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Old 10-01-2017, 05:49 AM   #1
Crystalline_Entity
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: England
Default [Ultra-Tech] What would naval warfare at TL10 look like?

I’m trying to work out what a naval task force would look like at TL10 as a thought experiment, and I’m having trouble deciding which options presented by Ultra-Tech are most effective. I’m concentrating on a safe-tech TL10, so no superscience or volitional AIs, and only limited genetic engineering (so it differs from Transhuman Space).

Depending on your interpretation, the principle component of a naval force (i.e. at the top of the admirals’ wish list when governments look at funding and procurement) could change from a surface aircraft carrier to a heavily stealthed battleship with a 160mm railgun and/or heavy missile armament with point defence lasers, or a drone-carrying submarine, which packs most of its offensive punch in non-volitional AI-controlled drones, which it launches before creeping back under the waves.

Some of the questions I’ve come up with are:
  • Are TL10 infra-red cloaking and chameleon systems sufficient to hide surface ships from high-altitude sensors (either satellite or stratospheric drone, possibly with hyperspectral sensors), or would all warships end up being submarines so they couldn’t easily be found by passive electromagnetic sensors?
  • Would there still be a role for manned combat aircraft or would drones operated by remote teleoperation or non-volitional AI completely take over the role?
  • What would subsurface warfare look like at TL10? There’s a notable lack of effective underwater weaponry in Ultra-Tech, no torpedoes, and even blue-green lasers have rather lacklustre performance underwater, though the supercavitating mini-sub can mount a blue-green strike laser (according to the text on UT228, I'm not sure if this is useful though).
  • Would Point Defence Lasers (UT115-6) be a viable defence against brilliant or genius TL10 missiles such as the hunter and striker missiles from UT168?
  • Pyramid 3/37: Tech and Toys II introduces additional heavy weapons on p.22-27, including a 160mm indirect fire railgun, what sort of role would this play compared to missiles?
  • Would warships bother with significant armour, or given the power of missiles and railguns and aircraft-mounted lasers would they assume the best defence is not to be found in the first place?
  • Tilt-rotors, vertols and hovercraft are all possible options for personnel transport, the first two replacing the helicopter, is one of these clearly superior to the others?
  • Is there any useful defence against bombardment from orbit?

I’m not sure there’s any firm answers to these, but I wondered what everyone thought and how other factors I’ve not thought of might influence matters.
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