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Old 01-21-2019, 03:57 PM   #41
Rupert
 
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Default Re: Orbital Lasers

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Originally Posted by AlexanderHowl View Post
Honestly though, that only works when the secondary craft are much faster than the primary craft. When you can jump into hyperspace to avoid fighters, that makes it more ballistic submarine versus fighter jets. Ballistic submarines survive through stealth and by avoiding unnecessary combat, which is how the commanders of the Death Star should have treated it. It is not the combat abilities of ballistic submarines that are terrifying, it is the fact that they can pop up anywhere and use those combat abilities that is terrifying.
In the original Star Wars movie, nobody seemed to find it odd that the Death Star came out of hyperspace far from Yavin's Moon and had to travel through normal space to get a clear shot at it, which strongly suggests that large ships and super-large ships were quite constrained in how they could exit hyperspace. Han Solo's comments about plotting hyperspace courses also makes it clear that it's not trivial, and it's quite possible that the bigger the vessel, the trickier it is.

In normal space the Death Star was much slower than the small ships. Star destroyers and other cruisers were also much slower than ships like the Falcon and fighters. All this is intentional - Star Wars space combat was always intended to be "World War Two in Space".

As for using the Death Star to sneak around - as far as anyone knew, aside from the rebels at the end of the movie (and a few others in Rogue One, who all died), the Death Star had no particular vulnerabilities, and the rebels lacked anything with the firepower to threaten it. Sneaking around in the Death Star defeats half the reason to make the thing so big. Unlike a boomer, it's not intended to hide and retaliate. It's intended to show the flag, to scare people by its presence, and to shoot first.
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Old 01-22-2019, 03:47 AM   #42
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Default Re: Orbital Lasers

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ICBMs don't have the reach to get to geosynchronous orbit altitude, so far as I can tell.
From subsequent posts, it seems they can have the range, and/or could be modified to do so.

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As for getting them shot down, The travel time will give plenty of time to shoot them with a battery capable for 120 shots per minute.
I see the problem. Then, if the ship is just one, use the Earth as cover to place in a collision-course orbit a huge amount of junk. They are kinetic projectiles. None of them, individually, can kill the station, but they can damage it if not dealt with.
The space station will see them coming only when they crest over the Earth. Simultaneously, from the continent the station is now above, fire the ICBMs.

The lasers could still manage to shoot everything down - save for the problem mentioned by malloyd in post #10, that is overheating. It would be pretty cinematic to have the security overrides stop the lasers from continuous firing, while alarms go off, gaskets blow, and the aliens start sweating profusely on their overheated deck - and the remaining kinetic projectiles keep coming at a combined speed of 30,000 km/h.

I think it was Haldeman, in The Forever War, that had automatic point-defense lasers shut down because overheated.

The space station can also maneuver, but the kinetic cloud can have a shotgun effect and the ICBMs' radiations might still have enough of an effective radius to be a problem.
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Old 01-22-2019, 08:36 AM   #43
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Default Re: Orbital Lasers

That sort of thing works against something in a fairly low orbit, but GSO is about 35,000km up. Thus launching something in Earth's shadow only gives it a limited time before it comes over the horizon, long before it reaches GSO altitude, and it won't be following a very different trajectory from that of the ICBMs anyway.

Also, everything you launch in the kinetic kill cloud is mass not devoted to nukes - the launch platform is going to be the same in both cases if you want to lift much mass, because the long range high-throw weight ICBMs are really the only platform we have in any number with the reach, and there aren't many of them left these days either.
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Old 01-22-2019, 09:18 AM   #44
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Default Re: Orbital Lasers

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Also, everything you launch in the kinetic kill cloud is mass not devoted to nukes - the launch platform is going to be the same in both cases if you want to lift much mass, because the long range high-throw weight ICBMs are really the only platform we have in any number with the reach, and there aren't many of them left these days either.
I understand that, but each of the "cluster missiles" could deploy hundreds of small kinetic projectiles. If saturation is the only hope, then several hundreds of kinetic rounds, each of them having to be engaged by a discrete laser pulse, are better than one nuclear warhead, however powerful.

Actually, amongst each hundred of purely kinetic projectiles, you could also have a few of the smallest tactical nuclear warheads still available (or reactivable - it would be nicely cinematic if someone remembered that some of the SADMs or of the Davy Crockett warheads are still in secret storage somewhere).

I suppose you could add a brace of very fast anti-radiation small missiles, ready to detect the target's radars, ignite their engines upon detection and home on the radars, too.
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Old 01-22-2019, 09:30 AM   #45
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Default Re: Orbital Lasers

If you wanted to make life confusing for the attackers and divert shots, you can send up a missile that has three or four small nukes and a couple hundred ballons that look like nukes. Scatter them all over orbit and you'll have bought yourself time and a distraction for when and if you want to try more serious shots.
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Old 01-22-2019, 10:01 AM   #46
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Default Re: Orbital Lasers

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If you wanted to make life confusing for the attackers and divert shots, you can send up a missile that has three or four small nukes and a couple hundred ballons that look like nukes. Scatter them all over orbit and you'll have bought yourself time and a distraction for when and if you want to try more serious shots.
To make something look like a warhead is a bit harder than that, and modern systems have such decoys, etc.
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Old 01-22-2019, 10:10 AM   #47
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Default Re: Orbital Lasers

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To make something look like a warhead is a bit harder than that, and modern systems have such decoys, etc.
That is why I suggest clouds of simple, small kinetic projectiles instead. No, they won't look like nuclear warheads to a TL9+ sensor array, yet they cannot be simply ignored if they are on a collision course.
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Old 01-22-2019, 11:00 AM   #48
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Default Re: Orbital Lasers

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To make something look like a warhead is a bit harder than that, and modern systems have such decoys, etc.

Is it? Its my understanding that modern nuclear decoys are essentially very fancy balloons. And yes, its a modern technology. I don't know if the TL10^ ship has methods of distinguishing the two. The TL6 answer to TL 4 artillery is to shoot first from a longer range with more firepower. Some technologies go obsolete quickly, others remain a valid tactic long after the gear they started appearing around is gone.
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Old 01-22-2019, 11:39 AM   #49
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Balloons pop in the vacuum of space.
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Old 01-22-2019, 02:39 PM   #50
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Balloons pop in the vacuum of space.

Party balloons pop in space. Perhaps I meant inflatables.
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