Starship and space weaponsEdit
Small craft such as shuttles and pinnaces did not use starship weapons, but rather larger versions of ground forces' weapons. They were not intended to fight starships. Pinnaces were equipped with an equivalent of starship point defense lasers which could be quite deadly to unarmored merchant ships at close range. (SI1)
- Main article: Laser
Lasers were the most common energy weapon, used in short-ranged combat against other ships. Smaller variants were used as point defense weapons. The graser was a larger, more powerful version of the laser.
- Main article: Missile
Missiles came in varying masses, depending on the ship class that fired it, with larger vessels capable of firing missiles that had slightly more acceleration and heavier warheads. Missiles may have been tipped with various heads, including contact fusion warheads, bomb-pumped laser warheads, sidewall penetrators, and ECM to help missiles breach defenses. Some smaller missiles may even have been purely kinetic. Anti-missile defenses included rolling a ship's wedge, electronic countermeasures, countermissiles, and point defense.
Missiles may have been launched from ships, forts, platforms, missile pods, or hand-held launchers.
Not actually torpedoes of any kind, they were self-sustaining masses of plasma that could be projected against targets at ranges of up to 300,000 km. They were very destructive, capable of rapid fire, and were nearly impossible to intercept since they traveled at near light speed. However, they were direct fire weapons and completely stopped by sidewalls, so they were never used as the primary energy weapon of a vessel.
Grav Lance in the RMNEdit
The grav lance was a gravitic weapon that allowed an attacking ship to take down a target's sidewall. It did this by "pushing" the target's impeller wedge out of alignment, which overloaded the sidewall. The grav lance was huge, short-ranged and required almost all the firing ship's power. The grav lance utilized the firer's drive nodes, so only a starship could mount it. No LAC, missile, drone, or buoy had enough power generation, internal volume, or node strength necessary to utilize it. Admiral Sonja Hemphill promoted this weapon. (HH1, OBS)
Similar in effect to and longer ranged than the grav lance, the "Crippler" could bring down a target's impeller wedge by causing a resonance in the target's wedge frequency. The effect induced a current in key drive components, in effect overloading the electronics and causing a blowout in the drive. This removed the ship's primary passive defense (the impeller wedge) leaving it unable to move. Highly effective against merchant ships, the Crippler was ineffective against warships due to the pair of impeller stress bands generated for both the roof and floor of the wedge. Attempting to overload one stress band would simply flow back into the other band, preventing resonance. The effect could be mitigated by installing breakers at key junctions, which would reset once tripped, restoring the wedge.
Weapons technology was hugely capable, and starships were required to carry similarly impressive defenses.
Gravitic & Energy Based ShieldingEdit
- See: Sidewall
Starships were immune to attack from above or below due to the impeller wedge. As long as the impellers were powered, a ship could project sidewalls, weaker versions of the wedge, as shields on either side. Sidewalls were non-ablative, gravitic stress bands, and thus weaker lasers and grasers were bent away, or refracted like light is when it passes through denser mediums. In this instance, the focused light was bent by the intense gravity in the sidewall. Sidewalls were invulnerable to non-massless/lightspeed weapons as they would be destroyed by the gravitic shear caused by the sidewall.
For the longest time it was thought to be unacceptable to close the bow or stern of the wedge with a wall; to do so would prevent any acceleration. The Manticoran Shrike-class LAC was fitted with a bow wall, since it was deemed acceptable to lose the ability to accelerate in order to use the powerful spinal weapon the Shrike mounted. Later, some creative engineering built a stern wall capability into LACs. The idea proved so successful that newer construction, such as the Edward Saganami-B-class heavy cruisers, were equipped with bow and stern walls. Further refinements to the bow and stern wall system could be seen in the Edward Saganami-C heavy cruiser class. The bow and stern walls were of a special "two-phase" type. A smaller, inner wall could be raised independently of the main bow wall. The smaller wall did not completely seal the forward aspect of the wedge; it only protected against attacks from directly ahead. However, it did not interfere with thrust or maneuvering.
The next layer of defense was the anti-radiation and anti-particle shielding that existed between the sidewall and hull. While not nearly as strong as a sidewall, it did help attenuate any incoming attack, especially if they had already been weakened by the sidewall.
Ships were also protected by many layers of armor that alternated between ablative composites that absorbed energy from energy weapons and solid anti-kinetic layers. Since the impeller wedge was impenetrable, the armor of a ship on the sides and hammerheads was considerably thicker than the back and belly armor, the side armor of a superdreadnought was well over a meter thick. Inside, there were more armored bulkheads. Even with this tremendous defense, at close range, the energy weapons of any starship were more than enough to destroy a larger ship.
Superdreadnoughts, dreadnoughts, and (to a much lesser extent) battleships also used their own internal structure to limit damage. These ships were so massive that huge reinforcing framing structures and internal compartmentalization could be built in. This allowed any damage that got through the other defenses to be limited from reaching too deep into the ship.
Starship hulls were 'grown' using nanotechnology, and could be repaired in similar fashion. Using nanotech growing also helps reduce potential breakpoints as the hull became a seamless whole.
Electronic Warfare SystemEdit
Warships also utilized a complex suite of electronic warfare systems. These systems utilized jammers, decoys, and stealth in order to help defeat or confuse incoming missiles. Warships had massive computer suites and emitters built into them that allowed them to confuse incoming fire and help conceal and stealth the ships emissions.
Warships also utilized specialized drones and decoys that were deployed outside of the ship. The power requirements for these were so high that it was impossible to have them run on internal power; instead, they had to stay close to the ship on a tractor beam and receive beamed power. As a result, a warship could deploy only a handful of them at a time.
During the Second Havenite-Manticoran War, the Royal Manticoran Navy developed and began deploying the Mark 20 platforms, also known as Keyhole, which were dedicated sensor platforms for use with coordinating countermissile fire. Extended on either side of a ship beyond the wedge via tractor beams, they allowed a ship to "see" past the interference of the CMs impeller wedges. This allowed a ship to control more than one wave of CMs at once, even when "rolled", giving them finer control, allowing them to fire and control more countermissiles simultaneously, and extending the range at which CMs could engage incoming missiles. (HH10) Keyhole platforms were even studded with their own point-defense laser clusters. (SI2)
Keyhole II platforms were later developed, adding FTL communication capability instead of light speed transmissions, allowing them even faster response times (due to the decrease in communication lag). They were also able to be used as FTL links to the Apollo anti-ship missile control systems, even when a ship had rolled wedge. Keyhole II platforms massed around 20,000 tons. (HH11)
- Main article: Point defense
A recon drone was an automated probe that extended the sensor range of a ship. The drones had a drive system, ECM emitter, and passive and active sensor arrays.
- See Main Article at Reconnaissance drone
Other Related TechnologyEdit
- Tractor Beam – A tractor beam was used to tow objects and other related purposes. Havenite Sultan-class battlecruisers were equipped with tractor beams. (HH2)