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Further thoughts on hitting with lasers

From: "BEST, David" <dbest@s...>
Date: Tue, 24 Feb 1998 15:58:44 -0500
Subject: Further thoughts on hitting with lasers

Hi there!

I have been doing some number crunching on how difficult it would be to
hit a ship with lasers once the targeting system had locked on and I
thought I would share it with you.  This is by no means exhaustive but
it is accurate for the premises.

1. The target ship is 1000 feet long (sorry if you use metric but I was
raised with feet even though Canada is officially metric now).

2. The target ship is moving 10,000 miles per hour relative to the
targeting system.  Comparing that to B5 and other sci-fi shows that is
VERY fast.

3. The target ship is moving along the long axis  ie. it's bearing is
the same as it's heading.

4. Laser light travels at 186,000 miles per second.

10,000 miles per hour equals 2.777777 miles per second
2.777777 miles per second equals 14,611.11 feet per second
therefore a 1,000 foot long ship would cover its own length in 1/14

This would mean that targetting the centre of the ship and firing would
hit somewhere along its length
as long as the beam didn't take more than 1/28 of a second.  Therefore
it would hit at a distance of
186,000 divided by 28  or 6,642.85 miles. Now I am not suggesting that
targeting systems or laser beams would be effective at that distance but
it does show that at a range of 100-200 miles you are going to hit as
long as you push the button and are targeted on the enemy.  You can play
with this by changing the target speed, angle of the target, how well
weapons are aligned to the target (and that will have some effect) but
if you can target it you will hit it.  It also means if the laser is
pointing at a fighter which is closing to kill the laser will hit every
time as at that distance the laser is just travelling too fast to miss.

This doesn't mean though that I will change the way I play the games,
this is after all sci-fi

David Best

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