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Old 10-01-2017, 12:17 PM   #6
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Austin, TX
Default Re: [Ultra-Tech] What would naval warfare at TL10 look like?

Originally Posted by Ulzgoroth View Post
An orbital strike is almost unavoidably going to be coming in very fast, and is consequently more likely to use a heavy solid impactor rather than a lighter warhead, adding up to something relatively hard to stop. You could make a surface-launched orbital-velocity range kinetic-kill missile, sure, but it'd take an awful lot of rocket.
Orbital strike launch platforms are stealthy and sneaky, but when the rod enters the atmosphere, it's going to generate a huge thermal signature. If a PD system is anticipating an orbital strike, it has a reasonable chance of acquiring it and attempting to engage it.

The UT laser cannon has a 1/2d range of 38 miles, which means it gets ~19 seconds to shoot an orbital strike descending at roughly Mach 10. I doubt that laser can destroy the penetrator, but can it damage the guidance sensors or control fins enough to make the penetrator miss? I don't know, it seems within the realm of possibility.

It also seems to me that if I can intercept the penetrator with something like a Sidewinder missile, having the penetrator impact multiple small objects going the opposite direction at high speed is going to alter the penetrator's ballistic profile, possibly enough to overcome the guidance system's ability to straighten the penetrator. Would I want to be the engineer tasked with designing a launch system for a Sidewinder type missile that needs to launch on 10-20 seconds warning, climb 5-10 missiles in a few seconds, and intercept an orbital penetrator? It does seem like a challenge, but the military has generally been pretty good about finding solutions to supposedly unstoppable weapons.
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