A Warp Fighter

Discussion in 'Trek Tech' started by Mars, Aug 31, 2012.

  1. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2003
    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.

    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.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  2. Mars

    Mars Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2012
    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.
     
  3. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2011
    Location:
    "Who are you?"
    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]:
    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.
     
  4. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Location:
    Your Mom
    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.
     
  5. Mars

    Mars Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2012
    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.
     
  6. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Location:
    Your Mom
    More like a motor torpedo boat or the old Pegasus class hydrofoils. Those would be pretty fast (for boats, anyway) and would have some torpedoes on board, but not much else.
     
  7. Albertese

    Albertese Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    May 3, 2003
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    To which Kirk replied: "Could be Grissom"

    There's debate about regarding the size of the Grissom but it would seem that it, too, qualifies as a scout.

    --Alex
     
  8. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Location:
    Your Mom
    Superiority doesn't exist in a vacuum. A long-range shuttlecraft could have superior range to any other small craft in the Federation, but that doesn't make it a practical fighter craft, even if you stick a phaser on its belly.

    If you have a gunship, it would be just fast enough and maneuverable enough to get in close to another small craft and disable or destroy it with some well-placed phaser fire. It becomes even more effective in a ground support role, and is more justifiable in this case: maybe you're beaming an away team down into hostile territory and don't want to send a bigass shuttle that will draw attention to itself? Well, your gunships are small enough; beam two of them into a parking lot down the street and have them standby until needed.

    That would also be consistent with the OP's pitch. A power cell that has to be replaced after 24 hours of use doesn't seem very practical for a large craft, but something the size of a gunship (smaller, actually, since it has no tail and no rotors) is a very local operator and it doesn't usually even need to go to warp except to chase down somebody and shoot off his nacelles.
     
  9. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2010
    Or another thought, why not have the warp fighters or alternatively unmanned combat fighters be powered remotely like those satellites were in that battle in the Chintoka system? They just have to stay at the carrier's perimeter and would have near unlimited endurance instead of having to come in every 24 hours to swap out a ZPE module...
     
  10. Mars

    Mars Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2012
    Careful, the Enterprise could be unmanned too, since it has holodecks and can simulate people in them, one could then simulate the Enterprise and her whole crew, and then slave the holodeck controls to the actual starship, the holodeck crew could fire phasers and torpedoes. The problem comes with doing actual maintenance, but the holodeck characters could also remotely control actual robots from the holodeck to get that workd done as well. I think the Federation could have fully automated its ships a long time ago, but it deliberately chose not to.
     
  11. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Location:
    Your Mom
    ^ More advanced starships have the entire vessel rigged with holoemitters, so that wouldn't be much of a problem, just have the holocrew do all the work as if they were a normal crew. The real problem comes with somebody realizing they can immobilize the entire ship just by cutting off the signal from the starship to its home base.

    A more basic point: an unmanned remote weapons platform isn't actually a "fighter." What you have in that case is a sort of "next generation of phaser banks" where your weapons detach from the ship and move to an ideal firing position independent of the vessel that powers them. This would be a sort of normalization of the EP-607 system from "The Arsenal of Freedom," with the added benefit that a starship could deploy an indefinite number of these things into the battlespace, limited only by the amount of power it could transmit to them.
     
  12. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2003
    One might see the DS9 era Starfleet as being at a point of transition: whether to go for remotes like the Prometheus or the EP-607 and for holograms big time, or to stick to classics. Real armed forces have faced such decisions a number of times, and it is not unheard of that the correct choice would have been to go conservative. Say, a purely SAM-based air defense scheme did not serve the United Kingdom even in its designated role, and a purely missile-armed crewed interceptor force had to be abandoned by the US when the nation engaged in new types of warfare. It remains to be seen whether combat UAVs currently being experimented on have any real future, or whether they are a dead end that only ever works in optimal peacetime conditions.

    Whether the attack fighters of DS9 represent transition and innovation is debatable. Nobody ever suggests they would be a new thing; also, the Maquis and the Bajorans have craft of apparent comparable capabilities, these definitely not being modern. On the other hand, we never saw massed fighter action before; no traditional enemy force of Starfleet has yet adopted this doctrine or fielded comparable hardware; and Starfleet only seems to operate a single type of fightercraft, possibly suggesting that things are off to a slow start and diversification will take place later on.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  13. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Location:
    Your Mom
    I had always thought the use of fighters in DS9 was primarily an attempt to offset the Dominion's numerical advantage, in particular the fact that in a given Jem'hadar fleet maybe 400 strong, only about 100 of them would be capital ships and the rest would be battle bugs. They probably figured that filling the sky with a lot of heavily armed/high performance shuttles would be a good way of drawing some heat off the capital ships and expose the Jem'hadar's cruisers and battleships to direct action by Starfleet (Sisko thought the same thing while fighting with the Odyssey, although it didn't work very well at the time).

    Fighters are a new thing in Trek, but then, few races fight battles the way the Jem'hadar do. Even the Klingons don't have that kind of numerical superiority, and they sure as hell don't use the birds of prey as as a spearhead for a larger vanguard (they appear to use the BoP more as a mobile artillery support than anything, combining their firepower with any cruisers that happen to be in the area).
     
  14. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2003
    Which might well be a counterindication to using them that way ever again.

    We never quite get to see what the fighters are up to after "Sacrifice of Angels". They aren't seen firing at anything specific, say. But they appear to follow the Defiant on occasion, sometimes by Sisko's command ("What You Leave Behind"), and the Defiant only picks fights with ships of her own size, that is, those small Jem'Hadar battlebugs or Breen ships.

    But only until otherwise proven. The argument for them actually demonstrating newness in DS9 is pretty thin.

    Hmh? That's the very thing they seem to be doing in "Way of the Warrior" and most of the DS9 fleet battles. They're the first into the fray at Chin'Toka, swarming in a type-specific formation to intercept the incoming kamikaze ships - and the second into the fray in "WotW", closing in after the initial overflight by those red-beam-refitted K't'ingas, while larger ships maintain their distance.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  15. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Location:
    Your Mom
    Don't be so sure. It was three runabouts and the Odyssey against four Jem'hadar bugs. What would have been easier to add to that engagement: twelve more runabouts, or three more Galaxy class starships? The thinking would be, if you can just put four runabouts on each of the battle bugs, you can at least distract them enough that the Odyssey can target and destroy them.

    In the end, Starfleet resorted to a Maquis design, thinking it would be cheaper and easier to mass produce. Once the Klingons officially got involved, they were able to put the Bird of Prey in that role and the fighters were less important.

    Other than the fact that they were never needed before, and were never seen again. Fighters don't seem to be in any way tactically valid in traditional space combat, which maybe explains why the Scimitar never launched any of its Scorpion class attack flyers against the Enterprise despite having dozens of them in its shuttlebay.

    Not at all. The bird of prey operates as either a solitary hunter (like the U-boats they draw analogy from) or in small groups pursuing vulnerable targets. In fleet actions they fall back to support the "big gun" larger ships and are comparatively less of a threat.

    Not so for the Jem'hadar, whose ships ALWAYS travel in packs and ALWAYS press the attack with alacrity, especially in fleet actions, where they run blitzkrieg against their enemies with the cap ships providing covering fire.

    The Jem'hadar are the only people who do this, mainly because they're half suicidal and they don't care how many losses they take. Klingons talk a lot of about dying gloriously in battle, but they don't breed as fast as the Jem'hadar, nor are they suicidal.

    Which is, again, a recent innovation almost certainly brought on by the Jem'hadar using tactics everyone else considers lunacy.
     
  16. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2003
    It's basically the first time we see a Klingon fleet fight. So it could be argued to be the way they always fight, exotic things like raiding flotillas of battle cruisers notwithstanding.

    "Way of the Warrior" certainly had them in the thick of things, being as spearheadish and vanguardish as physically possible. Their lesser showing in "Sacrifice of Angels" might be simply because they were left far behind when the large combatants rushed to aid the sissy Federation forces at maximum warp.

    The best way to go might have been to remove all the runabouts. They were the reason the Odyssey was stuck with fighting at impulse to begin with!

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  17. tighr

    tighr Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2011
    Location:
    California
    Your argument makes no sense. Not having seen something before is not evidence of it not existing, its simply absence of evidence. We never saw the space stations Deep Space 1, Deep Space 2, Deep Space 6, or Deep Space 8 on screen, but I'll bet you dollars to donuts they exist in-universe.

    We never see the Captain's Yacht on TNG, but the Enterprise-D had one. Voyager had a Captain's Yacht, too. Just because something is never seen on screen doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

    And why would the Scimitar need to launch their Scorpions against Enterprise? There would be no tactical reason to launch them. But that doesn't mean they don't serve a purpose, otherwise why would Shinzon have bothered to have Scorpions on board at all?
     
  18. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2003
    Why should we believe in Captain's Yachts? The Captains were always going places, and they never used any yachts for it. So it follows that there were no yachts, or those would have been used.

    Persistent absence of evidence is statistically sufficient evidence of absence. Not perhaps of the impossibility of a thing existing - but that's a different issue altogether.

    For ground attacks? These flimsy craft look and sound just like the thing for flitting barely above ground level and firing the dorsally mounted main weapon at surface targets. Their mere existence certainly doesn't make them space dogfighters or capital ship killers or anything like that.

    But the funny thing about the Scimitar is that it's extremely difficult to figure what she was built for. The Romulan masters of Shinzon seem surprised and appalled that the ship would be used for killing a planet, even though they are fully aware of the thalaron technology, have bloodied their hands in using that technology to massacre the Senate, and would be idiots not to spot its presence aboard the ship. But if the Scimitar was built to kill Earth, there'd be basically no need for the multiple disruptor and torpedo banks, as a single cloaked planeticide run would be the entire raison d'ĂȘtre of the vessel. The fightercraft would never see action, either.

    Perhaps the Romulans had the ship built with the express intent of using it as a deadly threat against the entire planet Romulus, so that Shinzon's little Spartacus revolt would succeed and the military would gain ultimate control of Romulus in the process. A more generic intimidation suite would then be in order, including ship-to-ship weaponry and small craft to subdue resistance and to patrol the streets of Romulus until things stabilized to the cabalists' liking. But surely they'd then install an idiotproof back door in the ship, a system to render it harmless to themselves - and probably also a system to kill Shinzon when he least expects it.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  19. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2011
    Location:
    "Who are you?"
    Memory Alpha claims the Enterprise-D captain's yacht is "labeled on the master systems display screen in main engineering" [http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Captain's_yacht], but I'm wondering whether they mean the pool table, or the master situation monitor on the wall.

    Maybe someone can dig up a screenshot to confirm this.
     
  20. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2003
    That would in any case be at the threshold level where we'd have to start believing in Porsches and rubber ducks and "Medical Insurance Remaining" readouts and Lorem Ipsum in general. Not enough to overturn the plotwise evidence for the lack of such a craft aboard the E-D.

    Timo Saloniemi