60 votes
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Why would a fighter have a weaker shield than a capital ship?

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, ...
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48 votes

Deep Space bomber - Best bomb against Interstellar warship that is kilometers long in size

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 ...
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42 votes
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Why is the Death Star laser red?

To make a statement. There is no real requirement for a laser to be red - in fact it is likely 'invisible' unless it shines through a gas or other medium that scatters the light. So perhaps the ...
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36 votes

Dogfights in outer space

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 ...
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36 votes

How do I justify short-range engagements in space?

Don't segment your battlefield into Cartesian space - then you can use a more "plot-friendly" scaling. Deep Space is 3D, and 3D doesn't transform into table top well (How would you hold the ...
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34 votes

Why would a fighter have a weaker shield than a capital ship?

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 ...
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31 votes
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How to protect your ship against TW-range lasers?

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 ...
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How do I justify short-range engagements in space?

Combat can be short-range if you change the goals of the fight: instead of it being about destroying the enemy ships, it's always about capture. Simply make it so that 99% of battles (missiles, lasers,...
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28 votes

On the feasibility of space battleships

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 ...
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27 votes

Why would a fighter have a weaker shield than a capital ship?

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 ...
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27 votes
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How would an energy-based "projectile" blow up a spaceship?

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 ...
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26 votes

What kinds of weapons produce little or no recoil that could be used aboard a spacestation?

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; ...
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Historical experience as a guide to warship design?

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 ...
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25 votes

Why would a fighter have a weaker shield than a capital ship?

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 ...
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23 votes

Why is the Death Star laser red?

Speak Softly and Carry a Big Stick. First off, you have to understand that the basic concept behind the Death Star is the same as with the KGS Bismarck and the (never completed) U.S.S. Montana; its a ...
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21 votes

How to protect your ship against TW-range lasers?

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 ...
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20 votes

How can gravity shielding be defeated?

Slapping aside a inbound projectile usually takes more energy than it took to accelerate it If you try to slap aside a projectile once it gets too close to your ship, it means you need to slap it ...
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19 votes

Deep Space bomber - Best bomb against Interstellar warship that is kilometers long in size

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 ...
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  • 191
19 votes

Dogfights in outer space

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 ...
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19 votes
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How Does Orbital Warfare Work?

A BRIEF SUMMARY (Visit the TOUGH SF & ATOMIC ROCKET websites far more information on realistic space warfare.) Since both ships are capable of performing ...
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17 votes

How would an energy-based "projectile" blow up a spaceship?

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 ...
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17 votes
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XO Commanding a cruiser

Would it be plausible for a XO to command a ship in battle while the CO is available? Having sailed MANY years under two military services I echo the common sentiment here. No, this is not plausible. ...
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17 votes

How Does Orbital Warfare Work?

There are some options that I can think of — Orbital velocity is about 10 km/s. The world is about 40,000 km in circumference. ISS orbits the whole thing in about 92 minutes. SO, one option would be ...
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16 votes

How to protect your ship against TW-range lasers?

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 ...
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15 votes

Deep Space bomber - Best bomb against Interstellar warship that is kilometers long in size

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 ...
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  • 13.3k
15 votes

How do I justify short-range engagements in space?

I'd go with powerful engines, heat management issues, and realistic plasma-based weapons. Powerful engines Your ability to hit something on the vast distances of space is your targeting capability ...
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14 votes

Making physical gunners preferred in space combat

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 ...
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  • 1,184
14 votes
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What formations would stellar capital ships use?

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 ...
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  • 704
14 votes

What kinds of weapons produce little or no recoil that could be used aboard a spacestation?

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 ...
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14 votes

Stopping a Planet Cracker?

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 ...
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