Counters to Hyperdrive Ramming

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Counters to Hyperdrive Ramming

Post by Juubi Karakuchi » 2018-04-22 03:31pm

Apologies in advance if someone has beat me to this.

The Holdo Manoeuvre, otherwise known as Hyperdrive or Hyperspace Ramming, has gotten a lot of attention among the fan community (or at least certain portions of it), leading to a lot of complaints that it has broken Star Wars. The mere fact that it was possible implies that space combat in SW should not work the way it currently does. The dominant weapon should be starfighter-sized hyperdrive ramships; cheap, expendable, and so destructive that a handful should be capable of destroying large warships or devastating planets. The mere fact that it has shown to have happened, yet has rarely been mentioned before, has caused a fair bit of upset in itself.

To explain why I think this has not happened very often in Star Wars, and why this is not the game-changer it appears to be, I would like to start by teasing out some of the particulars.

To begin, the term 'Hyperdrive Ram' can refer to three particular operations; to ram a target by jumping into hyperspace while aimed at it (aka the Holdo Manoeuvre); to drop out of hyperspace close to a target then ramming it at sublight speeds; and to ram something while still in hyperspace. To the best of my knowledge, the third has never actually happened, while the other two have both been vaguely mentioned in various materials.

The second option, dropping out of hyperspace and then ramming, should be perfectly possible, and has had the occasional mention. One noteworthy mention is in James Luceno's Tarkin, when the titular character muses on the possibility;
If the destruction of the base was the goal, why hadn't whoever was behind the attack used the ship as a bomb by reverting from hyperspace in closer proximity to the moon? Planetary bodies larger than Sentinel had been shaken to their core by such events.

James Luceno, Tarkin, p. 25
When considered in the context of the Holdo Manoeuvre, this method has two particular weaknesses. For one, it appears to be difficult, if not impossible, to bring a ship out of hyperspace with the required level of precision. Dropping out right next to a planet is comparatively easy, but doing so next to a warship is another matter. This also explains why we don't see ships using hyperspace to bypass planetary shields more often; it's just too difficult.

Also, a ship coming out of hyperspace does not move at anything like the speed of light. If it did, then Han would never have been able to pull out of his death-dive in TFA; he would have slammed into Starkiller Base in a fraction of a second.

Coming around to the first option - the infamous Holdo Manoeuvre. The manoeuvre seems to work by aiming the ship at the target, then activating the hyperdrive at such a point that the ship accelerates to lightspeed and rams the target just before actually entering hyperspace; thus striking for maximum damage. Based on the visual effects seen in the movie, this is the normal process by which a ship enters hyperspace, and not some new permutation of the technology.

The obvious counter would be gravity-well generators, as used by the Interdictor cruiser/star destroyer. But the Rebels episode 'Zero Hour' would seem to counter this. In the episode, a rebel escort frigate is seen jumping into hyperspace, only to be unceremoniously dumped back out again by the gravity well created by Thrawn's interdictors. The problem in this case is that the frigate clearly enters hyperspace, whereas the Raddus did not. Since the gravity well did not appear to interfere in the translation process, it can be argued that gravity does not prevent the Holdo Manoeuvre; whether artificial gravity wells or those of planets.

But the real weakness of the Holdo Manoeuvre lies in its range. In the movie, Hux can be seen examining a tactical hologram, in which the Raddus is shown to be just outside the effective range of the Supremacy's heavy guns. Most importantly, we see that said range is about the same as Supremacy's width, or about sixty kilometres, with the Raddus just outside that. On that basis, we can see that the distance the Raddus travelled as it translated into hyperspace was a little over sixty kilometres.

In other words, the Holdo Manoeuvre is vulnerable to the same counter as any other ramming attack; the simple expedient of destroying or disabling the attacking vessel before it can make the hyperjump. Even if this cannot be done with warship-grade weapons, it should still be quite possible with starfighters; as Edrison Peavey muses in the novelization;
Peavey looked out through the viewports, hands behind his back. The surviving Resistance ships remained just out of range of the First Order guns. If there had been any chance that those fleeing ships would be reinforced, Peavey would have recommended trying to cripple them with waves of starfighter attacks, but all the First Order's intel indicated no support was coming.

That meant there was no reason to send pilots into danger - not with the Resistance fleet unable to flee and beyond help.

Jason Fry, The Last Jedi, Expanded Edition, p. 257-258
The only question that remains is why Snoke didn't just finish the Raddus off while he had the chance. The only answer I can think of besides him being incredibly lazy (or bad writing) is that he wanted the Raddus (or Leia specifically) as a lure for Rey and/or Luke.

I hope this analysis proves worthy.

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Re: Counters to Hyperdrive Ramming

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-04-22 06:20pm

I posted a thread related to this a little while back:

viewtopic.php?f=3&t=167102

I'm not sure that simply destroying the ship before it can hyper-jump is very likely to be effective. For a big ship like the Raddus, it has shields and armor, that only need to hold until it jumps. For a smaller ship, well, hyper drives don't seem to be that expensive. You could spam any enemy with hyper-capable drones, and some would certainly get through, given the dubious effectiveness of anti-fighter guns even at close range.

I do think that interdictors might be more effective a counter than your giving them credit for- the case against them here seems somewhat tenuous.

The other obvious factor is likely cultural- few military forces have routinely employed kamikazes (Japan in WW2 is the only one I can think of off the top of my head, other than Jihadi insurgencies). Drone ships are an option, and I'm a little surprised that the CIS didn't employ them during the Clone Wars (in fact, I do seem to recall an episode of The Clone Wars featuring droid fighters being used for ramming, though I don't recall which one), but most Star Wars militaries seem to have an aversion to using drone ships heavily- fear of droid revolts, or of drones being hacked, may be a factor here. Remember that ultimately, ramming is nothing new in Star Wars- most notably in the demise of the Executor. Star Wars ships seem to be more vulnerable to kinetic impacts than energy weapons fire, arguably (see Death Squadron in the asteroid field), and yet ramming is not the go-to tactic for killing capital ships, even though it ought to be cheaper to strap a hyper drive and a basic guidance system on a big hunk of metal than to build a manned ship capable of wielding comparable firepower. The reasons are likely cultural, primarily.

It may also be that the technical capabilities that allowed Holdo to make that maneuver are relatively new, and were not in place during the Clone Wars.

And yeah, I think the only way you can explain the delayed destruction of the Raddus is Snoke wanting to toy with Rey, plus shear complacency due to the overwhelming advantage they seemed to possess.

As an aside, I also wonder if there's an issue here with Hux (a posturing, arrogant twit at the best of times) being in command. Not only because of his aforementioned general issues as a commander, but because he's a general. Fleet command should properly go to an admiral- its very likely that Hux didn't really know the limits of what either his vessels, or his enemies' were capable of.
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Re: Counters to Hyperdrive Ramming

Post by Juubi Karakuchi » 2018-04-23 01:33pm

Ah, apologies. That's what I get for posting after a weekend of long bar shifts. :oops:

It's more a case of it being the best argument I could think of, rather than a definate argument; apologies for not making that more clear. What needed explaining was why hyperdrive-ramships aren't more common if they can be used with such apparent ease. Now it's a big galaxy with a long history, so it's not inconceivable that they've been used in the past. But the problem is why aren't they the dominant weapon, as opposed to one of many possibilities?

Once again, the best argument I can suggest is that they can be taken down at a distance; if not by ship-based firepower, then by fighters.

Regarding Interdictors, considering that Rebels is a somewhat problematic source, you may be right. They do seem an obvious countermeasure, and that's only one clear example.

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Re: Counters to Hyperdrive Ramming

Post by Civil War Man » 2018-04-23 04:00pm

There is another example of the "drop out of hyperspace and then ram" variant in Rogue One, where a Star Destroyer was able to drop out of hyperspace with enough precision to ram and destroy multiple rebel ships as they tried to escape into hyperspace.

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Re: Counters to Hyperdrive Ramming

Post by Dass.Kapital » 2018-04-23 09:39pm

Civil War Man wrote:
2018-04-23 04:00pm
There is another example of the "drop out of hyperspace and then ram" variant in Rogue One, where a Star Destroyer was able to drop out of hyperspace with enough precision to ram and destroy multiple rebel ships as they tried to escape into hyperspace.
Um.. not quite the way I remember it happening.

The Rebels were preparing to bug out. (Don't remember if the signal had been sent up from the planet?)

I think there was a cut to CGI Tarkin with an underling pointing out that the Rebels were preparing to flee. To which CGI Tarkin mentions Vader.

A Star Destroyer, and I am guessing though I do remember it being heavily implied, which seems to have personally guided by Vader himself litterally drops into the very gap the Rebels had been working on as their escape vector.

We see a couple of ships make the jump out.
Vader's Destroyer jumps in AND pretty much comes to a complete stop.
A couple of ships are too far gone with their preparations (A cargo ship definately) and they accelerate forwards only to crumple/crush against the armor of the Destroyer.

Now, the distances over the planet definetly seem to be a LOT closer than that between the ships in TLJ. So, maybe the length of 'Run up' effects things?

But in Rogue One the Star Destroyer isn't hyper ramming anything. It's the Rebels trying to bug out and not having a clear vector that does the damage.
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Re: Counters to Hyperdrive Ramming

Post by Juubi Karakuchi » 2018-04-24 07:41am

Yes, the Devastator just drops out and stops (or coasts quite slowly) while Rebel ships slam into it.

The run-up is indeed crucial. Kyle Hill's Youtube video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i1M95njhovw) mentions Lorentzian contraction; basically the Raddus contracted to a fraction of its normal size as it accelerated, and its mass and impact energy increased by the same token.

The Rogue One example is nevertheless relevant, since it hints at one of the issues with designing a hyperspace ramship; namely how close to its target can it drop out of hyperspace.

To hit its target, the ramship must approach through hyperspace, drop out, position itself, then activate its hyperdrive for the final run-up. The crucial point of failure is the final positioning process, as it gives the defenders time to intercept. There are therefore two crucial factors in working out how effective a ramship would be; how close to the target can it drop out, and how long before the final jump can be made?

The Rogue One example implies that it's possible to drop out of hyperspace with considerable precision; in this case, right in front of an enemy fleet trying to leave. That said, it's possible that Vader was using the Force to get it right, or that his ship was getting telemetry from the Death Star. More evidence comes from the Rebels episode 'A Fool's Hope', when Hondo Onaka positioned the Ghost just outside a hyperlane's exit point, with a view to waiting for a cargo ship and latching onto it; an old pirate's trick. Kallus is incredulous, complaining that they'll be hit, and Hondo ends up implying that he has been hit while performing this trick a great many times.

My point is that both the success and potential failure of this trick imply that a ship cannot see what is in realspace in front of it (unless it's creating a substantial gravity shadow). Then again, in the Clone Wars episode 'A Sunny Day in the Void', D-Squad's shuttle nearly ran into a swarm of comets while in hyperspace; but this could be a question of relative size. The Ghost may have been just small enough to avoid detection.

So, our ramship has to drop out of hyperspace at the hyperlane's exit point; making its arrival point somewhat predictable (unless a secret or obscure hyperlane is used). The next issue is how long it takes to spool up the hyperdrive for the final jump. In Rogue One, it took about twenty-five minutes from the Rebel fleet's arrival to its withdrawal, so the recharge time for a starfighter (several fighters jump out before Vader arrives) is about half an hour at the most. The Rebels episode 'The Protector of Concord Dawn' implies that it could be as little as a few minutes, but in that case we don't know how long the Rebel fighters had been in the system before the Protectors jumped them.

Even with all this, there are some common sense countermeasures the defending side can use. Keep big, expensive warships away from hyperlanes, keep a starfighter CAP in the void at all times, and maybe position smaller, cheaper ships near hyperlanes if you need a presence there. Interdictors also come into their own at this point, as their gravity shadows could force ramships to drop out relatively far from their targets, giving more time for interception.

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Re: Counters to Hyperdrive Ramming

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-04-24 04:46pm

Yeah.

Even if the Holdo maneuver is something that can be reliably and consistently duplicated, all it means, I suspect, is that interdictors have now become more tactically valuable.
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Re: Counters to Hyperdrive Ramming

Post by eMeM » 2018-04-26 08:57am

Juubi Karakuchi wrote:
2018-04-24 07:41am
Yes, the Devastator just drops out and stops (or coasts quite slowly) while Rebel ships slam into it.

The run-up is indeed crucial. Kyle Hill's Youtube video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i1M95njhovw) mentions Lorentzian contraction; basically the Raddus contracted to a fraction of its normal size as it accelerated, and its mass and impact energy increased by the same token.

The Rogue One example is nevertheless relevant, since it hints at one of the issues with designing a hyperspace ramship; namely how close to its target can it drop out of hyperspace.

To hit its target, the ramship must approach through hyperspace, drop out, position itself, then activate its hyperdrive for the final run-up. The crucial point of failure is the final positioning process, as it gives the defenders time to intercept. There are therefore two crucial factors in working out how effective a ramship would be; how close to the target can it drop out, and how long before the final jump can be made?

The Rogue One example implies that it's possible to drop out of hyperspace with considerable precision; in this case, right in front of an enemy fleet trying to leave. That said, it's possible that Vader was using the Force to get it right, or that his ship was getting telemetry from the Death Star. More evidence comes from the Rebels episode 'A Fool's Hope', when Hondo Onaka positioned the Ghost just outside a hyperlane's exit point, with a view to waiting for a cargo ship and latching onto it; an old pirate's trick. Kallus is incredulous, complaining that they'll be hit, and Hondo ends up implying that he has been hit while performing this trick a great many times.

My point is that both the success and potential failure of this trick imply that a ship cannot see what is in realspace in front of it (unless it's creating a substantial gravity shadow). Then again, in the Clone Wars episode 'A Sunny Day in the Void', D-Squad's shuttle nearly ran into a swarm of comets while in hyperspace; but this could be a question of relative size. The Ghost may have been just small enough to avoid detection.

So, our ramship has to drop out of hyperspace at the hyperlane's exit point; making its arrival point somewhat predictable (unless a secret or obscure hyperlane is used). The next issue is how long it takes to spool up the hyperdrive for the final jump. In Rogue One, it took about twenty-five minutes from the Rebel fleet's arrival to its withdrawal, so the recharge time for a starfighter (several fighters jump out before Vader arrives) is about half an hour at the most. The Rebels episode 'The Protector of Concord Dawn' implies that it could be as little as a few minutes, but in that case we don't know how long the Rebel fighters had been in the system before the Protectors jumped them.
In TLJ the Falcon drops out of hyperspace, launches an escape pod and hypers out within seconds. There doesn't appear to be any "recharge time".

Even if it was a factor, you are thinking a single ramship dropping out of hyperspace agains an enemy fleet, sitting still charging the hyperdrive and then slamming into said fleet or getting intercepted. Why?

Instead imagine the battle of Scariff, fleet drops out of hyperspace, standard battle ensues (and like every battle in Star Wars, it's well inside the supposed 60km range), a copule of Y-wings with drone brains hyperram Star Destroyers.

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Re: Counters to Hyperdrive Ramming

Post by Eternal_Freedom » 2018-04-26 11:32am

The thought occurs that there must be some limitation or damage effect at work other than purely kinetic impacts. Otherwise, well, hyperdrive-ramming fighters and drones would be everywhere. And they aren't, so something stops it.

Perhaps...perhaps the effect is dependent on mass. The Raddus was a big ship, so maybe smaller drones/fighters aren't big/heavy/fast enough to cause the damage.

Alternatively, it's possible it needs a certain power of hyperdrive to make it work, and thus is only viable on big ships (expensive) or ships with overpowered hyperdrives (also expensive).

As for the Falcon being able to drop out and then almost immediately jump back to hyperspace, it is worth remembering that the Falcon is a very heavily modified ship, optimised for smuggling, where being able to make quick course changes like that could be crucial. I do not think we can use it as anything but an upper limit, not an indicator of average performance.
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Re: Counters to Hyperdrive Ramming

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-04-26 06:07pm

Eternal_Freedom wrote:
2018-04-26 11:32am
The thought occurs that there must be some limitation or damage effect at work other than purely kinetic impacts. Otherwise, well, hyperdrive-ramming fighters and drones would be everywhere. And they aren't, so something stops it.

Perhaps...perhaps the effect is dependent on mass. The Raddus was a big ship, so maybe smaller drones/fighters aren't big/heavy/fast enough to cause the damage.

Alternatively, it's possible it needs a certain power of hyperdrive to make it work, and thus is only viable on big ships (expensive) or ships with overpowered hyperdrives (also expensive).
This is likely.
As for the Falcon being able to drop out and then almost immediately jump back to hyperspace, it is worth remembering that the Falcon is a very heavily modified ship, optimised for smuggling, where being able to make quick course changes like that could be crucial. I do not think we can use it as anything but an upper limit, not an indicator of average performance.
And also helmed by an exceptional pilot who knows the ship and its peculiarities backwards and forwards. I very much doubt 99.9% of pilots could pull the stunts with the Falcon that Han does (barring maybe high-end Force users).
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Re: Counters to Hyperdrive Ramming

Post by Eternal_Freedom » 2018-04-26 06:52pm

Actually, the MF example I was referring to was in Last Jedi. But Chewie was still there so the point is still valid.
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Re: Counters to Hyperdrive Ramming

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-04-26 06:56pm

Eternal_Freedom wrote:
2018-04-26 06:52pm
Actually, the MF example I was referring to was in Last Jedi. But Chewie was still there so the point is still valid.
My bad. But yeah, Chewie's clearly no slouch as a pilot himself, and probably knows the Falcon as well as Han by this point.
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Re: Counters to Hyperdrive Ramming

Post by Juubi Karakuchi » 2018-04-26 07:41pm

The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-04-26 06:07pm
Eternal_Freedom wrote:
2018-04-26 11:32am
The thought occurs that there must be some limitation or damage effect at work other than purely kinetic impacts. Otherwise, well, hyperdrive-ramming fighters and drones would be everywhere. And they aren't, so something stops it.

Perhaps...perhaps the effect is dependent on mass. The Raddus was a big ship, so maybe smaller drones/fighters aren't big/heavy/fast enough to cause the damage.

Alternatively, it's possible it needs a certain power of hyperdrive to make it work, and thus is only viable on big ships (expensive) or ships with overpowered hyperdrives (also expensive).
This is likely.
As for the Falcon being able to drop out and then almost immediately jump back to hyperspace, it is worth remembering that the Falcon is a very heavily modified ship, optimised for smuggling, where being able to make quick course changes like that could be crucial. I do not think we can use it as anything but an upper limit, not an indicator of average performance.
And also helmed by an exceptional pilot who knows the ship and its peculiarities backwards and forwards. I very much doubt 99.9% of pilots could pull the stunts with the Falcon that Han does (barring maybe high-end Force users).
I am inclined to concur, and I have a little something to offer on that front.

If we take Kyle Hill's analysis (see link above) to be correct, then a simple kinetic impact would not have had the effect described in the movie or the novelization. He claims that the impact would have reduced both ships to their constituent particles and radiation, with both vanishing in a flash of light. Clearly nothing like that happened here, so a simple kinetic impact did not happen.

The novelization offers some additional if rather convoluted details. It claims that the Raddus turned into a column of plasma upon impact, which then vanished into a briefly-opened hyperspace tunnel, though both survived long enough to slice the Supremacy in two and trash those star destroyers.

This makes a little more sense if we take into account the means by which a ship can accelerate so quickly in the first place. We've never seen conventional sublight engines perform like that, so clearly something else is going on when the hyperdrive is activated.

I would argue that when the lever is pulled, some kind of space-warping effect results, accelerating the ship to lightspeed and then translating it into hyperspace. Thus, what struck the Supremacy was not a kinetic impact, but that same effect.

My point? Well, if this is the case, then hyperspace ramming clearly won't have the same effect as kinetic ramming. Clearly, going on the visuals, the destructive power would be considerably less than that of a kinetic ram. The effect we see in the movie is of a beam of light slicing straight through the Supremacy, while doing relatively little damage beyond that. Heck, the ship was probably salvageable.

The problem would be even worse if a smaller ship or ramship was used. For example, if a ramship with the dimensions of a Topol-M missile was created, and fired at an Imperial-class star destroyer, then all it would do is slice straight through the hull and out the other side, leaving a smoking hole a few metres across. Its effectiveness would depend largely on whether it can hit something vital on the way through; which is far from guaranteed. Obviously a 16-metre wide Y-wing would make a much bigger hole, but the problem is still the same.

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Re: Counters to Hyperdrive Ramming

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-04-26 08:43pm

Another thought that occurred to me:

If the Holdo maneuver is something that can be readily duplicated, it can likely be countered by interdictors. But if every fleet is forced to constantly deploy interdictors to prevent ramming attacks, does that make subsequent battles far more bloody, since neither side will be able to readily retreat?
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Re: Counters to Hyperdrive Ramming

Post by Juubi Karakuchi » 2018-04-27 11:31am

The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-04-26 08:43pm
Another thought that occurred to me:

If the Holdo maneuver is something that can be readily duplicated, it can likely be countered by interdictors. But if every fleet is forced to constantly deploy interdictors to prevent ramming attacks, does that make subsequent battles far more bloody, since neither side will be able to readily retreat?
Yes, almost certainly.

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Re: Counters to Hyperdrive Ramming

Post by Elheru Aran » 2018-04-27 12:39pm

It seems a logical enough guess to me, as well, that perhaps the size of the mass being accelerated into hyperspace, dictates the amount of damage done to a certain degree. Thus fighters and missiles, while damaging, would not be nearly as fatal a blow as a capital ship... but capital ships are expensive. One could use a merchant vessel-- there has been fairly well founded speculation that there must be some ungodly huge bulk conveyor vessels out there in the Star Wars universe just to move the amount of goods needed for ecumenopolis worlds-- but the question then becomes whether a merchant vessel would survive the run-up to the hyperdrive ram.

Merchant vessels might fit the Tarkin novel example-- it never says how big the ships that caused such accidents were...

Essentially it's pretty much an absolute suicide maneuver, whatever ship you're doing it with, since it more or less guarantees total destruction of the ship doing the ramming, while there's not nearly as sure a guarantee that the other side wouldn't survive. Certainly the Supremacy and several First Order destroyers were trashed... but probably salvageable, at the cost of what might be the Resistance's only battleship.
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Re: Counters to Hyperdrive Ramming

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-05-15 03:27pm

Elheru Aran wrote:
2018-04-27 12:39pm
It seems a logical enough guess to me, as well, that perhaps the size of the mass being accelerated into hyperspace, dictates the amount of damage done to a certain degree. Thus fighters and missiles, while damaging, would not be nearly as fatal a blow as a capital ship... but capital ships are expensive. One could use a merchant vessel-- there has been fairly well founded speculation that there must be some ungodly huge bulk conveyor vessels out there in the Star Wars universe just to move the amount of goods needed for ecumenopolis worlds-- but the question then becomes whether a merchant vessel would survive the run-up to the hyperdrive ram.
Plausible. You need a ship that is tough enough to survive the run-up, big enough to do substantial damage (though spamming a horde of small ships might do it as well), and cheap enough for suiciding it to be cost-effective. You're also going to have justifiable objections to using kamikaze crews, except perhaps under the most extreme circumstances.

The obvious answer to me is custom-built automated ram ships*, but that could come back to the setting's general reluctance to rely on droids to pilot ships (the Confederacy of Independent Systems aside, anyway).
Merchant vessels might fit the Tarkin novel example-- it never says how big the ships that caused such accidents were...
Quite possibly. And doing it at a planet would, as noted, likely be easier than doing it against a fleet.
Essentially it's pretty much an absolute suicide maneuver, whatever ship you're doing it with, since it more or less guarantees total destruction of the ship doing the ramming, while there's not nearly as sure a guarantee that the other side wouldn't survive. Certainly the Supremacy and several First Order destroyers were trashed... but probably salvageable, at the cost of what might be the Resistance's only battleship.
Considering that it was pretty much split in half, I'm skeptical that the Supremacy was salvageable, and most ships are much smaller and presumably less durable- most of the FO ships that were destroyed were obliterated by mere proximity to the ramming attack.

That said, several ships appear to be intact afterward, so it probably wasn't a total loss of the fleet.

Edit: *Essentially, strap a hyperdrive and some shields to a big chunk of metal with a basic droid brain and targeting system. Cheaper than building a manned ship with life support and crew quarters, or a warship with all sorts of weaponry, and it only needs to survive one attack run.
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Re: Counters to Hyperdrive Ramming

Post by Elheru Aran » 2018-05-16 12:38pm

The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-05-15 03:27pm
Edit: *Essentially, strap a hyperdrive and some shields to a big chunk of metal with a basic droid brain and targeting system. Cheaper than building a manned ship with life support and crew quarters, or a warship with all sorts of weaponry, and it only needs to survive one attack run.
We seem to agree upon the rest of what I said, so this is the only thing I would comment on:

Whether you can just strap a hyperdrive to a big chunk of solid metal would depend on the hyperdrive, I think. Certainly they're abundant enough that you can put them into fighters and whatnot... but on the other hand, do costs scale up with size? I suspect they do.

If you think about it, assembling a pressure hull with life support isn't all that hard even at IRL current tech. Artificial gravity, inertial compensation, perhaps even some kind of structural integrity field, repulsorlifts powerful enough to hold a Star Destroyer at a hover, FTL drives... all seem pretty standard (repulsors aside, though we do see Venators in atmosphere often enough in TCW). -Something- has to cost a lot of money when it comes to starships, and I suspect (though I have no real evidence) that it's probably hyperdrive. A purpose-built hyperdrive ram would be an odd use for a hyperdrive capable of shoving a large ship-size mass, precisely because it's not getting used in large ships that could be used for other purposes... including as an hyperdrive ram at a pinch.
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Re: Counters to Hyperdrive Ramming

Post by Vympel » 2018-05-19 12:50am

Juubi Karakuchi wrote:
2018-04-22 03:31pm
The obvious counter would be gravity-well generators, as used by the Interdictor cruiser/star destroyer. But the Rebels episode 'Zero Hour' would seem to counter this. In the episode, a rebel escort frigate is seen jumping into hyperspace, only to be unceremoniously dumped back out again by the gravity well created by Thrawn's interdictors. The problem in this case is that the frigate clearly enters hyperspace, whereas the Raddus did not. Since the gravity well did not appear to interfere in the translation process, it can be argued that gravity does not prevent the Holdo Manoeuvre; whether artificial gravity wells or those of planets.
Note: the frigate seems to enter hyperspace, but as we see when its dumped back out, it didn't actually move very far at all. It plopped back very near to where it was when it seemingly jumped:

Pre-jump:

Image

After being pulled out:

Image
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Re: Counters to Hyperdrive Ramming

Post by Juubi Karakuchi » 2018-05-19 07:12pm

Yes, I had wondered about that.

That said, it could arguably fit my space-warping theory. The space-warping effect could be more like a tunnel than the bubble or ring of the Alcubierre/Warp Drive, extending for some distance in front of the ship. The tunnel continues to exist right through the translation process, and does not disappear until very shortly after the ship has vanished into hyperspace.

Thus, the frigate activates its hyperdrive, and the tunnel forms. But because of the Interdictor nearby, the translation fails, and the frigate gets dumped back down the tunnel, dropping out a little way ahead of where it entered as the tunnel collapses. Because of the space-warping effect, its velocity and momentum are only about the same as they were going in, but in the opposite direction due to its travel back down the tunnel.

I really, really hope that makes sense. It's the best I can come up with.

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Re: Counters to Hyperdrive Ramming

Post by MKSheppard » 2018-06-03 01:17pm

Juubi Karakuchi wrote:
2018-04-22 03:31pm
Apologies in advance if someone has beat me to this.

The Holdo Manoeuvre, otherwise known as Hyperdrive or Hyperspace Ramming, has gotten a lot of attention among the fan community (or at least certain portions of it), leading to a lot of complaints that it has broken Star Wars.
Ignore the Disney Trilogy. 8)
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Re: Counters to Hyperdrive Ramming

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-06-03 11:04pm

MKSheppard wrote:
2018-06-03 01:17pm
Juubi Karakuchi wrote:
2018-04-22 03:31pm
Apologies in advance if someone has beat me to this.

The Holdo Manoeuvre, otherwise known as Hyperdrive or Hyperspace Ramming, has gotten a lot of attention among the fan community (or at least certain portions of it), leading to a lot of complaints that it has broken Star Wars.
Ignore the Disney Trilogy. 8)
Now where's the fun in that, when we could spend a whole thread analyzing it instead? This is SDN, damn it! :D
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Re: Counters to Hyperdrive Ramming

Post by Juubi Karakuchi » 2018-06-05 12:22pm

The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-06-03 11:04pm
MKSheppard wrote:
2018-06-03 01:17pm
Juubi Karakuchi wrote:
2018-04-22 03:31pm
Apologies in advance if someone has beat me to this.

The Holdo Manoeuvre, otherwise known as Hyperdrive or Hyperspace Ramming, has gotten a lot of attention among the fan community (or at least certain portions of it), leading to a lot of complaints that it has broken Star Wars.
Ignore the Disney Trilogy. 8)
Now where's the fun in that, when we could spend a whole thread analyzing it instead? This is SDN, damn it! :D
Well, I have to keep my inner fanboy busy somehow :D.

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Re: Counters to Hyperdrive Ramming

Post by MKSheppard » 2018-08-01 07:06pm

Juubi Karakuchi wrote:
2018-04-22 03:31pm
The Holdo Manoeuvre, otherwise known as Hyperdrive or Hyperspace Ramming, has gotten a lot of attention among the fan community (or at least certain portions of it), leading to a lot of complaints that it has broken Star Wars. The mere fact that it was possible implies that space combat in SW should not work the way it currently does. The dominant weapon should be starfighter-sized hyperdrive ramships; cheap, expendable, and so destructive that a handful should be capable of destroying large warships or devastating planets. The mere fact that it has shown to have happened, yet has rarely been mentioned before, has caused a fair bit of upset in itself.
Basically:
  • Why did Palpatine, Tarkin and Krennic spend 20 years building the Death Star, when they could have just hyperspace rammed Alderaan and cracked it in half?
  • Why did the Rebellion not hyperspace ram the DS1 in ANH?
  • Why didn't the Rebellion Hyperspace Ram the ISDs blockading Hoth in ESB, instead using the Ion Cannon?
  • Why didn't the Rebellion hyperspace ram the DS2 in ROTJ? Why the whole "fly into inside of DS2?"
  • Why didn't the Empire just have dozens of corvette sized hyperspace rammers launch randomly into the Rebel fleet at ROTJ?
  • Why did the "Resistance" (lol wtf) go through the rigamole with B-17s in Space to destroy the Dreadnought when they could have hyperspace rammed a robot B-17 in Space into the Dreadnought?

That's a big reason a lot of "medium" fans (someone who's a bit into SW, but not a complete obsessive nerd) went WTF in TLJ.

It was a "moment of neat" scene that basically broke the universe's internal coherency and consistency.
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Re: Counters to Hyperdrive Ramming

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-08-01 07:28pm

MKSheppard wrote:
2018-08-01 07:06pm
Juubi Karakuchi wrote:
2018-04-22 03:31pm
The Holdo Manoeuvre, otherwise known as Hyperdrive or Hyperspace Ramming, has gotten a lot of attention among the fan community (or at least certain portions of it), leading to a lot of complaints that it has broken Star Wars. The mere fact that it was possible implies that space combat in SW should not work the way it currently does. The dominant weapon should be starfighter-sized hyperdrive ramships; cheap, expendable, and so destructive that a handful should be capable of destroying large warships or devastating planets. The mere fact that it has shown to have happened, yet has rarely been mentioned before, has caused a fair bit of upset in itself.
Basically:
  • Why did Palpatine, Tarkin and Krennic spend 20 years building the Death Star, when they could have just hyperspace rammed Alderaan and cracked it in half?
  • Why did the Rebellion not hyperspace ram the DS1 in ANH?
  • Why didn't the Rebellion Hyperspace Ram the ISDs blockading Hoth in ESB, instead using the Ion Cannon?
  • Why didn't the Rebellion hyperspace ram the DS2 in ROTJ? Why the whole "fly into inside of DS2?"
  • Why didn't the Empire just have dozens of corvette sized hyperspace rammers launch randomly into the Rebel fleet at ROTJ?
  • Why did the "Resistance" (lol wtf) go through the rigamole with B-17s in Space to destroy the Dreadnought when they could have hyperspace rammed a robot B-17 in Space into the Dreadnought?

That's a big reason a lot of "medium" fans (someone who's a bit into SW, but not a complete obsessive nerd) went WTF in TLJ.

It was a "moment of neat" scene that basically broke the universe's internal coherency and consistency.
I think that's overstating it a bit. Let's run through these issues:

Alderan- Blowing up a planet is a hell of a lot bigger than blowing up a capital ship squadron. Also, gravity wells fuck with hyperdrives, so its doubtful you could even get close to a planet in hyperspace (though I don't know if most "casual" fans would know that).

DS1 and 2- Same as above, albeit on a smaller scale than blowing up a planet.

Hoth- Same issue with gravity wells. Even if we assume the blockading fleet was far enough out from the planet, they'd have had to have a large ship available to ram, preferably already outside the blockade, and the Rebellion at Hoth didn't show anything (in the film, anyway) bigger than a small troop transport. Though this is one that isn't likely to be immediately obvious if your a casual viewer.

Endor- Palpatine was not trying to destroy the Rebel fleet at Endor as efficiently as possible- he was trying to show off the Death Star as part of a plan to turn Luke. This should be obvious to even casual fans if they are attentive, because one of the Imperial officers says that the fleet is not to attack, but only to keep the Rebels from escaping. And once the fleets engaged at point-blank range, they'd have been blowing up their own ships as well. Honestly, a better question is why the Rebels didn't ram the Imperial fleet, though I can use the gravity well explanation again, I suppose- they dropped out of hyper much further out from the planet than where the battle took place, after all, though I don't know if we have a clear standard for how far out you have to be to enter/remain in hyperspace.

Resistance v Dreadnought- Remember, they weren't planning to destroy the dreadnought- Poe just went off half-cocked on the spur of the moment. They were trying to escape with the fleet intact. Holdo only rammed when the command ship was as good as dead anyway and everyone but her had been evacuated.

Which also brings up the point that routine use of kamikazes is something generally not associated with good guys.

Most or all of the "problems" with the ST have reasonable explanations if you put some thought into it, in my opinion. That said, some of these explanations might not occur to a lot of viewers, and there is a larger question as to why this maneuver isn't used more often. I know there's supposed to be some bullshit about the Raddus having unique shields, but that's a pretty lame ass pull, in my opinion. I'd say the best explanation is the prevalence of gravity wells (either due to proximity to a planet or deployment of interdictors), combined with cultural resistance to using organic kamikazes or droid-piloted ships.

Though that does beg the question of why no gravity well was present to interfere with the Holdo maneuver at Crait. Why did the Resistance exit hyperspace so far from the planet, and why did the First Order bring no interdictors? I can barely accept the latter as being due to interdictors being relatively expensive/rare and the First Order being confident that they could track their foes even if they hypered again, but the former can really only be explained by shear navigator incompetence, in my opinion.
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