Weaponized FTL in ST or SW?

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biostem
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Weaponized FTL in ST or SW?

Postby biostem » 2015-06-10 09:36pm

I know there are cases where ramming is used, but I'm just wondering - do we have any examples where any weapon is used that basically boils down to "Take object A, put on an intercept course for object B, and accelerate to some FTL speed"?

I mean, I realize that they have M/AM explosions, but couldn't something like a warp-capable shuttle slamming into a target at multiple warp speed do more damage, (even moreso if it was a purpose-built weapon)?

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Re: Weaponized FTL in ST or SW?

Postby Lord Revan » 2015-06-10 10:00pm

well the thing is that FTL physics work differently then STL so it migth be that a ship at warp or in hyperspace actually has less energy then an AM/M explotion.
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Re: Weaponized FTL in ST or SW?

Postby bilateralrope » 2015-06-10 10:19pm

Lord Revan wrote:well the thing is that FTL physics work differently then STL so it migth be that a ship at warp or in hyperspace actually has less energy then an AM/M explotion.


Question is, how much control does the ship have over what speed it's travelling at when it drops out of warp/hyperspace and returns to STL physics ?

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Re: Weaponized FTL in ST or SW?

Postby Batman » 2015-06-10 11:13pm

What I 'think' bilateralrope is getting at is that however useless FTL may be for a ramming attack, we have a pretty firm grasp on what an object of a given mass will do when hitting another object at 'less' then lightspeed, including, say, 99% of it.
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Re: Weaponized FTL in ST or SW?

Postby bilateralrope » 2015-06-10 11:26pm

Yes, that is what I'm asking.


I asked the question because I recently replayed Mass Effect and came across a codex entry that discussed using that tactic in battle, and that it would fail because their FTL drives have safety systems to prevent such collisions that nobody knows how to disable. Though that only works in Mass Effect because FTL tech is something they found, not something they invented.

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Re: Weaponized FTL in ST or SW?

Postby Borgholio » 2015-06-11 12:35pm

ST has lots of mass lightening tech so hitting something at warp might not do that much damage...furthermore, the way a warp drive works, the ship is actually still moving at STL speed, it's the SPACE that's moving around it. So those two things together might explain why warp weapons don't exist in the ST-verse. Don't know enough about SW hyperdrive to comment on that though. If it's anything like B-5 hyperdrive then the ship isn't even in normal space anyways, so that kinda prevents it from ramming anything.
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Re: Weaponized FTL in ST or SW?

Postby Lone Browncoat » 2015-06-11 01:47pm

When this comes up, I always think of that scene in ST:TVH where Spock is in that cave and the computer is presenting him with math and science questions,
and that one about two ships at warp, one the pursued, the other the pursuer, and they come to occupy the same space at the same time, literally one on top of the other, (before the Berman era frelled things up) yet not physically in contact, remember that?
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Re: Weaponized FTL in ST or SW?

Postby Elheru Aran » 2015-06-11 02:24pm

Borgholio wrote:ST has lots of mass lightening tech so hitting something at warp might not do that much damage...furthermore, the way a warp drive works, the ship is actually still moving at STL speed, it's the SPACE that's moving around it. So those two things together might explain why warp weapons don't exist in the ST-verse. Don't know enough about SW hyperdrive to comment on that though. If it's anything like B-5 hyperdrive then the ship isn't even in normal space anyways, so that kinda prevents it from ramming anything.


http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Hyperspace

Accidents do happen. Planet crackers, even. Seems that intersecting a gravity well is one thing, intersecting an actual mass may be another. The trick would be doing it against ships. Planets are easy enough to intercept if you think about it-- fairly predictable and big-- but ships... no. Star Trek appears to have some capability to steer ships in warp space, so they might be useful in anti-ship functions, but not sure about Wars.
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Re: Weaponized FTL in ST or SW?

Postby Lord Revan » 2015-06-11 02:27pm

Elheru Aran wrote:
Borgholio wrote:ST has lots of mass lightening tech so hitting something at warp might not do that much damage...furthermore, the way a warp drive works, the ship is actually still moving at STL speed, it's the SPACE that's moving around it. So those two things together might explain why warp weapons don't exist in the ST-verse. Don't know enough about SW hyperdrive to comment on that though. If it's anything like B-5 hyperdrive then the ship isn't even in normal space anyways, so that kinda prevents it from ramming anything.


http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Hyperspace

Accidents do happen. Planet crackers, even. Seems that intersecting a gravity well is one thing, intersecting an actual mass may be another. The trick would be doing it against ships. Planets are easy enough to intercept if you think about it-- fairly predictable and big-- but ships... no. Star Trek appears to have some capability to steer ships in warp space, so they might be useful in anti-ship functions, but not sure about Wars.

Star Wars ships can change course while enroute but how well I dunno, though there's cases of ships hypering in right on top of their target (even when said target is a ship).
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Re: Weaponized FTL in ST or SW?

Postby Elheru Aran » 2015-06-11 03:10pm

The only outright one I recall is Admiral Giel's three Star Destroyers ramming the Executor, which I understand was more or less a stupendous coincidence. Not familiar with any others.
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Re: Weaponized FTL in ST or SW?

Postby Ted C » 2015-06-11 03:50pm

Whatever kinetic energy such a ship or missile is carrying will have to come from its fuel. It therefore stands to reason that the energy of a ships motion will always be less the the energy of its fuel supply. For something like a photon torpedo, where the fuel is the payload, the impact energy must be less than the energy released by the payload detonating. The same would hold true for shuttles and larger vessels.

Therefore, no, you would never get a weapon that could do more damage by kinetic energy than it could release via an explosive payload.
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Re: Weaponized FTL in ST or SW?

Postby Batman » 2015-06-11 05:39pm

That may be true for ships using real world physics reaction engines. Somehow I suspect the KE of an Honorverse ship going 80PSL is a 'lot' more than what you'd get by just e=mc^2ing the hydrogen it used to get there.
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Re: Weaponized FTL in ST or SW?

Postby Lord Revan » 2015-06-11 07:26pm

I dunno what "PSL" stands for but you can't get more energy out fuel then it has, at FTL all modern physical formula are useless Newtonian physics don't apply and according to relativistic physics you actually need to have less energy faster you go as odd as it sounds.

so either we rely on in-universe evidence of the how dangerous impacts are (either direct or indirect) or we abanddon all resemblence of rational debate and reduce this to school yard level "I win! no I win!" shouting match.

For example the very fact that we've never of the warp based Kinectic impactor being used as a weapon anywhere in canon Star Trek suggests that it's not something that's all that useble.
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Re: Weaponized FTL in ST or SW?

Postby Batman » 2015-06-11 07:38pm

PSL stands for 'percent speed of light' and is from the much (and rightly) maligned 'Andromeda'. My point was there's plenty of STL engines in SciFi that defy the laws of physics too.
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Re: Weaponized FTL in ST or SW?

Postby Lord Revan » 2015-06-11 07:46pm

And my point is that just because something seems to defy laws of physics it's not excuse to throw them away and go "here's the new rules my argument wins!"
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Re: Weaponized FTL in ST or SW?

Postby Ted C » 2015-06-12 09:27am

Batman wrote:PSL stands for 'percent speed of light' and is from the much (and rightly) maligned 'Andromeda'. My point was there's plenty of STL engines in SciFi that defy the laws of physics too.


Why not just use 0.8c?

Anyway, the only way a ship could get up to that speed would be by expending fuel, so the energy content of a full load of fuel would still have to be greater than the ship's KE at any given moment, at least relative to its starting point. I suppose, given that everything in the universe is in motion, that it could start off with a high relative KE.

Of course, by the time it reaches its target, the energy of the remaining fuel could be less than the ship's KE.
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Re: Weaponized FTL in ST or SW?

Postby SilverDragonRed » 2015-06-12 10:12am

bilateralrope wrote:I asked the question because I recently replayed Mass Effect and came across a codex entry that discussed using that tactic in battle, and that it would fail because their FTL drives have safety systems to prevent such collisions that nobody knows how to disable. Though that only works in Mass Effect because FTL tech is something they found, not something they invented.

Have you read the War on Taetrus arc from ME2? It was a conflict that started because of terrorists that reprogrammed their FTL-plotter and rammed into the capitol of Taetrus.
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Re: Weaponized FTL in ST or SW?

Postby Adam Reynolds » 2015-06-12 03:53pm

Elheru Aran wrote:The only outright one I recall is Admiral Giel's three Star Destroyers ramming the Executor, which I understand was more or less a stupendous coincidence. Not familiar with any others.

In Clone Wars a small Republic cruiser(the same type from the beginning of TPM) was concerned about crashing into a star when their navigation computer failed*. So that indicates that they can react with realspace. And if it is possible for a ship to be destroyed, it is also possible for the ship to destroy something else by conservation of energy. Though with the overall power level of SW weapons, hyperspace ramming wouldn't necessarily be all that powerful. Especially if it has less real momentum than would be expected and is thus less effective against shields(as per the point made on the main site).

* This completely contradicts the concept of interdictor cruisers as portrayed in the EU, even after the reboot. If it is possible for a failed navigation computer to not have fail safes, it should also be possible for smugglers or militaries to develop systems that bypass interdiction fields. Though I suppose if you wanted to justify it, you could say that it was something of an arms race in which interdictors caught up in the OT era(though this still fails to explain why there was no indication of them over Endor). This would also explain why we failed to see it in the prequel era, including all of Clone Wars.

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Re: Weaponized FTL in ST or SW?

Postby Lord Revan » 2015-06-12 10:05pm

IIRC in the legendaries flying FTL close to gravity well puts stress on hyperdrive and can even break it bigger the gravity well or closer to it higher the risk of hyperdrive failure and according to the Rebels CGI-series a ship without a hyperdrive gets ejected to real space. This could explain both why ships have those safety features and why people might be unwilling to disable them.
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Re: Weaponized FTL in ST or SW?

Postby Adam Reynolds » 2015-06-14 12:55am

Lord Revan wrote:IIRC in the legendaries flying FTL close to gravity well puts stress on hyperdrive and can even break it bigger the gravity well or closer to it higher the risk of hyperdrive failure and according to the Rebels CGI-series a ship without a hyperdrive gets ejected to real space. This could explain both why ships have those safety features and why people might be unwilling to disable them.

If the hyperdrive would simply break, why was Ashoka concerned about hitting a star? That indicates that it would be fatal to the starship trapped in hyperspace.

Was it actually shown in Rebels or just mentioned? Because in Clone Wars we see ship with a damaged hyperdrive stay in hypersapce. Thought it might have just been a damaged navicomputer now that I think about it.

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Re: Weaponized FTL in ST or SW?

Postby Lord Revan » 2015-06-14 11:09am

Adamskywalker007 wrote:
Lord Revan wrote:IIRC in the legendaries flying FTL close to gravity well puts stress on hyperdrive and can even break it bigger the gravity well or closer to it higher the risk of hyperdrive failure and according to the Rebels CGI-series a ship without a hyperdrive gets ejected to real space. This could explain both why ships have those safety features and why people might be unwilling to disable them.

If the hyperdrive would simply break, why was Ashoka concerned about hitting a star? That indicates that it would be fatal to the starship trapped in hyperspace.

Was it actually shown in Rebels or just mentioned? Because in Clone Wars we see ship with a damaged hyperdrive stay in hypersapce. Thought it might have just been a damaged navicomputer now that I think about it.

In Rebels a ship without a funtioning hyperdrive, actually no hyperdrive what so ever got violently dropped out of hyperspace when seperated from its hyperdrive capable mothership.

That said it's not just any damage that would do that since from TMP we know that a damaged hyperdrive can be used ("there's not enough fuel to get us to Corusant, the Hyperdrive is leaking") however what I'm talking about is a catastrophic failure aka something that turns the hyperdrive into an really expensive and unpractical paperweight.

Also in case of the episode "Jedi Crash" they weren't flying just close to a star but into it, that's a very different scenarion.
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Re: Weaponized FTL in ST or SW?

Postby Q99 » 2015-11-23 08:05pm

Momentum is a matter of STL speed, while FTL isn't conventional speed at all.

Thus, FTL speed may or may not have anything to do with how hard something would hit, how it works is entirely dependent on the individual universe's call in the matter, and it could conceivably even be a minus. You could have 'FTL vessel that hits a STL thing results in particles scattered across hyperspace, and the STL thing not noticing.' You could also have 'the effective relative velocity of the two is zero, so when they hit, there's no damage to either.'

It's all fairly arbitrary- and doesn't really come up much in either.

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Re: Weaponized FTL in ST or SW?

Postby Simon_Jester » 2015-11-23 09:49pm

Ted C wrote:Whatever kinetic energy such a ship or missile is carrying will have to come from its fuel. It therefore stands to reason that the energy of a ships motion will always be less the the energy of its fuel supply. For something like a photon torpedo, where the fuel is the payload, the impact energy must be less than the energy released by the payload detonating. The same would hold true for shuttles and larger vessels.

Therefore, no, you would never get a weapon that could do more damage by kinetic energy than it could release via an explosive payload.
Unless you use an outside accelerator to get the projectile up to speed, of course- there is such a thing as a "hyperspace cannon" in Star Wars that launches ships to FTL speeds while remaining stationary. However, there really isn't much incentive to use FTL ramming tactics in Star Wars, given that it's not entirely clear whether objects in hyperspace even interact directly with objects in normal space until they're already out of hyperspace and into normal space.

You'd do better to build something like the old EU's Galaxy Gun, which accelerates very powerful warheads to high hyperdrive speeds, using a superluminal 'artillery shell' cheaper and more compact than a feasible spaceship could be.
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Re: Weaponized FTL in ST or SW?

Postby biostem » 2015-11-23 10:58pm

At the very least, you'd think that the Federation, for instance, would develop a photon torpedo with a "shaped charge" type of effect, so you weren't wasting some of the explosive power away from your target.

As for FTL not interacting w/ the target in the same was as STL - if they have some sort of mass-lightening capability, then you should be able to at least accelerate the projectile to some very high STL speed, and then ramp up its mass to some ridiculous level at the moment of impact, or have said projectile carry a warp/hyperspace reactor and detonate it - at least in Star Trek, this has been demonstrated to cause much more damage than the direct M/AM reaction that a photon torpedo supposedly carries.

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Re: Weaponized FTL in ST or SW?

Postby Q99 » 2015-11-24 08:28am

biostem wrote:As for FTL not interacting w/ the target in the same was as STL - if they have some sort of mass-lightening capability, then you should be able to at least accelerate the projectile to some very high STL speed, and then ramp up its mass to some ridiculous level at the moment of impact, or have said projectile carry a warp/hyperspace reactor and detonate it - at least in Star Trek, this has been demonstrated to cause much more damage than the direct M/AM reaction that a photon torpedo supposedly carries.


That assumes that ramping the mass back up doesn't drop the velocity back down, or that it's possible to ramp the mass up to ridiculous levels, or so on.


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