two points: the current in a generator has somewhere to go, and the magnetic field used is orders of magnitude stronger than Earth's. You can't just spin a copper rod in the atmosphere and expect it to spit electrons like crazy. In fact, why don't you try it? Spin two coins. See how much they repel each other.
Again it doesn't matter since all are considered a closed circuit. Electricity flows from higher to lower electrical state. Within a conductive material it becomes polarized.
As for spinning a copper rod in the atmosphere, since I can't move it at mach 10~20 I wouldn't know the answer.




Quote:
Originally Posted by Anh_Minh View Post
But whatever, let's go with your scenario.


And in exchange, Team B will have missiles. Smart, multiple-warhead missiles. Naturally, so will Team A. But Team B will have more of them.
Aren't those called drones?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Anh_Minh View Post
The AIs of tomorrow (or even today) may be able to tell the difference between drones and ballons. For example, the first time they thrust, they'll give away their mass. And there's also the hull material, given away by its emission spectrum. But let's say they don't care and consider the ballons as targets anyway.

No. That's used for close quarter combat. The primary weapon of a battle cruiser is nuclear missiles that can destroy another ship with a solid hit, or seriously mess its electronics with a near miss. Or maybe just kinetic missiles that can destroy a ship with a solid hit.
There are various ways to mask exhaust plumes and calculating mass by plume and distance of movement will become impossible once chaff is emitted since movement can only be measured through radar. Formation and coordinated moves will also be effective in disrupting sensors.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anh_Minh View Post
They're light-hours away from each other when they spot each other. They both perform evasive maneuvers while closing in to reduce that time lag.
Light hours?????
The distance between the sun and earth is approx. eight light minutes.
roundtrip from earth to the moon is about one light second.
Unless you have FtL traveling capabilities conventional weapons are useless in those distances.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anh_Minh View Post
Depending on tactical choices and technologies, the drones may not be relevant, but Team B fires missiles anyway. Some destroy the drones, some punch right through the chaff to have words with Team A. The missiles are smart: they'll sort out the targets once they're closer.
Drones can also be used as a defensive weapon, approaching missles can be shot down by them before they reach the fleet.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Anh_Minh View Post
Also, due to the movement they've made since the drones were released, the chaff may not be relevant either. And is it possible to mask exhaust with mere radioactive dust?
It depends on what kind of radioactive material is used but, nuclear decay emits various energy including infrared. Remember nuclear reactors uses the same decay energy to create steam.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anh_Minh View Post
They're still light-hours or light-minutes away: those coordinates are outdated. But no matter, Team A has its own smart missiles. Also, those emissions give the drone away. It's destroyed.
Even with sensors, if the missles loses contact and not able to reinitiate contact then they are useless. A chaff curtain can give a fleet time to move it's position while they are hidden behind it.
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Old 2008-10-20, 06:55   Link #1140
Anh_Minh
I disagree with you all.
 
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tri-ring View Post
I don't have any numeric figures but I think the movement of aurora borealiswill be a good reference.
How so? Note, auroras are tied to objects with lots of charge and little mass.


Quote:
Again it doesn't matter since all are considered a closed circuit. Electricity flows from higher to lower electrical state.
A lump of conductive material isn't a circuit. Where's your high potential? Where's your low?

Quote:
Within a conductive material it becomes polarized.
As for spinning a copper rod in the atmosphere, since I can't move it at mach 10~20 I wouldn't know the answer.
At best, it would turn the projectile into a dipole and send it into a slight spin. Considering how weak Earth's magnetic field is, I don't believe it'd be an issue. I'd be more worried about air resistance.



Quote:
Aren't those called drones?
Call them what you will.

Quote:
There are various ways to mask exhaust plumes and calculating mass by plume and distance of movement will become impossible once chaff is emitted since movement can only be measured through radar.
I'm not so sure of that.

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Formation and coordinated moves will also be effective in disrupting sensors.



Light hours?????
The distance between the sun and earth is approx. eight light minutes.
roundtrip from earth to the moon is about one light second.
Unless you have FtL traveling capabilities conventional weapons are useless in those distances.
That site Daigo linked to talked about detecting ships at Pluto - 5 or 6 light hours ago. With today's technology. So yes, what they'll do, if they want to engage, if get close. It'll take them months.

Note, there's no real range limit on weapons. If you shoot them, they'll just keep going till they hit something. It's just near impossible to aim. That's why I don't see railguns as a primary weapon. You'll want one that's smart enough to make course corrections.
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Drones can also be used as a defensive weapon, approaching missles can be shot down by them before they reach the fleet.
If you can shoot the missiles. Also, the missiles have no real obligation to come close.


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It depends on what kind of radioactive material is used but, nuclear decay emits various energy including infrared. Remember nuclear reactors uses the same decay energy to create steam.
Enough for a rapidly dispersing cloud of them to drown out the exhaust of a goddamn space ship?

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Even with sensors, if the missles loses contact and not able to reinitiate contact then they are useless. A chaff curtain can give a fleet time to move it's position while they are hidden behind it.
Easy. the ships are behing the curtain. Unless they're not, in which case, they're visible. How big of a curtain are you picturing?
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