A ship design question (The Last Jedi Spoilers-You have been warned).

PSW: discuss Star Wars without "versus" arguments.

Moderator: Vympel

Post Reply
User avatar
The Romulan Republic
Emperor's Hand
Posts: 14317
Joined: 2008-10-15 01:37am

A ship design question (The Last Jedi Spoilers-You have been warned).

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-01-17 11:25pm

So, in the conclusion of The Last Jedi's space battle, a Resistance cruiser hyperspace rams a First Order fleet, buying time for survivors to escape. The ramming destroys said cruiser, and appears to destroy or cripple every ship in the First Order fleet (though the command ship is intact enough that it has time to deploy small craft and troops to the planet below).

While its a visually cool scene, given the extraordinarily lop-sided casualties inflicted (one damaged cruiser piloted by a single officer for an entire capital ship squadron including an absolutely massive dreadnought), and the lack of an obvious countermeasure, it naturally raises the question:

Why doesn't everyone use this tactic? If you, understandably, don't want to send people on suicide missions, why not drone-operated custom-built ram ships?

Edited the last sentence to clarify custom-built ram ships.
"Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that "all men are created equal." We now practically read it "all men are created equal, except negroes" When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read "all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics." When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty -- to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy." - Lincoln.

User avatar
tezunegari
Jedi Knight
Posts: 513
Joined: 2008-11-13 12:44pm

Re: A ship design question (The Last Jedi Spoilers-You have been warned).

Post by tezunegari » 2018-01-18 01:21am

The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-01-17 11:25pm
So, in the conclusion of The Last Jedi's space battle, a Resistance cruiser hyperspace rams a First Order fleet, buying time for survivors to escape. The ramming destroys said cruiser, and appears to destroy or cripple every ship in the First Order fleet (though the command ship is intact enough that it has time to deploy small craft and troops to the planet below).

While its a visually cool scene, given the extraordinarily lop-sided casualties inflicted (one damaged cruiser piloted by a single officer for an entire capital ship squadron including an absolutely massive dreadnought), and the lack of an obvious countermeasure, it naturally raises the question:

Why doesn't everyone use this tactic? If you, understandably, don't want to send people on suicide missions, why not drone-operated custom-built ram ships?

Edited the last sentence to clarify custom-built ram ships.
It might just not work anywhere else.

The Supremacy had an active Hypespace tracking system.
Apparently canonically that is just a supercomputer using hyperspace generators to make their computation speed ftl by submerging the device in hyperspace.

So a part of the ship was always inside hyperspace.
With that system offline the ramming would have failed.

That would also make this Hyperspace Tracking an Achilles heel. Damn useful for hunting someone but whoever is hunted can now kill your fleet very easily.
"Bring your thousands, I have my axe."
"Bring your cannons, I have my armor."
"Bring your mighty... I am my own champion."
Cue Unit-01 ramming half the Lance of Longinus down Adam's head and a bemused Gendo, "Wrong end, son."
Ikari Gendo, NGE Fanfiction "Standing Tall"

Patroklos
Jedi Council Member
Posts: 2312
Joined: 2009-04-14 11:00am

Re: A ship design question (The Last Jedi Spoilers-You have been warned).

Post by Patroklos » 2018-01-18 02:35am

1.) Where did those details come from?

2.) Even if true, only one ship had an active hyperspace tracker at the time, yet all of them were impacted.

3.) The logical result of that is the destruction of the cruiser in hyperspace and whatever small part of the tracking device was in there. Well maybe not destroy the cruiser, but impart whatever damage running into a an object at many times the speed of light would cause (if they are actually traveling FTL inside hyperspace, rather than just appearing to from a real space frame of reference). The impact happened in hyperspace not realspace. However, if they are saying that the impacts somehow drag through to real space, then what is stopping me from doing the opposite? Instead of inserting a probe into hyperspace, I just insert one into realspace. I now have a superluminal projectile I can just drag into real space enemies for ridiculous destructive power. Or use it for more mundate purposes like being able to communicate and or get sensor data by dipping antenna out of hyperspace. Or maybe it doesn't work because you still can't exceed c in realspace, but again are you actual traveling FTL in hyperspace or is the distance just shorter there?

If this works the way you say this also conflicts directly with how hyperspace has always been described to work. Specifically the hyper drive kicks in as you approach light speed to give you the final oomf into hyperspace. If you can just wink into hyperspace without that proximity to c in realspace things are more akin to Battlestar Galactica FTL on the real space portion.

Given the MANY example of entering FTL in cannon, including several visual examples from multiple perspectives in the OT, this explanation causes more problems than it solves.

Also, it doesn't make sense on its face. So you "submerge" a computer into hyperspace so it can compute faster. I assume they mean the speed of electricity would be faster so they can do more calculations in a given time frame. The problem is this is all relative to real space. A space ship leaves real space and emerges somewhere else in real space without traveling through real space, but rather by traveling through hyperspace. The point is to skip the real space travel part so you can go FTL. Applied to this computing trick, they are saying they can leave realspace, do their computation in hyperspace, then return to realspace (the information at least) and retroactively apply what happened in hyperspace to the real space timeframe they were gone from. The frame of reference for time does not change between real space and hyperspace, just distance. But how does cheating distance help things in this context, the computations are still all happening in real space or all happening in hyperspace just like the FTL travel?

Essentially they are trying to apply a reverse time dilation trick, but we know from observation there is no time distortion in hyperspace. At least not a noticeably significant one. Hyperspace lets you cheat distance, not time. Or did R2D2 and C3PO become super computers when traveling on the millennium falcon. Shouldn't the same thing apply to biological processes too?

Its at best a fundamental misunderstanding of the concept of hyperspace in SW, at worst its the intentional mixing of scifi genre without *shock* thinking about the consequences. This is textbook CYA technobabble after the fact retconning and just proves that they didn't give this any thought beforehand AND proof they recognize that their original idea made no sense and they needed to address it.

User avatar
Vendetta
Emperor's Hand
Posts: 10439
Joined: 2002-07-07 04:57pm
Location: Sheffield, UK

Re: A ship design question (The Last Jedi Spoilers-You have been warned).

Post by Vendetta » 2018-01-18 04:38am

tezunegari wrote:
2018-01-18 01:21am
The Supremacy had an active Hypespace tracking system.
Apparently canonically that is just a supercomputer using hyperspace generators to make their computation speed ftl by submerging the device in hyperspace.
Doesn't work as an explanation for the movie because Holdo doesn't know that.


The effectiveness of hyperspace ramming is simple to intuit if you simply assume that what you have seen on screen in Star Wars previously actually happened (shocking, I know!). That hyperacceleration before disappearance is actually happening not a visual distortion. (Which is also why during the escape from the giant space worm Leia says they wouldn't be able to make the jump to lightspeed in the asteroid field, local obstacles are significant).


The reason we haven't seen it before in a Star Wars movie is because it's unreliable (would have failed if the Supremacy's gunners had responded to the threat in time, needs to be precisely timed to hit the target with sufficient velocity and at that distance and velocity even one degree off and you miss the target completely) and nobody has been sufficiently desperate to do something that unreliable because there's always been another plan.

So it only works on an unprepared enemy and when you have absolutely no other options.

But remember, "any space drive fast enough to be interesting is a weapon of mass destruction".

User avatar
NecronLord
Harbinger of Doom
Harbinger of Doom
Posts: 27077
Joined: 2002-07-07 06:30am
Location: The Lost City

Re: A ship design question (The Last Jedi Spoilers-You have been warned).

Post by NecronLord » 2018-01-18 06:05am

Simple answer, ships slow down in a gravity well.



If they were actually travelling at the speed of light, they'd cover the distance between the shield and the surface in the time that it takes Han's hand to physically actuate the leaver, so either he was flying by computer and just posing with the stick, or they must be travelling actually quite slowly, though still rapidly enough to pass entirely through the shield at the right part of its phase cycle.



We see the same thing in Rebels, there's several whole seconds between Phoenix Home being affected by the interdictor and reverting to 'realspace' during which time the gravity well generators must be aggressively slowing her down; if she were travelling at full 'cross the galaxy in hours' time, it would imply that if she was travelling at a not unreasonable 40 million C, the twelve seconds between loss of hyperdrive control and reversion would give the interdictor a radius of effect of over two AU, which can't be the case as at Atollon, they talk about 'blockade running' past an interdictor with the Ghost and jump to hyperspace; therefore again, this gravity well presumably slows ships down before pulling them out of hyperspace.



At the Battle of Atollon we see that engaging hyperdrive in the influence of an interdictor gets a Nebulon B frigate... a few kilometers before it's forced back into realspace. Certainly seems like gravity slows things down.

Image

When we consider this, we see that all these ships are going to be basically immune to hyper-ramming, that hyper-ramming cannot defend or attack a planet or ships around that planet, and it's on Hux (again) for fucking up by giving chase through open space where ramming is possible.

And all those other battles where ships snuggle down against a planet now make more sense.
Superior Moderator - BotB - HAB [Drill Instructor]-Writer- Stardestroyer.net's resident Star-God.
"We believe in the systematic understanding of the physical world through observation and experimentation, argument and debate and most of all freedom of will." ~ Stargate: The Ark of Truth

User avatar
Vympel
Spetsnaz
Spetsnaz
Posts: 28868
Joined: 2002-07-19 01:08am
Location: Sydney Australia

Re: A ship design question (The Last Jedi Spoilers-You have been warned).

Post by Vympel » 2018-01-18 06:16am

The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-01-17 11:25pm
So, in the conclusion of The Last Jedi's space battle, a Resistance cruiser hyperspace rams a First Order fleet, buying time for survivors to escape. The ramming destroys said cruiser, and appears to destroy or cripple every ship in the First Order fleet (though the command ship is intact enough that it has time to deploy small craft and troops to the planet below).

While its a visually cool scene, given the extraordinarily lop-sided casualties inflicted (one damaged cruiser piloted by a single officer for an entire capital ship squadron including an absolutely massive dreadnought), and the lack of an obvious countermeasure, it naturally raises the question:

Why doesn't everyone use this tactic? If you, understandably, don't want to send people on suicide missions, why not drone-operated custom-built ram ships?

Edited the last sentence to clarify custom-built ram ships.
Jason Fry (author of the ICS and the upcoming novelization of the film) said in an interview the other day that his 'headcanon' - which he regretted not putting in the ICS since it only crystallised for him in the novel was that the Raddus exceptional shields (that it has an advanced prototype shield system is referred to in the ICS) were somehow involved in making the ramming so powerful. He didn't elaborate, presumably so it can be put in the novel.
Like Legend of Galactic Heroes? Please contribute to http://gineipaedia.com/

User avatar
tezunegari
Jedi Knight
Posts: 513
Joined: 2008-11-13 12:44pm

Re: A ship design question (The Last Jedi Spoilers-You have been warned).

Post by tezunegari » 2018-01-18 08:12am

Patroklos wrote:
2018-01-18 02:35am
1.) Where did those details come from?
It's in the TLJ-Incredible CrossSections, I think. I originally read it somewhere in the TLJ thread... I only remember the Hyperspace-submerged supercomputer because I thought it was a stupid explanation.
"Bring your thousands, I have my axe."
"Bring your cannons, I have my armor."
"Bring your mighty... I am my own champion."
Cue Unit-01 ramming half the Lance of Longinus down Adam's head and a bemused Gendo, "Wrong end, son."
Ikari Gendo, NGE Fanfiction "Standing Tall"

Q99
Jedi Council Member
Posts: 1895
Joined: 2015-05-16 01:33pm

Re: A ship design question (The Last Jedi Spoilers-You have been warned).

Post by Q99 » 2018-01-18 09:15am

Possible limitations- accuracy. The cruiser had a *really* huge target, and it didn't come close to getting it dead on. Being ten kilometers off is not a big deal against the Supremacy, but it is against literally any other ship.

Shields- It could be only super-big things have the 'shield must cycle allowing FTL stuff through' thing? I dunno, speculation.

Gravity well- as mentioned, it might be not doable in many areas of space

User avatar
Rhadamantus
Padawan Learner
Posts: 366
Joined: 2016-03-30 02:59pm

Re: A ship design question (The Last Jedi Spoilers-You have been warned).

Post by Rhadamantus » 2018-01-18 03:37pm

If a big ship is accelerating to ram a very big ship, in theory a medium size ship could counter-ram it. The discrepancy is symmetric, and it would be much harder for the ramming ship to dodge.
"There is no justice in the laws of nature, no term for fairness in the equations of motion. The Universe is neither evil, nor good, it simply does not care. The stars don't care, or the Sun, or the sky.

But they don't have to! WE care! There IS light in the world, and it is US!"

"There is no destiny behind the ills of this world."

"Mortem Delenda Est."

"25,000km is not orbit"-texanmarauder

APlayerHater
Padawan Learner
Posts: 157
Joined: 2015-02-18 11:31am

Re: A ship design question (The Last Jedi Spoilers-You have been warned).

Post by APlayerHater » 2018-01-18 04:01pm

Easy: Nobody remembered to turn their shields on in this movie except the rebels.

User avatar
The Romulan Republic
Emperor's Hand
Posts: 14317
Joined: 2008-10-15 01:37am

Re: A ship design question (The Last Jedi Spoilers-You have been warned).

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-01-18 05:13pm

Based on what, exactly? That we didn't see visible shield bubbles around the First Order ships? We seldom see visible star ship shields in any Star Wars film- the Resistance cruiser's shielding was an anomaly, not the norm.

In fact, as I recall (having just seen the movie again last night), the presence of active shielding around Snoke's shipping is explicitely confirmed during the scene where Finn and Rose sneak aboard.

The only weapons we saw hitting First Order ships were from fighters/bombers, close-in. I would guess that they slipped under the shields the same way Kylo did when attacking the Resistance command ship in his fighter- and just as the Rebel fighters are implied to have slipped under the Death Star's outer shielding in A New Hope. All indications are that most Star Wars capital ship shielding is permeable to small craft- the only major exceptions I can recall (in the films at least) are planetary shielding- Scariff, Starkiller Base, and the Second Death Star. Perhaps a power-level requirement to disintegrate small craft, as opposed to just stopping weapons fire?
"Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that "all men are created equal." We now practically read it "all men are created equal, except negroes" When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read "all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics." When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty -- to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy." - Lincoln.

User avatar
Elheru Aran
Emperor's Hand
Posts: 12039
Joined: 2004-03-04 01:15am
Location: Georgia

Re: A ship design question (The Last Jedi Spoilers-You have been warned).

Post by Elheru Aran » 2018-01-18 05:27pm

One could speculate that the bigger the shield bubble, the more powerful a projector you need. Planetary shields can use whacking strong projectors because they aren't ships, they can just run a huge-ass reactor (see DSII as well). Ships are another matter, even big ships; see fighters attacking DSI (there's an explicit mention of them passing through the shield there). The Rebels aren't able to penetrate the DSII shield because it's being powered by a planet-based reactor, and the Millennium Falcon penetrating Starkiller Base was a pure stunt that was extraordinarily difficult/rare to re-enact.

Finn/Rose/DJ had to specifically turn off a section of the Supremacy's shield to penetrate, however this was pretty explicitly to escape detection. A fighter outright attacking another ship isn't going to care about being detected.
It's a strange world. Let's keep it that way.

Post Reply