# High Mobility Mechs in space

So all of the Mecha fans here in WBSO have finally concluded that tanks are far superior (bipedal, quadrupedal or any other Mechs realistically). So, I think the area that is safe (for now) is SPACE

Mechs can carry loads of weapons in space, and can use its legs for added manuverability. Humanoid mechs can use its feet to boost a jump from a surface which a tank cannot do (YEY)

But the problem is, its biggest rival yet... Aircraft.

So I'm thinking of speed, a very large jetpack attached to a Mech for high mobility that should exceed 180KM/H in space. The Jetpack would have a big booster in the middle, with four mini boosters on each side, and one medium boosters in the top and also in the bottom. The Jetpack and the Mech are nuclear powered.

Both Mechs and Aircraft have the same weapons we have today, but limited to missiles because I thinki missiles are the only weapons that can be used in space, yet. (If there are other weapons, I think both of them can equip it)

Can this be a viable high mobility weapon? that can realistically outmatch any other weapons in space?

• Mach measures should generally not be used in spacr, because speeds like Mach 1, 2, 3 etc. are not fixed values. They depend on some parameters from the environment. Aircraft in space will lack air, so they would be more like targetpracticecraft. As for mechas, unless you are boarding someone else's ship, the legs would be useless. – Renan May 17 '18 at 0:48
• @Renan Missed that one, how do we measure speed in space? I think Light years is not good right? Kilometers still? – Mr.J May 17 '18 at 0:50
• So all of the Mecha fans here in WBSO have finally concluded that tanks are far superior We tried everything. High gravity, low gravity, two legs, four legs, eight legs, all just as impractical. I guess it's finally time to accept that Mechatanks just aren't realistic. – Sydney Sleeper May 17 '18 at 1:17
• @Mr.J meters or kilometers per second is a good enough measure for interplanetary flight. Otherwise, fractions of the speed of light. – Renan May 17 '18 at 2:56

The problem ultimately comes back to mass. If you can build a 'viable' combat platform that has arms and legs, and internalizes a large power source, someone else can and will use that same power source to build a missile (or a drone) that makes your platform too easy to lose and too expensive to field in mass combat. The less massive unit with the same power source and a big warhead will be cheaper to design, build and operate.

The fictions that utilize mecha almost universally handwave the existence and necessity of the mecha themselves. Battletech simply takes them as the de facto ultimate weapon without ever justifying superiority in a robust way, because the rule of cool wins everytime.

If you want mecha, have mecha. If you want them to be immune to missile fire in a way that no other platform can equip, handwave that. If you want them to be impossibly large or fast so that conventional missile combat is meaningless, handwave that. But there will be handwaving, so have fun with it.

• And I thought I won something for the mecha fans here. Cant handwave something, I want to find a somehow viable field where mecha can be dominant. – Mr.J May 17 '18 at 1:19
• And keep trying. Keep thinking critically. It's a great thing to be able to do. But remember two things - every problem has multiple solutions, and the specific solution is almost always better than trying to solve the general case. Mecha could be a general case solution to some interesting problems in variable terrain combat, and their loadouts could be swapped quickly, but missiles and high velocity artillery are the specific solution to mecha (and anything else armored that you need to stop RIGHT NOW.) – Sean Boddy May 17 '18 at 5:09

The issue with mecha is they are a suboptimal solution for everything. If you are conducting air combat, then the extra mass of arms, legs and articulation units which are not even engaged until landing degrades aircraft performance. On the ground, the extra mass of wings, turbine or rocket engines for flight and so on is just in the way and detracting from the amount of mass which can be devoted for ground combat.

By analogy, a flying mecha devoted to air and ground combat would be like going into battle in a C-17 with an M-1 Abrams in the cargo hold, while expecting to dogfight enemy MiG-29 fighters en route.

Dogfighting in a C-17 won't go well for you

On the ground, a more realistic analogy would be a soldier fighting a battle while carrying his rucksack on his back and carrying his footlocker at the same time.

He won't be moving very fast until he drops the extra gear

A mecha in the vacuum of space will encounter the same difficulties when engaged against enemy spacecraft in orbit, or engaging specialized forces on the ground. If fact, it is even worse, since on most moons and asteroids there is no atmosphere, so spacecraft could continue to target you on the ground using massive spaceship sized weapons (like coilguns capable of launching projectiles at orbital velocity or Ravening Beam of Death [RBoD] lasers capable of vapourizing metal, ceramic and carbon fibre in milliseconds at a distance of one light second (300,000 km). You evade the space defences only to become a glowing cloud of plasma on the ground as an orbiting Death Star finds your range.....

Have Sting, a proposed coilgun space weapon from the 1980's. The Space Shuttle gives you a comparison for size. Illustration by Scott Lowther

Mechs are a cool story idea, but not a realistic solution

Remember my answer to your previous question? "KISS: Keep It Simple, Stupid!" Now think about how a ballerina spins, extending or pulling in legs and arms.

A mech in space would be the most complicated to fly, most error-prone object possible. I'd aim my weapons at its legs, because any impact is going to throw the mech off course. Why? Because I have leverage to spread or move a not-rigidly-placed thruster. And then there's all those joints that just make everything more complicated and easier to break.

And, of course, there's all the space lost to allowing arms and legs to move. You have to armor the inside of a leg, the underside of arms, and the sides of the torso.

And, of course, the pilot is most likely in the head, a completely exposed location. Remember that there's only so much G-force a pilot can take before blacking out, so building a vehicle that can out-fly the pilot isn't a good use of money (a hard lesson learned from the F-16 fighter, which could outfly its pilots and had to have extra navigation to keep the pilot from succumbing during flight).

Ideal shapes for real spacecraft are spheres and cylinders because of efficient use of space and ease of control. Best of all, the pilot can be at the center where they're protected.

As I said before, if you want mechs in your story, then you simply need to declare it so. You'll never be able to justify a mech as superior to any less complicated solution already in existence.

BTW, that "jump" to help boost them into space that you believe is valuable? It's not. On Earth you need to be moving 7 miles-per-second to escape gravity. Compared to the energy needed to accelerate an armored object to escape velocity, the jump is irrelevant. But it does look cool.

Ok maybe not mechs, but exosuits. Powered limbs, pressurized suit, armored protection, comms, manueveraibility via jets placed on the feet and back. The suit would have to be large though so a 1.8 meter person would probably bulk to about 2.5 to 3 meters or so (rough estimate based on eyeballing existing spacesuits). They'd be armed with grappling hooks they can throw, mini-rockets (careful of that recoil) and maybe a knife or two for close combat. Not sure how much damage they can do to a medium to heavy armored station, base or craft though since arming themselves with heavy missiles might be too cumbersome and problematic given space's physics. Mines and explosives though may be feasible.

Anyway, point is, you can use exosuits and they can look more mecha if you want and if they have specialized roles then you can alter their look and feel too.