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

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Old September 1 2012, 11:31 PM   #16
Hando
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Re: A Warp Fighter

Well let's look at the various eras:
ENT - If a capital ship has such a low number of weapons then it would be impossible to create a fighter with at least one cannon.
TOS - still no weapons for small vessels and I won't even speak about the low warp speeds
TNG - finally something akin to fighters is shown, I cannot consider the Maquis or the Federation attack crafts as fighters, and the Runabouts are a step in the right direction. But we have a true fighter in Insurrection (the Ventrue/Talon-class).

In regard to fighters, you better take a look at Invasion and Shattered Universe, as both these games depicted the fighter in 24th and 23th centuries respectively.

So it seems like the Federation had fighters since the end of the 23rd century.
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Old September 1 2012, 11:38 PM   #17
tighr
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Re: A Warp Fighter

Maybe its just me, but I always imagined that Runabouts were more equivalent to a Mack truck than to a Ferrari: Slow, lumbering vehicles only good for traveling long distances while carrying cargo, rather than a sporty coupe that can hug the corners and leave other cars in the dust.
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Old September 2 2012, 02:06 AM   #18
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Re: A Warp Fighter

The Badger wrote: View Post
Well, don't forget that there were fighters in Trek, albeit not seen until part way through the Dominion War. My personal speculation as to why they didn't appear earlier is that it wasn't until then that technology could be made compact enough to make such a small vessel into an effective combatant. Maybe a spin off from the development of runabouts.
Exactly. The existence of runabouts (and fighters) would be evidence that by the late 24th century there is enough compact technology for a starfighter to be able to attack, defend and maneuver against starships.

You can see the progress from TOS thru DS9.

In TOS, a small Orion ship could be modified to overload its engines to put maximum power into phaser strikes while retaining superior mobility. Still, she didn't have enough power to adequately stop a single phaser strike ("Journey to Babel").

In TOS Movies, a BOP was still no match against the Enterprise (as evidenced by Kruge's comments) and it was only luck that the Enterprise was already crippled that led to her loss in "The Search for Spock". Even a "fire-while-cloaked" BOP in "The Undiscovered Country" was only able to score so many hits on the Enterprise because she had to stop an assassination. One hit on the BOP rendered it disabled or destroyed. If it were a general battle, the Enterprise would've just left the area, regrouped and found a better strategy.

It is not until TNG, where we see groups of smaller craft (the Maquis) to be able to stay in a fight long enough to be able to deliver damage. DS9 furthered that with fighters surviving hits from Dominion-boosted Cardassian warships. That's the best evidence that fighters by the late 24th century are able to fight alongside and against the big ships.
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Old September 2 2012, 05:44 PM   #19
Mars
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Re: A Warp Fighter

blssdwlf wrote: View Post
The Badger wrote: View Post
Well, don't forget that there were fighters in Trek, albeit not seen until part way through the Dominion War. My personal speculation as to why they didn't appear earlier is that it wasn't until then that technology could be made compact enough to make such a small vessel into an effective combatant. Maybe a spin off from the development of runabouts.
Exactly. The existence of runabouts (and fighters) would be evidence that by the late 24th century there is enough compact technology for a starfighter to be able to attack, defend and maneuver against starships.

You can see the progress from TOS thru DS9.

In TOS, a small Orion ship could be modified to overload its engines to put maximum power into phaser strikes while retaining superior mobility. Still, she didn't have enough power to adequately stop a single phaser strike ("Journey to Babel").

In TOS Movies, a BOP was still no match against the Enterprise (as evidenced by Kruge's comments) and it was only luck that the Enterprise was already crippled that led to her loss in "The Search for Spock". Even a "fire-while-cloaked" BOP in "The Undiscovered Country" was only able to score so many hits on the Enterprise because she had to stop an assassination. One hit on the BOP rendered it disabled or destroyed. If it were a general battle, the Enterprise would've just left the area, regrouped and found a better strategy.

It is not until TNG, where we see groups of smaller craft (the Maquis) to be able to stay in a fight long enough to be able to deliver damage. DS9 furthered that with fighters surviving hits from Dominion-boosted Cardassian warships. That's the best evidence that fighters by the late 24th century are able to fight alongside and against the big ships.
The idea is not for a single fighter to be a match for the Enterprise, but a squadron of them could be quite troublesome, as shooting one down leaves the rest to continue their attacks.
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Old September 2 2012, 05:55 PM   #20
blssdwlf
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Re: A Warp Fighter

Mars wrote: View Post
The idea is not for a single fighter to be a match for the Enterprise, but a squadron of them could be quite troublesome, as shooting one down leaves the rest to continue their attacks.
Sure. And if we apply this back to their respective eras:

TOS: All fighters shot down before they can get close enough to attack.

TOS Movies: All fighters shot down before they can get close enough to attack.

TNG+: Some fighters shot down, but some are able to attack.

DS9: Few fighters shot down before most fighters are able to close to attack.

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Old September 4 2012, 01:40 AM   #21
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Re: A Warp Fighter

Really, space fighters are really a silly idea in the first place. The whole point of having fighters in today's military is force projection: you have a target over the horizon and planes are a good way to get your weapons over there with a minimal exposure of your humans' lives.

In space, there's no horizon! Your little ships are visible from beyond their own tactical range and get shot down before they do much good. They are too small to carry effective defenses. I'm sure the a small craft like a fighter would need hefty hardware to power a shield strong enough to protect against a full sized capitol ship's phasers or what-have-you. And to top it off, your sending real life people in these eggshells to get fried.

Star Trek is a little different because fuel consumption never seems to be an issue, but if it were, you have to carry enough gas to get you to the fight and get you back (assuming you like you pilots) which is double what you might need if you sent a drone out there.

It seems to me that the sole use of big ships on the line makes good tactical and strategic sense.

Of course, we do see fighter-type craft in later years of Star Trek, so what do I know...

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Old September 4 2012, 02:02 AM   #22
tighr
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Re: A Warp Fighter

Albertese wrote: View Post
Your little ships are visible from beyond their own tactical range and get shot down before they do much good. They are too small to carry effective defenses. I'm sure the a small craft like a fighter would need hefty hardware to power a shield strong enough to protect against a full sized capitol ship's phasers or what-have-you. And to top it off, your sending real life people in these eggshells to get fried.

Star Trek is a little different because fuel consumption never seems to be an issue, but if it were, you have to carry enough gas to get you to the fight and get you back (assuming you like you pilots) which is double what you might need if you sent a drone out there.
As I mentioned several times earlier in the thread, all fighters would likely be launched from a carrier ship. This carrier ship would likely be very near to the battle, possibly even a participant in the battle (and a heavily armored target to draw away enemy fire). The fighters themselves wouldn't need to traverse across space alone, they would have constant back-up. In fact, most other science fiction depicting space battles has this paradigm.

Star Wars features Star Destroyers and the Death Star, from which the Tie fighters are launched. Battlestar Galactica features Battlestars, from which Vipers are launched. Starship Troopers even takes this a step further with infantry. Starcraft features Carriers that launch ships.

The reason Trek used capital ships and the battles were short is (surprise) they are insanely expensive to film. It's easier to show the bridges of two ships and have the captains duke it out over words than it is to launch several dozen fighters. Even the battles in DS9 were repetitive, even to the point of reusing footage. Over time, that became the style of Trek, and so even today they're reluctant to change that model.
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Old September 4 2012, 02:15 AM   #23
Mars
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Re: A Warp Fighter

tighr wrote: View Post
Albertese wrote: View Post
Your little ships are visible from beyond their own tactical range and get shot down before they do much good. They are too small to carry effective defenses. I'm sure the a small craft like a fighter would need hefty hardware to power a shield strong enough to protect against a full sized capitol ship's phasers or what-have-you. And to top it off, your sending real life people in these eggshells to get fried.

Star Trek is a little different because fuel consumption never seems to be an issue, but if it were, you have to carry enough gas to get you to the fight and get you back (assuming you like you pilots) which is double what you might need if you sent a drone out there.
As I mentioned several times earlier in the thread, all fighters would likely be launched from a carrier ship. This carrier ship would likely be very near to the battle, possibly even a participant in the battle (and a heavily armored target to draw away enemy fire). The fighters themselves wouldn't need to traverse across space alone, they would have constant back-up. In fact, most other science fiction depicting space battles has this paradigm.

Star Wars features Star Destroyers and the Death Star, from which the Tie fighters are launched. Battlestar Galactica features Battlestars, from which Vipers are launched. Starship Troopers even takes this a step further with infantry. Starcraft features Carriers that launch ships.

The reason Trek used capital ships and the battles were short is (surprise) they are insanely expensive to film. It's easier to show the bridges of two ships and have the captains duke it out over words than it is to launch several dozen fighters. Even the battles in DS9 were repetitive, even to the point of reusing footage. Over time, that became the style of Trek, and so even today they're reluctant to change that model.
A warp fighter as I described has a total maximum one way range of 50 light years, that means they could be based on a planet that was 25 light years away, and their are about 80 star systems within 25 light years of Earth. Carriers make sense when ships fight at sublight velocities and can't fight while in FTL. The usual tradition is that when ships are going FTL then they can't engage each other, that is the way Star Wars is designed, once they make the jump to "light speed" they are safe, in Star Trek this is not so, ships fight at warp velocity, and if they do this, then fighters need to have warp drives as well, otherwise they might as well be shuttles.
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Old September 4 2012, 03:11 AM   #24
Unicron
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Re: A Warp Fighter

Albertese wrote: View Post

In space, there's no horizon! Your little ships are visible from beyond their own tactical range and get shot down before they do much good. They are too small to carry effective defenses. I'm sure the a small craft like a fighter would need hefty hardware to power a shield strong enough to protect against a full sized capitol ship's phasers or what-have-you. And to top it off, your sending real life people in these eggshells to get fried.
In my experience, one of the flaws when it comes to Trek-based fighter discussion is the assumption that fighters would be used against capitol craft, and I don't think that's likely except in rare occasions (as we saw in DS9, where they were part of a combined fleet). If we assume they're essentially extrapolations of real fighters, then they're primarily going to fight other fighters and small craft. This is how they behave in Star Wars and B5. They never engage a capital unit unless they have a whole lot of help, or unless they can employ a strategy that gives them an advantage (Rebels vs. Death Star, which was still likely suicide but logical since the DS was built to repel capital ships).

I think the other potential advantage human-piloted craft might offer, depending on the circumstances, is that they can use institution and even recklessness to win missions that a computer controlled drone might never succeed in. It would depend on a number of things.
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Old September 4 2012, 08:40 AM   #25
Timo
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Re: A Warp Fighter

It is worth noting that the fightercraft seen in DS9 were explicitly called "attack fighters", perhaps reflecting today's practice of equating attack with ground attack and even considering it the antithesis of fighter-to-fighter fighting. Moreover, when first used in DS9, two of these craft were deployed against a "soft" ground target. When used the second time, against Cardassian starships, they fared very badly, wave after wave of them achieving virtually nothing.

The TNG use of a single such craft as part of a greater fleet of comparable designs, in "Preemptive Strike", had slightly more success, but that may have been due to there being actual dedicated anti-ship craft in the mix.

It could very well be that this particular attack craft is intended to go against ground targets exclusively, serving as a poor man's starship of sorts where there is little or no opposition. Enjoying considerable independent propulsive capabilities (say, interstellar range, outrunning runabouts), they could be deployed from poorly equipped forward bases rather than from carriers - especially since Starfleet doesn't seem to have carriers in evidence, just assorted starships with fairly large shuttlebays (Galaxy and Nebula, Steamrunner) capable of holding perhaps half a dozen.

Carrier deployment in the Dominion War would still appear likely. Even if the fighters can outrun runabouts, as per "The Maquis II", that only means about warp five or so; flying in formation with a starship fleet, they would significantly slow down the fleet. So perhaps these "CAP" formations seen whenever a fleet sets out at impulse are subsequently taken aboard starships for the warp jump and then quickly launched again at the destination.

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Old September 4 2012, 01:39 PM   #26
Mars
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Re: A Warp Fighter

The barrier would be the ability to miniaturize the warp drive, as the Capitol ships could always outrun them. Maybe in the 25th century this will change.
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Old September 4 2012, 02:08 PM   #27
blssdwlf
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Re: A Warp Fighter

tighr wrote: View Post
Star Wars features Star Destroyers and the Death Star, from which the Tie fighters are launched. Battlestar Galactica features Battlestars, from which Vipers are launched. Starship Troopers even takes this a step further with infantry. Starcraft features Carriers that launch ships.
Something to keep in mind is that Star Wars and BSG is that their AA (or in this case Anti-Starfighter) Guns have very poor accuracy, echoing WW2-style combat.

If they had accurate guns like in Star Trek (minus the fixed-arc Defiant's phaser cannons) then fighters will get hit and explode before they can get within range. It would require improvements in compact tech as seen in DS9 for better power generation AND shields for warp fighters to be useful on the battleground, IMO.
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Old September 4 2012, 02:48 PM   #28
Timo
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Re: A Warp Fighter

fighters will get hit and explode
As you stated, in DS9 or TNG a hit doesn't mean immediate destruction, and even though a miss is an incredibly unlikely occurrence, a formation of fightercraft is only met by a very small number of these as such accurate defensive beams. So the main argument against fighters is that they for their part achieve very little, even in great numbers.

However, highly accurate beam defenses were already a feature in the 22nd century of ENT: NX-01 basically never missed a shot, and could actually fire more beams in a given length of time than her 23rd or 24th century counterparts. It would have been interesting to see what that ship could have achieved in anger against fightercraft, say, the Vulcan ones that got slightly hurt by the beam weapons of a shuttlepod...

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Old September 4 2012, 03:14 PM   #29
CorporalCaptain
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Re: A Warp Fighter

The Orion suicide craft in Journey to Babel was doing just fine until it underestimated the Enterprise and slowed down.

But, yeah, I agree with Unicron: the assumptions discussed in the forum of how fighters would be used in the Star Trek universe are generally all wrong. It's a straw man fallacy to say that, since a small number of unsupported fighters aren't expected to defeat a top-of-the-line ship in a frontal attack, therefore fighters have no place in the Star Trek universe.
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Old September 4 2012, 04:19 PM   #30
Unicron
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Re: A Warp Fighter

It's worth noting too that on the subject of weapons, most universes which employ fighters have weapons specifically for dealing with enemy craft of different ranges. The capital guns in Star Wars typically aren't geared for hitting small craft with nearly the same accuracy as another warship, and they have other weapons for that. The same is true in Battletech, which tends to rely heavier on missile based anti-fighter weapons and energy or ballistic anti-warship weapons. Capital grade energy or ballistic weapons simply aren't geared for hitting small targets, so they use other weapons and their own small craft.
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