Should sci fi ships use VLS?

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Re: Should sci fi ships use VLS?

Postby Coalition » Thu Apr 27, 2017 12:13 am

McAvoy wrote:Keep in mind Stargate SG-1 ships (human built like Prometheus and Daedalus) had VLS. In fact there is a really cool part where the Daedalus spammed a Wraith ship with missiles. Didn't work though.


There might be a reason the Daedalus always had trouble when dealing with Hive ships:
http://www.sg-operations.com/Images/Wra ... _scale.jpg
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Re: Should sci fi ships use VLS?

Postby McAvoy » Sun Apr 30, 2017 3:29 am

Sheer size of course. Though, with the use of Asgard Beam Weapons it made it easier.

Also the Prometheus had that same system. I can only think of the episode where it was destroyed, Ethon I believe where we saw it used.

But then again the Prometheus was a bit of a mystery in its capabilities as the pods on the sides were originally meant to be engine pods but changed to hanger pods when the Daedalus appeared.
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Re: Should sci fi ships use VLS?

Postby sunnyside » Mon May 08, 2017 4:47 pm

As noted, in Sci-Fi outside of Trek you do see VLS type systems. Anime in particular has a love of ships having those stuck all over the place so that they can fill the screen with hundreds of missiles. (whether the missiles actually can hit or damage anything is another questions).

In Trek I always got the impression that photon torpedoes weren't like a typical missile at all. They have a frequency and can, unlike shuttlecraft, slide through shields if properly matched. Actually, now that I'm thinking about it, I recall something from somewhere about them having some sort of sustainment engine, as opposed to an independent engine. I don't believe they ever managed to fire one by arming it and kicking it out of an airlock (despite the many many times the heroes have found themselves without power in dangerous situations).

I suppose what I'm saying is that in Trek they seem to be something closer to a guided bullet that the ship has to energize and "fire".
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Re: Should sci fi ships use VLS?

Postby Graham Kennedy » Mon May 08, 2017 7:22 pm

In TOS they weren't supposed to be physical objects, but matter and antimatter in a magnetic field.

Since ST II, that went out the window and they are clearly physical missiles.

Many assume that the glow comes from shields around the torp body.
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Re: Should sci fi ships use VLS?

Postby Mikey » Mon May 08, 2017 9:59 pm

Graham Kennedy wrote:In TOS they weren't supposed to be physical objects, but matter and antimatter in a magnetic field.


Even in TOS, by naming convention at least they were related in some way to the photon grenades used in "Arena," which were clearly tangible physical ammunition.
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Re: Should sci fi ships use VLS?

Postby sunnyside » Sun May 21, 2017 2:34 am

Graham Kennedy wrote:Since ST II, that went out the window and they are clearly physical missiles.


They are a physical something, but it doesn't especially resemble a missile, and again they don't act like a mini shuttlecraft, notably in terms of passing through a ships shield.

I also believe the "sustainer engine" bit is considered canonical.

If you need a real world example, I think of them as something like a Howell torpedo.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Howell_torpedo

I want to say that there's cannon stuff about them having the antimatter loaded immediately prior to firing, and limits of the containment being part of the limiting range of the missile. Though I feel like that might have been contradicted in some DS9 episode (or maybe the "warheads" referred to the containment/reactor system, with raw antimatter being (relatively) easy to come by if even cargo ships are running on it?

EDIT: The reboot movie's extended range photon torps seem to be a different thing entirely.
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Re: Should sci fi ships use VLS?

Postby Graham Kennedy » Sun May 21, 2017 12:26 pm

In space it doesn't particularly need to resemble a missile, though.

Their having a frequency is, I always assumed, referring to the frequency of the shield around the torpedo. What shields, you say? From Half a Life :

Geordi : "Torpedoes now entering the stellar core."
Timicin : "Their shields are holding. Guidance systems normal."

I always took this to be why torpedoes have that glow, instead of looking like the rounded box in flight - they have some kind of unusual high power shield around them that glows. And if you can match the shield frequency to the shield frequency of the target ship, I can see that your torpedoes would be able to slide through the shields, a la Generations.

This could also explain why we don't see anything like CIWS in Trek, or any serious attempt to shoot down torpedoes - perhaps everyone knows it's pointless because they're shielded?

I think some of the details you're talking about re loading antimatter and such are from the Tech Manuals.
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Re: Should sci fi ships use VLS?

Postby sunnyside » Sun May 28, 2017 9:22 pm

Graham Kennedy wrote:In space it doesn't particularly need to resemble a missile, though.

Their having a frequency is, I always assumed, referring to the frequency of the shield around the torpedo. What shields, you say? From Half a Life :

Geordi : "Torpedoes now entering the stellar core."
Timicin : "Their shields are holding. Guidance systems normal."

I always took this to be why torpedoes have that glow, instead of looking like the rounded box in flight - they have some kind of unusual high power shield around them that glows. And if you can match the shield frequency to the shield frequency of the target ship, I can see that your torpedoes would be able to slide through the shields, a la Generations.

This could also explain why we don't see anything like CIWS in Trek, or any serious attempt to shoot down torpedoes - perhaps everyone knows it's pointless because they're shielded?


I don't disagree with any of those points par se. Rather it's the fact that the torpedoes don't seem to be independently capable of what they do, instead they require the launcher to initialize their warp field and shields and maybe charge up some energy reserves and then send them off.

For example the launching systems always need to be charged up or powered up. They don't seem capable of snap firing. Actually, when a ship is low on power and they're trying to get a shot off by drawing power from some system or other they seem to fire a phaser based system, implying that the torpedoes are more energy intensive to fire. Similarly they never try to bring a torpedo up to a cargo bay or something to fire it when they're otherwise disabled or without power, implying they just don't work that way.

The sustaining thing shows up in other spots as well. For example I seem to recall that the saucer section could travel under warp for a while by sustaining the field from the stardrive.

Also, as a cannon thing, the launcher is a substantial piece of equipment on the system cutaways for the Galaxy class. Granted the Galaxy is a big bird so there's plenty of space, but it's far more than a simple tube. It's something vaguely gun shaped that's three decks tall!
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Re: Should sci fi ships use VLS?

Postby Graham Kennedy » Sun May 28, 2017 9:38 pm

sunnyside wrote:I don't disagree with any of those points par se. Rather it's the fact that the torpedoes don't seem to be independently capable of what they do, instead they require the launcher to initialize their warp field and shields and maybe charge up some energy reserves and then send them off.

I don't disagree with that, particularly, though I would point out that they can and do fire torpedoes when the warp drive is off and the shields are down - Code of Honor for instance.

I'd suggest that launchers provide an advantage, but are not necessary. Any missile expends energy to get up to maximum speed - and most then burn out and coast the rest of the way. Launching a missile with a high initial velocity, essentially "throwing" it at the target, will increase their speed and range. Fighter launched missiles do exactly that, gaining a great range advantage over the same missile fired from the ground.

Likewise, I'd suggest that a torpedo launcher (and warp handoff) provides an initial velocity, but without it the torpedo could likely still launch, just not as far or fast.

The sustaining thing shows up in other spots as well. For example I seem to recall that the saucer section could travel under warp for a while by sustaining the field from the stardrive.

This is more presumed than outright stated, based on the Saucer section detached at warp in Encounter at Farpoint, then meeting the ship at their destination rather than being picked up in space. I can certainly see that the saucer would gain a similar handoff and coast for hours - especially when detached at extreme warp speed, as it was in EaF.

Also, as a cannon thing, the launcher is a substantial piece of equipment on the system cutaways for the Galaxy class. Granted the Galaxy is a big bird so there's plenty of space, but it's far more than a simple tube. It's something vaguely gun shaped that's three decks tall!

Yeah, though other torp launchers we've seen have been quite small.
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Re: Should sci fi ships use VLS?

Postby Meste17 » Mon May 29, 2017 11:56 pm

I honestly just think that VLS might be a better launching system. However, as far as Im concerned, it is what it is.
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Re: Should sci fi ships use VLS?

Postby Mikey » Tue May 30, 2017 12:33 am

Meste17 wrote:I honestly just think that VLS might be a better launching system. However, as far as Im concerned, it is what it is.


Well, anything is what it is. That's what "is" means. I'm sure I don't understand what you're saying here.
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Re: Should sci fi ships use VLS?

Postby Meste17 » Tue May 30, 2017 9:35 pm

Mikey wrote:
Meste17 wrote:I honestly just think that VLS might be a better launching system. However, as far as Im concerned, it is what it is.


Well, anything is what it is. That's what "is" means. I'm sure I don't understand what you're saying here.


I apologize. I was simply saying that maybe at the time, which would be logical, they didn't have VLS systems. Or maybe they did Idk. However, I am simply saying that if at the time, they thought that the torpedo launchers we have seen would work here, then that is most likely what they have gone with.
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Re: Should sci fi ships use VLS?

Postby Mikey » Wed May 31, 2017 1:06 am

In the most general sense, I agree - sci-fi has an annoying tendency to keep using familiar paradigms, even if they don't make sense in-universe. How many times have we seen spacecraft with airfoils, for example, because we have a sense that that's how things that fly should look. In like manner, missile launchers in SF will tend to mirror what RL missile launchers look like. 'Trek, more than most, has been able to buck that trend.

Here's a question: why can't we consider 'Trek PT launchers to be a VLS system that just happens to be aligned with the axis of motion?
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Re: Should sci fi ships use VLS?

Postby Meste17 » Thu Jun 01, 2017 10:52 pm

Mikey wrote:In the most general sense, I agree - sci-fi has an annoying tendency to keep using familiar paradigms, even if they don't make sense in-universe. How many times have we seen spacecraft with airfoils, for example, because we have a sense that that's how things that fly should look. In like manner, missile launchers in SF will tend to mirror what RL missile launchers look like. 'Trek, more than most, has been able to buck that trend.

Here's a question: why can't we consider 'Trek PT launchers to be a VLS system that just happens to be aligned with the axis of motion?


Thank you. Now THAT I agree on as well.
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Re: Should sci fi ships use VLS?

Postby sunnyside » Fri Jun 02, 2017 4:42 am

Mikey wrote:Here's a question: why can't we consider 'Trek PT launchers to be a VLS system that just happens to be aligned with the axis of motion?


The question isn't orientation, but whether the weapons can just have a hatch so that you can fire them all off rapidly or en-mass, or whether they need some apparatus such that you can only fire some relatively small number of them and then you have to reload before firing again.

I suppose some series sort of do both. Where swarms of smaller missiles are sent out, and then another swarm can be reloaded from internal stores.

Anyway the real question is Graham wondering how the coalition ships should be designed. I'd think being able to blow the entire load of missile weaponry in one go would present some challenges for a writer.
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