Topic Actions

Topic Search

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 12 guests

?

Join us in talking discussing all things Honor, including (but not limited to) tactics, favorite characters, and book discussions.
Re: ?
Post by cthia   » Mon Jun 14, 2021 9:05 am

cthia
Fleet Admiral

Posts: 13536
Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2014 1:10 pm

ThinksMarkedly wrote:
Jonathan_S wrote:OTOH we're led to believe the LD is a pod-layer (in additional to being able to internally launch graser torps) - so there seems little reason for it to spend much time towing pods around in the first place. It can just keep them on its pod rails and thus fully protected by all the fancy stealth mechanisms it's equipped with until just before it's ready to launch.


Actually, pod layers do want to roll pods and keep them tractored, then chaind, for a massive alpha launch. That's what Honor did and Kuzak failed to do at the Battle of Manticore.

And from the earliest pods back in SVW, no one saw them towed. Maybe at the time no one was looking. And maybe with an active impeller, the signal-to-noise is incredibly bad, so you can't see the tractors (like a flashlight with the Sun as a backdrop). But I really think the tractors themselves are not detectable at any reasonable distance.

But as I said, the pods themselves may be. As you said, the MAlign wouldn't want to fit the pods with first-class stealth technology, since it's hella expensive and because the pods are being disposed of. The chance that an enemy could get their hands on some expended pods is too high. So a pod that is feeding power to the missile capacitors, can it be detected at a range?

Please also note that an answer "yes" also implies that system defence pod shoals can be detected at a distance. So an invader can make a surveillance map of where those pods are located before attempting to invade. If they have some area denial weapon that could detonate those pods, they're half-way to conquering the system.

I have never understood why tractors aren't visible. If these things are powerful enough to drag LACs through hyper, it seems that they would burn very bright. Of course, I never understood how ships can actually hyper and manage to hold onto something it is towing. Honor had that massive alpha launch tractored to the hull while she performed two jumps? David's compensation field actually works. It compensates for a lot of disbelief. At least it is reasonable.

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
Top
Re: ?
Post by cthia   » Sat Sep 11, 2021 1:26 am

cthia
Fleet Admiral

Posts: 13536
Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2014 1:10 pm

tlb wrote:I believe that the only one that has gone from Malign to GA is the streak drive principle (not yet reduced to RMN practice).

There is only rudimentary knowledge of the nanite assassin technology in the GA (no cure nor test, except to watch the infected person die)..

The only ones that have gone the other way are the principles of Mycroft and Mistletoe; where the idea of the latter was used to create the Silver Bullets that destroyed the former at Beowulf.

The multi-drive missiles of the GA can only be approximated.

Something is a-bugging me.

First, is it written in stone that the MAlign used knowledge of either to develop the Silver Bullets, instead of having been developing the Silver Bullets all along?

Second, don't Mycroft and Mistletoe operate with wedges, which should make them far faster than the Silver Bullets? How do the Silver Bullets stalk something which is moving much faster? Also, both are supposed to be very stealthy, so does that mean the MA is immune to GA stealth?

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
Top
Re: ?
Post by tlb   » Sat Sep 11, 2021 7:26 am

tlb
Admiral

Posts: 2086
Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2012 11:34 am

tlb wrote:I believe that the only one that has gone from Malign to GA is the streak drive principle (not yet reduced to RMN practice).

There is only rudimentary knowledge of the nanite assassin technology in the GA (no cure nor test, except to watch the infected person die)..

The only ones that have gone the other way are the principles of Mycroft and Mistletoe; where the idea of the latter was used to create the Silver Bullets that destroyed the former at Beowulf.

The multi-drive missiles of the GA can only be approximated.

cthia wrote:Something is a-bugging me.

First, is it written in stone that the MAlign used knowledge of either to develop the Silver Bullets, instead of having been developing the Silver Bullets all along?

Second, don't Mycroft and Mistletoe operate with wedges, which should make them far faster than the Silver Bullets? How do the Silver Bullets stalk something which is moving much faster? Also, both are supposed to be very stealthy, so does that mean the MA is immune to GA stealth?

It is clear in the story that once Mycroft is emplaced, then it is next to stationary (the same was true of Moriarty). So all the Silver Bullets needed was a general area to begin, which was refined by homing in on the test and startup chatter of the system. When silent Mycroft could not be found, but it needed to commincate to be effective.
Top
Re: ?
Post by cthia   » Sat Sep 11, 2021 8:09 am

cthia
Fleet Admiral

Posts: 13536
Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2014 1:10 pm

tlb wrote:
tlb wrote:I believe that the only one that has gone from Malign to GA is the streak drive principle (not yet reduced to RMN practice).

There is only rudimentary knowledge of the nanite assassin technology in the GA (no cure nor test, except to watch the infected person die)..

The only ones that have gone the other way are the principles of Mycroft and Mistletoe; where the idea of the latter was used to create the Silver Bullets that destroyed the former at Beowulf.

The multi-drive missiles of the GA can only be approximated.

cthia wrote:Something is a-bugging me.

First, is it written in stone that the MAlign used knowledge of either to develop the Silver Bullets, instead of having been developing the Silver Bullets all along?

Second, don't Mycroft and Mistletoe operate with wedges, which should make them far faster than the Silver Bullets? How do the Silver Bullets stalk something which is moving much faster? Also, both are supposed to be very stealthy, so does that mean the MA is immune to GA stealth?

It is clear in the story that once Mycroft is emplaced, then it is next to stationary (the same was true of Moriarty). So all the Silver Bullets needed was a general area to begin, which was refined by homing in on the test and startup chatter of the system. When silent Mycroft could not be found, but it needed to commincate to be effective.

Thanks for surfacing to answer that. After being deployed, I suppose they are dead in the water (no pun intended) as Manticore's buoys, which are distributed all around the system.

But what I don't understand is - in the case of the comm buoys - the buoys pass their signal off to the closest buoys like cellphone towers. I thought Mycroft was simply a network of a few platforms. And since their coverage would be so limited they would have to be mobile once deployed because of their increasing range from the fleet. I suppose they keep station via thrusters, and platforms constantly firing thrusters may be detected. As Honor stated at Ceberrus that her thrusters could be detected if firing against the backdrop of the sun? Albeit, Honor was concerned with extended burns.

At any rate, I don't see how a fire control platform would be effective out of range of the fleet. And if they are virtually immobile like the comm buoys then they must be as heavily seeded throughout the system to be effective.

Which is pretty much the same density as I suggested the MA could seed Darius with energy platforms.

So, to remain effective, I thought the platforms had to have significant propulsion to cover the entire system (since they are system defense platforms) or any ship using them would have to fire while they are close to them.

My wiki informant says there are only several dozen platforms. To cover the expanse of the entire system?

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
Top
Re: ?
Post by Jonathan_S   » Sat Sep 11, 2021 11:28 am

Jonathan_S
Fleet Admiral

Posts: 7071
Joined: Fri Jun 24, 2011 2:01 pm
Location: Virginia, USA

cthia wrote:Something is a-bugging me.

First, is it written in stone that the MAlign used knowledge of either to develop the Silver Bullets, instead of having been developing the Silver Bullets all along?

Second, don't Mycroft and Mistletoe operate with wedges, which should make them far faster than the Silver Bullets? How do the Silver Bullets stalk something which is moving much faster? Also, both are supposed to be very stealthy, so does that mean the MA is immune to GA stealth?
[edit - It is written in stone that they were aware of those]
There seems to be some confusion on names and purposes - so let me be a bit pedantic and start by reminding everyone of what each of these are.

Moriarty - the original Havenite system-level dispersed sensor and fire control relay system; allowing god-awful numbers of pods to be (more or less) controlled.
Mycroft - the Grand Alliance upgrade, adding Keyhole II style FTL fire control links and sensor relaying to the concept. Matched with Apollo system defense missiles probably at least an order of magnitude more lethal that Moriarty.
Mistletoe - Manticore's armed recon drones using "strapped on" laserhead or contact nuke warheads on stealthy (but impeller powered) long endurance Ghost Rider RDs.
Silver Bullet - The MAlign's long endurance spider-drive propelled armed recon drone (apparently a cousin of their Graser Torp)

Mistletoe was, in large part, Manticore's response to Moriarty. By inserting the drones before battle they were able to hunt down vulnerable points in the dispersed network. In its first use tat was the stealthy, but vulnerable, central fire control station. (Decapitating the system before launch largely neutralized the missile threat to the RMN fleet, despite all those missile pods still being in existence). Later, they used larger numbers of the drones to hunt down the missile pod shoals themselves. First use was at Lovat, around 18 months before the Silver Bullet use at Beowulf.

I hadn't recalled it, but after initially posting this I was searching through Uncompromising Honor to see if it said how many Mycroft platforms existed at Beowulf and found a scene were Daniel Detwiler is getting briefed on the existence of Mycroft ; specifically calling it out as an upgraded version of Haven's Moriarty, to which Manticore had adding their Apollo FTL fire control. The scene concludes with
Uncompromising Honor pg 114/511 RTF ebook wrote:“Exactly. And there’s also some information on that chip that I got Benjamin’s people to pull up for me—a fairly detailed description of something the Manties came up with against Moriarty. They called it ‘Mistletoe,’ and Benjamin thinks that might be a good starting point for some of that brainstorming you mentioned a few minutes ago.”

So clearly the MAlign was aware of all three systems before they started figuring out how to counter Mycroft.

However, like Mistletoe was a fairly minor modification to existing long endurance drones (Ghost Rider RDs) Silver Bullet seems to be only a somewhat more extensive modification to the MAligns existing long endurance Graser Torp drones -- so in both cases the R&D needed to make the derivative should have been fairly minor (and hence quick)

So they were clearly aware of the existence of Mycroft -- that it was an FTL link based system defense network -- because their Silver Bullets were specifically hunting for its relays by their occasional FTL system-check transmissions.
And the Silver Bullets were only hunting those relay stations, which are (as far as we know) just passively orbiting the star. There's no reason for them to be moving around - so the spider based Silver Bullets would have no trouble getting close once they'd identified them.

The Silver Bullets would be incapable of chasing down a Mistletoe drone - but also have no need to do so; Mistletoes are offensive weapons, not some system defense to be cleared out by Silver Bullet.



Now, as far as we know, the MAlign lacks the FTL signaling/fire control technology to actually duplicate Mycroft, despite being aware aware of it. (Whether of not they've built a light-speed based system, along the lines of Moriarty, anywhere is an open question though)
Top
Re: ?
Post by Jonathan_S   » Sat Sep 11, 2021 12:14 pm

Jonathan_S
Fleet Admiral

Posts: 7071
Joined: Fri Jun 24, 2011 2:01 pm
Location: Virginia, USA

cthia wrote:At any rate, I don't see how a fire control platform would be effective out of range of the fleet. And if they are virtually immobile like the comm buoys then they must be as heavily seeded throughout the system to be effective.

Which is pretty much the same density as I suggested the MA could seed Darius with energy platforms.

So, to remain effective, I thought the platforms had to have significant propulsion to cover the entire system (since they are system defense platforms) or any ship using them would have to fire while they are close to them.

My wiki informant says there are only several dozen platforms. To cover the expanse of the entire system?

AFAIK the books haven't specifically said how many platforms make up a Mycroft constellation. But from crunching the numbers (yes, yes, I know. You dislike 'taking a sliderule to your books') that actually seems like it might be an overestimate on the part of whoever contributed that text to the wiki.

A Mycroft relay can fully control missiles out to about 5 LM (nearly 90 million km). (While an energy platform is effective within, at best, half a million km) At, say, 7 LM apart (so there's overlap) you'd technically only need about 10 Mycroft platforms to cover the entire volume with the hyper limit of a typical star (22 LM radius); so "a couple dozen" would be a fair bit of redundancy. (Getting the same basic coverage with your energy platforms would require about 157,000.
And while a single Mycroft within range is deadly because it can FTL control tens of thousands of Apollo missiles, a single energy platform within range is unlikely to be deadly to anything larger than a destroyer)


And at that hypothetical 7 LM separation none of the Mycroft platforms needs to move an inch to hit any enemy that crosses within the hyper limit. Their vast range, compared to the portion of the star system that's within the hyper limit, means they don't need to be flying around rapidly trying to get coverage.

(Now you'd need many, many, more platforms if you were also trying to cover the outer system. But there's no point in trying to do that; it's too much empty space, and the enemy can just hyper back out to evade your missiles unless you've got some close enough that their entire flight time is within the recharge and/or cycle time of the enemy's hyper generators)
Last edited by Jonathan_S on Sat Sep 11, 2021 5:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Top
Re: ?
Post by cthia   » Sat Sep 11, 2021 3:46 pm

cthia
Fleet Admiral

Posts: 13536
Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2014 1:10 pm

Jonathan_S wrote:
cthia wrote:At any rate, I don't see how a fire control platform would be effective out of range of the fleet. And if they are virtually immobile like the comm buoys then they must be as heavily seeded throughout the system to be effective.

Which is pretty much the same density as I suggested the MA could seed Darius with energy platforms.

So, to remain effective, I thought the platforms had to have significant propulsion to cover the entire system (since they are system defense platforms) or any ship using them would have to fire while they are close to them.

My wiki informant says there are only several dozen platforms. To cover the expanse of the entire system?

AFAIK the books haven't specifically said how many platforms make up a Mycroft constellation. But from crunching the numbers (yes, yes, I know. You dislike 'taking a sliderule to your books') that actually seems like it might be an overestimate on the part of whoever contributed that text to the wiki.

A Mycroft relay can fully control missiles out to about 5 LM (nearly 90 million km). (While an energy platform is effective within, at best, half a million km) At, say, 7 LM apart (so there's overlap) you'd technically only need about 10 Mycroft platforms to cover the entire volume with the hyper limit of a typical star (22 LM radius); so "a couple dozen" would be a fair bit of redundancy. )Getting the same basic coverage with your energy platforms would require about 157,000.
And while a single Mycroft within range is deadly because it can FTL control tens of thousands of Apollo missiles, a single energy platform within range is unlikely to be deadly to anything larger than a destroyer)


And at that hypothetical 7 LM separation none of the Mycroft platforms needs to move an inch to hit any enemy that crosses within the hyper limit. Their vast range, compared to the portion of the star system that's within the hyper limit, means they don't need to be flying around rapidly trying to get coverage.

(Now you'd need many, many, more platforms if you were also trying to cover the outer system. But there's no point in trying to do that; it's too much empty space, and the enemy can just hyper back out to evade your missiles unless you've got some close enough that their entire flight time is within the recharge and/or cycle time of the enemy's hyper generators)

Thanks Jonathan. I do recall the range is about 90M kilometers now that you mention it. Honor displayed that capability against Tourville at BoM, iinm. (But my brain also carries the baggage of her admitting to Tourville she was bluffing at one point. Too many facts are confusing me over the course of so much time between publishings.) Also, I was under the erroneous impression that the comms had to be directed toward the salvo of missiles, which would mean they would also need to be directed toward the ship to receive its signals as well. I think what is confusing me is my misinterpretation of some of the info in David's post in the Pearls from 2009 ...

David Weber: Keyhole Platforms

I really shouldn't be getting involved with this entire topic. For that matter, I don't have any business even skimming the Bar at the moment, with everything that's going on. Nonetheless...

There are two varieties of Keyhole platforms. One of them, the first developed, is primarily a light-speed communications node and sensor platform designed to be gotten beyond the interference of the mounting ship's impeller wedge. It has some limited onboard power storage capability, and most ships fitted with it carried to a bit, in order to provide redundancy and also -- for the first time -- to give an impeller wedge-equipped warship an effective 360 degree coverage area for both communications and sensors.

Keyhole-Two, on the other hand, is fitted with FTL telemetry and communications channels. Because the grav-pulse coms are a heck of a lot bigger than the light-speed coms, the platform had to get a lot bigger, as well. In addition, its power requirements rose pretty severely. And whereas the original Keyhole had only extremely limited anti-missiles self-defense capabilities, Keyhole-Two (in part because it's so much more valuable) has several point defense clusters added to the rest of its size and energy budget. As with the original Keyhole platform, ships equipped with Keyhole-Two are fitted with two platforms each, once again for combined redundancy and 360 degree coverage.

By the time you get up to Keyhole-Two sizes, anything smaller than a capital ship is going to be giving up too much of its broadside weaponry -- offensive or defensive -- simply to carry the damned things (which are docked in hull recesses which are specifically designed and provided for the purpose) when they aren't deployed.

Keyhole -- and Keyhole-2 -- are both towed systems, and they are not towed on any physical tether. They are towed on tractors, and they are primarily powered by transmission from the mothership. They do have some onboard propulsive capability, using the same impeller hardware which was developed for the Ghost Rider recon drones, but that capability is purely secondary. In theory, they could maintain the station on their onboard drives while remaining in the basket to be hit by power transmissions from the mothership and to continue to perform their relay functions. In fact, it's simpler and less complicated to operate them in what amounts to full-time towed mode. There are less things to go wrong, and if the ship takes battle damage sufficient to cut it off from a still functional Keyhole, the ship in question is probably so far up the creek already that it's not going to worry about bells and whistles.

Superdreadnoughts and ships-of-the-wall generally can fairly readily be equipped with multiple Keyhole-One platforms -- that is, the platforms themselves are small enough, with sufficiently low energy requirements, but there's no real reason a ship the size of a waller couldn't be equipped with four or even six of them. Doing that would cut into volume (and broadside area) available for other purposes, however, and the RMN more or less decided that giving every ship in a battle squadron two of them and allowing for weapons to be handed off between one ship in another provided enough redundancy through simple dispersal of the system.

One interesting thing the RMN has observed now that Keyhole-Two has actually been deployed in combat is that the platforms' "self-defense" capability has proved a very valuable adjunct to be Navy's starships' antimissile defenses. Indeed, our good friend Sonja Hemphill is currently tinkering around with a considerably smaller, simpler platform whose primary function would be missile defense and which could probably be fitted to smaller combatants.

The main limiting factors which have so far restricted Keyhole and Keyhole-Two to capital ships are (1) the simple physical size of the platforms; (2) the amount of shipboard power generation and transmission designed into the system; (3) the fact that the system is most useful in long-range missile duels and that nothing smaller than a battle cruiser was likely to be engaging in extremelylong-range combat. Even the Saganami-C and the Roland are equipped with only dual-drive missiles, and BuShips and BuWeaps were thinking in terms of all-up MDMs. Keyhole-Two, in addition, there's no real point to providing the system to somebody who isn't also capable of firing the Apollo control missiles. It's entirely possible that a Keyhole-Two for battlecruisers, possibly with somewhat downsized capabilities, will eventually be produced for the Agamemnons and their Grayson and Andermani counterparts, but that's definitely been a secondary or even tertiary priority in light of other, more immediately critical demands.

That's probably not everything about the system, but it's the best I can do without digging out my detailed technical notes (and spending a lot longer on this than I have any business doing). I hope it's enough to deal with most of the questions raised in this thread.


I should have known they had more range than what I was allowing, but they are simply KH2 plats on steroids and they used to be a towed system. What I was missing is that they had to be towed because of a power limitation and not a FTL limitation. Okay, cool.

I also got the missile defense idea from them. And, against missiles, energy weapons should have a million km range or more as is. I posited much more powerful energy platforms developed by the MA firing for far longer. And, remember, this dense shell of platforms are mobile. And invisible. And they should easily be effective against LACs too. Capital ships as well if they sail right into a Spider's web. I was suggesting that their mobility should make up for lots of coverage thus lessening the need to be so dense. Recall my Fox&Geese tactical scenario. And since the enemy can't see them the enemy cannot draw them out of position or shoot them down with long range blind fired missiles because they are mobile. Note that the KH2 plats have impellers for propulsion if need be.

Thanks again for the detailed posts!

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
Top
Re: ?
Post by Jonathan_S   » Sat Sep 11, 2021 5:35 pm

Jonathan_S
Fleet Admiral

Posts: 7071
Joined: Fri Jun 24, 2011 2:01 pm
Location: Virginia, USA

cthia wrote:Thanks Jonathan. I do recall the range is about 90M kilometers now that you mention it. Honor displayed that capability against Tourville at BoM, iinm. (But my brain also carries the baggage of her admitting to Tourville she was bluffing at one point. Too many facts are confusing me over the course of so much time between publishings.)

Consults my handy cheat sheet. When Honor bluffed against Tourville during the BoM that was at a range of 8 lm (143,900,380 km) -- at which distance the Apollo control missiles were on their own, having outrun the range of their FTL control links.

The longest ranged shot still under Keyhole II FTL control that I have in my cheat sheet was 4.4 LM (79,150,000). But I haven't gone through UH in detail to see if there are any updates I should add. (So I was rounding up a bit to the 5 LM I used. OTOH the Apollo system defense variant is supposed to be bigger and with a larger longer ranged FTL transceiver; so 5 LM might actually be a significant underestimate for the range of Mycroft when working with those system-defense Apollo variants)
Top
Re: ?
Post by cthia   » Sun Sep 12, 2021 4:21 am

cthia
Fleet Admiral

Posts: 13536
Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2014 1:10 pm

ThinksMarkedly wrote:
Jonathan_S wrote:OTOH we're led to believe the LD is a pod-layer (in additional to being able to internally launch graser torps) - so there seems little reason for it to spend much time towing pods around in the first place. It can just keep them on its pod rails and thus fully protected by all the fancy stealth mechanisms it's equipped with until just before it's ready to launch.


Actually, pod layers do want to roll pods and keep them tractored, then chaind, for a massive alpha launch. That's what Honor did and Kuzak failed to do at the Battle of Manticore.

And from the earliest pods back in SVW, no one saw them towed. Maybe at the time no one was looking. And maybe with an active impeller, the signal-to-noise is incredibly bad, so you can't see the tractors (like a flashlight with the Sun as a backdrop). But I really think the tractors themselves are not detectable at any reasonable distance.

But as I said, the pods themselves may be. As you said, the MAlign wouldn't want to fit the pods with first-class stealth technology, since it's hella expensive and because the pods are being disposed of. The chance that an enemy could get their hands on some expended pods is too high. So a pod that is feeding power to the missile capacitors, can it be detected at a range?

Please also note that an answer "yes" also implies that system defence pod shoals can be detected at a distance. So an invader can make a surveillance map of where those pods are located before attempting to invade. If they have some area denial weapon that could detonate those pods, they're half-way to conquering the system.

cthia wrote:I have never understood why tractors aren't visible. If these things are powerful enough to drag LACs through hyper, it seems that they would burn very bright. Of course, I never understood how ships can actually hyper and manage to hold onto something it is towing. Honor had that massive alpha launch tractored to the hull while she performed two jumps? David's compensation field actually works. It compensates for a lot of disbelief. At least it is reasonable.

I've never understood why pods weren't always visible either. There are several types of sensors.

Gravitic.
Radar.
Lidar.
Scansat.

What the heck is a scansat?


Scansats were non-mobile surveillance devices used by the Royal Manticoran Navy.

Because they did not have to generate an impeller wedge, they have a longer life-span than recon drone. However, their stealth systems were fairly rudimentary, making them relatively easy to spot.

Patrolling RMN warships made a routine out of seeding the outer volumes of their star systems of responsibility with FTL scansats. (HH10)

I have always wondered why navies didn't employ some sort of modern high powered telescope to see pods and other aspects of warships. These scopes should be tied to computers for image enhancement. I suppose that warships would make that difficult while at battle stations by turning off all running lights.

Anyway, what the heck is a scansat, exactly.

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
Top
Re: ?
Post by Jonathan_S   » Sun Sep 12, 2021 1:51 pm

Jonathan_S
Fleet Admiral

Posts: 7071
Joined: Fri Jun 24, 2011 2:01 pm
Location: Virginia, USA

cthia wrote:I've never understood why pods weren't always visible either. There are several types of sensors.

Gravitic.
Radar.
Lidar.
Scansat.

What the heck is a scansat?


Scansats were non-mobile surveillance devices used by the Royal Manticoran Navy.

Because they did not have to generate an impeller wedge, they have a longer life-span than recon drone. However, their stealth systems were fairly rudimentary, making them relatively easy to spot.

Patrolling RMN warships made a routine out of seeding the outer volumes of their star systems of responsibility with FTL scansats. (HH10)

I have always wondered why navies didn't employ some sort of modern high powered telescope to see pods and other aspects of warships. These scopes should be tied to computers for image enhancement. I suppose that warships would make that difficult while at battle stations by turning off all running lights.

Anyway, what the heck is a scansat, exactly.

Pods have been seen via radar, when you're close enough. At the very start of the war, at Hancock Station, the book says that despite all the radar absorbing materials and passive stealth built into the pod bodies, that on final approach into SDM launch range the RMN BC had to be careful to keep their hulls between the pods and the Peep DNs because they were outside the stealth systems of the ships.
And when they turned to fire, at "about seven million klicks" the pods were detected by the Peep's radar, even though the BCs and their escorts were still successfully hiding.
However now that they're launching missiles with nearly 10 times that (powered) range you're not getting close enough to find them by radar. And a recon drone can't put out as powerful a search radar as a DN can; and if it's looking for pods with active radar it's very very quickly going to become an dead drone; as that's about the exact opposite of being stealthy.

As for finding them optically, space is vast and dark. It's easy enough to coat something is nearly perfectly light absorbing materials. So unless the pod was seen actually occluding a bright background object (like a star or planet) it'd be nearly invisible to optical sensors. And space combat is normally far enough out that planets are essentially no larger looking that stars -- the local sun being the largest lit object you could occlude and that's a very very small part of the entire sky. Looking for them via infrared might be more effective but you're still looking for some pretty small object a very long way away. Its like using a telescope in Earth orbit to try to find something very dark that's about the size of a shipping container or two which is floating about a quarter the way to the orbit of Mars.



As for what's a scan sat - the wiki article captures just about all that's been said about them. The word "scansat" appears only 3 times across all the books; concentrated in 2 paragraphs in chapter 23 of War of Honor (HH10).
War of Honor: Ch. 23 wrote:"I see," Ferrero said sourly. Given the current range between the two ships, Harris was only able to keep tabs on the other by using the remote scansats Jessica Epps had set up to cover the system periphery when Ferrero moved her anti-pirate operations into the Harston System. The remote platforms' grav-pulse transmitters allowed him to effectively real-time sensor data from most of the outer system without using all-up Ghost Rider recon drones. Those drones were not only expensive, but also something which the Royal Manticoran Navy didn't go out of its way to flaunt, on the theory that what other navies didn't see, they couldn't acquire sensor data on.
The scansats also had much greater endurance than the more costly drones, since they simply sat in place rather than being compelled to maintain impeller wedges. Because of all those factors, the fact that patrolling RMN cruisers now routinely seeded the outer volumes of their star systems of responsibility with FTL scansats was well understood, however, and their stealth systems were fairly rudimentary. That meant people knew to look for them and that they were relatively easy for shipboard sensors to spot, so there wasn't too much question that the other cruiser had known for some time that Jessica Epps was aware of her presence, in general terms, at least. But it was equally obvious that at this distance extended-range remote drones were the only way the other ship could be tracking Jessica Epps in return, and Ferrero didn't like the fact that they were clearly so stealthy that even Manticoran shipboard sensors couldn't find them. But Harris wasn't quite finished with his report.

That's all we know. This one single bit of text.

But it sounds like someone more of less took the sensors and FTL comms off a Ghost Rider recon drone, left the impellers and stealth system behind, and slapped them into an satellite body with no more than maybe a basic station keeping drive (something like ion thrusters, maybe). That's make them smaller, and somewhat cheaper than a full up GR drone; so you could carry more of them - though you'd have to spend time flying around dropping them off as they clearly lack the drives to self deploy to their assigned spot on the system periphery.
Top

Return to Honorverse