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Wormhole Assault: MA Style

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Re: Wormhole Assault: MA Style
Post by kzt   » Thu Jun 10, 2021 3:37 pm

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munroburton wrote:Don't forget that without an impeller wedge of its own, a spider vessel is vulnerable to collisions with other objects' wedges. The humblest countermissile out there, without even the Viper's modest payload or an old-fashioned nuke, can mince a spider ship into its constituent atoms simply by running over it.

To add insult to injury, the ramming missile isn't even destroyed in the process!

Active defenses such as raising its spherical sidewall or launching its own countermissiles can prevent that but every time they do, they have given away their locus. If they use point-defense lasers, that fix becomes very precise indeed.

I suspect the missile will mysteriously explode.

And I do wonder how you expect that a gamma ray laser being fired in hard vacuum will somehow provide localization. Can you clarify the mechanism?
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Re: Wormhole Assault: MA Style
Post by ThinksMarkedly   » Thu Jun 10, 2021 4:14 pm

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kzt wrote:I suspect the missile will mysteriously explode.

And I do wonder how you expect that a gamma ray laser being fired in hard vacuum will somehow provide localization. Can you clarify the mechanism?


It's not a hard vacuum. The interplanetary medium is a warm plasma with a density of 100 particles/cm³. That graser or PDL will excite a lot of particles, which will re-emit, scattering the beam into all directions and allowing detectors outside of the target to see it. Mind you the context here is that it's a missile, so it stands to reason that someone is looking very intently at that region of space, plus all the missiles around the exploding one that area scanning and transmitting back.

Even if they don't, the missiles exploding do help pinpoint the general location of where the ship is. It would be a much bigger volume, maybe up to a million km in radius, but every successive salvo that gets shot down shrinks the volume for the next one.
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Re: Wormhole Assault: MA Style
Post by munroburton   » Thu Jun 10, 2021 4:52 pm

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ThinksMarkedly wrote:
kzt wrote:I suspect the missile will mysteriously explode.

And I do wonder how you expect that a gamma ray laser being fired in hard vacuum will somehow provide localization. Can you clarify the mechanism?


It's not a hard vacuum. The interplanetary medium is a warm plasma with a density of 100 particles/cm³. That graser or PDL will excite a lot of particles, which will re-emit, scattering the beam into all directions and allowing detectors outside of the target to see it. Mind you the context here is that it's a missile, so it stands to reason that someone is looking very intently at that region of space, plus all the missiles around the exploding one that area scanning and transmitting back.

Even if they don't, the missiles exploding do help pinpoint the general location of where the ship is. It would be a much bigger volume, maybe up to a million km in radius, but every successive salvo that gets shot down shrinks the volume for the next one.


Effective PDLC range is only about 100,000km, maybe a bit less. If a missile blows up due to PDLC, that's the maximum distance the spider ship was from it.

They don't even need to map the PDLC fire; they just have to recognise that's what happened to their missile.
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Re: Wormhole Assault: MA Style
Post by Relax   » Thu Jun 10, 2021 7:36 pm

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Theemile wrote:
cthia wrote:But you're missing my point. The control missiles are fiendishly effective when targeting wedges. It does not have inherent sensors to detect the LD. Only the many(?) newly minted Manty platforms can do that.


Missile terminal acquisition is done via radar and lidar on missiles, not gravity waves. Missiles do not attack or sense wedges.

Yes, missiles have gravity sensors.
1) Appendix Picture in Storm from the Shadows and several pearls show/say they do
2) The sensors in question are "myopic" and very narrow beamed as opening AAC prologue makes clear among other places in several books.

The question is will said gravity sensors do any good in detecting/tracking a Lenny D
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Re: Wormhole Assault: MA Style
Post by Theemile   » Thu Jun 10, 2021 11:47 pm

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Relax wrote:Yes, missiles have gravity sensors.
1) Appendix Picture in Storm from the Shadows and several pearls show/say they do
2) The sensors in question are "myopic" and very narrow beamed as opening AAC prologue makes clear among other places in several books.

The question is will said gravity sensors do any good in detecting/tracking a Lenny D


Well, wrong I am then. But it is always good to find a new nugget of detail which was overlooked before.
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RFC said "refitting a Beowulfan SD to Manticoran standards would be just as difficult as refitting a standard SLN SD to those standards. In other words, it would be cheaper and faster to build new ships."
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Re: Wormhole Assault: MA Style
Post by Relax   » Sat Jun 12, 2021 3:50 pm

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Theemile wrote:
Well, wrong I am then. But it is always good to find a new nugget of detail which was overlooked before.

Well, you are not alone. I never thought they had gravitic sensors until SfTS either as DW always wrote the missiles as needing to be babied to the targets, losing lock, until onboard sensors took over about ~1Mkm from target etc and since main targeting systems on warships were gravitic sensors looking for wedges...
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Re: Wormhole Assault: MA Style
Post by cthia   » Sun Jun 13, 2021 7:35 am

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Nobody is more enamored with the MK23-E's abilities than I am. I once contemplated opening a thread about its hidden abilities way back in The Battle of Spindle thread when I posited lots of things that intuitively it should be able to handle, like ramming a warship after it has completed its task of leading all of its sheep to slaughter. But I don't think we should begin ascribing talents that are not native to it. Ramming should prove fatal for an LD at a command missile's terminal velocities.

Theemile wrote:The ACM uses the individual missile sensors as an array to sweep an area. So while one missile is myopic - a launch of 48 (1 set of 6 pods) with networked ACMs is more like a bee or Fly's eye, and much more able to search a spanse, with the ACM assigning a region for each missile to search, and coordinating the amalgamated output.

That is an ability that seems super intuitive. I posited this ability in the Battle of Spindle thread, before I was aware that the ability already existed. It is an incredible ability to be able to share consciousness which I think may be a shoo-in to win top prize of all the MK23-E's talents.

But, a "compound eye" view of "nothing" is still no better than nothing. At any rate, my ballast tanks may need adjusting again. The following is how I thought the system operates ...

cthia wrote:That is my point. The command missile and its brood of missiles has ALWAYS needed the mothership to get them "in the vicinity" of the target. At which point its autonomous program can kick in. Textev has always maintained the difficulty of a missile's job. Like seeing the world through the eye of a needle or something? But if the link is cut long before the salvo can even find the better part of its way, then the exercise is moot. And with not even a bright wedge to get its attention (whether the command missile uses the wedge to simply "identify" the target when it is lost or not) well, too bad.

ThinksMarkedly wrote:What do you mean by "get them in the vicinity of the target?" Obviously they need to be launched and preferably within 65 million km of the target. We know from the Battle of Manticore and Honor's later discussion with Tourville that 70-75 million km are perfectly feasible for an Apollo missile strike, but 150 million isn't. The limit is somewhere in the middle there. And those were with Keyhole II FTL control links.

Yes! I do mean that missiles have always been given the exact heading of the target upon launch. That bearing is usually determined by the enemy's big bright wedge. And missiles were ALWAYS guided to the target. Missiles always counted on the ship's guidance to get them in the vicinity of the targets until it is close enough that it can "lock on."

Jonathan's posts corroborates my assumption ...

Jonathan_S wrote:And older missiles needed a lot of hand holding to get to the point where their onboard sensors could solidly lock onto the target. MDMs had steadily been getting better at needing less (as their extended ranges forced designers to add better and better sensors and AI to them to compensate for the deteriorating fire control abilities at their extreme ranges. And ACMs took that a giant leap forward by linking the missiles sensors together and making the whole much more powerful than any part.

Now, the current generation of missiles do need less hand holding but they are still sheep which still need to be led to slaughter. They don't simply come out of launch tubes able to close on a target without additional help from the mothership, especially against a target which has initiated evasive maneuvers at extreme range. The closer the launch the less hand holding a missile needs because inherently, the distance a ship might move before impact is much shorter. But the missile has always needed course corrections to ensure that the target is found somewhere within its myopic field of view when it arrives. The MK23-E is very near sighted. I didn't know what its "prescription" is in its lenses, but it certainly isn't 20/20. I didn't know until now, that is, compliments of Relax's post. Thanks, btw, ...

Relax wrote:Well, you are not alone. I never thought they had gravitic sensors until SfTS either as DW always wrote the missiles as needing to be babied to the targets, losing lock, until onboard sensors took over about ~1Mkm from target etc and since main targeting systems on warships were gravitic sensors looking for wedges...

So, my point is that the missiles need to arrive on the scene with the target within 1Mkm, or their ability to share consciousness won't matter.

Which is kind of a weakness of the control missile. It can end up leading all missiles off course. The blind leading the blind.

IINM, textev also gave particulars that the control missiles radar is initially spread out over the heavens within its narrow field of view until it finds its target then it focuses (narrows) its beam to achieve and maintain a stronger lock. Dispersed radar should limit its range. But to what degree.

I also assumed the control missile used the wedge to identify a target, even if after the target is identified it actually uses the ship's hull(?) or something other to lock onto after it goes into autonomous mode. I also thought it uses the big bright wedge to help it reaquire after it has lost lock. Why not? There's a big bright light saying "Here I am!" Then it reaquires and locks on using its limited range radar.

ThinksMarkedly wrote:If you meant as giving them the first direction and then cutting control links, I give you the Battle of Spindle and the Battle of Beowulf, both cases of which the missiles struck home without control links FTL control links. In the former case, they were even launched without those links. And from the Battle of Hypatia, we know that pre-Apollo missiles, all the way to Mk14 LERM ones, are pretty deadly even without the regular light-speed control links. If anything, Manticore's missiles have broken with the centuries' worth of tradition that missiles needed hand-holding from the mothership all the way to target. It was a natural consequence and necessity of launching from 60 million km away instead of 9.

I wasn't aware of that ability if true. Was a GR drone involved feeding it coordinates? An MK23-E is not so myopic at all if it can simply be launched in the general direction and need no further updates. That would suggest the missile is very far sighted instead of near sighted. It can't be both.

ThinksMarkedly wrote:Haven's first MDMs had really poor accuracy when running on their third stage, which is why they compensated quality with quantity. It was Manticore that had the tech edge to make their missiles that much smarter. The Apollo missiles may have been revolutionary in having an FTL link, but they had proven their worth even without that link. The Silver Bullet was a minor annoyance during the attack on Beowulf.

Of course, because the use of a third stage implies a launch from extreme range. An extreme range launch implies that a ship can move quite a lot in the interim. Without updates, a missile should be as lost as a polar bear in the Amazon.

ThinksMarkedly wrote:That said, it's completely unknown whether any missile can target a stealthed LD from millions of km away... But the missile can continue going to where it had last been told to go before the telemetry was cut. Even in a 9-minute run, the LD can change its position by only 357,000 km, under emergency 250-gravity acceleration. So if the missiles get to where they expected the bogey to be, there's a good chance some missile groups will be near enough to burn through the stealth. And one shot landing may be sufficient to cripple the stealth.

Well, my vote is that a missile can't! If a warship cannot even see an LD from millions of kilometers away, it cannot give the missile its initial nudge.

Now, if somehow the LD does something to give up its position then the RMN can at least fire at it. I suppose this is the same scenario facing the SLN against Megan Petersen.

Exactly how did the SLN finally get her coordinates? (So it thought.)

Something else we must not forget. The details on the LD is scarce. The GA does not know its maximum acceleration, so all of its estimates of its speed and heading are going to be way off.

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: Wormhole Assault: MA Style
Post by cthia   » Sun Jun 13, 2021 8:21 am

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ThinksMarkedly wrote:
cthia wrote:I certainly concur. And hopefully the RMN will do just that, barring any inherent limitations. But the system will undoubtedly depend on its FTL communications.


Why? Missiles have had light-speed control links for a millennium at this point. They've worked fine for that long and they were very useful with the MDMs all the way until the Keyhole II came for Apollo. The Apollo Control Missile does have a regular lightspeed control link on its tail, otherwise Terekhov could never have guided his 12,000-missile attack on Crandall.

See what I mean? Guided! Missiles have to be guided to a point where they can function autonomously.

Yes, missiles were born with light speed control links, but if the GA has any hopes of maintaining its range advantage when localizing and firing on a Spider it will need its existing FTL capability. Why try to lay down new phone lines in an already cramped missile for communication when there is already cable laid. But as I said, the GA WILL NOT be able to target LDs at extreme range. I also proposed lots of wasted missiles until they learn this fact. It will be like the SLN chucking missiles at Megan all for naught.

As I said upstream, the low accel of the LD is not known. All estimates will undoubtedly be far to high, which will put all launches way off base.

ThinksMarkedly wrote:So even if the MAlign figures out a way to jam the FTL control links, there's no way to jam a laser control link short of interposing something between the sender and receiver. It will not be as effective -- we know that the ACM is much more effective with an FTL control link from the mother ship. It may not be sufficiently effective over a great distance, but I see absolutely no reason why a laser control link would fail at less than one light-minute (18 million km).

There are ways to scatter radar which would make it useless. Especially at range. From the net ...

Plasma stealth is a phenomenon proposed to use ionized gas, termed a plasma, to reduce RCS of vehicles. Interactions between electromagnetic radiation and ionized gas have been studied extensively for many purposes, including concealing vehicles from radar.

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: Wormhole Assault: MA Style
Post by Dauntless   » Sun Jun 13, 2021 9:52 am

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While I know of nothing that says missiles can't be blindfired generally speaking the RMN don't fire missiles unless they have a target.

so if the RMN is firing a missile at a LD (no matter the range) then , in theory, they have found something to lock on to, be that emissions/heat from the reactor, light bouncing of something it shouldn't or something to do with the spider drive.

now it could be the range will be lower i.e. 20 million k instead of the 60+ that they can do against more traditional ships but if a ship is confident enough of a target to fire at it, then then the LDs cover is blown and it is just a matter of time before it is destroyed.
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Re: Wormhole Assault: MA Style
Post by Jonathan_S   » Sun Jun 13, 2021 12:39 pm

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Dauntless wrote:While I know of nothing that says missiles can't be blindfired generally speaking the RMN don't fire missiles unless they have a target.

Though wasn't one exception when someone (I think maybe Michelle) used a single Apollo pod as an impromptu rapid reaction recon drone?
The pod got fired on suspicion in order to sweep its sensors through a given bit of space far more quickly than an Ghost Rider drone could get over there.

Still, you're right. Generally you don't launch until you've got a target.
cthia wrote:
ThinksMarkedly wrote:If you meant as giving them the first direction and then cutting control links, I give you the Battle of Spindle and the Battle of Beowulf, both cases of which the missiles struck home without control links FTL control links. In the former case, they were even launched without those links. And from the Battle of Hypatia, we know that pre-Apollo missiles, all the way to Mk14 LERM ones, are pretty deadly even without the regular light-speed control links. If anything, Manticore's missiles have broken with the centuries' worth of tradition that missiles needed hand-holding from the mothership all the way to target. It was a natural consequence and necessity of launching from 60 million km away instead of 9.

I wasn't aware of that ability if true. Was a GR drone involved feeding it coordinates? An MK23-E is not so myopic at all if it can simply be launched in the general direction and need no further updates. That would suggest the missile is very far sighted instead of near sighted. It can't be both.
I think you might have missed the key distinction. The Apollo missiles at Spindle, and Beowulf, weren't used without control links; they were used without FTL control links.
ACMs still contain normal light-speed control links; just like normal Mk23s, or any other missile. Those take very little space compared to the FTL transceiver and make a useful back-up system. (Though RFC played a bit of slight of hand when first introducing us to Apollo and held back the existence of that normal link until he could dramatically reveal it in action)

At Spindle the missiles were always intended to be radio/laser controlled; as there wasn't anything in the system with Keyhole II/FTL control fire control links. But using Apollo (as opposed to normal Mk23 pods) still gave the cruisers 2 significant advantages despite the lack of FTL. The first was the better AI on the ACM; so it makes the most out of the laggy fire control updates the cruisers can provides. The second was the multiplicative effect of the ACM. Each ACM took only a single fire control 'slot' of the cruisers; allowing the cruisers to control 8 times as many ECM/attack missiles than they could have if firing non-Apollo Mk23 pods.

At Beowulf they also had to launch without FTL control; because the Silver Bullets destroyed the Mycroft relay stations just before the missiles were launched and so took FTL out of the picture. They fell back on back-up light-speed control to program and launch the Apollo pods; but the range was so extreme they'd have quickly outrun the effective range of light-speed control links (and there probably weren't relays set up near the pods; but the lag would make it pointless at those ranges even if the signal could still reach the missiles). The text says the ACMs were without any fire control update for the last 11 minutes of their flight.
[The SLN BCs emerged out at 22.4 LM, about 403 million km, and didn't close the range that much before interception as they only heading inside the limit for 24 minutes or so before breaking away to escape. However the missiles were forward deployed so when they launched they were "only" 205.2 million km from the SLN BCs]

At that range you're looking at a roughly 23 minute flight for a Mk23 missile (with all but 9 of that a ballistic coast) - so that 11 minutes beyond update range is almost half the missiles' flight time and well over half their traveled distance (127 million km).

Uncompromising Honor wrote:Nineteen hundred Mark 23s broke through everything TF 790 had. Pinpoint precision couldn’t be expected at that velocity, especially with no telemetry updates in the last eleven minutes of their flight. But unlike anyone else’s missiles, the Mark 23-E control missile had been specifically designed to operate well beyond telemetry range—even FTL telemetry range—of any mothership. The Mark-23s were far more capable even than the SLN’s new Hastas, and each Mark 23-E in that salvo had formed a separate data sharing node, communicating all across the salvo, sharing the sensor data from its missiles’ sensors with all of the others and integrating all of that data into a coherent picture of the battlefield which more myopic missiles operating in isolation could never have matched.
The consequences were cataclysmic.
That single salvo, achieved over a 90% kill rate; just 37 out of 400+ survived. I think cataclysmic might be a bit of an understatement! And that was only 6000 missiles; so less than 15 missiles per BC - less than 3 pods to each target!!!

Yes the SLN defenses are relative crap - but I'm not sure that a classic Mk23 strike at even 70 million km could have achieved that against undefended targets! At that extreme range too many missiles would have simply gotten lost to, IMHO, have managed over 90% kills with that few missiles per target. Achieving that at nearly triple the range, and with less hand-holding, and without any updates for the last 127 million km, shows just how utterly revolutionary the ACM is for long ranged semi-autonomous fire.


(And shows why they need to build a Mk16E control missile; even though it couldn't use FTL control at all)
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