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Trek Tech Pass me the quantum flux regulator, will you?

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Old November 6 2008, 08:28 PM   #16
Deks
Rear Admiral
 
Re: phasers - why only short bursts?

I think it was established that if it's necessary/doable, our heroes can and do initiate longer duration phaser bursts against their enemies.

In most situations, the targets they faced were quite mobile, and even with FTL weapons, it would be problematic to compensate for sudden changes in trajectory.

Against enemies such as the Borg though and races that are able to induce feedback pulses quickly through sustained beams ... it's also possible SF is using shorter bursts to prevent such a scenario.
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Old November 6 2008, 09:32 PM   #17
Search4
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Re: phasers - why only short bursts?

Back to my argument: the Scimitar still pretty big and it can't change course that fast (example: can't get out of the way of the "E" during the collision) and phasers, even if not lightspeed, are much faster. Its position and most course information is revealed when launching any weapon, so its not like you don't have data.

I'm also surprised that after with all of the "fight a cloaked ship" scenarios Starfleet could have planned for, there's no setting on the torpedoes to follow an enemy's impulse plasma (sorry, wrong movie), or better yet get informed by a phaser "tag" and change course. This latter capability we could do with a drone today with little difficulty.

I know, i know, they wanted a cool crash scene.
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Old November 7 2008, 01:11 PM   #18
USS KG5
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Re: phasers - why only short bursts?

Search4 wrote: View Post
Back to my argument: the Scimitar still pretty big and it can't change course that fast (example: can't get out of the way of the "E" during the collision)
Ahhh... but then the Scimitar had come to a full stop hadn't it? The thrust needed to combat the inertia of something as big as the Scimitar must be pretty massive and in fact it was probably moving relatively quick before it got hit. It is just so damn big that it did not make enough difference.

Heck - if you wish to rationalise some more it is possible it is actually something that takes a few seconds to start the engines and have them get to full power.

This is as opposed to an adjustment in trajectory in combat sufficient to avoid getting hit by a beam fired from several kilometres away (or realistically a lot more) by someone who only has an educated guess at your course anyway.

and phasers, even if not lightspeed, are much faster. Its position and most course information is revealed when launching any weapon, so its not like you don't have data.
Well all your first point means is a correctly targetted phaser beam at launch is guaranteed to hit something a few kilometres away, if the combat was taking place over distances of a few light seconds you could easily miss.

As for the second point - a single shot tells you precisely nothing about an enemies course, just the point where it was when the shot was fired. You would need a minimum of three and probably at least a dozen shots to correctly track a curving course which was kept constant. With manoevering in the equation as well it becomes almost impossible.

I'm also surprised that after with all of the "fight a cloaked ship" scenarios Starfleet could have planned for, there's no setting on the torpedoes to follow an enemy's impulse plasma (sorry, wrong movie)
Well presumably the Scimitar had a method of avoiding this deficiency. Its only sensible if you assume that 24th century "impulse" engines rely solely on Newtonian physics anyway, which always struck me as unlikely.

, or better yet get informed by a phaser "tag" and change course. This latter capability we could do with a drone today with little difficulty.
Well maybe torpedoes can change course in flight because of slaving to the mother ship like some AAMs can. This would still imply you need accurate information to get a hit though.

I know, i know, they wanted a cool crash scene.
Well for all the faults of Nemesis, the crash scene was pretty cool.
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Old November 7 2008, 01:50 PM   #19
Timo
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Re: phasers - why only short bursts?

Didn't Picard explicitly tell Worf to pool resources between all three ships to the purpose of getting meaningful triangulation from the ranging shots, and then automatically targeting by that? One would assume all of Worf's torpedoes were targeted and fired on the basis of this pooling of combat automation systems.

Whether they were also midcourse-guided by the pool of systems is unknown, as they always missed by the slightest of margins after a virtually straight flightpath. If a straight path was almost good enough for a hit, then we cannot readily argue that the lack of curvature in the path proves that the torps didn't maneuver. They probably just didn't need to maneuver much even when they could; high-gee corkscrewing would not have improved the results, and thus its absence doesn't establish that midcourse steering was absent.

As for tracking of impulse exhaust, it's clearly something that a starship's own sensors cannot consistently do even in ST6. That is, the cloaked ship doesn't leave a simple trail of exhaust that could be sensed and plotted - at most, it burps out a whiff of plasma here, another there, and a suitably configured torpedo has a small but finite chance of locking onto such a whiff at just the right time and place. Mostly, such a torpedo would spend time spinning in confused circles, as happened in ST6.

Not to mention that the technique might not work at all within an exotic nebula that has already been polluted by the engines and weapon fire of four vessels.

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Old November 7 2008, 02:27 PM   #20
JNG
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Re: phasers - why only short bursts?

Timo wrote: View Post

Not to mention that the technique might not work at all within an exotic nebula that has already been polluted by the engines and weapon fire of four vessels.
Absolutely--"hiding" there was probably much easier than it would have been somewhere else.

I just want to point out that when we use terms like "hit" and "miss" for torpedoes, we must remember that they are area-effect weapons that detonate as close to the intended target as they can--after making some complicated determinations about whether or not the usage of reactants from missing the target on that pass, turning around, and maneuvering for a closer pass would be likely to result in a greater or lesser force delivered to the target. The cloak on Scimitar, the effect of the rift on torpedo guidance systems, and maybe some other factors meant a lot of these torpedoes were blowing themselves up at "best guess" moments that probably didn't end up representing very good guesses at all. (I must admit to being a bit awed when Data reported the ship had used up all of its torpedoes; I didn't care for the design or name of Scimitar or the conclusion of the battle, but that little data point and the "Kirk-Epsilon" business were pretty neat.)

Also possibly relevant: the Technical Manual and Encyclopedia suggest that the effective range of phasers is typically limited to one light-second. If this is the case, I imagine many, if not most, torpedo launch scenarios (taking place at much greater ranges) would not be able to make effective use of phaser "tagging" for torpedo guidance as was mentioned above.
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Old November 7 2008, 06:32 PM   #21
Timo
Admiral
 
Re: phasers - why only short bursts?

"Near-misses" from photon torpedoes might be less effective than one first suspects. We supposedly had one in ST2, where Khan "explains" to Kirk that going to the nebula isn't what he really wants; there was no damage in evidence. Perhaps the only way to cause damage with explosive devices is to "insert them into the shield matrix" by at least a few millimeters, thus causing shockwave-like feedback in the shield similar to how a HESH warhead rips apart metal armor?

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Old November 7 2008, 07:46 PM   #22
USS KG5
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Re: phasers - why only short bursts?

Timo wrote: View Post
Didn't Picard explicitly tell Worf to pool resources between all three ships to the purpose of getting meaningful triangulation from the ranging shots, and then automatically targeting by that? One would assume all of Worf's torpedoes were targeted and fired on the basis of this pooling of combat automation systems.
Not sure whether you are replying to me - what Picard says is "co-ordinate our attacks with the Valdour's tactical officer" which can be interpreted many ways. Triangulation is great for positioning but cannot help much with determining course over and above one ship's attacks.

However a computer link enabling information from every weapons hit from all three ships to be used for targetting the weapons of all three ships with very little delay would help a great deal.

They probably just didn't need to maneuver much even when they could; high-gee corkscrewing would not have improved the results, and thus its absence doesn't establish that midcourse steering was absent.
I agree with this - the torpedo would lose so much momentum in a sharp turn it would stand no chance of a hit.
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