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Honorverse Sensor Capability

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Honorverse Sensor Capability
Post by gmg2dave   » Wed Mar 01, 2017 10:45 am

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Hey folks, I've run across a kind of annoying post on another board about the capabilities of Honerverse sensor systems that bugged me. But after thinking about it, I'm not sure how to refute it, as I cannot recall any hard and fast explanation of what Honorverse long range sensors are, or how they operate. This is the argument that this gentleman put forward about Honerverse ships.

"HV lacks any way to track targets at long range if they lack a gravitic signature."

I do know that the Honerverse main sensor appears to be grav based, and that it does primarily detect the wedge of an opposing vessel. But I was always under the impression that this was purely done by using the passive sensors of the detecting ship. In other words, the grav array is picking up the wedge of another vessel without putting out any signal of it's own. So my question is this, what are the capabilities of the grav sensor on active mode, or does it even have an active mode, or what other sensor capabilities does an Honerverse ship have to detect an enemy vessel. I know that there has been mention of RADAR/Lidar being used, especially concerning Honor's actions while she was at Hades and how she should have been detected by those systems, but again, I'm not sure how capable those systems are compared to an active grav sensor if such a thing exists.

I know that for fire control they use a combination of RADAR/Lidar for close in support and that from what I understand, each mount has is own individual capabilities as far as tracking a target, but what kind of range would those systems have?

Basically, I'm trying to find a way to refute this guys claim of Honerverse ships being myopically incapable of detecting anything at long range with perhaps actual quotes from the books, but for the life of me, I have no idea where to even find anything in book about sensor capabilities. I've looked at the Pearls of Weber page, but didn't see anything there, so I'm hoping you guys can help me out here.

Thanks.
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Re: Honorverse Sensor Capability
Post by The E   » Wed Mar 01, 2017 11:13 am

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Grav sensors are passive only. There is no active mode for them.

Radar and Lidar are used at distances of just a few light seconds (read: in energy weapon firing range), beyond that, they become useless. Reason being that you only need high accuracy readings when you're actually trying to hit the enemy with energy weapons (which do require an insane amount of accuracy just to hit anything), for missiles, it is usually sufficient to get them near the target's wedge because then their on-board sensors take over.
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Re: Honorverse Sensor Capability
Post by kzt   » Wed Mar 01, 2017 11:45 am

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Yes, grav sensors are passive only. Active sectors are impacted by the inverse square law, so to spot a target at 10x range requires 100x emitted power. This becomes absurd fairly fast. However you can detect the emitter at vastly longer range than the emitter can detect returns from its active sensors. David has said that effective active sensors can detect missiles at a few million km.

Basically the way in the real world you spot objects with a power plant at many millions of km is by their thermal emissions. The background temp of the universe is a few degrees above absolute zero, so an object that is warm enough for people is hundreds of degrees above background and a running high energy power source is thousands of degees above background. These are not hard to spot at 10s of million of km range. For reasons of story David says they don't do this.

But this is a decent discussion of the real world:
http://www.projectrho.com/public_html/r ... detect.php
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Re: Honorverse Sensor Capability
Post by Theemile   » Wed Mar 01, 2017 11:58 am

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The E wrote:Grav sensors are passive only. There is no active mode for them.

Radar and Lidar are used at distances of just a few light seconds (read: in energy weapon firing range), beyond that, they become useless. Reason being that you only need high accuracy readings when you're actually trying to hit the enemy with energy weapons (which do require an insane amount of accuracy just to hit anything), for missiles, it is usually sufficient to get them near the target's wedge because then their on-board sensors take over.



Radar will undoubtedly work at longer ranges than a graser, but it becomes less useful for the same reason the energy based weapons are, the light speed lag. An object at the edge of single drive missile range is seen 60 seconds after the radar pulse is sent, and that Data is 30 seconds old. More importantly, due the the energy necessary to be able to detect items at that distance (and have the pulse be visible at anywhere you may be in 60 sec.), the radar pulse will actually tell the enemy more about you, than you about him.

Which leads to the 2nd most important Honorverse sensors, Optical, IR and EM passive sensors. Ships with fusion drives SHOULD light up in IR and be visible at a distance. We know ships are kept at ~300° K, which alone should stand out against the 7° background, let an one any IR given off by radiators cooling the fusion plants. While acceleration is normally done by the wedge, maneuvering (even changing the wedge's course) is done by fusion thrusters, which vent 10,000°k fusion plasma out the ship to push you along. So everytime you shift course, a miniature sun appears on the side if your ship, which SHOULD make you visible to anyone in the system. Your nav radar, which you should be using to make sure you don't run into the dinosaur killer in your path, or bump into a squadron mate, SHOULD be visible to everyone in the system.

Now, the Honorverse has stealth systems, which dump excess heat into the wedge, and mimic starfields to protect against optical detection. Also wedges partially obscure and diffuse any light passing through them, hiding thrusters and the ship's image. Newer radars are harder to detect, because they send a series of short pulses on a spread spectrum of frequencies.

However, passive sensors are still heavily used at long range, and HONOR'S maneuver, with no wedge to shield optics, or dump IR generating heat into, should gave been seen by anyone in the system.
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Re: Honorverse Sensor Capability
Post by Duckk   » Wed Mar 01, 2017 12:01 pm

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While acceleration is normally done by the wedge, maneuvering (even changing the wedge's course) is done by fusion thrusters, which vent 10,000°k fusion plasma out the ship to push you along. So everytime you shift course, a miniature sun appears on the side if your ship, which SHOULD make you visible to anyone in the system.


Unless you have a full bow- or sternwall up, maneuvering can be done by the wedge alone.
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Re: Honorverse Sensor Capability
Post by Jonathan_S   » Wed Mar 01, 2017 12:21 pm

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Duckk wrote:
While acceleration is normally done by the wedge, maneuvering (even changing the wedge's course) is done by fusion thrusters, which vent 10,000°k fusion plasma out the ship to push you along. So everytime you shift course, a miniature sun appears on the side if your ship, which SHOULD make you visible to anyone in the system.


Unless you have a full bow- or sternwall up, maneuvering can be done by the wedge alone.

Though I do seem to recall at least one instance, in an emergency maneuver, when fusion thrusters were used in conjunction with the wedge - to generate a faster turn angle than the wedge alone can manage.

(Turns under wedge do give the impression of being fairly leisurely affairs, close to two minutes to manage a 90 degree heading change; in even a nimble destroyer)



But in general yes, ships maneuver using their wedge. Fusion thrusters are primarily for wedge down handling.
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Re: Honorverse Sensor Capability
Post by Louis R   » Wed Mar 01, 2017 12:41 pm

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As usual, the answer is 'it depends'. In this case, on what your correspondent means by 'long range'. The longest-range detection we have textev for is 18,000,000km. Since that was with a DD-mounted system it's unlikely to be the max possible with the available tech, although you're not likely to see sustained efforts to operate at ranges like that unless someone is building a radar fence - looking for spider-drive ships, for example.

That said, I wouldn't expect any shipboard system to be capable of multiple lm ranges - the arrays just aren't going to be big enough. Static arrays would be, but until very recently I don't think anybody has had any reason to build them. I'd be a bit surprised if any exist at this point.

gmg2dave wrote:Hey folks, I've run across a kind of annoying post on another board about the capabilities of Honerverse sensor systems that bugged me. But after thinking about it, I'm not sure how to refute it, as I cannot recall any hard and fast explanation of what Honorverse long range sensors are, or how they operate. This is the argument that this gentleman put forward about Honerverse ships.

"HV lacks any way to track targets at long range if they lack a gravitic signature."

I do know that the Honerverse main sensor appears to be grav based, and that it does primarily detect the wedge of an opposing vessel. But I was always under the impression that this was purely done by using the passive sensors of the detecting ship. In other words, the grav array is picking up the wedge of another vessel without putting out any signal of it's own. So my question is this, what are the capabilities of the grav sensor on active mode, or does it even have an active mode, or what other sensor capabilities does an Honerverse ship have to detect an enemy vessel. I know that there has been mention of RADAR/Lidar being used, especially concerning Honor's actions while she was at Hades and how she should have been detected by those systems, but again, I'm not sure how capable those systems are compared to an active grav sensor if such a thing exists.

I know that for fire control they use a combination of RADAR/Lidar for close in support and that from what I understand, each mount has is own individual capabilities as far as tracking a target, but what kind of range would those systems have?

Basically, I'm trying to find a way to refute this guys claim of Honerverse ships being myopically incapable of detecting anything at long range with perhaps actual quotes from the books, but for the life of me, I have no idea where to even find anything in book about sensor capabilities. I've looked at the Pearls of Weber page, but didn't see anything there, so I'm hoping you guys can help me out here.

Thanks.
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Re: Honorverse Sensor Capability
Post by Weird Harold   » Wed Mar 01, 2017 12:53 pm

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gmg2dave wrote:Hey folks, I've run across a kind of annoying post on another board about the capabilities of Honerverse sensor systems that bugged me. But after thinking about it, I'm not sure how to refute it, as I cannot recall any hard and fast explanation of what Honorverse long range sensors are, or how they operate. This is the argument that this gentleman put forward about Honerverse ships.

"HV lacks any way to track targets at long range if they lack a gravitic signature."

...


In a way, your annoying poster is correct. The Honorverse does rely very heavily on gravtitic detectors. Honor took advantage of that fact in the Battle of Cerberus.

Since Gravitics are FTL, and every other known sensor is STL, Gravtics give a faster and more accurate range & bearing than anything else.

YAP is wrong that the Honorverse lacks any way to track targets at long range, though. Nearly every Honorverse star system is liberally laced with a deep-space sensor net that detect and report more detail than "Wedge Size and Strength" allowing for precise identification and targeting of anything inside a star's hyperlimit. The problem is that those sensor nets anywhere other than Manticoran allied space report STL and can be minutes or hours out of synch with the FTL range and bearing provided by gravitic sensors.

Grayson, post-alliance with FTL comm added to the sensor net:
Flag in Exile
Chapter Thirty wrote:
An alert bell rang, and the rear admiral who had the duty in Command Central looked up. His eyes found the blinking yellow light of a hyper footprint on the master plot, then moved automatically to the scheduled arrivals on System Control's status boards, and he grimaced as he found none listed. Great. Just great. Like himself, every other man in the vast command center had been glued to his HD before coming on duty. They'd all seen the traumatic events in the Conclave Chamber, and they'd been half-distracted by them, and now he had a whole damned unscheduled convoy to—

The yellow light code turned abruptly blood red as the FTL sensor net began to report, and the admiral's irritation was suddenly a thing of the past.


Grayson, pre-alliance without FTL comm:

“Tracking just picked up a hyper footprint right on the limit, Sir. We don’t have impeller confirmation yet, but I thought you’d want to know.”

“You thought correctly.” Yanakov switched off the reader and rose, twitched his blue tunic straight, and picked up his peaked cap. Lieutenant Andrews moved out of his way, then fell in beside and slightly behind him as he strode briskly towards Command Central.

The chatter of voices and old-fashioned impact printers met them as they stepped through the soundproofed door, and Yanakov hid a grimace, for the clattering printers were even more primitive than those the original colonists had brought from Old Earth. They did the job, but they were one more indication of how far Grayson’s technology had backslid. It wasn’t something that usually bothered the Admiral, but today wasn’t usual. That footprint almost had to be the Manticoran convoy, and his planet’s backwardness would be embarrassingly apparent to their visitors.

Crimson status lights caught his eye, and he nodded in satisfaction. Until they knew for certain that that footprint was the convoy, the Grayson Navy would assume it was a Masadan attack force. The unscheduled drill would do all hands good . . . and given the current levels of tension, Yanakov had no intention of taking any chances with his home world’s security.

Commodore Brentworth looked up as Yanakov crossed to him.
“Passive sensors just registered incoming impeller drives, Admiral,” he said briskly, and a light glowed on the master system display behind him. Tiny letters and numerals beside it detailed numbers and accelerations, and Yanakov grunted softly as he studied them.

“Numbers and formation match the Manticoran convoy, Sir. Of course, we only have them on gravitics now, not light-speed sensors. We won’t hear anything from the com for another eight minutes or so.”

“Understood, Walt.” Yanakov watched the board a moment longer, then glanced at his aide. “Alert my cutter for immediate liftoff, Jason, and inform Grayson I’ll be arriving aboard shortly.”

“Yes, Sir.” Andrews vanished, and Yanakov turned back to the board. Austin Grayson would be small and antiquated beside the Star Knight cruiser heading the Manticoran escort, but she was still the flagship of the Grayson Navy, and he would greet their guests from his flag deck, where he belonged.


TL;DR

The Honorverse does rely heavily on Gravitics, but that doesn't meant that STL sensors don't exist or that they can't track objects without a wedge. (at least as far as modern astronomers can track asteroids, comets and planets)
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Answers! I got lots of answers!

(Now if I could just find the right questions.)
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Re: Honorverse Sensor Capability
Post by pnakasone   » Wed Mar 01, 2017 4:20 pm

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IIRC they have said the weak link is the person monitoring the sensors not the sensors themselves. How well trained, experienced,and/or alert are they?
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Re: Honorverse Sensor Capability
Post by kzt   » Wed Mar 01, 2017 5:17 pm

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pnakasone wrote:IIRC they have said the weak link is the person monitoring the sensors not the sensors themselves. How well trained, experienced,and/or alert are they?

That's a BS plot excuse.

Computers don't get bored or go the the bathroom. All of this would be run by expert systems that know exactly what to look for and have literally hundreds of years of developement.
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