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Old February 15 2013, 08:14 PM   #14
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Re: Aircraft carriers & realism in space

^It's a good point about the value of human adaptability, but there's little there that would require those humans to be jeopardized by sitting inside one-person guided missiles rather than in a bigger, more heavily shielded battleship. The reason for the aircraft-carrier-and-fighter paradigm is to project power beyond the horizon. There are no horizons in space. If you just want to shoot at stuff, it makes more sense to use missiles or drones. If it's a situation that requires human decision-makers on-site, then why not just send a larger ship? If it's a question of speed, a larger ship would presumably have more powerful engines and could go faster (although there would be some tradeoff from its greater mass).

In short, we just shouldn't start with the assumption that there will be fighters like there've always been and then make up rationalizations for it. That's backward reasoning. Space combat would probably be as different from aerial combat as aerial is from ground combat. It would be better to start by figuring out the conditions and parameters that would probably arise in space combat and then derive, from first principles, what the optimal strategies and tactics for dealing with them would be. If such an unbiased process somehow managed to produce one-person fighter craft as a viable response to a given situation, then okay, I'd be persuaded. But making up excuses to justify fighter craft because you want there to be fighter craft is just fighting the last war. It doesn't feel as creative or as honest to me.
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