Point Offense YKTTW Discussion

Point Offense
Usually defensive weapons used for decidedly non-defensive purposes.
(permanent link) added: 2011-09-22 20:02:32 sponsor: alethiophile (last reply: 2011-10-08 10:27:34)

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There's Point Defenseless, which is where point defense weapons don't ever do anything, and then there's this. This is where a ship, plane, whatever has weapons usually designed to shoot down incoming threats, but uses them offensively instead. Makes a whole lot of sense, because a weapon that can reliably shoot down a missile coming at you at Mach 2 can sure as Hell take out a bunch of unarmored targets at close range. Usually used when the context is somehow unusual; in actual ship-to-ship combat, the point defense weapons are usually too puny to make a difference.


  • Under Siege. The Phalanx CIWS aboard the U.S.S. Missouri is normally used to destroy incoming missiles. In the movie it was used to shoot down a U.S. Navy jet that was flying near the ship.

  • In Snow Crash, the carrier that forms the heart of the Raft still has mounted point-defense Gatling guns, and they're used by the controllers to keep order.
  • Tragically in Honor Harrington; even though the pirate ship is under the guns of a warship at point-blank range, their point defense cannons still more than suffice to take out boarding craft, if the crew was feeling suicidal enough to piss off the warship. Pity one of the pirates was an idiot.

Live-Action TV
  • In the Babylon 5 episode, "Shattered Dreams", Sheridan uses the station's point defense systems to destroy attacking fighters and later to attack the Earthforce destroyer Roanoke (as seen here).

Tabletop RPG
  • Classic Traveller. Lasers and plasma/fusion guns can defend against incoming missiles, but they can also attack enemy ships.

Video Games
  • The point defense lasers on the Earthling Cruiser and the Chmmr Avatar in Star Control II will attack whatever is hostile within their range. They only do one point of damage per shot, but that's still sometimes enough to win, especially with the automatic firing.

Web Comics
  • In Schlock Mercenary, the point defense weapons aboard a suborned gunship are used to shoot the restraints off a friendly droid so as to allow him to free the rest of the crew; it uses crowd-control glue cannons to restrain the armored guards, and the guards comment that they're very glad that they didn't use the point defense cannons.
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