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Old February 15 2013, 08:53 PM   #16
Christopher
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Re: Aircraft carriers & realism in space

^But the thread title says "realism in space." I'm not talking about Star Trek, I'm talking about approaching the matter realistically.

Also, you're missing my point about horizons. It's not about hiding from detection. What I'm saying is that the reason aircraft carriers were invented was as a means of projecting force beyond the limits of where the carrier itself could travel. Maybe I should've said there are no coastlines in space.
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Old February 15 2013, 09:36 PM   #17
Creepy Critter
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Re: Aircraft carriers & realism in space

Christopher wrote: View Post
^But the thread title says "realism in space." I'm not talking about Star Trek, I'm talking about approaching the matter realistically.
I must have taken the fact that the thread's in Trek lit a bit too far then I suppose.

Also, you're missing my point about horizons. It's not about hiding from detection. What I'm saying is that the reason aircraft carriers were invented was as a means of projecting force beyond the limits of where the carrier itself could travel. Maybe I should've said there are no coastlines in space.
"Over the horizon" is about what can't be seen, or more precisely sighted, so yeah, perhaps your choice of words did obscure your point. But if you are going to rephrase your point that way, I don't agree with it either.

The basic advantage of a carrier over other capital ships is that it deploys relatively cheap, expendable, effective, and rapidly responsive craft to seek out and attack or intercept threats while they're too far out to harm the capital ship. That type of deployment sounds like it might be a really good idea in a space battle, just as it is in naval warfare today.

It's not about where the capital ship can travel; it's about keeping it out of the actual fighting. Because its attack radius is greater, an aircraft carrier can stay even further away from from the fighting than a battleship can. The fact that an aircraft carrier can attack targets even further inland than a battleship can is a byproduct of its attack radius being that much greater in the first palace. I mean, I'm assuming you're trying to bring coastlines into this now to differentiate land and sea. Since aircraft carriers were originally used to attack battleships and other aircraft carriers, coastlines have little to do with it.
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Old February 15 2013, 09:43 PM   #18
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Re: Aircraft carriers & realism in space

Well, the point is that a carrier's planes would effectively extend the destructive range of that asset by allowing planes to attack places a big boat would have trouble hitting without risking the big boat itself. The earlier post that planes attacking capital ships didn't happen isn't true; in fact that very tactic is why we don't HAVE battleships anymore. Three guys in one Avenger dive bomber can wreak more havoc on an enemy fleet than thousands of guys in one cruiser or battleship.

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Old February 15 2013, 09:53 PM   #19
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Re: Aircraft carriers & realism in space

CorporalCaptain wrote: View Post
The basic advantage of a carrier over other capital ships is that it deploys relatively cheap, expendable, effective, and rapidly responsive craft to seek out and attack or intercept threats while they're too far out to harm the capital ship. That type of deployment sounds like it might be a really good idea in a space battle, just as it is in naval warfare today.
Yes, but that's where you use missiles instead of fighters. That's where the horizon issue comes into play. At least in the days before satellite communication, carriers needed to send human-piloted fighters rather than missiles because there was a limit to how far they could see and therefore target an enemy. It's a solution that developed in response to the conditions on Earth. It's lazy to just want to transpose that exactly to space.

Look, I'm not interested in debating this whole thing yet again. Military talk bores and depresses me. I'll just refer you to where I got the ideas from, a site that demolishes the space-fighter idea more thoroughly than I could:

http://www.projectrho.com/public_htm...c.php#fighters

Debate it with them if you like.
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Old February 16 2013, 06:14 PM   #20
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Re: Aircraft carriers & realism in space

Christopher wrote: View Post
Yes, but that's where you use missiles instead of fighters.
Missiles are single use drones.
Multiple use drones have many advantages over single use missiles in a space battle.

Over very large distances - as in space -, in order to be effective, both missiles and drones need capable AI (eliminating humans from the command chain - which presents disadvantages) or remote control (which can be jammed).
Manned fighters don't have this problems - but have others, which can be summed up as higher mass.

A heavily shielded/cloaked station, housing the humans, and multiple drones operating at close range (minimizing the AI and jamming problems) could be the best solution.
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Old February 16 2013, 06:23 PM   #21
Creepy Critter
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Re: Aircraft carriers & realism in space

Christopher wrote: View Post
It's lazy to just want to transpose that exactly to space.
I don't believe I did that at all.
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Old February 16 2013, 07:04 PM   #22
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Re: Aircraft carriers & realism in space

Maybe there's something I'm not getting, but surely missiles (which travel in a straight line) would be too easy for the enemy to shoot down?

In any case, I don't understand why we're so concerned about realism. That's obviously not going to apply in any show or film. There will be the kind of combat that looks cool, and that casual viewers expect to find. Anything beyond that is not going to be needed.
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Old February 16 2013, 10:47 PM   #23
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Re: Aircraft carriers & realism in space

Oh, realism was simply in the title because of the concerns of the original article: it was not meant to be a limiter to discussion.
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Old February 17 2013, 12:08 PM   #24
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Re: Aircraft carriers & realism in space

One disadvantage of pilorless drones, at least from Trek's "more enlightened" vantage point is that when you can wage war without putting your people in harms way you're less likely to take a step back. Consider the current US use of drones world wide. There's been hundreds of sorties flown and many civilian casualties but it's not considered newsworthy because none of the people killed are Americans. As long as the deaths of foreign civilians stays out of the headlines and the American publics consciousness the drone strikes will continue. It's sort of a one sided version of A Taste of Armageddon. The Americans have no reason to stop because their people are safe and secure. The targeted countries have no way of retaliating directly at the American military. The best they could do is launch "terrorist" attacks, probably at civilian targets. The US military could then use those to claim that they have to continue or even expand their use of drones.

As long as one side doesn't face any consequences for attacking another then the attacks will continue, in the real world as well as the fictional one.
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Old February 17 2013, 05:05 PM   #25
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Re: Aircraft carriers & realism in space

Lonemagpie wrote: View Post
I've always seen space combat as more likely to be a mix of WW2 style capital ships and submarines... In dramatic terms submarines make sense because, like starships, they have to be self-contained against an inimical environment outside the hull...
I agree, but lean more toward the submarine model myself.

I would recommend David Gerrold's novel Starhunt (also published as Yesterday's Children) as an example of how that type of space combat might look.
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Old February 17 2013, 05:37 PM   #26
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Re: Aircraft carriers & realism in space

Maybe there's something I'm not getting, but surely missiles (which travel in a straight line) would be too easy for the enemy to shoot down?
Missiles don't travel in straight lines even today - they are too afraid of getting shot down. Air-to-air missiles don't have to mind this yet, but any missiles aimed at ships or surface installations have to know how to dodge and weave in order to reach their targets. Some surface vehicles are gaining the ability to shoot down unwary missiles, too, so an antitank round will have to learn these skills next...

Multiple use drones have many advantages over single use missiles in a space battle.
The problem with small craft (missiles, drones, crewed fighters) is that their weapons are also small. Today, small weapons can do damage against large targets. In Trek, this no longer is true: targets have shields, and we have yet to see a compact weapon that would perform as well as the large weapons installed aboard big starships.

So a fighter or a multi-use drone is at a disadvantage: having to share its payload between multiple weapons or other systems means it may end up being below the threshold of effectiveness altogether. A one-off missile can dedicate all of its payload to a weapon that may stand a chance of actually inflicting damage.

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Old February 17 2013, 06:53 PM   #27
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Re: Aircraft carriers & realism in space

Fwiw, the last VOY novel depicted piloted fighter crafts.
If using drones is sounder, then where are they in Post-Destiny Starfleet?
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Old February 18 2013, 02:01 AM   #28
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Re: Aircraft carriers & realism in space

Timo wrote: View Post

The problem with small craft (missiles, drones, crewed fighters) is that their weapons are also small. Today, small weapons can do damage against large targets. In Trek, this no longer is true: targets have shields, and we have yet to see a compact weapon that would perform as well as the large weapons installed aboard big starships.
What about the Maquis ships attacking Evek's ship in "Preemptive Strike" or the Federation fighters hitting the Dominion fleet in "Sacrifice of Angels"? One could argue that such vessels are modifications and not "stock" vehicles, but they certainly seemed to be having some effect in both cases.

So a fighter or a multi-use drone is at a disadvantage: having to share its payload between multiple weapons or other systems means it may end up being below the threshold of effectiveness altogether. A one-off missile can dedicate all of its payload to a weapon that may stand a chance of actually inflicting damage.
That's a valid point, but again I'd say it would depend on what the application of those weapons is. It is true that modern vehicles don't have shields or other fancy defenses, but we don't know for certain whether a larger vessel would need multiple weapons for different functions. Not all of them would necessarily have equal effectiveness against a fighter or small craft.
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Old February 18 2013, 06:31 PM   #29
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Re: Aircraft carriers & realism in space

Timo wrote: View Post
Multiple use drones have many advantages over single use missiles in a space battle.
The problem with small craft (missiles, drones, crewed fighters) is that their weapons are also small. Today, small weapons can do damage against large targets. In Trek, this no longer is true: targets have shields, and we have yet to see a compact weapon that would perform as well as the large weapons installed aboard big starships.

So a fighter or a multi-use drone is at a disadvantage: having to share its payload between multiple weapons or other systems means it may end up being below the threshold of effectiveness altogether. A one-off missile can dedicate all of its payload to a weapon that may stand a chance of actually inflicting damage.
In star trek effective weapons are relatively small.
Look at a photon torpedo; or at the size of a phaser emitter mounted on defiant/enterprise for confirmation.

If you have 50 smallish drones, each with a single phaser emitter of enterprise level, impulse engines and enough power to keep them running for 1 hour (not longer), you have firepower exceeding what a federation capital ship can bring to bear.
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Old February 18 2013, 08:02 PM   #30
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Re: Aircraft carriers & realism in space

And all without putting your people at risk. When faced with a similar situation in A Taste of Armageddon Kirk felt justified with upending an entire star system.

KIRK: Everything's secure here. Maintain position. If everything goes according to plan, you can beam us up in ten minutes. If you don't hear from us, carry out General Order Twenty Four on schedule.
SCOTT [OC]: Aye, aye, Captain. Is there anything else we can do?
KIRK: Cross your fingers. Kirk out. Death, destruction, disease, horror. That's what war is all about, Anan. That's what makes it a thing to be avoided. You've made it neat and painless. So neat and painless, you've had no reason to stop it. And you've had it for five hundred years. Since it seems to be the only way I can save my crew and my ship, I'm going to end it for you, one way or another. Mister Ambassador.
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