57

The key thing about a fighter is speed and agility, and fighters consequently need to be small and as light as possible. While you could build a small ship with large power generation capabilities, it would move and turn slowly compared with a more stripped-down fighter and would thus be vulnerable. If, OTOH, the shield is a perfect defense, then you ...


47

You need an Alcubierre Warp Missile. Let's take the theoretical route for this. Theoretically, as the missile goes into warp, the Alcubierre drive creates a bubble around the missile. The missile warps the fabric of spacetime as it travels to its destination (which should be set right in front of the target). The space behind the ship expands, the space in ...


34

To expand on Cort's comment. Propulsion in space is too costly and distances too great for a dogfight to happen. With modern tech, space combat is limited to more of an artillery duel between satellites that are on more or less fixed trajectories. If they start trying to move around too much they are going to just end up falling into the atmosphere or ...


31

Energy Dissipation across Surface Area The shield operates by absorbing the energies of impacts and then radiating that energy away across its surface as heat/radiation, similar in principle to how a bulletproof vest catches the kinetic energy of a bullet and spreads it across the wearer's whole torso. Consequently, the size of the shield itself has an ...


29

By not being there By far the best way to protect yourself from any direct line of sight firing weapon is to not be in line of sight. Options range from being behind a planet, asteroid or other large body, to not even being in the same solar system. This is where things like artillery, missiles and other "over the horizon" weapons systems come into play. ...


28

high volume black box non-reaction handwavium drive to power the whole thing. You actually solve your own problem right here. The biggest reason that a space battleship makes no sense under current or proposed technological limitations is because of the demands of reaction drives. More Mass to move = more reaction mass to move it. It's a tyrannical ...


27

A small generator in your backyard is enough to power your house, but that power plant is enough to power an entire city. The same can be applied to your ships. Your fighters aren't big enough to house proper full sized generators to supply your shield generators with the required power, while your capital ships can. Another consideration is that there is a ...


27

Wouldn't the surface of the spaceship absorbs all the energy from the pulse and burns? It might or might not absorb all of the energy, depending on what type of weapon is being considered (different wavelengths of laser light and different types of particle will have different properties). However, it won't burn in the sense you're probably thinking - the ...


26

In physics terms, most of your common projectile weapons damage through the application of kinetic energy. Since you're applying force to impart energy onto the projectile, you get the opposite force; that's the principle of recoil. So your options basically boil down to "use a weapon that doesn't rely on kinetic energy", "send the recoil to something other ...


26

I'm going to present a frame challenge here because there are a couple of really important factors that your question leads me to believe aren't getting proper consideration. First: The biggest reality check that almost everybody ignores when it comes to spacecraft design is that NOTHING is more important than mass. Earth-based vehicles of all types can ...


24

The capital ship doesn't have to have one big shield. It could have a lot of little ones, like bubble wrap. This would require some thinking about what happens when shields intersect each other or the ship itself. Say each small shield is the same radius as a fighter's shield. Perhaps the capital ship has somewhat less power per unit volume than the ...


21

mirror sounds like a Stupid Idea Why? You have an incoming energy flow due to the lasers being fired, then your only options are: Absorb it: this what would normally happen, turning your ships into a cloud of energized plasma Reflect it: make your ship really shiny, so that all the light is reflected back. Mind that, even though you might have a ...


18

A block of Iron, or whatever element you like, heck, even wood While this sounds like a rather stupid answer, i will still try to explain AND be short: The correctness of this answer depends on how fast your Bombers + your Cruiser can go. I here assume that they can go very fast, since we have ftl communication. I also assume that they can accelerate to ...


17

Can energy based projectile pierce through many layers of structure and blow up the engine totally disregard beer-lambert law? Give a look at this video showing the effect of a laser pulse on a droplet. You will see that first the laser vaporize/nebulize part of the droplet, like you can see in the frame below then the resulting shockwave actually deforms ...


17

The short answer is jerky and abrupt, but the longer answer is far more interesting... First of all, the preceding answers explain why fighter combat in space is really a bad idea; it's not an efficient use of propellants or fuels, and you're far better off doing what was done in naval warfare; focusing on a smaller number of larger ships with REALLY big, ...


15

According to Atomic Rockets, just keep your distance: http://www.projectrho.com/public_html/rocket/spacegunconvent.php Lasers need a focal point, and when speaking of space distances lasers have trouble keeping the beam coherent. You need increasingly large focussing arrays for larger lasers and longer distances. So staying at distance reduces the amount of ...


14

We could build the bomb with current tech There is no kill like overkill. We want to reduce diamond-double-lead to gas or plasma. How much? How about all of it. Take the largest ship. It has a surface of 28 km * 14 km * 8 km, times 15 meters. That is (28 km * 14 km * 2 + 14 km*8 km * 2 + 8 km * 28 km * 2) * 15 m = 2.2E13 liters. From http://www....


14

Lasers Cadence is right in that lasers do technically have a momentum from photon pressure, but how far have you ever been pushed by light? I have worked with industrial lasers - the kind that cuts through metal - and it's not an issue for those (i.e.: the framework they are assembled on is not built with recoil in mind). In fact, light, in general, having ...


14

Very good, ubiquitous surveillance systems. If a KKV is coming at you at 0.99c from a couple light years away, it will take a couple years and a few days to hit you. That's orders of magnitude more time than you need to: Calculate the trajectory for an interceptor KKV of your own with an app running on a 2010's smartphone. Pick a proper, prebuilt counter ...


14

Given the hostile environment in space, preparation for EMP equivalent events is a normal consideration. For example, when a massive CME hits, many satellites have to be rebooted. In short - EMP is a common enough natural event in space that it would be a temporary inconvenience to troops that they train for regularly, independent of it being weaponized. It ...


13

If you're willing to stretch your setting a bit, it could be because AIs have issues with shooting humans. Maybe they're all 3 laws compliant, because when they're not they have a disturbing tendency to go murderous (or maybe people are too scared of the possibility that they'll go murderous without the three laws to even let them try). Or maybe any AI smart ...


13

Combat formations are usually based on some or all of the following (inter-related) factors: Expected direction of the enemy Optimal firing arcs of the units in the formation Minimizing exposure to the enemy Often we have a decent idea of what direction the enemy will be coming from, so we position our units so that their optimal firing arcs are roughly in ...


13

There are multiple questions in this one question, so I'm tempted to close as "too broad", but I can answer one of your questions, so I'm going to: If I need energy and my reactor emits heat while creating something like electricity, why can't I simply surround my reactor with something like a mantle of solar sails, so I could harness the heat and ...


13

A taser would work. Short range, but pretty much no chance of overpenetration and the darts are low enough velocity that recoil shouldn't be an issue. Plus sometimes you want to capture someone. Future refinements could increase range/ capacity/ reliability/ lethality. Flashbangs would also probably be more effective as disorientation in a zero-g space ...


13

Historical experience is no guide at all if you are working in a new and unknown medium. To use an example, imagine asking a very knowledgeable officer in the 1700's how air combat might work. He might start with the assumption that air vehicles would be some sort of evolution of sailing warships. If he is really astute, he might consider that the newly ...


13

There are many parameters to take into consideration. Some historical evolution To make it really simple, the de facto standards of naval battles of the 18th and 19th Century died out because weapons became far too effective and the costs of such large-scaled battle was too huge. The WWI's Battle of Jutland is often considered the last of its kind. A ...


13

I'd like a way to justify having 100 meter long guns be able to throw out 1-ton projectiles at 30 km/s or better I don't understand your strange "tons", so lets use a nice easy measurement like a tonne. Your projectile will leave the barrel with a hefty $4.5*10^{11}$ joules of kinetic energy. If your coilgun only wastes 1% of that energy in heating the ...


12

Slow-moving asteroid must originate in target system. Moving any object at a speed much slower than the speed of light from another system would take thousands of years and make war as we know it meaningless. So, an enemy must scout a proper object, likely in target system's Kuiper belt, and direct it towards the inner planet. This process should take ...


12

Step 1: design your ships right. The soldier caste is 2 to 4m. If you make the hallways 2m maximum, which should be plenty for most and is more economical in a space ship anyway, then you hamper the mobility of the soldier caste that is subsequently forced to tear their way through the hallways instead of the people. Against the space worms you add objects ...


11

Humans can improvise under pressure. Computers can't. Imagine you're on the bridge of a large capital ship, traveling with an escort to a nearby star system. You're being deployed to provide support for a planet under siege by the enemy. On the way there, you run into several wings of fighters, which line of to make attacking runs. If they can take out your ...


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible