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How Should a Space Military Force be Organized?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Commodore, Mar 15, 2014.

  1. Phrossack

    Phrossack Armored Fish and Armored Men

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    Rockets can be detected and jammed or intercepted easily enough. If the planet is anything like Earth, the rocket will have to fight gravity and drag to reach orbit. These aren't cheap Palestinian rockets; their job isn't easy, and ships will fight back with jamming, evasive action, chaff, and point-defense. There will be plenty of time to react to them.

    On the other hand, all the ship needs to do is let go of a piece of metal. Boom.

    Now, if the planet has little gravity or atmosphere, things will be different. The rockets will have an easier time of it, and orbital projectiles won't fall as quickly. A fleet will have to keep its distance. But such a planet would be incapable of supporting life without carefully designed structures. A few hits to those and everyone in the colony is dead. An attacking fleet could stand off and launch swarms of projectiles at the colony. Surely a few will hit.
     
  2. Commodore

    Commodore Deity

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    Not to mention a colony on a world like that would likely be small and thus probably lack any sort of significant defenses. Unless, of course, that colony was established for military purposes.
     
  3. CavLancer

    CavLancer This aint fertilizer

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    The main Superspace Ultrabattleship directly over Moscow, the rest about it here and there. ;)
     
  4. filli_noctus

    filli_noctus Hmmn

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    I think the point he's trying to make is that the best way to counter orbital superiority is to put enough fast moving junk into tactically or strategically important orbits to make occupying them a lethal proposition. Although personally I would say a space gun or similar would be the quickest way to get the junk up there as opposed to rockets.
     
  5. GenMarshall

    GenMarshall High Elven Ghost Agent

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    The way I organized it as follows: Navy operates the large ships and aircraft from space based aircraft carriers or some battle star (e.g. The Imperial Star Destroyer of Star Wars). The Air Force would operate star fighters and bombers that are garrisoned planet side. The Army would be the land force to capture and hold planets. The Marines would be a more fast response force to establish a beachhead on the planet's surface.
     
  6. IglooDude

    IglooDude Enforcing Rule 34 Retired Moderator Supporter

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    The US Navy already operates its own air force from carriers and land stations and its own army (aka Marines) as well. Its command organization is developed in the environment where commands may be out of contact from their central authority for lengthy periods of time, requiring considerable autonomy. For those two reasons and because as a former Navy guy I think the Air Force sucks, I would say that Naval command organization is flexible enough and accustomed to dispersal enough to use as a template for space operations.
     
  7. Evie

    Evie Pronounced like Eevee

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    What would the starfighters do that can,t be done rom the big ships exactly, tho?
     
  8. Phrossack

    Phrossack Armored Fish and Armored Men

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    That would prevent them from using their own orbit as well. How would they get supplies or conduct trade then?
     
  9. IglooDude

    IglooDude Enforcing Rule 34 Retired Moderator Supporter

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    Offhand? Maneuver. Much less mass to be pushing in a different direction.
     
  10. Evie

    Evie Pronounced like Eevee

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    Maneuvers is an asset, but if you build a craft small enough to be maneuverable and carried around, what's its offensive punch going to be like exactly? It won't carry much by way of missiles (and these will be reduced from what you have on your big ships by the need to be more compact to fit the fighter), it won't have the energy to punch through with any hypothetical beam weapons. It will still have enough of an energy signature to stand out like a sore thumb in the middle of space.

    Ultimately, "fighters" would probably be little more than glorified reusable boosters to extend the range of your missiles. You don't really need pilots for that.

    I could see some highly limited use for small(er) crafts, but just taking modern naval organization centered on the carrier and bringing it to space is a bad plan.
     
  11. ChiefDesigner

    ChiefDesigner Sunset Emperor

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    Not enough facepalms. Take, like, ten seconds to think about it; the reason carrier aircraft work is because "air" and "water" are different things. Specifically, since air resistance is much less than water resistance, aircraft give your ship additional striking distance, speed and range.

    There's no difference between "space" and "space."

    On top of that, each starfighter requires an independent life support system, fuel/reaction mass -- and the more people on it, the bigger the life support system needs to be.



    Why do countries under attack mine their own roads and demolish their own buildings? How would they get supplies or conduct trade then?

    -----

    Everyone participating in this conversation should go play Kerbal Space Program, then come back. We'll wait.

    Or, at the very least, read this.
     
  12. Leonel

    Leonel Breakfast Connoisseur

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    Probably do how they did when the US Air Force was formed; put it under command of the navy for the time being until in the future it becomes large enough to split off into its own department and figure out what exactly to call it. Space Force? Spacy?
     
  13. Phrossack

    Phrossack Armored Fish and Armored Men

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    Why do people use fighters today? Sure, a single fighter might not pack the same punch as a destroyer, but a squadron can be deadly. Fighters are cheaper and more expendable than warships. They enable a carrier group to strike and scout from a safe distance, and can prevent the enemy from doing the same. Weapons have been steadily getting smaller and more powerful, and so a space "fighter" could carry missiles or other weapons strong enough to do major damage. They're also harder to hit and detect than ships.

    A space colony might be on a barren rock and would die off without regular supplies. Additionally, mines can be cleared fairly easily. Millions of tiny, lightning-fast bits of metal in orbit? Either they're not easily cleared by anyone, even the besieged planet (in which case the planet is in a very bad way), or they can be cleared by the fleet (in which case the planet is in a very bad way). Point defense against fleets, like point defense against aircraft, is a method of last resort. It's far, far safer to intercept the enemy fleet before it gets close enough to bombard your planet.
     
  14. Evie

    Evie Pronounced like Eevee

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    People use fighter today because planes can cover distances at speed ships (operating in water instead of air) or land forces (operating on ground) can't hope to match. They can do so in large part because of their different medium of operation. These different medium of operations also make the design of planes that can stay airborne for months, like ships, largely untenable, hence why airbases and aircraft carriers and whatnot are needed.

    That's the whole thing, really. A "carrier" in space would not be like an aircraft carrier on earth that exist to deploy vehicles that fight *in a different medium* (and thus are designed under different constraints). It would be more like...some hypothetical ship that exist to carry smaller ships.

    The detections difficulty are overrated. Any spacecraft is going to radiate heat like there is no tomorrow, against a heat-less background of space. While fighters will radiate less heat, they're still going to radiate enough to be easily spotted from far, far, far, far, far away. And there is no approaching-under-the-horizon trick to work here.
     
  15. Hygro

    Hygro soundcloud.com/hygro/

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    The best way to organize a space military is to disband it.
     
  16. Phrossack

    Phrossack Armored Fish and Armored Men

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    I would agree, except that you'd be at the mercy of those who don't.
     
  17. Hygro

    Hygro soundcloud.com/hygro/

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    When and if we get to that point I may, of course, change my mind for this very reason.
     
  18. ChiefDesigner

    ChiefDesigner Sunset Emperor

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    First, nobody builds space colonies on barren rock -- people build space colonies where it's economically viable to build a space colony. (Compare, say, the failure of Plimouth to the success of Massachusetts Bay.)

    Barren rocks are likely to be military outposts or supply bases -- and as a strategist, knowing the relative value of "barren rocks in space" to "an entire enemy fleet," I would certainly trade one outpost for one fleet. I would even trade one outpost for 10% of a fleet.


    Second, you say it's "far, far safer" to intercept the enemy fleet before it gets close enough. Well, the enemy fleet's going to be bound by Newtonian mechanics, just as much as you -- if you're so concerned about resupply, why not explode flak in front of their approach path?
     
  19. KmDubya

    KmDubya King

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    It seems that everyone thinks it will be like in the movie Gravity where small objects in orbit will destroy any ship. If you have the capacity to travel to and colonize other planets and moons why couldn't you armor up your ships?

    If you get your raw material from asteroids and manufacture in space then the mass you have does not need to be lifted out of a planet's gravity, you could build big and thick. Maybe they will have some sort of forcefield type shields.

    Big ships would give you the ability to have large power generation on board to power more and bigger everything. Small fighters would be a death trap, against the cold backdrop of space they'd stand out and energy weapons would annihilate them as they would not need to lead the target. The fighters would be too small to have armor or shields and could not have enough fuel on board to constantly maneuver. Now smaller frigate type ships would have a purpose but I just don't see fighters being relevant. As mentioned above water navies use fighters to expand their reach since air travel is different from water travel, in space it is all the same.
     
  20. Phrossack

    Phrossack Armored Fish and Armored Men

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    It's probably better to put a bunch of possibly unmanned fighters at risk than a big, expensive carrier, though. They also present a bunch of targets to deal with simultaneously, rather than just one.

    As for stealth, well, any future methods for concealing the various signatures of a craft would surely be cheaper to implement in a small craft than a large one, all things being equal.

    Barren rocks are our only option any time in the foreseeable future. They're the only things in the solar system other than gas giants, which are not really options. We haven't confirmed any examples of other planets that could support human life without specialized structures and food imports. All are uninhabitable rocks.

    Maybe. But a fleet could detect, jam, evade, or intercept. They needn't get in really close. Besides, it's not like people are going to give every little rock colony thousands of super-long-range missiles.

    Intercepting an enemy before they get close enough to threaten you is safer. If the enemy fleet is close enough to be in a shootout with you, your colony is at risk. Far better to defeat the enemy before they can pound your shelters with rods and missiles.
     

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