Evasive maneuvers

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Evasive maneuvers

Postby Captain Picard's Hair » Sun Apr 22, 2012 12:07 am

I just re-watched DS9: "Shattered Mirror" in which there was a funny moment when Sisko ordered Smiley to perform "evasive maneuver delta." A moment later, Sisko had to explain to Smiley what Evasive Maneuver Delta was.

This got me wondering about these canned "standard" maneuvers Starfleet seems to employ a lot in the TNG era. Here, against the Alliance the maneuver catches enemy ships off-balance since they hadn't seen it before but what about the Federation's old enemies (or frenemies, whatever you call the Klingons) in the regular universe's alpha and beta quadrants? At first I think these fleet commanders would certainly have been briefed on tactics Starfleet has used in the past and trained in counter-maneuvers. On second thought it occurs to me that even if the moves aren't as surprising as they would be to unfamiliar opponents, it would still eat up a small bit of reaction time and then the game of counter-maneuver isn't quite as straightforward as just targeting and shooting.

As a matter of training it does simplify the job of the commander to have proven and tested maneuvers at hand, and which the crew would be expected to perform flawlessly due to having practiced them; even in space there are limits on the maneuvers a starship could practically execute without causing excess stress to ship or crew. The evasive maneuvers that make it into "the book" would surely be those that prove most reliable and effective. Even if the moves are known to the opposing fleets, the game of maneuver and counter-maneuver makes it a bit harder for members of each fleet to find and hit the opponents, thus making it easier to survive, slowing the pace of the battle somewhat and giving the commanders and crews more chances to think.

Still, it seems like the writers treat these "evasive maneuvers" as formulaic plot elements much too often, sort of "automatically give this order and you don't get hit for X seconds." What are your thoughts? How do you figure the other races treat their maneuvers: how would the Romulans (e.g.) approach evasive tactics in battle?
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Re: Evasive maneuvers

Postby Tsukiyumi » Sun Apr 22, 2012 3:32 am

Captain Picard's Hair wrote:how would the Romulans (e.g.) approach evasive tactics in battle?


In the D'Deridex?

"Evasive pattern Falcon!"

...

"Helm, I said evasive pattern Falcon!"

"I know, sir! I started the maneuver five minutes ago!"

Good analysis, though, CPH.
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Re: Evasive maneuvers

Postby Mikey » Sun Apr 22, 2012 3:53 am

Tsukiyumi wrote:
Captain Picard's Hair wrote:how would the Romulans (e.g.) approach evasive tactics in battle?


In the D'Deridex?

"Evasive pattern Falcon!"

...

"Helm, I said evasive pattern Falcon!"

"I know, sir! I started the maneuver five minutes ago!"

Good analysis, though, CPH.


The D'deridex may look to us like it steers like a cow, but remember two important points:
a) the medium is space, i.e. vacuum, and
b) the steering is coming from appropriately-places thrusters, not the main impulse engines. The D'deridex should, like any other starship, be able to turn on a dime.
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Re: Evasive maneuvers

Postby Tsukiyumi » Sun Apr 22, 2012 5:53 am

I think there was some footage I pulled up a while back that showed one maneuvering pretty quickly. 'Twas a joke.
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Re: Evasive maneuvers

Postby Captain Seafort » Sun Apr 22, 2012 10:18 am

Mikey wrote:The D'deridex may look to us like it steers like a cow, but remember two important points:
a) the medium is space, i.e. vacuum, and
b) the steering is coming from appropriately-places thrusters, not the main impulse engines. The D'deridex should, like any other starship, be able to turn on a dime.


Nonetheless, while drag will be non-existent, inertia will still be a problem, and the size of the warbird inevitably means they'll have much greater inertia than a Fed starship. How much that affects them will be down to the power of their main engines and manoeuvering thrusters, but the lack of any obvious sublight engines suggests that they'll be considerably less agile than Fed or Klingon ships.
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Re: Evasive maneuvers

Postby Mikey » Sun Apr 22, 2012 11:56 am

Captain Seafort wrote: lack of any obvious sublight engines


Really? Are you maintaining the idea that a D'deridex has no STL propulsion? The fact that we've seen such ships moving at STL speeds countless times would tend to belie that hypothesis. As far as thrusters, we'd have to have some concrete, even if circumstantial, evidence to assume that the D'deridex' thrusters were not designed appropriately for the mass of the ship.
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Re: Evasive maneuvers

Postby Captain Picard's Hair » Sun Apr 22, 2012 2:04 pm

Tsukiyumi wrote:Good analysis, though, CPH.


Thanks. :)

I'd assume the Romulan engineers had the same competency in selecting thrusters of appropriate strength for the ship as their Federation counterparts. Those thrusters might, in fact, have to be stronger, particularly to execute turning maneuvers in close quarters. A nice compact ship like the Nebula class (among the bigger capitol ships) has the easiest time spinning like a top not necessarily because they have less total mass but because it's concentrated closer to the axis of spin, giving it less angular momentum to fight. A D'deridex would have a much harder time pulling off that maneuver because their mass is anything but concentrated. It's why a spinning ice skater spin s faster with arms pulled and more slowly with arms extended (or why you don't open a door from the hinge end!). It's not clear that the D'deridex is all that more massive than a Galaxy class ship, since so much of the ship is empty space.

All things being equal, the D'deridex would have the hardest time pulling off tight maneuvers in close quarters. She would need to be outfitted with more powerful thrusters to compensate. Of course, many Trek battles give the ships enough space that they wouldn't need to turn quite so tightly as in the example above, making the effect of angular momentum relatively less important. It's still a weakness that could be exploited under the right circumstances though.

Speaking of the D'deridex and the rather impractical nature of her design, it just occurred to me that this would make her a bit easier to target in battle (when you're not looking to hit a specific part of the ship, at least). With her big, extended design, this class offers a bigger target area relative to mass (and offensive strength) of ship among the major classes of alpha/beta quadrant ships. Also, there was a thread a while back supposing that more compact shield bubbles of similar overall strength would be hardier since they aren't projected as far; the D'deridex would seem to need stronger shield generators to cover her larger area also.
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Re: Evasive maneuvers

Postby Tholian_Avenger » Sun Apr 22, 2012 2:32 pm

Warp Engines could be used to move an object at a speed less than light's.
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Re: Evasive maneuvers

Postby Mikey » Sun Apr 22, 2012 5:59 pm

Tholian_Avenger wrote:Warp Engines could be used to move an object at a speed less than light's.


I'm not so sure; warp travel in trek, with all it's babble about "subspace" and such, seems to be more of a "space-folding" type of travel and less of a Newtonian thrust-drive deal. If it were relatively easy, much less possible, why would all the ships we see be fitted with extra space and cost investment of an impulse drive?

@ CPH: yes, increased angular momentum would come into play with a "broader" ship compared to a more compact one; but you hit on the head what I was trying to say, which is that unless proven otherwise we must assume that the maneuvering thrusters aboard a D'deridex are adequate to the task of properly turning a D'deridex.
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Re: Evasive maneuvers

Postby Captain Seafort » Sun Apr 22, 2012 6:42 pm

Mikey wrote:Really? Are you maintaining the idea that a D'deridex has no STL propulsion?


No, I'm maintaining that it has no obvious sublight engines, as can be seen (or rather not seen) just by looking at the thing. Compare this lack to the GCS's rather obvious impulse engines. This suggests that its mass to thrust ratio is going to be much poorer, as it's trying to accelerate a significantly greater mass (more than four times that of the GCS, assuming equal density) with the equivalent of RCS thrusters.
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Re: Evasive maneuvers

Postby Mikey » Sun Apr 22, 2012 8:07 pm

Captain Seafort wrote:
Mikey wrote:Really? Are you maintaining the idea that a D'deridex has no STL propulsion?


No, I'm maintaining that it has no obvious sublight engines, as can be seen (or rather not seen) just by looking at the thing. Compare this lack to the GCS's rather obvious impulse engines. This suggests that its mass to thrust ratio is going to be much poorer, as it's trying to accelerate a significantly greater mass (more than four times that of the GCS, assuming equal density) with the equivalent of RCS thrusters.


Seems rather a stretch to me to assume that Romulan impulse drives are inferior to UFP ones simply because they don't look like "ours.". Remember that according to TOS: "Balance of Terror," all of the operations of a Romulan BoP could be adequately powered by the impulse engines whereas a Sarfleet ship requires a warp core for more than nominal or emergency-level functionality.
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Re: Evasive maneuvers

Postby Captain Seafort » Sun Apr 22, 2012 8:23 pm

Mikey wrote:Seems rather a stretch to me to assume that Romulan impulse drives are inferior to UFP ones simply because they don't look like "ours".


Hardly. Thrusters with a very small outlet area will, obviously, be less effective than those with larger areas due to the reduced efflux volume.

Remember that according to TOS: "Balance of Terror," all of the operations of a Romulan BoP could be adequately powered by the impulse engines whereas a Sarfleet ship requires a warp core for more than nominal or emergency-level functionality.


I'm not talking about power generation - I'm talking about thrust.
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Re: Evasive maneuvers

Postby Teaos » Sun Apr 22, 2012 9:37 pm

I wouldn't say thruster size denotes power at all.

We know drive systems can be very different.
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Re: Evasive maneuvers

Postby Mikey » Mon Apr 23, 2012 10:57 am

Indeed. We're taking for granted an extra-large shitload of implausibilities, if not impossibilities, by just discussing Star Trek technology. Who's to say that Romulan STL drive doesn't involve some techno-magic material that allows the passage of thrust-producing particles, or some such thrust which doesn't require a human-typical vent or nozzle? For that matter, maybe Romulan thrust vents are in fact much smaller but their drives are more efficient... or their mass-reducing technology is more powerful... or [technobabble of the week.]
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Re: Evasive maneuvers

Postby Sonic Glitch » Mon Apr 23, 2012 1:22 pm

Mikey wrote:Indeed. We're taking for granted an extra-large shitload of implausibilities, if not impossibilities, by just discussing Star Trek technology. Who's to say that Romulan STL drive doesn't involve some techno-magic material that allows the passage of thrust-producing particles, or some such thrust which doesn't require a human-typical vent or nozzle? For that matter, maybe Romulan thrust vents are in fact much smaller but their drives are more efficient... or their mass-reducing technology is more powerful... or [technobabble of the week.]


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