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Re: Fighter surviability...

From: Binhan Lin <Binhan.Lin@U...>
Date: Fri, 13 Feb 1998 11:53:39 -0700 (MST)
Subject: Re: Fighter surviability...

On Fri, 13 Feb 1998, Jerry Han wrote:

> All this talk about fighters has brought up a point that I've always
> had some trouble with:
> Can fighters survive in a futuristic environment e.g. space?	The 
> concept of the fighter, manned or unmanned has a very strong romantic
> ideal associated with it, and we build our universes accordingly.
> However, the conditions that lead to the widespread use of the 
> fighter seem to fail under futuristic environments.  For example, can
> fighters carry weapons heavy enough to damage capital ships?	Is 
> fighter maneuverability an acceptable defence against all possible 
> weaponry?  Does there exist a weapon that hits with a high enough
> probability that it can take fighters down with very little effort?  
> Does a fighter have enough of a range and speed advantage over 
> targets to make it practical?  And on and on.
> For example, in a universe with practical laser weaponry and movement
> limited to Newtonian reaction systems, fighters would have a tough
> time surviving because they could not maneuver quickly enough within a
> certain range to avoid getting hit by the laser.  
> Just a thought.  If anybody asks, I can write a heck of a lot more, I 
> just have to get back to work here.  (8-)
> J.
Well it's the age old problem of offense vs. defense.  Any argument you
can pick to use against fighters could apply to capital, escorts or
carriers.  Can a Battlewagon cary enough armor and shields to survive
enough to be effective?  Although there may be advantages to large size
surface area increases slower than volume therefore you have to add less
shielding/armor to get more usable space, you sacrifice maneuverability.
Even in a universe with high powered laser/beam weapons moving a few
meters in a second can mean the difference between a hit and a miss on a
target that maybe 10 meters in size.  
	I'm sure that the military would find weapons big enough to hurt
capital ship, perhaps a stand-off type thing like a single shot pulse
torpedo.  Fighters (like modern ones) maybe mostly relegated to
cheap missile carriers (A B-52 costs less to maintain than an Iowa
battleship or even a 688 attack sub and probably carries more missiles
further..)  Fighters have always been used to extend your offensive or
defensive ability further at a relatively cheap price.	Missiles have
somewht taken over the shorter role, covering up to 100 miles but it
fighters to extend it further.
	We still use fighters today even though a CIWS can hit targets
approaching faster than Mach 1 and knock them out of the sky.  But
to hit a missile further than 2 km away with the system is almost
impossible.  Fighters in the future will follow a similar pattern, they
will be armed with weapons that have a chance to damage a capital ship,
able to be fired from a range outside the effective range of
defenses (except other fighters) and will be relatively cheap compared
the big guys (not including the carrier cost.)


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