Shroom Man 777 wrote:
Well, we could make it so that whereas missiles and torpedoes are way more damaging than missiles, we could have pilots in space fighters covering firing arcs not covered by the guns on a space ship.
And you think a human pilot will have the reaction time to hit an incoming missile with, all other things being equal, four times his vessel's delta-V and a higher thrust to weight ratio? The only way he'll even have a chance is if he's launched on an intercept vector towards an oncoming missile, and if you're doing that, you might as well just build an anti-missile missile to do the same job more effectively at a fraction the price.
Space fighters might be really only fighters meant to be deployed from high orbit into a planetary atmosphere, but are able to maneuver and fight along the way, although their primary purpose is to engage targets in a planetary atmosphere.
We just had a thread where it was pretty conclusively settled that trying to make an atmospheric fighter an effective space combatant, or vice versa, will only make it bad at its job in both mediums.
In really really tough situations, a warship may disgorge its fightercraft just to deal more damage to the enemy - no matter how small this damage may be. When this happens, the enemy ship launches its own fighters (it can't be arsed to use its own guns against the oncoming fighters when it is dealing with the other warship).
Why would a warship waste the space and mass to carry fighters to begin with, when a dedicated planetary assault carrier (assuming planetary assault is a viable mission at all) would do the same job much better without making real capital ships less effective? Never mind the ridiculous idea that guns designed to swat down missiles couldn't effortlessly annihilate atmospheric fighters being pressed into space combat duty.
Space fighters could be trained to spot and attack weak points in enemy ships, and missiles with robot brains would be too stupid for this.
Hooray for bald-faced assertions without a whisper of proof! And anyway, even assuming computers aren't smart enough to find a weak point, what's stopping weapons operators on capital ships from targeting their missiles at these weak points?
Space fighters can deal significant damage (though not as much as capships) and can operate independently as scouts and such.
No, actually, they can't, since they can't carry enough propellant to operate far from resupply.
Since they are smaller, they are more stealthier and can perform deep strikes (against targets that aren't capships).
The space shuttle's main engines, which generate nowhere near the thrust any conceivable useful space war vessel of any kind, could be spotted from Pluto. With modern equipment. Stealth in space is just as big a brainbug as fighters.
And since they're smarter then dumb robot-missiles, well, they can do a lot of stuff.
Another bald-faced assumption with no proof. I also like how you narrowly define "stuff". What stuff? Jerking off in the cockpit? I admit a missile couldn't do that, but I don't see the military value in it.
Sure, a bigger ship can do more stuff, but why use a bigger ship when a smaller one can do the job as well? Why not use missiles for this? Well, the same reason why no one is replacing their capital ships with missiles hundreds of meters long.
Because of course, there's no possible size of vessel between "humongous battleship" and "P-51 in space", right? Fighters do four things in the real world: strike missions, air superiority, escort, and recon. Strike missions are better done by missiles, space superiority will be achieved by capital ships, fighters will be as useless in battle as escorts, and recon can be done by telescopes, drones, or, if you absolutely positively must have a human in the loop, an unarmed scout, since the weapons will waste mass without realistically improving its chances in combat.
If the verse is slightly nonsensical (like my own), then we could have fighters as a sort of...illogical thing that commonly happens in the 'verse. A romatic thinggy, like a knight. But in space. Warriors who intend to honourably duel with other such warrior fighter-pilots to determine the victor and the ace. This could be done in combat zones that aren't too intense (as in, zones with violent furballs between fighters but not so much on devastating capital ship warfare).
If goofy, contrived situations which make fighters useful because the author thinks they're kewl are your thing, go right ahead. They can even be done well, though the three best examples I can think of, Star Wars
, BSG, and Wing Commander all just ignore logic completely and depend on the story/gameplay to carry the day.
Technology could be so advanced that a single fighter is already quite deadly, capable of FTLing and long endurance and respectable damage. In this technologically really advanced verse, the capital warships would truly be something devastating.
So would missiles. Just because you've thrown relativity out the window doesn't mean the fundamental advantages of missiles over manned fighters are reduced one iota.