View unanswered posts | View active topics It is currently Sat Dec 16, 2017 9:00 am



Reply to topic  [ 22 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2
Which universes can Star Wars actually beat? 
Author Message
Site Admin

Joined: Mon Aug 14, 2006 8:26 pm
Posts: 2133
Reply with quote
Archinist wrote:
Enterprise E wrote:
From what I've see, Star Wars can definitely beat Firefly. Shields may give it an edge against B5, though the Minbari stealth and the firepower of the beam weapons and the nukes may be issues for capital ships, assuming later sources don't give them better feats. However, numbers seem to favor Star Wars so I think that they should be able to pull off a win, but it will not be without cost. If properly utilized, the 500 megaton nukes should inflict devastating damage to Star Wars fleets. Nukes will also be an issue for dealing with new Battlestar Galactica, however, numbers should tell the tale for Star Wars in that scenario. Also, while I know that BSG's 50 megaton nukes were used against planets, I can't remember if such warheads were ever used against the ships, themselves. If so, then Star Wars has problems unless the Death Star comes into play. If not, though, conventional weapons and ships should be enough given Star Wars's significant numerical advantage.


I haven't really kept up with Star Wars, but since when were their ships so pathetically weak? I thought they were more on the teraton + scale, where a standard star destroyer could survive a couple multi-teraton blasts from extremely fast-moving projectiles, not just big balls of nuclear fire.

Is there any reason why the star destroyers, now apparently vulnerable to nuclear bombs, could not just shoot them down from hundreds of kilometers away?

Sorry to see this post wasn't replied to. I'm guessing it languished in the moderation queue.

The AOTC:ICS and devotees of Curtis Saxton declared that Star Wars ships were teraton + scale. However, the preponderance of basically all other evidence outside of a few ICS books points, implicitly, towards an advanced-fusion level of raw power.

A few sources point towards "flying 20th century naval ships in space" levels of firepower, but for the most part, it's clear that Star Wars ships can and do use weapons in the modern-nuclear range routinely.

One of the most consistent elements within the Star Wars universe is that starfighters can threaten capital ships. Those starfighters don't have all that much power at their disposal, and for the most part, proton torpedoes don't appear to be more than kiloton-range fusion devices.

There's a lot of wild variation, because the Star Wars franchise has not been consistent. Neither is any other. The idea that Star Wars definitely involved teraton yields involved cherry-picking and a lot of questionable assumptions.

Directly on the topic of the thread, I would say that the Galactic Empire would be a pretty scary opponent for a lot of other fictional factions that use fusion power or something less sophisticated.


Wed Nov 29, 2017 1:28 am
Profile WWW
Admiral
User avatar

Joined: Sun Dec 03, 2006 11:58 am
Posts: 6861
Location: Paradise Mountain
Reply with quote
Jedi Master Spock wrote:
The AOTC:ICS and devotees of Curtis Saxton declared that Star Wars ships were teraton + scale. However, the preponderance of basically all other evidence outside of a few ICS books points, implicitly, towards an advanced-fusion level of raw power.


And in fact some sources did really provide direct figures. We had terajoules and kilojoules (perhaps delivered in the high hundreds at a fraction of a second, thus providing more power but I wouldn't much condone that considering the low power of bolts).
As for the fuel, the Empire had sort of super giga tankers that carried around, in spheres, a fuel used for starship that had nowhere the density claimed in the ICSes. This was taken from a WEG RPG booklet, which was EU-canonical back then.

Quote:
A few sources point towards "flying 20th century naval ships in space" levels of firepower, but for the most part, it's clear that Star Wars ships can and do use weapons in the modern-nuclear range routinely.


The problem with such a statement is that we actually have very little material such as "modern nuclear range". As a matter of fact, the most used nuclear type of weapon, if we take them for their radioactive nature, are depleted uranium shells.

It would seem that to make everybody happy, we'd have to settle on a middle ground such as the kiloton range: observed firepower seems to go for the lower end and even under that when capital ships slug it out, projections and calculations from core output to mass displacement and power production tech considered would point to the opposite, higher end.

And then one multiplies the output per bolt. That is, times the rate of fire which is indeed quite high, if only per tube, but considerable when all batteries are taken into account (some star destroyers' barrages are indeed dense).
So we actually find a total output that would match estimated power outputs, but wouldn't ascribe lunatic values to each bolt being fired from a main TL tube for example.

Quote:
One of the most consistent elements within the Star Wars universe is that starfighters can threaten capital ships. Those starfighters don't have all that much power at their disposal, and for the most part, proton torpedoes don't appear to be more than kiloton-range fusion devices.


Yep, but they have the literal power that bolts don't have, so they can stress shields and hulls far more violently than a 1 KT bolt. Plus they do carry some amount of material (the weapon's shell and other hardware plus the fuel) so that is also useful to some degree, although of course only what's in front of the warhead would matter most.

But then, one would just ask why we don't see more missiles being used.
Answers:

- Starships compensate by having weapon batteries cheaper and easier to power. One the battery is built and installed, the amount of hardware that's needed after that is only relevant to the cost of maintainance. The most expensive part in a turbolaser would be the fuel and the fragile small pieces. In an universe capable of using fusion, fuel is very easy to come by even if it has to be refined to meet the prerequisites of said hardware. Now, since portable fusion furnaces are easily found and since a fusion bomb is theoretically a fusion furnace turned unstable by design, they could be equally mass produced. But then one could compare the price of a modern sidewinder air-to-air missile with that of a simple howitzer that shoots dumb shells. If the later is good enough and, in fact, very good enough, then it would obviously become the default weapon system.
- Patents and greedy capitalism? It's easy to control the production of complex devices which can be used only once.
- "Laser" bolts are projectiles that move much, much faster and which can be fired in greater quantities. They must either be dodged or tanked. And their effective range is quite acceptable as far as engagement ranges go in SW. Missiles are slow, therefore can be intercepted at a distance; and swarms of missiles can be nuked off or eventually flaking kiloton bolts could achieve that same sweep-in-one-shot effect with proper "time fuses" integrated to the bolt's advanced structure.
- They may be easily jammed. OK, that would need to be explained though since droids are cheap dirty and can "see" through the visual IR spectrum but then perhaps ships used to have a mix of IR jamming and counterweapons in the form of ion grape-bombs, to cover a large area. Again, those counter measures wouldn't work against laser bolts.


Fri Dec 01, 2017 4:37 pm
Profile
Site Admin

Joined: Mon Aug 14, 2006 8:26 pm
Posts: 2133
Reply with quote
Mr. Oragahn wrote:
Jedi Master Spock wrote:
The AOTC:ICS and devotees of Curtis Saxton declared that Star Wars ships were teraton + scale. However, the preponderance of basically all other evidence outside of a few ICS books points, implicitly, towards an advanced-fusion level of raw power.


And in fact some sources did really provide direct figures. We had terajoules and kilojoules (perhaps delivered in the high hundreds at a fraction of a second, thus providing more power but I wouldn't much condone that considering the low power of bolts).
As for the fuel, the Empire had sort of super giga tankers that carried around, in spheres, a fuel used for starship that had nowhere the density claimed in the ICSes. This was taken from a WEG RPG booklet, which was EU-canonical back then.

Quote:
A few sources point towards "flying 20th century naval ships in space" levels of firepower, but for the most part, it's clear that Star Wars ships can and do use weapons in the modern-nuclear range routinely.


The problem with such a statement is that we actually have very little material such as "modern nuclear range". As a matter of fact, the most used nuclear type of weapon, if we take them for their radioactive nature, are depleted uranium shells.

It would seem that to make everybody happy, we'd have to settle on a middle ground such as the kiloton range: observed firepower seems to go for the lower end and even under that when capital ships slug it out, projections and calculations from core output to mass displacement and power production tech considered would point to the opposite, higher end.

And then one multiplies the output per bolt. That is, times the rate of fire which is indeed quite high, if only per tube, but considerable when all batteries are taken into account (some star destroyers' barrages are indeed dense).
So we actually find a total output that would match estimated power outputs, but wouldn't ascribe lunatic values to each bolt being fired from a main TL tube for example.

Quote:
One of the most consistent elements within the Star Wars universe is that starfighters can threaten capital ships. Those starfighters don't have all that much power at their disposal, and for the most part, proton torpedoes don't appear to be more than kiloton-range fusion devices.


Yep, but they have the literal power that bolts don't have, so they can stress shields and hulls far more violently than a 1 KT bolt. Plus they do carry some amount of material (the weapon's shell and other hardware plus the fuel) so that is also useful to some degree, although of course only what's in front of the warhead would matter most.

But then, one would just ask why we don't see more missiles being used.
Answers:

- Starships compensate by having weapon batteries cheaper and easier to power. One the battery is built and installed, the amount of hardware that's needed after that is only relevant to the cost of maintainance. The most expensive part in a turbolaser would be the fuel and the fragile small pieces. In an universe capable of using fusion, fuel is very easy to come by even if it has to be refined to meet the prerequisites of said hardware. Now, since portable fusion furnaces are easily found and since a fusion bomb is theoretically a fusion furnace turned unstable by design, they could be equally mass produced. But then one could compare the price of a modern sidewinder air-to-air missile with that of a simple howitzer that shoots dumb shells. If the later is good enough and, in fact, very good enough, then it would obviously become the default weapon system.
- Patents and greedy capitalism? It's easy to control the production of complex devices which can be used only once.
- "Laser" bolts are projectiles that move much, much faster and which can be fired in greater quantities. They must either be dodged or tanked. And their effective range is quite acceptable as far as engagement ranges go in SW. Missiles are slow, therefore can be intercepted at a distance; and swarms of missiles can be nuked off or eventually flaking kiloton bolts could achieve that same sweep-in-one-shot effect with proper "time fuses" integrated to the bolt's advanced structure.
- They may be easily jammed. OK, that would need to be explained though since droids are cheap dirty and can "see" through the visual IR spectrum but then perhaps ships used to have a mix of IR jamming and counterweapons in the form of ion grape-bombs, to cover a large area. Again, those counter measures wouldn't work against laser bolts.

There's a lot to consider.

I think you're right that it may be an economic issue. Turbolaser bolts are cheap, loads of torpedoes are expensive.

Interception and jamming could be an issue. Usually, when we see capital ships attacked by missiles, it's from comparatively close range; guns (of any kind) usually have longer effective ranges the larger they are and the larger the target they're being fired at.

They also require separate storage areas, and premature detonation may be a real issue as well.

To some degree, it's seemed like the Empire is wedded to comparatively inefficient ship-to-ship combat philosophies for political reasons. Good fighters and bombers seem to be much more efficient (if prone to Jedi shenanigans), and for that matter, the EU consistently shows larger warships as being just plain less efficient at fighting per unit size (although they may function to some degree as effective logistical bases).

It's either a political issue, a force concentration doctrine issue, or a desire to have units that can operate in isolation for long periods of time - whatever it is, the Empire seems to want to invest in really large ships even if they're inefficient, and then scrambles to fill in the gaps in their escorting screens and customs patrols with a minimum possible investment in smaller cheap ships and escorts. (Strike cruisers, for example, are said to be designed to be extremely economical, as are of course TIE fighters.)

Perhaps the Empire figures that something the size of a Star Destroyer will never mutiny.


Sun Dec 03, 2017 12:11 am
Profile WWW
Admiral
User avatar

Joined: Sun Dec 03, 2006 11:58 am
Posts: 6861
Location: Paradise Mountain
Reply with quote
It's problematic to vouch for an explanation that would be so Empire-centric when in reality this conundrum spans all known official and canonical history of Star Wars.
Therefore, whereas a doctrinal or political explanation could work for a specific case only, an atemporal cause on the other hand, such as a technical or economical one, would be better.

It is true that there seems to be a lack of scaling of weapon systems in accordance to an increase in starship sizes. Big ships don't seem to come with big guns at all.
Logically, one would expect behemoth guns on the largest ships; such as a few volleys from these guns would absolutely cripple in short order any ship that's two thirds smaller.
It's possible that the turbolaser technology, itself being an enhancement of the "laser" technology, hit a ceiling at some point in development and that's about it.
It seems to have been barely breached, with very few exceptions such as the formidable twin pieces fitted between the forward wing-mandibles of the CIS Munificient frigates.
But these ships seemed to be such glass cannons that smaller vessels could threaten them.

The problem of missile storage is a good point and although not exactly relevant to missiles per se, the case of the Invisible Hand being struck in an area full of ammunition canisters perfectly highlights that problem.
On the other hand, fusion warheads have no reason to be dangerous at all until primed for detonation: the amount of firepower delivering both temperature and pressure inside a sensible area of a warship would be so vast in order to trigger a chain reaction of fusion explosions that it would probably be already powerful enough on its own to dramatically cripple any warship.


Sun Dec 03, 2017 7:18 pm
Profile
Site Admin

Joined: Mon Aug 14, 2006 8:26 pm
Posts: 2133
Reply with quote
Mr. Oragahn wrote:
It's problematic to vouch for an explanation that would be so Empire-centric when in reality this conundrum spans all known official and canonical history of Star Wars.

I'm not so sure.

The Empire seems to be an outlier in terms of its investment in very large purpose-built warships.

The CIS used some repurposed freighters that were larger than ISDs, because they were converted bulk freighters. In spite of the immense pressure to use large capital ships imposed by their command and control requirements (very small number of living officers allowed to make major decisions), the purpose-built warships they used were mostly smaller. (E.g., Banking Clan Frigate, Commerce Guild Destroyer - all have much smaller displacement than the Venator.)

The earlier Republic ships (even if we include the Victory class Star Destroyer in that number) are also much smaller than ISDs. The Venator is basically the largest non-unique Clone Wars era purpose-built warship class, and it's less than a quarter of the displacement of the ISD... and that's with it being the direct predecessor in design lineage to the Imperial ships, possibly built with an eye towards the future Imperial military doctrine.

The MC80 Mon Calamari cruiser is supposedly repurposed from a civilian design ... and represents a much smaller share of the New Republic's fleet ... and are still only around the same size as the Venators. In the later time era EU, a 1040m Star Destroyer gets to be the "biggest" in a New Republic military modernization program.

The other Star Wars factions also seem to invest much more in smaller ships relative to their capital ships. In particular, you can see that in the much heavier and hyperspace-capable fighters at the extreme end, but everybody else seems to rely on smaller ships much more.

At that level, it's much easier to justify it in terms of logistical requirements. Obviously, there's a minimum size for a long-range "cruiser" type of warship that can perform long-term missions independently (and support its own fighter escorts logistically).

Now, it could be that the reason the Empire invests in such warships is that they expect to be carrying out the galactic equivalent of siege warfare, and so they need logistical overkill. Personally, I like the mutiny explanation - Biggs Darklighter defected from the Empire, after all, and Palpatine strikes me as the sort to be concerned about the potential for mass defections.


Wed Dec 06, 2017 4:42 am
Profile WWW
Admiral
User avatar

Joined: Sun Dec 03, 2006 11:58 am
Posts: 6861
Location: Paradise Mountain
Reply with quote
Jedi Master Spock wrote:
Mr. Oragahn wrote:
It's problematic to vouch for an explanation that would be so Empire-centric when in reality this conundrum spans all known official and canonical history of Star Wars.

I'm not so sure.

The Empire seems to be an outlier in terms of its investment in very large purpose-built warships.

The CIS used some repurposed freighters that were larger than ISDs, because they were converted bulk freighters. In spite of the immense pressure to use large capital ships imposed by their command and control requirements (very small number of living officers allowed to make major decisions), the purpose-built warships they used were mostly smaller. (E.g., Banking Clan Frigate, Commerce Guild Destroyer - all have much smaller displacement than the Venator.)

The earlier Republic ships (even if we include the Victory class Star Destroyer in that number) are also much smaller than ISDs. The Venator is basically the largest non-unique Clone Wars era purpose-built warship class, and it's less than a quarter of the displacement of the ISD... and that's with it being the direct predecessor in design lineage to the Imperial ships, possibly built with an eye towards the future Imperial military doctrine.

The MC80 Mon Calamari cruiser is supposedly repurposed from a civilian design ... and represents a much smaller share of the New Republic's fleet ... and are still only around the same size as the Venators. In the later time era EU, a 1040m Star Destroyer gets to be the "biggest" in a New Republic military modernization program.

The other Star Wars factions also seem to invest much more in smaller ships relative to their capital ships. In particular, you can see that in the much heavier and hyperspace-capable fighters at the extreme end, but everybody else seems to rely on smaller ships much more.

At that level, it's much easier to justify it in terms of logistical requirements. Obviously, there's a minimum size for a long-range "cruiser" type of warship that can perform long-term missions independently (and support its own fighter escorts logistically).

Now, it could be that the reason the Empire invests in such warships is that they expect to be carrying out the galactic equivalent of siege warfare, and so they need logistical overkill. Personally, I like the mutiny explanation - Biggs Darklighter defected from the Empire, after all, and Palpatine strikes me as the sort to be concerned about the potential for mass defections.


On that we agree, there's definitely a fondness for plus size starships (and battle stations) in the Empire — but I was thinking about the near exclusive use of turbolaser and laser cannons issue.
One may say the CIS was really cutting corners on weaponry expenditure and many other things, like droid quality very subpar to the point of being utterly criminal, especially in light of the droid k-2so and its superior marks"man"ship.
But then only the big freighters, as you pointed out, proved to be odd ships and clearly super carriers before anything else.

Yet when in comes to ground and atmospheric units, we find that the CIS employed the wheeled droids which came in two variants, one sporting racks of missiles exclusively. On the other side, the Republic used the LAATs which also made ample use of missiles.
Even droid fighters and all sorts of Rebel fighters are seen using missiles and bombs. Same for TIE-bombers.

Why warships don't use them is all the more puzzling.
Yes, we know, it's WWII, but even then they already made use of torpedoes and even submarines.
The obsession for laser weapons is therefore odd.


Fri Dec 08, 2017 5:52 pm
Profile
Admiral
User avatar

Joined: Sun Dec 03, 2006 11:58 am
Posts: 6861
Location: Paradise Mountain
Reply with quote
The topic of over-reliance on beam weapons for large warships dovetails into the larger topic of SW warfare doctrine.

As usual, crafts armed with missiles and capable of hurting large crafts in a few volleys and strafing runs give a huge advantage to carriers against old-style warships.
However, the management of a whole fleet of small bombers and their own escorts forces the carrier-ships to cover all the logistical needs on their own unless they belong to extensive naval groups and long resupply chains, all of which multiplying their own respective needs for protection by escort ships, so on and so forth.
So the moment a government puts a finger into the carried doctrine, it soon finds itself encouraged to make the carriers bigger and autonmous for long deep space missions.

It's either that or focusing on typically small size battlecruisers, so small that they actually come in large quantities as redundancies within flotillas or large fleets.
So much that whereas one single efficient bomber could perhaps threaten an entire carrier or even a large battleship, the same bomber couldn't engage all the smaller battlecruisers. These ships would also have a mix of both anti-fighter defenses and heavy guns.

Since WWII and beyond, the threat of a single wayward torpedo is something not to scoff at.
Not so much in SW where warships are well armoured and shielded, and because of fighting in space and not on water or within water, can afford being hit many more times: there's no risk of sinking or breaking because of pressure.

Another crucial factor that explains why SW ships can't completely forget the old battleship paradigm is that whilst fighters and bombers would offer greater range and minimize risks by projecting firepower over greater distance, this is completely circumvented by the ability to come out of hyperspace almost ontop of your target. Therefore it is absolutely impossible to rely on tissue-paper carriers. They have to be jacks of all trades.

That and the fact that laser and turbolaser cannons shoot projetiles that cover great distances much faster than starfighters and their missiles can hope to challenge.
For example, the refinement, improvement of reliability and reduction of size of the railgun or above all the coilgun technology in future times may very well allow for small size battleships to return, but they'll probably need to be flanked by a good array of escort ships equipped with very long range AA missiles and measures against submarines too (unless they're mad stealthy like the DDG-1000).
Plus such ships would be benefiting from carrying large radar systems which would obviously surpass anything assaulting multi-purpose fighters could cast ahead of themselves on their own capacity.

Back to SW; Only the rebels' multipurpose starfighters and their own hyperdrives allowed them to use raid-like guerilla tactics in space against any target, although such methods would prove limited against fortified stations against which such fighters were no match.

In a movie like Rogue One, one cannot ignore the fact that missiles always were shot at a very close distance of their target and always in a dumb mode fashion.
This even was observed back in The Phantom Menace.

Only engagements between small targets, either on the ground or in space (Slave-1 vs Jedi starfighter or what's seen in ROTS's battle) allow for the use of missiles which are guided.
It's quite implied that larger structures can cast enough of disturbances against the missiles' sensors so as to render them useless in long range guided firing.

This, however, does not explain why the missiles wouldn't rely on visual-spectrum guidance coupled to quite basic AI. Mass production of droids of all sorts proves that optical sensors would be cheap as dirty too and target recognition by shape and memorization by AI would be very easy to come by.
The complete lack of use of flares is conspicuous and hard to explain. Of course, why use any when the weapon that would be thwarted by such defensive measures isn't even used in space battles to begin with? Who knows.


Fri Dec 15, 2017 11:25 pm
Profile
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Reply to topic   [ 22 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
cron
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group
Designed by ST Software.