Lack of Redundancy and warp capable lifeboats in Trek

Discussion in 'Trek Tech' started by sciquest2525, Sep 10, 2017.

  1. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    ...It's borderline possible that a system dedicated to dodging incoming fire might be worth the while.

    But maneuverability doesn't do that - we have seen starships turn on a dime three times over, and still the hit rate in the TNG era is 100%. It would have to be some sort of ECM, and that doesn't much affect death rays. (Okay, a tractor beam affected death rays in "Way of the Warrior", probably both shaking the firing ship and, if the visuals are to be trusted, slightly diluting the death ray itself. But that's unlikely to be applicable often, and in any case it was only ever tried because the heroes couldn't have shields.)

    Would anti-projectile ECM be useful? For all we know, what we see is already proof positive that it would not. After all, torpedoes do find their targets - and we have no a priori reason to think this would be because there is no ECM. It's quite likely that torpedoes simply are immune to it at the time and age depicted.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  2. Samuel

    Samuel Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    ECM wouldn't matter on most Star Trek photon torpedoes because virtually all the time we see them used they are used as basically line of site unguided rockets and not as guided missiles. Of course vulnerability to ECM might explain why starships (of all powers) fly up to others at close range before launching torpedoes.

    In fact isn't Star Trek: The Undiscovered Country the ONLY time in Star Trek history we've seen a photon torpedo used as a "guided" missile?
     
  3. sciquest2525

    sciquest2525 Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    A secondary phaser CIWS would not require anywhere near the power of a main phaser. TOS did not take into account the sinking of the Israeli destroyer Eliat(?) in 1967-68 by small Egyptian missile boats firing four Soviet antiship missiles.
    Back then, ECM was the only defense against ASCMs besides shooting a missile from the modest number of ships equipped with SAMs.
    It became urgent to equip non missile ships with hard kill defenses with small and short ranged Sea Sparrow and to give all ships a gun based CIWS for last ditch defense.
    ST never read the memo.
    And 50 years went by.
    And ST didn't change.
    Ships also acquired organic helos that could find and kill submarines with sonar, sonobuoys and lightweight ASW torpedoes and later, the ability to attack surface ships with missiles and Russia has developed a shipborne attack helo.
    ST: Discovery finally showed shipborne attack craft being used in the form of the Klingon raiders. Attack craft shown in Nemeses were not launched by the Romulan enemy vessel.
    Northrup Grumman meanwhile has just patented a small antimissile CIWS for aircraft such as bombers and transports and perhaps fighters using small missiles to kill incoming missiles and fighters attempting a gun attack. Checkout thedrive.com/the-war-zone.
    ST didn't keep up with changing times in the real world,
     
  4. Tenacity

    Tenacity Commodore Commodore

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    Continuously re-fighting the battle of Trafalgar.

    At least The Wounded had two starships battling at 300,000 kilometres, at that distance the torpedoes would have had to of been remotely or self-guided.
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2017
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  5. Samuel

    Samuel Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I never said it would. But it would require some power and I'm assuming several would be required to guard several threat vectors. Note even relatively small warships like destroyers often have two CWIS while larger ships like carriers have three.
     
  6. Tenacity

    Tenacity Commodore Commodore

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    in addition to cwis'

    smaller short range photon torpedoes to take out larger incoming ship killer torpedoes

    equivalent to us navy rolling missiles, if there's time
     
  7. sciquest2525

    sciquest2525 Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Depends upon range and I feel the range and power outputs in the TNG Tech Manual are way too low.
    CIWS has to react very fast as an 1800 knot antiship missile can go through Phalanx's 3000 meter firing envelope in about 3 seconds.
    This needs to be fixed and ST needs to wakeup and smell the coffee.
     
  8. sciquest2525

    sciquest2525 Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Integrated Electric Power or IEP is seen as viable way for future ships to manage the demands of lasers, microwave and railgun weapons in that they allow power to be shunted to wherever the need is.
    A laser might need hundreds of kilowatts to a megawatt of power, large AESA radar arrays can consume megawatts and so can railguns. By putting all the ship's main and ship's service gas turbines into generators, the resulting power can be divided up as needed for radar, propulsion and weapons.
    ST has been using that idea for over 50 years as power is shunted to shields, phasers and propulsion as needed. It just needs to be formalized in the next writer's bible.
     
  9. ralfy

    ralfy Commander Red Shirt

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    Also, drone fighters and recon, robot sentries and patrols, caches and hidden outposts, etc.
     
  10. Ithekro

    Ithekro Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    All they really need is a long range precision shield emitter that can intercept things rather away from the ship when needed. Point defense shielding and creates say a two meter wide circle of energy to intercept or deflect incoming fire as a greater range than the explosive yield of a photon torpedo. Otherwise the normal shield grid works just fine.
     
  11. Matthew Raymond

    Matthew Raymond Captain Captain

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    Perhaps shield drones launched from the photon torpedo tubes like probes?
     
  12. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I don't see what's wrong with regular shields. They're just foolproof CIWS with constant 100% coverage - imagine a Phalanx shooting an infinite number of grenades in every direction at an infinite rate of fire but spending no ammo unless it hits something.

    "Adding" to that would merely detract from that.

    Not really. Torps must always be guided, i.e. doing lots of midcourse and terminal maneuvering, or else they would never hit anything - space is way too big for that.

    TOS never showed us much. But in "The Changeling", Kirk fires over his shoulder (listen to the dialogue on the bearing).

    TNG in turn is exceedingly visual. There, torps always fly funny paths; we basically never see a beeline.

    The real question here I guess is whether torps are self-guided or command-guided. I.e. TUC shows us a "sniffer", a "passively" self-homing projectile akin to an IR seeker missile. Are all other torps homing in "actively" (i.e. bombarding the target with sensor radiation of some sort), or "semi-actively (i.e. sniffing their way towards radiation coming from the mothership and bouncing from the target) or "commanded" (i.e. flying where mothership sensors tell them to go)?

    I'd bet on them being flexible enough to do all of that in optimal combinations. The only thing they cannot do is merely fly straight, because then they'd always miss: there's a minimum range for using torps (because of the blast), and at that range, a starship would be an utterly impossible target to hit by a mere ballistically flying cannonball.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
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  13. Samuel

    Samuel Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    ^ You have a point. Of course to me one of the visual flaws with TNG (and most of modern Trek) is their tendency to show ships encountering each other or engaged in combat in the same frame onscreen all the time. Of course this is completely ridiculous. Even in our current era of naval combat you would very rarely see ships within sight of each other engaged in combat.
     
  14. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    There was a reason why ships did exactly that back in the sailing age, though. Two reasons, really: guns couldn't hit anything farther off, and even if they did, they'd do no damage.

    This may well be true of Trek, too. ITRW, death rays suffer from attenuation according to the inverse square law. Phaser might have it even worse, necessitating closing in. Alas, there's never been explicit dialogue to the end of saying that distance weakens the beam - in the likes of "Balance of Terror", it just weakens the odds of hitting.

    And hitting should be really, really difficult in Trek, too. Even if your phaser beams move at warp sixty, an enemy more than a lightsecond away still can fly erratically and thus dodge, and will present a minuscule point target at any appreciable range. Would closing in alleviate the problems? It wouldn't affect the violence of maneuvering, but it would make the target bigger than a point, meaning the maneuvering would be in vain because the beam would hit you anyway.

    Which may be why violent maneuvering helps at visual ranges in ENT "Aenar", but is never attempted thereafter: Fed phaser aiming just climbed a basic threshold and is now unbeatable by maneuvering, so the enemy tries to open his range and the Feds try to close it. Except opening is futile if you want to fire back, so both choose to close.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
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  15. Matthew Raymond

    Matthew Raymond Captain Captain

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    Is it possible that photon torpedoes miss a lot in Trek because the shields of the target vessel are preventing a sensor lock?

    Or it could be that, at close range, they're simply coming out of the tubes too fast to adjust course at short range. Perhaps safeguards prevent the torpedoes from circling around and flying back in the direction of the ship, so once they pass their target, they detonate automatically in open space as a safety feature to prevent damage to the vessel that fired them.
     
  16. Tenacity

    Tenacity Commodore Commodore

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    The torpedo fired by the BOP at the Enterprise in Final Frontier (during the shuttle's "controled crash") was in serious need of a proximity fuse. It came within a few hundred metres of the ship's apparent unshielded fan tail.

    Even in the vacuum of space, detonating a block of antimater at that distance should have done some damage.
     
  17. Samuel

    Samuel Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    s

    That's quite possible. In "Tomorrow Is Yesterday" and "Assignment: Earth" both IIRC the ship is described as using its shields to avoid detection from the 20th century era radar systems. So its quite possible that the shields do have some type of "cloaking effect" even in the 23rd century.
     
  18. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    But do photon torpedoes "miss a lot"? It's pretty difficult to find misses other than against that Orion ship in "Journey to Babel", unless one counts Khan's apparent warning shot before the nebula and the excusable misses inside the nebula, or the few misses by NX-01 when she was damaged by the Expanse.

    I mean, yeah, cloaked ships are difficult to hit. But only cloaked ships. If your ECM leaves you visible, the torps still find their target. As they of course should if ECM is supposed to be stealth rather than active harassing, because the visual spectrum (and its neighborhood) is great for precise targeting against outer space and skipping it in stealth means you have no stealth.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  19. Matthew Raymond

    Matthew Raymond Captain Captain

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    Could be they're using their Crimson Force Field. That's know to disable photon torpedoes. ;)
     
  20. sciquest2525

    sciquest2525 Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    There were many real world developments that were missed by Trek in the last 50 years. USN vessels have their shuttle equivalents in the form of helos and perhaps, someday tilt rotor craft that can find and attack subs with small torpedoes and surface craft with laser guided rockets and Hellfire missiles. There might eventually be fitted with a larger missile to attack ships.
    So Trek has a number of shuttles that usually are not shown that have only self defense weapons and cannot be used offensively like a USN MH-60R fitted with an antiship missile.
    Russian has developed a naval variant of it's attack helicopter armed with such weapons.

    Here, real world developments went unnoticed by Trek productions. And the TNG D had many shuttles. But Discovery's Klingon have their raider small attack craft. Perhaps there is hope beyond fan created ships that carry the ST version of a Harrier or F-35B STOVL fighters.
    ECM causes a miss by degrading and confusing and decoying antiship missiles with chaff, radar noise, infrared and radar decoys.
    ESSM, RAM and rapid fire cannon attempt to kill an incoming missile with ESSM out to 30 miles and RAM out to 7.5 miles and Phalanx out to 3000 meters along with ECM/IRCM to form a layered defense with the final defense being the ability to accept damage and continue to fight with reduced capability.

    Redundant power supplies, tougher starship hulls, which in TOS Balance of Terror, withstood a nuclear explosion at 100 meters, practically touching the hull.

    So Trek must also make use of internal armored blast bulkheads with blast doors so a single penetrating hit does not destroy the interior.

    Discovery has shown ships taking considerable damage and still fighting.

    Conventional shields, SCM or sensor countermeasures, sensor decoys with false sensor images of the ship so enemy sensors would have to chose from several sensor images which one was the real target and not a decoy (submarines use decoys that sound and move like the real submarine to confuse enemy targeting) would form a defense strong enough that one hit, even with shields down would not be sufficient to kill a starship.

    It also appears that phasers and shields depend on capacitator type power supplies that are charged by reactor power so that can briefly put out more power than main reactors to counter topedoes and phaser strikes as shields are always listed as dropping from repeated strikes from 100% down through 50, 40, 30, 10 percent down to zero.

    USN will use pulsed power capacitors to store regular ship's generator power provided over minutes that are then release release to many megawatts for several bursts of laser, microwave or railgun round fired that are many times the ships power output and concentrated in a second or less and then capacitors need several seconds to recharge.

    TOS had some shield generators being destroyed from enemy fire in a least on battle that I remember, though it is a foggy memory.

    So, are shields using capacitors or are the shield generators being destroyed as their levels drop.
    For power, at least two MAM reactors and two powerful fusion reactors.

    I would recommend that people check out Dave Weber's Honourverse, where the problems of space combat, albeit very fast sublight speeds and tens of millions of kilometers or more ranges. ECM, laser CIWS and short ranged countermissiles are used in massive exchanges of long range missile fire since starships rarely get into energy ranges which are only a few million kilometers.