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Old September 4 2012, 05:00 PM   #31
tighr
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Re: A Warp Fighter

Wouldn't the smaller profile of a highly maneuverable fighter be more difficult to hit, even by ultra-accurate phasers? Note that we see the Delta Flyer outmanuever larger ships in several episodes while avoiding the firefight.
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Old September 4 2012, 05:08 PM   #32
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Re: A Warp Fighter

tighr wrote: View Post
Wouldn't the smaller profile of a highly maneuverable fighter be more difficult to hit, even by ultra-accurate phasers? Note that we see the Delta Flyer outmanuever larger ships in several episodes while avoiding the firefight.
Yes, the only advantage Capital ships have in Star Trek is they can outrun the smaller craft, as it seems there is an efficiency of scale in Star Trek that allows the larger ships to achieve higher warps, this could be because antimatter containment is harder to achieve with smaller ships, or possibly because the components of warp drives are hard to produce in miniature. Another thing about fighters is there is no engine room, there is no damage control, there is only the pilot and the engine has go to last for as long as the pilot's using it.
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Old September 4 2012, 05:11 PM   #33
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Re: A Warp Fighter

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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.
Even in Star Wars, and X-Wing fighter is not going to blow up a Star Destroyer, usually it takes swarms of fighters to do that. One is not going to pit one capital ship against one fighter, but a squadron of fighters could destroy a capital ship, as has been done in World War II. For example the Battle of Midway.
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Old September 4 2012, 07:13 PM   #34
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Re: A Warp Fighter

I thought about the NX-01 Enterprise and granted it fired a lot more often her phase cannons it has several weaknesses not present in TOS. 1) Phase cannons had a limited range allowing fighters to be able to close and attack it and 2) Less power (although arguably TNG falls into this category as well.)

As far as accuracy goes, I think in Voyager they fought mostly against other powers where they might not be as accurate at targeting as Federation combat ships. Although I think there was one or two Voyager episodes where they did encounter some fast moving small ships where Tuvok had difficulty targeting.

In "Journey to Babel" the Orion ship's warp difference was too great to overcome by the Enterprise to land any hits on it until it slowed down. The episode does illustrate an interesting option: a small suicide ship can outpower and outmaneuver a much larger ship. By overloading the power system the small ship was able to output more phaser power while simultaneously keeping a high warp speed. To me it would suggest that a Trek Carrier would have serious problems defending itself against this kind of attack. The good thing for DS9/TNG is that they are on a different tech tree and probably wouldn't see something like this....
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Old September 5 2012, 02:59 AM   #35
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Re: A Warp Fighter

^ actually the ship had "standard phasers," they were "fast but not giants." And the Enterprise, which withstood several passes of the vessel, only needed one connecting shot to cripple them and render their suicide mission moot.
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Old September 5 2012, 03:07 AM   #36
Crazy Eddie
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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.
Which kinda defeats the purpose of having fighters, actually. Ultimately they're just fire support for the battleships, but at those ranges there isn't anything you could do with a fighter that wouldn't be done more effectively with a guided missile. In the end you get this sort of circular logic where fighters exist primarily to attack the OTHER guy's fighters, who in turn exist to attack yours. In both cases, those are sci-fi stories written by people who are apparently unaware of the existence of point defense.

Maybe if you make the fighters the spearhead of some aggressive boarding actions -- say, a craft designed to clear a path for breaching pods or open a small hole in the shields through which away teams can be beamed. Beyond that, it's just Starwarsian silliness.

Star Wars features Star Destroyers and the Death Star, from which the Tie fighters are launched...
Neither of which should NEED fighters, nor should they be vulnerable to them if their design made any sense. The plot devices used to justify the existence of fighters are rather flimsy in and of themselves.

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.
They don't really NEED to change that model. Star Trek doesn't lend well to the technical paradigm in which fighters excel; capital ships are well protected by defensive weapons and shields, and they're also very agile for their size. Fighters make a certain amount of sense for enemies who specialize in this sort of thing (the Suliban, for example), but not in the context of some kind of grand "space is an ocean" aircraft carrier analog. Fighters that can't operate autonomously -- and more importantly, that can't outrun capital ships in any given race -- are utterly impractical in Star Trek; if they're really that much of a threat, you can just pop into warp and dodge them, and if they AREN'T much of a threat, you plow right through them and eat the carrier for lunch.
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Old September 5 2012, 03:09 AM   #37
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Re: A Warp Fighter

BK613 wrote: View Post
^ actually the ship had "standard phasers," they were "fast but not giants." And the Enterprise, which withstood several passes of the vessel, only needed one connecting shot to cripple them and render their suicide mission moot.
The Orion blew away "number two" shield. It might have won. By the end, the Enterprise was hanging by a thread.

The way I rationalize what happened, the reactor on the Orion ship was about to go critical anyway, so they chose to slow down for the final attack, on the assumption that the Enterprise really was as crippled as she seemed. If they had fielded a fresh suicide ship at that point though, the Enterprise could easily have been toast.
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Old September 5 2012, 03:11 AM   #38
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Re: A Warp Fighter

BK613 wrote: View Post
^ actually the ship had "standard phasers," they were "fast but not giants." And the Enterprise, which withstood several passes of the vessel, only needed one connecting shot to cripple them and render their suicide mission moot.
Very true.

It's like getting attacked by a ship more powerful and faster than the Enterprise with standard phasers but the ship didn't have any power left over for defense
SPOCK: The thing that confused me was the power utilisation curve. It made them seem more powerful than a starship or anything known to us. That ship was constructed for a suicide mission. Since they never intended to return to their home base, they could use one hundred percent power on their attacks.
I wonder if that suicide ship was just on the edge of blowing up in order to maintain the power output for each of those attack runs.

EDIT: Corporal Captain beat me to it
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Old September 5 2012, 03:20 AM   #39
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Re: A Warp Fighter

CorporalCaptain wrote: View Post
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.
I'm in agreement with Unicron that fighters being used against other small craft is really the only way to justify that sort of thing, and there's plenty of precedent for that even in Trek.

The thing is, they wouldn't be "fighters" in that case, especially since it probably doesn't need to be designed for high warp so much as high agility (that is, high stability in a variety of situations and environments) and highly accurate weapons fire. In that case, what you've really got is a gunship, Starfleet's equivalent of the Scorpion class attack flyer.

Stick a type-IV phaser on the nose of something like this, and suddenly you've got a case. You can imagine, for example, a platoon of Klingons running a berserker charge on a squad of hapless Starfleet scientists defending the last known genesis device. The science team is probably boned... until three or four of these gunships come over the treeline and start sweeping the Klingons with phaser fire. Better still if the Klingons actually GET the genesis device and try to flee the planet in a stolen shuttlecraft; if your local security force needs to chase them down in a hurry, you send a couple of shuttles and a runabout and about two dozen gunships to help cover more ground.
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Old September 5 2012, 06:10 AM   #40
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Re: A Warp Fighter

tighr wrote: View Post
Wouldn't the smaller profile of a highly maneuverable fighter be more difficult to hit, even by ultra-accurate phasers? Note that we see the Delta Flyer outmanuever larger ships in several episodes while avoiding the firefight.
I present you the fearsome Mars Defense Perimeter.
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Old September 5 2012, 07:47 AM   #41
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Re: A Warp Fighter

The episode does illustrate an interesting option: a small suicide ship can outpower and outmaneuver a much larger ship.
The Orion attackers are described as fast and maneuverable and sensorproof and possessing moderate firepower. But as far as dimensions go, the terminology chosen is "the size of a scout ship". Hardly a case for fightercraft here.

fighters being used against other small craft is really the only way to justify that sort of thing
Either that, or the gunship thing you describe... In military hardware design and construction, "superior" tends to be better than "inferior" - so whatever fighters we see, we should be able to deduce that their intended targets are smaller, weaker and/or possessing less range and mobility!

Interestingly, "Nor a Battle" seems to show that air superiority can be challenged by mere ground troops: the "hopper" of the Starfleet platoon was shot down, Bashir never dared take the runabout in the air, and there were no strafing runs to halt Klingon charges or break ground impasses. So it appears that the small craft of the Trek universe aren't "overkill" designs, but barely adequate for their minimum tasks, just like ITRW. Which in turn would seem to suggest that it's far from trivial to give good protection to small craft.

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Old September 5 2012, 01:15 PM   #42
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Re: A Warp Fighter

I see fighters in the Star Trek Universe as derivative of photon and quantum torpedoes. Those Torpedoes have to over take their targets to be effective, if the Star Ship Enterprise could just outrun them, they wouldn't make effective weapons. Perhaps those torpedo warp engines don't last very long, only long enough to get their warheads to their targets. An improvement on torpedo design could improve those engines, and replace the warhead with a cockpit and a pair of phaser cannons, and we have a Star Trek fighter.
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Old September 5 2012, 03:05 PM   #43
Creepy Critter
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Re: A Warp Fighter

Timo wrote: View Post
The episode does illustrate an interesting option: a small suicide ship can outpower and outmaneuver a much larger ship.
The Orion attackers are described as fast and maneuverable and sensorproof and possessing moderate firepower. But as far as dimensions go, the terminology chosen is "the size of a scout ship". Hardly a case for fightercraft here.
Really? How big is "a scout ship" in TOS? How many were in the Orion ship's crew?

For an indication of how small "a scout ship" could go, here's from TAS: More Tribbles, More Troubles [http://www.chakoteya.net/StarTrek/TAS001.htm]:
SULU: Captain, it is a Klingon ship. Rapidly closing on its target.
SPOCK: Sensors indicate the smaller vessel is a one-man scout ship of common design.
SULU: They're firing on him.
http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Federation_scout_ship

Granted, I doubt the Orion ship was that small, but tell me how big it was, and how we know that.
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Old September 5 2012, 07:04 PM   #44
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Re: A Warp Fighter

Chekov caught a glimpse of a Bird of Prey in "The Search for Spock" and described it as "a scout class wessel."

That should give you a range of sizes, at least by crew: a scout will have more than one and less than twenty, probably about runabout sized or larger.
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Old September 5 2012, 07:33 PM   #45
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Re: A Warp Fighter

newtype_alpha wrote: View Post
Chekov caught a glimpse of a Bird of Prey in "The Search for Spock" and described it as "a scout class wessel."

That should give you a range of sizes, at least by crew: a scout will have more than one and less than twenty, probably about runabout sized or larger.
The ship still has a crew, it is not a fighter, perhaps the closest thing to it in aviation would be a bomber such as the B1 Bomber for instance.
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