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Re: ?
Post by Brigade XO   » Wed Dec 16, 2020 9:04 am

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A KEW effectivly mimics a meteor or small asteroid hit on a planet- the only real difference is that there is guidance to get it from launch platform to target. No "explosive" warhead, just an impactor. I don't belive that by the time a KEW is entering an atmosphere, there is anything like an impeller wedge involved. It's a ballistic hit. Besides, if you ran a 100 ton Honorverse alloy projectile up to the relativistic speeds- say .7C that some of the Navy missle weapons reach in attack mode, you are going to do a whole lot of damage to any planetary environment. That presumes the KEW hold together long enough to hit the ground. And "close" does count.
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Re: ?
Post by cthia   » Thu Dec 17, 2020 6:52 am

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Brigade XO wrote:A KEW effectivly mimics a meteor or small asteroid hit on a planet- the only real difference is that there is guidance to get it from launch platform to target. No "explosive" warhead, just an impactor. I don't belive that by the time a KEW is entering an atmosphere, there is anything like an impeller wedge involved. It's a ballistic hit. Besides, if you ran a 100 ton Honorverse alloy projectile up to the relativistic speeds- say .7C that some of the Navy missle weapons reach in attack mode, you are going to do a whole lot of damage to any planetary environment. That presumes the KEW hold together long enough to hit the ground. And "close" does count.

Oftentimes I carry lots of baggage inside my posts. Many times it is from storyline itself, but just as often it hails from other pieces of sci-fi... books, the boobtube or even the big screen. In this discussion I admit, the thought of a navy possibly using dirty bombs comes from Fearless using nukes. Although those aren't dirty, I can't shake the fear that some navies may still have a few dirty bombs stockpiled, if they were ever used once upon a time. Even if they are simply unused old stock.

One of my brothers was in the Army. Actually, two of my brothers. I recall a conversation with one of them once, detailing how his unit was practicing with mortar rounds one day and nailing everything, then one day all of a sudden they couldn't hit the broad side of a barn. He said it was finally determined they were shooting much older rounds that had been stockpiled. There was a significant difference in the characteristics of the older rounds that threw them off target by a lot. I can't dismiss the possibility that the SL will still have ships stockpiled with older dirty bombs. Especially those ships in moth balls. And I've already stated whether or not I think they would use them if push comes to shove. Nor do I think the Masadans would have hesitated in the end to use dirty bombs if they had access to them and the opportunity.

Over in the "Eridani Edict Violation of the most Dismissive Kind" thread, I posited state of the art computers enabling a Malignant force that can get close enough to the planet to read the label on the Queen's corset to launch specially designed Kews that will only take out particular targets. Mount Royal Palace can be targeted by Kews designed to withstand entering a planet's atmosphere without disintegrating.

Since these Kews will be designed to take out specific targets, they can be very small projectiles that should be undetectable even if launched from larger distances.

I don't see why Kews launched from a Malignant ship - literally in orbit under stealth - have to be guided. The planet is revolving at a constant speed. In that same thread I posited the Malign developing computers that are very powerful behemoths capable of truly brute force calculations.

I can't remember, were the SL's Kews guided from orbit? Were the target's painted somehow?

Kews and kews = KEWS. I beg pardon.

Son, your mother says I have to hang you. Personally I don't think this is a capital offense. But if I don't hang you, she's gonna hang me and frankly, I'm not the one in trouble. —cthia's father. Incident in ? Axiom of Common Sense
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Re: ?
Post by Daryl   » Thu Dec 17, 2020 7:45 am

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Cthia. I do agree with you that older munitions have variable results.
I don't fully agree about the level of destructiveness involved in the Honorverse.
Several current Laws of Thermodynamics, particularly the Second, contradict Honorverse story points. Now, a similar distance in time back from now to the Honorverse median, eliminates electricity, gunpowder, steam power, nitroglycerine and nukes. Thus who knows what understanding of physics may be viable then?
People should do their sums (that in general I am too lazy to do), and realise that while radioactivity is not a nice thing to have, even a planetary bombardment with nukes would not significantly raise the overall levels of radioactivity.
During the cold war there was a cold blooded appraisal of the damage that could have been done by deliberately targeting nuclear power stations with nuclear missiles. Using multi megaton explosions to distribute many tons of fissionable materials was not a good thing.
Using KEWs to destroy major infrastructure makes much more sense than using nukes. After all you want to use the territory that you have "liberated".
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Re: ?
Post by ThinksMarkedly   » Thu Dec 17, 2020 8:05 am

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Agreed. There's no need to use nukes, especially fission nukes, unless you want to cause massive destruction. In space, those bombs may make sense but against a planetary target, they don't. Just drop rocks.

I also agree that the SLN may have stockpiles of older marks of their munitions, though I disagree that they are dirty bombs. Dirty bombs aren't "regular bombs that happen to produce some dirty." They are bombs whose main purpose is to spread the dirt in the form of radioactive nuclides that contaminate the biosphere. While the SLN may have some of those too, they won't be accidentally issued as simple, older marks of regular munitions to ships going to battle.

Not to mention that, given how much the FF appeared to be actually active, the SL may not have a lot of stockpiled planetary bombardment munitions...

Finally, while I disagree on a ship achieving parking orbit in stealth, there's nothing preventing it from firing from very far away. The planet's orbit and rotation is very well known, so a ship could fire an unguided projectile from a billion km away and still hit the target. The question is only that of detection: the further away, the bigger the possibility that it will be detected and intercepted. The countermeasure against this is to fire slowly and depend on the planet's gravity to accelerate on the final leg: anything falling into the planet will have at least escape velocity on impact, after all.
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Re: ?
Post by cthia   » Thu Dec 17, 2020 1:30 pm

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ThinksMarkedly wrote:Agreed. There's no need to use nukes, especially fission nukes, unless you want to cause massive destruction. In space, those bombs may make sense but against a planetary target, they don't. Just drop rocks.

I also agree that the SLN may have stockpiles of older marks of their munitions, though I disagree that they are dirty bombs. Dirty bombs aren't "regular bombs that happen to produce some dirty." They are bombs whose main purpose is to spread the dirt in the form of radioactive nuclides that contaminate the biosphere. While the SLN may have some of those too, they won't be accidentally issued as simple, older marks of regular munitions to ships going to battle.

Not to mention that, given how much the FF appeared to be actually active, the SL may not have a lot of stockpiled planetary bombardment munitions...

Finally, while I disagree on a ship achieving parking orbit in stealth, there's nothing preventing it from firing from very far away. The planet's orbit and rotation is very well known, so a ship could fire an unguided projectile from a billion km away and still hit the target. The question is only that of detection: the further away, the bigger the possibility that it will be detected and intercepted. The countermeasure against this is to fire slowly and depend on the planet's gravity to accelerate on the final leg: anything falling into the planet will have at least escape velocity on impact, after all.

Exactly! Fissionables when you want to cause massive destruction. We must not ALWAYS forget the "human element," again.

Plus, you must not discount the tactical situation that existed during the period of EE violations in the Honorverse. In the early diaspora weapons were limited. And any attempts to launch on a planet were not carried out with weapons that are as accurate as they are now. Early on in space based warfare, an opposing force may only succeed in putting one or two ballistic weapons dead on target. They would want them to be as disastrous as possible. The enemy may not always want to conquer, rather than exterminate. Or have the former as an option.

We shall continue to disagree on whether the LDs can invite themselves to dinner without being seen. That, IMO, has always been the difference between my claims that MA stealth is "a cut above." You and I both will be interested in how storyline will resolve our personal disagreements on that issue.

Did I say the planet was revolving, instead of rotating? I'll deny it.

Son, your mother says I have to hang you. Personally I don't think this is a capital offense. But if I don't hang you, she's gonna hang me and frankly, I'm not the one in trouble. —cthia's father. Incident in ? Axiom of Common Sense
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Re: ?
Post by Duckk   » Thu Dec 17, 2020 1:41 pm

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We have ICBMs today with a circular error probable of 100 meters. There’s no reason why weapons would be more inaccurate in the future, especially if you control the orbitals.
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Re: ?
Post by cthia   » Thu Dec 17, 2020 2:31 pm

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Duckk wrote:We have ICBMs today with a circular error probable of 100 meters. There’s no reason why weapons would be more inaccurate in the future, especially if you control the orbitals.

Duckk wrote:We have ICBMs today with a circular error probable of 100 meters. There’s no reason why weapons would be more inaccurate in the future, especially if you control the orbitals.

You failed to digest my post again Duckk. ICBMs are guided weapons. I was talking about the early days of chucking rocks at planets. And the early days of less accurate missiles - that were inaccurate because of the logistics of having to launch while under attack - from much further distances away. That is a far cry from launching a guided weapon on planet to another target on planet. Besides, our own military intelligence used to talk about the proposed inaccuracy of Soviet missiles during the Cold War. See the inaccuracy of North Korea's early missiles even now. Besides, even in the Honorverse, a missile intended for a ship can still strike a planet.

At any rate, ballistic attacks on planets from extreme range were inaccurate, certainly in the beginning of early spacefaring warfare. I'd think. I recall that the Masadans had to maneuver for an EE violation as well?

Son, your mother says I have to hang you. Personally I don't think this is a capital offense. But if I don't hang you, she's gonna hang me and frankly, I'm not the one in trouble. —cthia's father. Incident in ? Axiom of Common Sense
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Re: ?
Post by ThinksMarkedly   » Thu Dec 17, 2020 6:32 pm

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cthia wrote:You failed to digest my post again Duckk. ICBMs are guided weapons. I was talking about the early days of chucking rocks at planets. And the early days of less accurate missiles - that were inaccurate because of the logistics of having to launch while under attack - from much further distances away. That is a far cry from launching a guided weapon on planet to another target on planet. Besides, our own military intelligence used to talk about the proposed inaccuracy of Soviet missiles during the Cold War. See the inaccuracy of North Korea's early missiles even now. Besides, even in the Honorverse, a missile intended for a ship can still strike a planet.

At any rate, ballistic attacks on planets from extreme range were inaccurate, certainly in the beginning of early spacefaring warfare. I'd think. I recall that the Masadans had to maneuver for an EE violation as well?


A guided missile is useful when either your target is moving or when your launch isn't as precise. Against a planetary target, it's equivalent to not moving since you can just project forward where the target will be at the moment of impact. In fact, the uncertainty is the actual moment of impact, since the velocity imparted at launch and losses on the way due to solar wind and dust may add up. So I don't think that ballistic or guided munitions were unable to hit planetary targets from any position out of effective range of detection from the defenders, throughout HH universe history.

But these weren't stealth attacks. Those are a different story, since you must launch from much further out so the ship doing the launching isn't detected. The errors will accumulate.

Finally, back to the dirty bombs, the issue with them is that they have no other purpose than to be dirty bombs. It's not like you're using a boom mode missile as a dirty bomb. That imposes logistic problems in their use: first, someone must manufacture such bombs and they must either do it in secret or they must justify their existence, somehow. Second, you must carry them to target, which is volume and mass that wasn't available to other munitions and you don't want to fight yourself dry before reaching the target. Third, there's the delivery: if most planetary bombardment is done by way of KEW, you may not have the proper way of firing a bomb. You may need to toss it out of the shuttle bay and let it ignite rockets to go down to the planet (that may mean the bomb is less precise, but in this case that's not really a drawback).

All of those are surmountable, but they exist. And the point is that someone wanting to use a dirty bomb may be caught at the attempt before even deciding on where they want to use it.

PS: planets do revolve.
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Re: ?
Post by fallsfromtrees   » Thu Dec 17, 2020 9:40 pm

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I am sceptical about the accuracy of "fire and forget" from 1 billion miles away - without any mid course correction, an error of 1 second of arc means a miss of 771 km at the target- and that assumes that you have the speed of the projectile exactly correct and the exact distance. At a speed of 10% c (quoted in the books as the speed of the KEWs from LEO), the flight time for 1 Gkm is about 33,333 seconds. If the distance is off by 1% (not unreasonable for a craft in stealth, unable to use any ranging tech without being detected), the flight time is 33,666 seconds or about 333 seconds (5.5 minutes longer). In 5.5 minutes, the planet will rotate about 152 km - hardly a near miss.

The same calculations of error apply to the speed of the projectile, although that is more easily controlled for precisely - but as an example, if the speed is low by 0.1% (one tenth of a percent), the flight time will be 33,366 seconds (at exactly 1Gkm). That is only 33 seconds longer, and the miss distance is "only" 15km.

And this does not take into account solar wind, dust concentrations, and the gravitational influence of other bodies in the solar system.

Targeting from that far out with no mid course correction is extremely unlikely to be successful in targeting something as small as the palace on Manticore.
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Re: ?
Post by Duckk   » Fri Dec 18, 2020 5:46 am

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No one is launching from 1 billion miles away. That's the average distance from Earth to Saturn. That takes years to travel at merely interplanetary speeds, which makes it utterly useless as a tactical (or even strategic) weapon. And it massively increases the odds of someone detecting it long before it's a threat. And at relativistic speeds, one is inclined to ask how this weapon is launched without anyone knowing.
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