Romulan first strike capacity: the strategic value of cloaked ships

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Re: Romulan first strike capacity: the strategic value of cloaked ships

Post by U.P. Cinnabar » 2018-04-10 11:08am

But, radiating heat raises the problem of the cloaked ship glowing like a Christmas tree, and easily detectable on passive sensors.
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Re: Romulan first strike capacity: the strategic value of cloaked ships

Post by LaCroix » 2018-04-10 11:15am

Not if the cloak scatters this thermal radiation in random directions - only a minuscule fraction will be visible for an observer.
Same principle as in modern stealth surfaces, but with a semi-permeable forcefield that plays flipper with all kind of EM waves and particles trying to pass through...

And the bigger the surface area, the less "christmas glow" per square unit - which makes detection less likely.
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Re: Romulan first strike capacity: the strategic value of cloaked ships

Post by LaCroix » 2018-04-10 11:21am

This fully explains why an aactive cloak makes using beam weapons and shields unfeasable to impossible, without citing vague "power" reasons. You could simply fill the ship with reactors and increase power to overcome this to some extent.

But if the cloak were to actively mess with a nicely formed shield, resulting in nothing but both systems being rendered inoperative, or scatters your weapon beams into a birdshot spray, figuratively, you realize that no amount of power will fix this, and it is much better to turn it off before activating the other two.
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Re: Romulan first strike capacity: the strategic value of cloaked ships

Post by Esquire » 2018-04-10 01:08pm

I think the Klingon visual* cloaks, at least, are hull-hugging per STIV - haven't watched in a little while, so I could of course be wrong.

*I'm imagining that the 'hides ship from Mk. 1 Eyeball' function and the 'hides ship from advanced active scanning technology' function aren't necessarily coming from the same device/part of the device.
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Re: Romulan first strike capacity: the strategic value of cloaked ships

Post by EnterpriseSovereign » 2018-04-10 08:37pm

It was the Remans that proved that it was solvable- the Scimitar's cloak was so advanced that it gave off no detectable emissions and yet did not prevent the use of shields and weapons.

Nemesis also changed ship shields (and cloaks for that matter) from bubble to conformal- and since Donatra witnessed the Scimitar's capabilities first hand, you can bet Romulan scientists will have been working to duplicate the results with the regular fleet.
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Re: Romulan first strike capacity: the strategic value of cloaked ships

Post by Batman » 2018-04-10 08:41pm

Shields and cloaks were conformal until TNG.
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Re: Romulan first strike capacity: the strategic value of cloaked ships

Post by bilateralrope » 2018-04-11 12:50am

Three more thoughts from me:
- I remember an episode of TOS where the Enterprises shields get turned on automatically by the ships computer (I can't recall the episode title). Any significant military installation will have shields and having the computer raise them in response to any unknown object on sensors seems like a very good idea because there shouldn't be any unknowns in systems that important. That would be a problem for any surprise attack.
- Being able to fire while cloaked was a big deal in STVI. Something the Federation, who had previously stolen at least one cloaking device to study, thought impossible. Since nobody bought up the possibility of chucking missiles out the airlock heavily suggests that it was also considered impossible.
- I realize that I completely forgot about Discovery in my previous post. That I've forgotten about a show mere months after it aired, while remembering details from episodes I last watched years ago, says a lot about Discovery. The only thing Discovery has relevant to this thread is that Klingons were using cloaks for suicide attacks: A cloaked ship follows a Federation ship into a starbase, then blows itself up and takes the rest of the starbase with it. That's probably more effective against military targets than a cloaked ship firing its weapons. Then the Federation decided to pull out a doomsday device.

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Re: Romulan first strike capacity: the strategic value of cloaked ships

Post by Patroklos » 2018-04-11 02:23am

LaCroix wrote:
2018-04-10 11:21am
This fully explains why an aactive cloak makes using beam weapons and shields unfeasible to impossible, without citing vague "power" reasons. You could simply fill the ship with reactors and increase power to overcome this to some extent
This doesn't really work logically. The cloak has to be able to mask any emissions from the hidden vessel, INCLUDING those from the reactor. Increasing the power of the reactor would be self defeating, as it would require a corresponding increase in cloaking ability. It would seem to me increasing the efficiency of a reactor is more critical to the balance between resources needed for cloaking versus everything else.
That's probably more effective against military targets than a cloaked ship firing its weapons.
This is essentially universe breaking, as we have undetectable R-bombs even by ST universe tech by hard scifi stanards, and undetectable bombs-carrying-whatever-in-universe-doomsday-weapon-dejure using soft standards.

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Re: Romulan first strike capacity: the strategic value of cloaked ships

Post by bilateralrope » 2018-04-12 01:56am

Patroklos wrote:
2018-04-11 02:23am
as we have undetectable R-bombs even by ST universe tech by hard scifi stanards
Please elaborate on this.

Oh and if you're going to use an RKV, make sure to consider the size of the gun launching them. If it's too big to be aimed, the RKV isn't an effective weapon. If the gun is visible, then it doesn't matter if the projectile is undetectable.

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Re: Romulan first strike capacity: the strategic value of cloaked ships

Post by Simon_Jester » 2018-04-13 08:09am

Batman wrote:
2018-04-10 08:41pm
Shields and cloaks were conformal until TNG.
Cloaks were (Star Trek IV has a cloaked Bird of Prey land, invisibly, in a park in San Francisco, which makes it pretty obvious what the visual aspect of the cloaking behaves like). Not so sure we have unambiguous information about what shields do. TNG had early computer graphics in a way that TOS didn't and even the Kirk-and-friends movies didn't really take full advantage of aesthetically. At some point we have to take into account that different eras' graphics and varying production values are supposed to be portraying the same underlying thing.
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Re: Romulan first strike capacity: the strategic value of cloaked ships

Post by LaCroix » 2018-04-13 01:00pm

We pretty much can do the same thing as the BoP today, with special surfaces and cameras, displaying whatever is on the opposite side. That part of cloaking should be trivial for a space-faring civ.

The thing really interesting about the cloak is how it deals with all the other (em and whatever) waves and "insert funny particlename") particle emmissions that make sensors go squeak. They do at least have sublight and FTL propulsion while cloaked (a D'deridex is supposed to go warp 6 while cloaked), and can use their own sensors, so they still do use a significant amount of power (not running silent) and do not fry themselves instantly.

That means they somehow must be able to
A. Redirect their emissions to a "save" vector so they are protected from detection from anywhere but that direction.
B. "store" the emmissions somehow.
C. scatter the emmissions into so many directions that they are below the threshold of detections.

On top of being able to reflect all kinds of active sensors probing for them.

The first one would mean they are a bright spot on all sensors looking from that direction, and I do not recall this being true - they'd never get throught a decently set up sensor net this way.

"Storing" is also technobabble and impossible for a lot of emissions. Also, there would be a "sensor flash" or something when they occasionally have to purge these "stores". We do have a kind of ocasional "emission flare" mentioned in the movies, though, which lets you kind of trace their movement if you happen to track those. That could mean that the "storing" is a part of the system, with occasional purges - but I think not, because it's supposed to be barely detectable signals. I rather think that these are fluctuations or evidence of the ship being pushed to the limits of the cloaks ability to mask it while travelling at high speed.

According to Mem-Alpha, the BoP is supposed to use gravitational fields to bend the light around them - which I thing is wrong intel. It would be very hard to create a hull-hugging event horizon. Also - the gravitational pull from such a thing would be _quite_ hard to mask, itself.

Using a conventional imaging system for visible spectrum, and gravitational (and other, more exotic) fields to scatter emissions and incoming sensors does sound a bit more plausible (for a varying amount of "bit").
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Re: Romulan first strike capacity: the strategic value of cloaked ships

Post by Elheru Aran » 2018-04-13 01:34pm

I wouldn't take the gravitational field thing too seriously; it's an useful notion but it would require tech pretty well in advance of what Trek had through the BoP's operational lifetime. Unless it comes from a canon source (doubtful) I wouldn't bother with that.

To be quite frank trying to explain Trek cloaking is a bit of an exercise in futility... I wouldn't try too hard. Actually that goes for most cloaking methods in sci-fi...
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Re: Romulan first strike capacity: the strategic value of cloaked ships

Post by Prometheus Unbound » 2018-04-19 05:21pm

It could work, but it'd have to be done carefully and quickly. We know that when Romulan ships get close to Federation sensors, even cloaked, they are detected. DS9's Visionary shows this. Also The Die is Cast they were detectable when at warp as a massive subspace displacement - same as the Klingons and their cloaks in TWotW. To combat this they had to reduce their maximum warp to warp 6. But of course they had a spy on board so that didn't work. DS9's sensors picked up the cloaked fleet as well - albeit at very close range. The Defiant as well was detected when it was close to the station - 300 meters away.

In every one of those occasions, even though they didn't know what it was until it decloaked, they activated Red Alert / Shields and weapons. In fact this is shown in ST3 as well - there's an 'energy field' - their first thought is a cloak.

The Breen did it somehow so... if they can cross the border and remain undetected (not easy) - and as long as they drop out of warp at the edge of the system (or further away) so a fleet of 50 ships isn't detected as one of those 'massive subspace variances / displacements' - and as long as they decloak and open fire immediately when they're in range - yeah they probably could.
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Re: Romulan first strike capacity: the strategic value of cloaked ships

Post by FaxModem1 » 2018-04-19 05:47pm

Prometheus Unbound wrote:
2018-04-19 05:21pm
It could work, but it'd have to be done carefully and quickly. We know that when Romulan ships get close to Federation sensors, even cloaked, they are detected. DS9's Visionary shows this. Also The Die is Cast they were detectable when at warp as a massive subspace displacement - same as the Klingons and their cloaks in TWotW. To combat this they had to reduce their maximum warp to warp 6. But of course they had a spy on board so that didn't work. DS9's sensors picked up the cloaked fleet as well - albeit at very close range. The Defiant as well was detected when it was close to the station - 300 meters away.

In every one of those occasions, even though they didn't know what it was until it decloaked, they activated Red Alert / Shields and weapons. In fact this is shown in ST3 as well - there's an 'energy field' - their first thought is a cloak.

The Breen did it somehow so... if they can cross the border and remain undetected (not easy) - and as long as they drop out of warp at the edge of the system (or further away) so a fleet of 50 ships isn't detected as one of those 'massive subspace variances / displacements' - and as long as they decloak and open fire immediately when they're in range - yeah they probably could.
Word of God is that it was a running fight for the Breen to get to Earth, and that's why only Starfleet HQ was hit. A symbolic loss, but one that cost the Breen a fleet in exchange for doing so.
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Re: Romulan first strike capacity: the strategic value of cloaked ships

Post by Prometheus Unbound » 2018-05-19 08:35pm

FaxModem1 wrote:
2018-04-19 05:47pm
Word of God is that it was a running fight for the Breen to get to Earth, and that's why only Starfleet HQ was hit. A symbolic loss, but one that cost the Breen a fleet in exchange for doing so.
I prefer that idea to the idea of the Breen having cloaking devices.
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