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Old 08-30-2007, 07:13 PM   #31
Fred Brackin
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Default Re: [Space] Fighter-to-ship ratio: what is it and why?

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Originally Posted by JAW
Anyway yah you propably need some sillysience to make space fighters plausible. .
You probably need some sort of silyscience to make big space battles plausible period.
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Old 08-30-2007, 07:20 PM   #32
JAW
 
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Default Re: [Space] Fighter-to-ship ratio: what is it and why?

OK directional heat sinking may be unpractical - if possible. And decoys may be too - but how about combining these? I mean if your ship has gear to reduce the heat signature on the side you're expecting then opponents to be and the decoys are much smaller but hawe the same gear but are faced so that more heat isemitted towards where you expect the scanners to be - that should mean that far smaller decoys would giwe a heat signature as the actual ship. Or whynot?

I'm not saying that it would make stealth on space easy but it would make it possible to fool at least simple infrared sensors. If you'r ship manouwered and the decoys had to manouwer too and with rockets or similar engines with exhausts I agree that The decoys would likely hawe to be almost as expensive as the actual ship.

But that "silent running" makes for a better story..
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Old 08-30-2007, 07:49 PM   #33
Kelly Pedersen
 
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Default Re: [Space] Fighter-to-ship ratio: what is it and why?

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Originally Posted by dynaman
For 1, the "real" ships are going to need some kind of way to make them radiate less heat, in the direction of the known enemies.
The problem with that is that you simply can't make yourself look "hotter" than you are by directing your radiation. Sensors can still determine how hot you are, and radiating in a specific direction just makes you easier to pick out. Essentially, radiation is composed of both "brightness" (how many particles are falling in a given area, and "intensity" (how much energy any given particle has). Sensors can tell the difference. And it's the intensity you have to make your decoys match, not the brightness.

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Originally Posted by dynaman
Or go ahead and crank up the heat on the decoys, it will be cheaper then more real combatants.
I doubt it. You're basically talking about doubling the mass you have to haul around, plus putting a fairly expensive engine in each decoy. And then just sending them on random maneuvers. Instead of making one ship and 19 decoys, why not just make 20 ships? It won't be that much more expensive, and that way a lucky shot can't stop your mission immediately.

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Originally Posted by dynaman
The important point is that if it is possible then it will be tried. It may not fool anyway at short range, but at long range it may make all the difference
The problem is, in space "short range" is a lot longer than you might think. For example, consider the space shuttle. Its main thrusters could be detected out at the orbit of Pluto, and its maneuvering thrusters at the asteroid belt.

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Originally Posted by dynaman
I may be off base, but I doubt that space detection is anywhere near as cut and dried as we make it out to be - sure we see lots of rocks at a long distance currently, but we miss a good number still as well.
Yes, but none of those rocks are blazing away at temperatures capable of supporting life. Seriously, check out that page I linked to. It goes into all this - stealth in space is depressingly implausible, given non-superscience assumptions.
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Old 08-30-2007, 08:01 PM   #34
Anthony
 
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Default Re: [Space] Fighter-to-ship ratio: what is it and why?

As far as detecting rocks: yes, we miss them. A 1 km asteroid has a reasonable chance of going undetected at as little as a tenth of an AU, a hundred meter spacecraft that isn't using its drive might well not be spotted at as little as a million kilometers. Unfortunately:

a) budgets for space search are actually pretty small. We could do better if we cared, or if we simply had cheap access to space.
b) combat range is likely to be less than a thousand kilometers.
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Old 08-30-2007, 08:04 PM   #35
David Johnston
 
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Default Re: [Space] Fighter-to-ship ratio: what is it and why?

I'm still going for "coasting with a refrigerated hull while the interior gets hotter and hotter causing the crew to strip down to their underwear". It's totally practical.

Last edited by David Johnston; 08-30-2007 at 08:08 PM.
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Old 08-30-2007, 08:07 PM   #36
Victor Maxus
 
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Default Re: [Space] Fighter-to-ship ratio: what is it and why?

Okay, I have seen a lot of explanations, and many of them are good. As always, I will not debate or argue here, what fits the flavor of your campaing is best. So I am just going to add a really lame idea that I love to use because it is FUN. Ablative Armor. That is right, i use ablative armor. And dumb computers. As in, AI is just not that good, no where near the quality of a living pilot and his experience. So this is what happens. Thicker, lighter ablative armor protects better. Lasers using armor divisors and not pure damage to get through take a while to inflict damage to penetrate DR. (It replaces force shields in Star Trek. Insteady of Scotty saying the Port Shields can't take another hit, it is the Port Armor that can't take another hit.) ((It also lets the GM go back to the sort of Napolionic Era of Ships of the Line.)) So, to get an edge, opponents use high explosives to do massive damage to rip off the ablative armor. But AI computers are dumb, and though a missle can be built to travel faster than my fighters, it is still not fast enough to close the gap quickly, giving plenty of time for point defense. With the low AI, they do not evade very well. So, the big bombs (actualy short range missles) are packed onto bombers, and they carry them over and deliver them so close that enemy ships can not react in time to stop them. to stop this, ships uses fighters to intercept the bombers. To stop THIS, the other side sends fighter escorts to deal with fighter interceptors. So, fighters have a place in my universe. (And it lets the GM recreate that WWII style of Naval combat.)

I know there is a thousand things wrong with this on a scientific basis, so please do not reply and tell them to me. It is simply a cinematic twist on space combat to do things a little different, and most important, give an excuse why fighters are kept around. After all, it is all just in fun.
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Old 08-31-2007, 12:56 AM   #37
SavageDoc
 
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Default Re: [Space] Fighter-to-ship ratio: what is it and why?

Since we all know that with real tech fighters are silly, let's talk about fiction. I mean come on, who wants to play 2001 anyway... Ok, ok, who wants to play 2001 space combat? Fine, that's fun too, but sometimes, we want something else.

The ratio of fighters to large ships is going to depend on your base analogy. Do you base your underlying assumptions on age of sail or WWII? Submarines in spaaaace or the clash at Jutland? Or some combination of the above? Also factor in your assumptions about travel speed, disposition and density of force, communications speed, and command and control. Then ask yourself, can fighter craft attack and destroy an armed and operational big ship? Or can they only harass the hale and pick off the damaged strays? Stay internally consistent. What do we want these small craft to do?

Historically small craft both naval and air have had many roles.

Recon. Find the other guy before he finds you. Maybe this includes being first in on jumping or wormhole-ing.

Patrol and Pursuit. Kill the other guy's Recon force. This is why WWII American 'fighters' have the P designation.

Shipping Strike. Attack the other guy's mobile targets. Dive bombers, torpedo bombers, anti ship missile dropping, torpedo boats, and their equivalents.

Ground Strike. Attack the other guy's stationary targets. Maybe his planetary shields laugh at your kinetic bombardment, or doing so is against the laws of war.

Combat Air Patrol. Kill the other guy's shipping strike.

Traffic control and policing. Customs inspection, traffic enforcement, general policing of civilian traffic and shipping.

Escort. Escorting your strike flights/forces whether against shipping or ground targets.


PS I don't think we're ever going to see the end of manned atmospheric fighter craft. I don't buy the idea of computers outfighting real pilots. Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't buy it. Maybe as a cost and risk aversion measure, but all it takes is the other guy wiping out our drone attack with his 'obsolete' fighters before we have to reinvent the wheel. Like the argument of LAVs replacing tanks. Sure it works against tin pot dictators, but what happens when we have a real war. And we will, be assured of that, we will.
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Old 08-31-2007, 03:11 AM   #38
Mailanka
 
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Default Re: [Space] Fighter-to-ship ratio: what is it and why?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred Brackin
You probably need some sort of silyscience to make big space battles plausible period.
We could have big space battles now, if we really wanted, we just don't have a reason to do it, or the big ships up there to do it with. But the tech is definitly all there.

Quote:
Since we all know that with real tech fighters are silly, let's talk about fiction. I mean come on, who wants to play 2001 anyway... Ok, ok, who wants to play 2001 space combat? Fine, that's fun too, but sometimes, we want something else.
Heh. I totally know what you mean. Fighters ARE silly, but hey, so are lightsabers. Space Opera FTW!

Quote:
PS I don't think we're ever going to see the end of manned atmospheric fighter craft. I don't buy the idea of computers outfighting real pilots. Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't buy it. Maybe as a cost and risk aversion measure, but all it takes is the other guy wiping out our drone attack with his 'obsolete' fighters before we have to reinvent the wheel. Like the argument of LAVs replacing tanks. Sure it works against tin pot dictators, but what happens when we have a real war. And we will, be assured of that, we will.
Humans still fly drones, you know? They're just not IN them. They pilot them from the ground. This way, when your drones get shot down, you lose a billion dollars worth of equipment, but not the incomparable skill of an experienced pilot.

Eventually, I think, computers will replace pilots, but not for a long long time.
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Old 08-31-2007, 04:43 AM   #39
Ludek
 
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Default Re: [Space] Fighter-to-ship ratio: what is it and why?

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Originally Posted by Mailanka
How do you "hide" in space? There's nothing to hide behind, and you're far, far warmer than the background radiation (of, what, 4 degrees K?), and those who are looking around have all the time in the world to find you, as you're talking interplanetary distances here. If a ship popped into our solar system (say, around Saturn) and turned on rockets that would allow it to reach Earth in anything approaching reasonable time, and it's a huge bright streak in the sky that anyone with any kind of heat detecting equipment can see for ages. And we're not even LOOKING for invading space craft. Imagine if we were used to space warfare?

You cannot hide in space.
Actually you can, you just have to keep low your thermal emissions and
other radiation coming form 'hot' powerplant/drive. It usually means being
cold as background on the surface .. this in case of heat mean building up
heat in cloaked ship but you could try to dissipate heat by thermal
radiation in direction were you hope there is no enemy detectors.

Other method is to use sun or other nosy background .. you just have to
position yourself in line between detector and the background.

Last point is excellent for EW .. you can produce such background to
create window for cloaked missile attack (or just create threat of such
attack) This could be great area of use for light ships .. to operate on the
outer edge of enemy fleet , harassing it. If light ships are used in that role
because of their speed and maneuverability other light ships will be
uses to counter them (and protect form such attacks). Of course fleet
would have to disperse itís detectors in order to see battlefield from
different angles, some detector could be unmanned almost cloaked drones
but some may be detachments of ships. This would cause fleet to spread
out in order to protect itís core (most likely heaviest and most expensive
ships).
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Old 08-31-2007, 04:50 AM   #40
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Default Re: [Space] Fighter-to-ship ratio: what is it and why?

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Originally Posted by Mailanka
The Zeroeth Law: Nobody wants to read a sci-story about the angst ridden antics of a missile's computer guidance system.

Read? No. Watch? Sure!

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0069945/
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