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Re: [OFFICIAL] Some FT background stuff (guidelines for writers) - LONG POST!

From: agoodall@s... (Allan Goodall)
Date: Thu, 12 Feb 1998 01:41:00 GMT
Subject: Re: [OFFICIAL] Some FT background stuff (guidelines for writers) - LONG POST!

On Tue, 10 Feb 1998 18:52:11 -0800, John Leary <>

>     Drone fighters can be trusted to always make the same choice
>given the (basically) same conditions.   

I disagree. I have flight sims where the computer--operating identical
aircraft--do not make the same choices in the same situation. Usually
there is a range of options of which the computer can randomly choose.

>As a result the drones
>win round one big time, and become progressively less effective
>as the countermeasures come into play.   The human fighters 
>would soon acquire a special fighter that carried ECM or 
>Weasel sets to force the 'incorrect' choice in the drones 

The other problem with the argument is that there really isn't a whole
lot of options in space combat. In aerospace combat you want to
achieve a position of greater energy with respect to your target. In
space, there's no such problem. Both sets of fighters approach each
other at some speed with momentum easily calculated. When maneouvring
cuts in, it becomes a rather simple turning battle. Since there is no
air involved, most of the variables of conventional fighter combat are
gone: climb rate, dive rate, drag, rate of speed drop in a turn, etc.
The functional manoeuvre advantages go to the craft with greater
acceleration, smaller turning radius, and longest range. Assuming
identical engines and mass load out, the advantage goes to the
unmanned fighter: no lifesupport system, no cockpit, smaller size
vessel, thus lower mass. Add to this the fact that computers don't
have that little problem of G forces causing blood to pull away from
the brain, and you've got a fighter that--given the same engine, load
out, and roughly the same airframe (spaceframe?)--has a massive
turning and acceleration advantage. 

One thing modern fighter combat has taught us is that technological
advantages more than make up for pilot skill. Put a novice pilot in an
F22 against an excellent pilot in a MiG 17 and the F22 still wins in
most situations. The unmanned fighter has the advantage in turning and
accleration. The fact that it might be predictable (still debatable)
or lacking in instinct is irrelevant. It can still out react a human.
The human pilot becomes a liability. 

>     The drone fighter would be a very, Very, VERY high price
>item and the loss of even a single squadron could be a disaster.

I disagree with this, too. One of the highest costs in a modern
fighter squadron are the humans. They take a long time to train, they
require food and water (expensive not just in the raw materials but in
the logistical nightmares they cause) and when you lose them there are
major political and social repercussions. Computer pilots, on the
other hand, are incredibly cheap to build once you work out the
dogfighting routines, essentially a one shot cost. The ships
themselves would be smaller--thus cheaper--than manned ships. 

>(If intersted in the reasoning behind this statement I'll
>amplify in a later message if you desire.)

I'd like to see that.

Allan Goodall

"Once again, the half time score, 
 Alien Overlords: 142,000. Scotland: zip."
  - This Hour Has 22 Minutes

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