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Wormhole Assault: MA Style

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Re: Wormhole Assault: MA Style
Post by cthia   » Wed Jun 09, 2021 3:48 pm

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Theemile wrote:
cthia wrote:I disagree. The wedge is needed to even see a ship, much less target it.


But... you are still missing the point. Think about the implications of what you are saying. You are assuming ...

1) The RMN is developing "something" to detect the LD.

2) That "something" is not so huge that it has its own zip code. (Practical for tactical use).

3) The tech is small enough to deploy on ships. (Practical for mobile deployment).

4) The technology works on a mobile platform.

5) The tech actually works in the field.

6) The tech is small enough to deploy on missiles. It sounds like a whole lot of extra electronics that will need to be shoehorned into the already bloated MK23-E.

7) That the enormous speeds of the command missile makes it all feasible anyway.

The MK23-E has no experience seeking out targets it can not sense.


Missiles do not have gravitational sensors - every description has been of lidar and radar on missiles. And those sensors do not sense the wedge. Missiles do not aim at the wedge, they aim at the ship... and the sidewalls/wedges get in the way. Find a reference otherwise.

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.


Theemile wrote:I'll agree, we have no text-ev of Manticore having a counter to the Spider at the moment. We DO have text-ev of statements that they know how OB was accomplished and they are confident they know how to sense a repeat attack and stop it - but no specific evidence if they believe they can see the spider drive or burn through MAN Stealth. It was you that posted that only the latest RMN platforms have the capability - which is your assumption that the RMN CAN penetrate such stealth features... with the right hardware.

If I posted that I apologize. What I meant to say is the RMN platforms can "allegedly" detect Spider drives.


Theemile wrote:However, if they do manage to sense the Spider drive, I believe we can all agree that one of Manticore's logical first objectives is to give their missiles the capability to attack them.... or what is the point of the entire exercise?

So, if they do find a way to see the spider drive or burn through the MAN stealth - the Mk 23E will have that capability VERY soon thereafter.

But... there are two points of the exercise.

1) To simply detect that the system has just been infected and may be under attack shortly. WAKE UP MANTICORE!!! WAKE UP RMN!!!

2) Accurately track them from mobile ships.

It is an alarm only until it proves it functions as needed. Just like the reliability of enemy radar from long ranges during WWII. That does not mean you'll be able to continually track them. For one, warships can drop below radar.

But, if a huge system array is needed simply to locate that the system may have just been compromised, does not automatically suggest the ability to be able to "tactically" track the Spider. You cannot assume the tech can be miniaturized enough to be deployed aboard warships, let alone a single already bloated command missile.

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   » Wed Jun 09, 2021 4:26 pm

cthia
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cthia wrote:If I posted that I apologize. What I meant to say is the RMN platforms can "allegedly" detect Spider drives.

And nowhere did I suggest that these quite possibly huge "system detection arrays" are mobile.

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 Theemile   » Wed Jun 09, 2021 4:36 pm

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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.


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.

Theemile wrote:However, if they do manage to sense the Spider drive, I believe we can all agree that one of Manticore's logical first objectives is to give their missiles the capability to attack them.... or what is the point of the entire exercise?

So, if they do find a way to see the spider drive or burn through the MAN stealth - the Mk 23E will have that capability VERY soon thereafter.


cthia wrote:But... there are two points of the exercise.

1) To simply detect that the system has just been infected and may be under attack shortly. WAKE UP MANTICORE!!! WAKE UP RMN!!!

2) Accurately track them from mobile ships.

It is an alarm only until it proves it functions as needed. Just like the reliability of enemy radar from long ranges during WWII. That does not mean you'll be able to continually track them. For one, warships can drop below radar.

But, if a huge system array is needed simply to locate that the system may have just been compromised, does not automatically suggest the ability to be able to "tactically" track the Spider. You cannot assume the tech can be miniaturized enough to be deployed aboard warships, let alone a single already bloated command missile.


I'll say it again, the whole point of this entire exercise is to protect against spider drive craft, and just seeing them is worthless if you don't have a weapon which can engage them. So the very next thing the RMN will do after they make the sensor, is to find a way their missiles (or another ranged weapon of some type) can attack the target localized by said sensor. What that will take in shape, time and material is yet to be seen, but without weapons to engage such a target, the sensor itself is pointless.
******
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 Theemile   » Wed Jun 09, 2021 4:45 pm

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cthia wrote:
cthia wrote:If I posted that I apologize. What I meant to say is the RMN platforms can "allegedly" detect Spider drives.

And nowhere did I suggest that these quite possibly huge "system detection arrays" are mobile.


But like everything else that is an assumption based on no data. It could be true or false.

But we do know the current large system grav arrays that are multiple Kilometers across do not work in close to the system - there is too much noise generated by both natural sources and ship sources, so the arrays are nearly worthless inside the hyperlimit. Smaller arrays are used for close in detection. So like the system arrays - massive, immobile arrays would probably be inundated by too much noise and not work, requiring regional, portable detectors with more gain and less range.

But once again, this is just speculation. David hasn't shown us what such sensors will be. Only the limitations of the current ones.
******
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 ThinksMarkedly   » Wed Jun 09, 2021 7:09 pm

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cthia wrote:1) The RMN is developing "something" to detect the LD.


That is a given, even if they don't know what an LD is.

They've been attacked by spider-driven ships and they know the spider drive exists.

2) That "something" is not so huge that it has its own zip code. (Practical for tactical use).

3) The tech is small enough to deploy on ships. (Practical for mobile deployment).


Those are pure speculation. Yes, it's possible that the solution is a fixed detector array that protects the home systems. But it's not a given.

The other points are irrelevant.

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.


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.

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.

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.

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.
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Re: Wormhole Assault: MA Style
Post by Jonathan_S   » Wed Jun 09, 2021 7:12 pm

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Theemile wrote:The Mk 23 E Apollo Command missile has the best AI ever placed in a missile - it's superior to light speed ships control outside of single drive missile ranges. It's designed that if the control links are severed it goes into autonomous mode - actually better than just that, it is in a mesh network with the rest of the Mk 23 Es in the Salvo and coordinate their search patterns and attacks together. Cutting the FTL controls will just mildly degrade a Mk 23 E's capability when they are forced to fall back on this mode.

Though it's an open question as to how the specialized AI in the Mk23E stacks up against the also reportedly very capable AI in the ultra long-range Graser torpedoes.

Still, as far as we know the Graser torps eschew any kind of torp to torp communication in order to remain as stealthy as possible. So they won't have the sensor advantage a salvo of Apollo missiles can generate by treating every missiles' and ACMs' sensors as a distributed array. There's just no way the sensor on any single projectile can match what hundreds of linked sensors scattered across thousands of km can do.
So even if their AI turns out to be somewhat better, it's working with less sensor input. (OTOH thanks to its generally low velocity it had more time to use its sensors)
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Re: Wormhole Assault: MA Style
Post by cthia   » Wed Jun 09, 2021 9:00 pm

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cthia wrote:
cthia wrote:If I posted that I apologize. What I meant to say is the RMN platforms can "allegedly" detect Spider drives.

cthia wrote:And nowhere did I suggest that these quite possibly huge "system detection arrays" are mobile.


Theemile wrote:But like everything else that is an assumption based on no data. It could be true or false.

But we do know the current large system grav arrays that are multiple Kilometers across do not work in close to the system - there is too much noise generated by both natural sources and ship sources, so the arrays are nearly worthless inside the hyperlimit. Smaller arrays are used for close in detection. So like the system arrays - massive, immobile arrays would probably be inundated by too much noise and not work, requiring regional, portable detectors with more gain and less range.

But once again, this is just speculation. David hasn't shown us what such sensors will be. Only the limitations of the current ones.

Or the larger system arrays may actually work better if they are directed to and focused on a specific area. As any mobile arrays may need to be directed to a specific area as well.

At any rate, about those mobile detectors with all of the gain you are talking about. They would be deployed aboard ship. The MK23-E does not magically inherit the ability to detect grav pulses. The ship can, maybe, with this new system. But the MK23-E cannot. Not without a grav pulse detection system shoehorned into a sardine can.

I was always under the impression that the launching ship needed to lock in the coordinates of the salvo based on the enemy wedge. If you can hide your wedge at all times you are stealthy. The wedge is what is spotted from millions of kilometers away. If the command missile is so capable it doesn't need a wedge to lock onto, then it never needed FTL capability to begin with. And if a warship doesn't need a wedge to lock onto then Megan Petersen would have been toast.

Theemile wrote:I'll say it again, the whole point of this entire exercise is to protect against spider drive craft, and just seeing them is worthless if you don't have a weapon which can engage them. So the very next thing the RMN will do after they make the sensor, is to find a way their missiles (or another ranged weapon of some type) can attack the target localized by said sensor. What that will take in shape, time and material is yet to be seen, but without weapons to engage such a target, the sensor itself is pointless.

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.

It may have developed a system to detect grav pulses. But they may not have counted on having the link from the ship housing the array jammed. And I'm not going to believe that the already cramped MK23-E missile magically has room to fit in what is undoubtedly more complicated electronics. And without increasing the size of the missile.

Inherently, I think the insane ranges of MDMs are not going to be able to effectively target grav pulses. I'm positing the RMN will need to be much closer to its prey.

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.

357,000 km is outside the one light second max range that even the MA can detect their own drive. And that is if in fact the missile itself has the ability to localize grav pulses.

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 ThinksMarkedly   » Wed Jun 09, 2021 11:30 pm

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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.

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).

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.

cthia wrote:357,000 km is outside the one light second max range that even the MA can detect their own drive. And that is if in fact the missile itself has the ability to localize grav pulses.


It is, but note I said "some missile groups." An Apollo-missile shot would be from multiple pods, anywhere from tens to a thousand of them. They would not all go to the same point in space. They'd spread out, to cover more volume, especially if there's uncertainty where the ship will be, which is exactly the scenario you're postulating: without the control link, the missiles would be blind in autonomous mode. So the very smart ACMs, which do communicate with one another, would simply spread out to maximise the chance that at least one of the groups would pass close enough to the target so it can fire on them.

The first shot will damage the stealth, possibly fatally compromising it. But it's actually worse: since the ACMs are all in communication with one another and are all within 2 or 3 light-seconds of one another, the one that does find the target will have told all the others and those other grouping's warheads will orient to fire on the target, even if effectively out of range. Better to shoot and miss than to waste a missile, after all. So the target is going to be receiving multiple shots at light-speed that it can't defend against.

Summary: if the GA can pinpoint an enemy ship under stealth with any sort of precision, that stealth is not going to be very stealthy within 10 minutes.
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Re: Wormhole Assault: MA Style
Post by munroburton   » Thu Jun 10, 2021 6:11 am

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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.
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Re: Wormhole Assault: MA Style
Post by Jonathan_S   » Thu Jun 10, 2021 11:04 am

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cthia wrote:I was always under the impression that the launching ship needed to lock in the coordinates of the salvo based on the enemy wedge. If you can hide your wedge at all times you are stealthy. The wedge is what is spotted from millions of kilometers away. If the command missile is so capable it doesn't need a wedge to lock onto, then it never needed FTL capability to begin with. And if a warship doesn't need a wedge to lock onto then Megan Petersen would have been toast.

I think it's is rather that the wedge is normally the most visible emission of a ship at long range, and also the most timely (as you can see it FTL); and therefore a ship normally launches its missiles towards the observed wedge of its target.
But the existence of that wedge isn't a requirement. As long as the launching ship is aware of the target and the target's vector (and current acceleration; if any) it has all that it needs to launch - it just needs to estimate where the target will be in several minutes when the missiles arrive and aim them off in that direction. (It also follows that a ship can't avoid missiles by dropping its wedge strength to the point it can hide under stealth)


What the fire control link gained you was the ability to update the missiles as conditions changed over their flight - either feeding them course corrections before the missiles get close enough to see and track their target), feeding them info on what ECM tricks the enemy might be doing (helping the missiles avoid getting jammed, or decoyed off target), or updating their targeting parameters.
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.

But the FTL fire control is still useful because, good as the ACM AI is, the shipboard tactical departments have more computing power and people in the loop to better sort out ECM tricks and teach the missiles how to ignore them - plus making decisions about adjusting target priorities which can be based on information beyond what the missiles themselves would have. Plus the ships can coordinate the attack across salvos; while (as I understand it) the ACMs are basically limited to flocking with other missiles from the same salvo.

Say the enemy somehow completely fools the initial salvo with some amazing never before seen ECM trick; I don't think that salvo's ACMs can share anything about it with the following salvos. And as they're not true AIs, the ACM computers are going to be much worse and coming up with counters to out of context problems than a trained human would be. So if the ECM was completely effective against the first salvo it should also be as effective against every other salvo; if all are controlled only by their onboard ACM.
So that's a situation where you'd really want the FTL link back to the launching ship - that gives its tac department the closest and most timely look at what the enemy did, then they can apply human creativity to working out possible mitigations and upload those to the salvos that are already in flight; see how those did and try to adjust or refine their mitigations to blunt the enemy's new trick as much as possible.


Still, if the enemy is roughly where you expected him to be when the missiles arrive, he's not invisible to normal EM sensors, and his ECM/Decoy tricks are close enough to ones the ACMs have been "trained" for then the ACMs can do a very competent job of finishing their attack even if unexpectedly cut off from external support. (Not as good a job as if still under FTL links, but better than any other known missiles).



But even as good as Apollo is, the sensors of the missile swarm, which the ACMs are integrating, are pretty narrowly focused. If the enemy can trick you into launching your missiles so their ship/fleet is outside their vision cone then all the AI on the ACM is useless -- only something with a wider view could detect the actual fleet and try to redirect the missiles (or, of course, just launch more missiles :D)
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