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Belisaurius Artisan of Auspicious Artifacts from Big Blue Nowhere Relationship Status: Having tea with Cthulhu
Artisan of Auspicious Artifacts
Aug 15th 2019 at 7:05:06 PM

Elementary my dear Jasaiga, even if you build a starbase as far from civilization as possible you're going to end up with a settlement nearby no matter what you do.

TuefelHundenIV Watchman of the Apocalypse from Wandering Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
Watchman of the Apocalypse
Aug 15th 2019 at 8:08:51 PM

Someone will find a way to put some form of entertainment or libbo attraction within the travel range of the locale. Though in some locations they may just incorporate those elements more directly as it makes it easier for troops to get to them and lets them exert some limited control over the goings-on.

It would really depend on the setting and the nature of the location you are ultimately asking about.

"Who watches the watchmen?"
DeMarquis Who Am I? from Hell, USA Relationship Status: Buried in snow, waiting for spring
Who Am I?
Aug 16th 2019 at 7:35:04 AM

"Genuinely perplexed as how any of the above relates to an interstellar military tbh. Like even remotely"

That was the point of my moon comment.

I do not compromise—I synthesize.
dvorak Cheeky Sulu from Directly behind you; masquerading as your shadow Relationship Status: Yes, I'm alone, but I'm alone and free
Cheeky Sulu
Aug 21st 2019 at 11:53:17 PM

Would it be worth it to have a missile that misses its target decelerate and become a mine? This is using a focused nuke/Xaser cluster.

Now everybody pat me on the back and tell me how clever I am.
Fighteer Geronimo! from the Time Vortex Relationship Status: Dancing with Captain Jack Harkness
Geronimo!
Aug 22nd 2019 at 5:49:06 AM

Consider what "decelerate" means in this case. All motion is relative, so its velocity is only relevant to whether it's heading where you want it to be. Slow it down or speed it up, it's still an explosive device floating through space.

Missiles are generally expected to be single-use weapons, so carrying extra fuel for post-miss maneuvering would seem to be an inefficient design choice.

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DeMarquis Who Am I? from Hell, USA Relationship Status: Buried in snow, waiting for spring
Who Am I?
Aug 22nd 2019 at 6:52:26 AM

If you're going to put that much extra fuel on it, call it a drone and bring it back.

I do not compromise—I synthesize.
TuefelHundenIV Watchman of the Apocalypse from Wandering Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
Watchman of the Apocalypse
Aug 22nd 2019 at 3:50:56 PM

Maybe? If it has enough to try a re-attack that would be better or if it has enough to halt its momentum, why not have it flip around and fire a shot.

"Who watches the watchmen?"
Fighteer Geronimo! from the Time Vortex Relationship Status: Dancing with Captain Jack Harkness
Geronimo!
Aug 22nd 2019 at 5:35:03 PM

If the missile has enough delta-V to attempt a second attack, that's fine, but then why would it decide to stop dead (relative to something) in order to become a mine? I suppose this could be the default setting for a missile that runs out of fuel: rather than going inert, it goes into proximity detonation mode. Of course, it'd need IFF capability or it'd be just as deadly to the people who fired it.

As with all technology, you are making a tradeoff: greater complexity against the potential for more efficient use of the weapon.

Edited by Fighteer on Aug 22nd 2019 at 8:58:25 AM

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dvorak Cheeky Sulu from Directly behind you; masquerading as your shadow Relationship Status: Yes, I'm alone, but I'm alone and free
Cheeky Sulu
Aug 22nd 2019 at 8:51:08 PM

Well see, if a missile will always hit and do lethal damage, there's no point in using anything else, and everyone will just crank out cruise missiles without using ships at all. Making it possible for a missile to make an absolute pig's ear of its mission preserves Rule of Fun. I wanted it to have a way to make sure the investment (the game is supposed to avert Easy Logistics) wasn't totally wasted when it did.

Now everybody pat me on the back and tell me how clever I am.
Aug 22nd 2019 at 11:32:45 PM

Not really, your missing other factors in the equation. Even if a missile always hits, if you have a gun that hits 99% of the time, the gun is an appealing option.

...

Bullets are cheaper.

dvorak Cheeky Sulu from Directly behind you; masquerading as your shadow Relationship Status: Yes, I'm alone, but I'm alone and free
Cheeky Sulu
Aug 22nd 2019 at 11:58:41 PM

Oh right. $2,000,000+ missile vs a lump of nickel/iron asteroid you had Timmy the Space Cadet smack with a hammer. I hadn't thought of that.

Edited by dvorak on Aug 23rd 2019 at 12:00:00 PM

Now everybody pat me on the back and tell me how clever I am.
EchoingSilence The Masked Commissar from Space Station Relationship Status: Robosexual
The Masked Commissar
Aug 23rd 2019 at 4:50:52 AM

Point defense will become vital, a good point defense net will invariably reduce a lot of damage.

FOR THE IMPERIUM Icon done by: Miss Cheese Ham
Aug 23rd 2019 at 5:04:51 AM

[up] I mean, any hit you take in space is going to be a lethal one. “Reduce damage” is kind of misleading, since you either avoid damage or you’re dead.

I think close-in weapons systems will look pretty different in space as well. I imagine the continuing trend towards missile-based CIWS will continue.

EchoingSilence The Masked Commissar from Space Station Relationship Status: Robosexual
The Masked Commissar
Aug 23rd 2019 at 5:15:31 AM

Shrapnel is still flying at you if the missile is blown apart is it not? Won't that still cause damage to a ship?

FOR THE IMPERIUM Icon done by: Miss Cheese Ham
Aug 23rd 2019 at 5:24:33 AM

[up] Why would you intercept a missile that close? Modern close-in weapon systems intercept at around 5km, making shrapnel a non-issue. Even in space where shrapnel would remain a danger at longer ranges there’d be no reason not to just intercept far enough out that there was no serious risk.

I’ll also point out that shrapnel probably wouldn’t be moving that fast compared to the ships.

Fighteer Geronimo! from the Time Vortex Relationship Status: Dancing with Captain Jack Harkness
Geronimo!
Aug 23rd 2019 at 6:23:04 AM

Any combat spacecraft would need protection against incidental strikes from debris and high-energy particles. Such shielding should be adequate to stop the diffuse shrapnel from a missile exploding at 5 km; if it's not, the ship has no business in combat to begin with. That said, there is no air to buffer or slow down said debris, which would be moving as fast as the missile. Hypervelocity (10+ km/s) missiles could do as much damage kinetically as they would explosively, and breaking them apart would only reduce the threat, not eliminate it. In some cases, that might even increase the threat.

Air to air missiles work primarily by detonating small charges that spray targets with shrapnel in order to destroy their control surfaces, rupture fuel tanks, and disable engines. In space combat, you could use similar tactics against soft targets, but the relative velocities are likely to be so great that chemical explosives are just too slow. The difference in velocity between target and weapon would be higher than the propagation speed of the explosive, meaning the shrapnel literally couldn't catch up. What would work in these cases is detonating them well in advance of their intercept point, creating conical clouds of hypervelocity shrapnel that literally shred the target and are impossible to defend against with CIWS.

Against hard targets, most missiles would probably be kinetic impactors, and those that aren't would either be penetrators with warheads designed to explode inside the target... or nukes, where close is usually good enough. You could also have exotic munitions like antimatter warheads, but that's way more sci-fi and definitely not achievable with near-future technology.

Much depends on the defensive capabilities of warships. Armor is heavy, and lugging it around significantly reduces range and acceleration. We can get away with it on naval vessels because the water holds everything up, but you don't see heavily armored aircraft for the same basic reason. In your world building, do you envision space battles being brawls between lumbering, heavily armored battleships, or ballets between fast, fragile craft? Is everyone a Mighty Glacier or a Fragile Speedster?

If every weapon is a one-hit kill, then Armor Is Useless and ships will rely on agility, countermeasures, and long-range interception to defeat enemies. If only the mightiest weapons can take down a battleship, then you will instead see everything focused around bringing these things into position to deliver maximum firepower to targets and fending off attempts to flank or disable them.

Edited by Fighteer on Aug 23rd 2019 at 9:47:10 AM

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dvorak Cheeky Sulu from Directly behind you; masquerading as your shadow Relationship Status: Yes, I'm alone, but I'm alone and free
Cheeky Sulu
Aug 23rd 2019 at 7:22:04 AM

Battles are slugfests between big, heavily armored ships. Fuel is too valuable to use on manouvres, so ships establish orbits and shoot at each other as they swing by, similar to Children Of A Dead Earth. Even a "fighter plane" is the size of an office building and has a crew of 10 people. Armor is made out of metamatrials designed to reduce weight while still having a lot of shatter/puncture resistance.

Now everybody pat me on the back and tell me how clever I am.
MajorTom Eye'm the cutest! Relationship Status: Barbecuing
Eye'm the cutest!
Aug 23rd 2019 at 7:24:34 AM

you don't see heavily armored aircraft for the same basic reason.

The big reason why armor doesn't catch on to planes the same way ships do is not that the water holds ships together, planes have to fight both gravity and air resistance. Two things that water-borne ships either don't really have to contend with or contend with the same way.

Also engine power just isn't there. It's entirely possible to make a plane with the same armor strength as an Iowa class battleship or an M1 Abrams main battle tank. The problem is getting it to fly and fly well.

But in space, you don't have those same issues, you're limited only by how heavy you want to build something and how much engine power you can throw behind it from an engineering perspective. Interplanetary/Interstellar spaceships may not ever need worry about aerodynamics after all.

"Allah may guide their bullets, but Jesus helps those who aim down the sights."
Fighteer Geronimo! from the Time Vortex Relationship Status: Dancing with Captain Jack Harkness
Geronimo!
Aug 23rd 2019 at 7:39:43 AM

[up] Armor is mass. Mass takes fuel to move. There is an inverse relationship between the total mass of your craft and how much total delta-V it can use. This is a simple fact of physics. Every kilogram you add to a ship means it has lower range and less maneuverability, and/or requires bigger fuel tanks to achieve the same range.

Much depends on engine technology. There are hard upper limits on how much delta-V you can achieve with chemical rockets no matter how efficiently you design them. As you move up the scale to atomic, fusion, antimatter, gravity (?), you can move more mass for less fuel, making this less of an issue, but it will still be an issue no matter how awesome our technology gets.

Edited by Fighteer on Aug 23rd 2019 at 10:42:42 AM

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dvorak Cheeky Sulu from Directly behind you; masquerading as your shadow Relationship Status: Yes, I'm alone, but I'm alone and free
Cheeky Sulu
Aug 23rd 2019 at 7:57:16 AM

Nuclear salt water to start off with, eventually fusion torch engines in the later stages.

Now everybody pat me on the back and tell me how clever I am.
Belisaurius Artisan of Auspicious Artifacts from Big Blue Nowhere Relationship Status: Having tea with Cthulhu
Artisan of Auspicious Artifacts
Aug 23rd 2019 at 8:15:53 AM

Fuel economy might explain a carrier-parasite setup with small ships doing most of the fighting while larger ships service and repair them.

Protection-wise, you really can't skimp on a thin layer of high temperature ceramics. No evasive maneuvers are going to save you from being picked off by a laser but even a thin, light weight layer of reflective ceramics should keep you from being fried. Other than that, you may want to emphasize internal damage control rather than armor. Spaceships don't sink so as long as you don't explode the crew should survive.

Fighteer Geronimo! from the Time Vortex Relationship Status: Dancing with Captain Jack Harkness
Geronimo!
Aug 23rd 2019 at 9:15:14 AM

They don't sink, but they do lose their internal atmosphere, which is generally suboptimal.

How you attack a warship will depend greatly on the technology, the construction, the balance between offense and defense, so it's really hard to give any specifics. The superficially critical functions of any combat vehicle are control, power, maneuvering, fuel, weapons, crew. All vehicles, no matter how advanced, have to make choices of protection vs usability for these functions. These choices then govern how you would go about attacking them. It's very hard to give specifics without more detail.

Edited by Fighteer on Aug 23rd 2019 at 12:41:19 PM

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dvorak Cheeky Sulu from Directly behind you; masquerading as your shadow Relationship Status: Yes, I'm alone, but I'm alone and free
Cheeky Sulu
Aug 23rd 2019 at 11:13:05 AM

  • Ships are heavily compartmentalized to prevent a single breach from sucking all the air out. Mostly for cruising, see below.
  • Crewmembers wear space suits at all times during combat, with central air in their seats plus an emergency tank.
  • Compartments are depressurized during combat so it's not wasted on breaches and to reduce shockwaves.
  • There are no deflector shields, only a network of electromagnets on the hull to cause particle ray and mass driver shots to veer wildly off course and hopefully miss.
  • Armor is built in a conical shape to take advantage of sloped armor and pointed in the direction of travel.

Edited by dvorak on Aug 23rd 2019 at 1:00:38 AM

Now everybody pat me on the back and tell me how clever I am.
DeMarquis Who Am I? from Hell, USA Relationship Status: Buried in snow, waiting for spring
Who Am I?
Aug 23rd 2019 at 1:37:48 PM

Spaceships wont sink, but if the atmosphere tanks are breached, the crew is living on borrowed time. If the power is knocked out, then it's a race to see which kills the crew faster: asphixiation or freezing. If the power is still on but the radiators are gone—then the crew gets cooked. Space suits will only last a few hours.

There are lots of ways to die in space.

Edited by DeMarquis on Aug 23rd 2019 at 4:38:54 AM

I do not compromise—I synthesize.
Belisaurius Artisan of Auspicious Artifacts from Big Blue Nowhere Relationship Status: Having tea with Cthulhu
Artisan of Auspicious Artifacts
Aug 26th 2019 at 1:03:30 PM

But all this takes a while. Unless you kept all your oxygen in one tank you're unlikely to loose all your breathable air and even then a good rebreather can give you 3 hours. Plenty of time to either escape or be rescued. In a pinch you could convert fuel oxidizer to oxygen and combine that with CO 2 scrubbers.

Space is an insulator so loosing all your heat might take days. Likewise, a reactor would SCRAM if the radiators failed and you'd still have a sizable charge in the capacitors. Residual heat might be a problem but you can open the hatches to radiate off excess heat.


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