Author Topic: Fire and forget missiles  (Read 680 times)

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Offline Michael Sandy

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Fire and forget missiles
« on: December 17, 2016, 02:43:39 PM »
I was thinking of a new class of 3 stage missile, about 16 MSP.  Part one is basically the largest missile engine possible, about 5 MSP, and 1 MSP of fuel (adjust to your preferred ratios, and power level on missile drive)

Stage two is 2-3 MSP of sensor, a stationary "mine", but with a much larger sensor head and therefore engagement range

Stage 3 is 6-8 1 MSP submunitions, with the highest power setting available.

The reasons for doing it in three stages, instead of putting the sensor on the first stage, is because that big sensor will reveal it, and therefore the location of the launching ship.

The idea is for it to launch from outside of enemy AMM range, because fire controls are unlikely to be able to lock in to a 40 ton missile, (down to 25 by stage 2), unless you have AMM that home in on EM.

Obviously, you are not going to get a great rate of fire or volume of size 16 missiles.  But you could put them in box launchers for a stealthed carrier, where the fighters basically launch their missiles and get right back on the carrier, because stage 1 will just go to the last location targets when the fighters get back on their carrier.

This weapon deals a fairly significant amount of damage at a huge range, because the final stage swarm missiles are really fast and small.  However, there is inescapably overkill issues unless the final stage swarm missiles have a sensor too.  Doctrine wise, you lose a LOT more payload per missile for small missiles having sensors compared to larger missiles.  But for something that operates like a mine, perhaps the final stages HAVE to have some sensors no matter what.

So tactically and strategically, what sorts of counters are there?

Detecting the missile in its stage one phase seems impractical, maybe if you have a sensor platform close to the enemy when they launch, you can vector some fast fighters with AMM to take them out.

Stage 2 can be detected by seeing its emissions, but chances are it will already be inside its range at that point.

A lot depends on where it is being used.  In a warp point fight where the targets are on the warp point, jumping out is an option.  Just jump back in outside of the myopic sensor ranges of the swarm.  So defending a warp point with these would be problematic vs a human player.

Might be kind of fun to station these defending a warp point from the attackers side, because they are fire and forget.  Launch and retreat, using them to damage an attacking force without much fear of being damaged in turn, at the expense of conceding the attackers' side of the warp point.
 

Offline 83athom

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Re: Fire and forget missiles
« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2016, 06:44:40 PM »
~snip~
This weapon deals a fairly significant amount of damage at a huge range, because the final stage swarm missiles are really fast and small.  However, there is inescapably overkill issues unless the final stage swarm missiles have a sensor too.  Doctrine wise, you lose a LOT more payload per missile for small missiles having sensors compared to larger missiles.  But for something that operates like a mine, perhaps the final stages HAVE to have some sensors no matter what.
The bus or mine can launch its sub-munitions via passive sensors. However, the sub-munitions will also then need their own sensors whether they be passive or active.
So tactically and strategically, what sorts of counters are there?
Counters to this doctrine? CIWS, longer range amm, and having a small sensor signature from cloaking and thermal reduction.
Detecting the missile in its stage one phase seems impractical, maybe if you have a sensor platform close to the enemy when they launch, you can vector some fast fighters with AMM to take them out.
I think you have it backwords. The first stage is the easiest to spot, and normal nprs can usually sopt these a few million km out.
Stage 2 can be detected by seeing its emissions, but chances are it will already be inside its range at that point.
But defensive fire can still shoot.
A lot depends on where it is being used.  In a warp point fight where the targets are on the warp point, jumping out is an option.  Just jump back in outside of the myopic sensor ranges of the swarm.  So defending a warp point with these would be problematic vs a human player.
You're forgetting about jump shock which disables both sensors and jump engines when completing a jump for several minutes.
Might be kind of fun to station these defending a warp point from the attackers side, because they are fire and forget.  Launch and retreat, using them to damage an attacking force without much fear of being damaged in turn, at the expense of conceding the attackers' side of the warp point.
They aren't quite as fire and forget as you think. You really need to manage your waypoints and such when trying to lay these. When it gets close enough to drop the "mine", it should also be close enough that it wants to fire the smallest stage. But if you remove the waypoint to soon, the largest stage wont drop the mine and will simply self destruct.
Give a man a fire and he's warm for a day, but set fire to him and he's warm for the rest of his life.
 

Offline Michael Sandy

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Re: Fire and forget missiles
« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2016, 07:12:37 PM »
So, what would it take to make it truly fire and forget?

I did find a couple of other limitations to this type of weapon system.

The volley size seems decent, 8 size 1 missiles launched from a 500 ton fighter's box launcher, but the reload is about 2 hours.  I came up with up working out what sort of weapon a ship or fleet that relied on stealth to use.  It needed to be something that could be launched from a good distance, so the launching ship would be undetected at least before launch.  It needed to have a good punch, so I figured making a really efficient missile drive first stage and a large number of submunitions might be effective.

Something I noticed:  AMMs based on boost tier x and engines tier x+1 are going to have very similar ranges, regardless of 'x'.  Likewise, for other ratios of engine research and boost research.  Usually the focus is on the highest hit percent per missile, not really long range anti-missiles.  So it should be possible to design the missile to launch from outside of most AMM systems.

So the purpose of this weapon system is NOT to win every fight, it is an ultra long range, low dps, but fairly economical weapon system in terms of hull space and cost per damage.  A siege weapon or a harassing weapon, or something to use versus a determined attacker who is going to enter their range no matter the cost.
 

Offline Michael Sandy

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Re: Fire and forget missiles
« Reply #3 on: December 20, 2016, 03:21:10 PM »
Part of this idea evolved out of exploring new ways of using larger missiles.  A fighter box launcher that can handle a MSP 16 long range mine launcher could also fire a torpedo:
2 size 5 boosted engines, <1 MSP for fuel, designed to be fast enough to fire just out of energy beam range and yet hit the target in less than 5 seconds.  Basically a SLAM missile, with a huge warhead designed to cause shock damage.  And 5 MSP worth of warhead could be a lot of shock damage.

So if you were fighting a beam heavy race with sufficient point defense as to make most long range missile bombardments ineffective, that might be a way to crack their shell.

Honestly, an 8 MSP SLAM design would probably be more effective though, just as fast, but twice as many targets to shoot down.  Depending on the level of boost, it would be a difficult target for point defense to shoot down when fired at longer ranges.
 

Offline Michael Sandy

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Re: Fire and forget missiles
« Reply #4 on: December 31, 2016, 01:01:00 AM »
So can you indeed make fire and forget missiles? Is it worth it?  Cause it makes a difference if you use a box launcher on a fighter to launch mines, recon probes et alia.  I figure that a big ship might not need a huge launcher for recon probes, it just has a small hangar with a fighter that is almost nothing but launch rail.

The idea is to have something that doesn't have much of a HS requirement, add some magazines and a survey escort can drop mines, or recon probes that sort of thing.
 

Offline Jorgen_CAB

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Re: Fire and forget missiles
« Reply #5 on: January 01, 2017, 05:12:43 PM »
Not a direct answer but the easier thing is to have a fast scout craft launched from a hangar to act as spotter and then launch missiles from  an unknown position.

I belive this is the simpler and cheaper way in the long run.
 

 

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