Space Missile Combat: Why salvo when you can launch everything?

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Space Missile Combat: Why salvo when you can launch everything?

Post by chimericoncogene » 2020-03-04 03:14am

A common trope in depictions of missile combat in space is the missile salvo.

For some odd reason (probably dramatic effect), instead of launching adequate missiles in a single massive salvo to overwhelm enemy defenses in the traditional Lancasterian manner, science fictional space fleets tend to fritter away combat power across multiple staggered salvos of missiles, often after the failure of an initial salvo.

To the layman, this is obviously silly. If you have enough missiles left over after your first salvo to launch a second one, well, you planned that first salvo poorly in the first place. You should have added those missiles to the first salvo to destroy your opponent. Ammunition conservation, a need to perform other missions, and author-imposed guidance/launch limits aside (maybe you're using a weird launcher instead of dropping missiles into the void), there seems to be little reason to fight in such a restrained manner.

While there are theoretical uses of salvo tactics (similar to pindown attacks on enemy ICBM bases, initial missile launches may be useful in damaging sensors and removing deployed countermeasures e.g. Kirklin mines on the float), the staggered salvo is distinct from the multiple exchanges often depicted in science fiction.

In missile combat, one massive attack should be adequate to overwhelm the enemy, or it should not be launched at all except in expectation of some other benefit (probing defenses, forcing maneuvers, etc).

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Re: Space Missile Combat: Why salvo when you can launch everything?

Post by madd0ct0r » 2020-03-04 05:20am

Is the weakness on that argument the word 'adequate'.?

If you don't know how many missiles will get through their defenses to deliver the intended level of damage, your are going to need to salvo to allow time to assess.

This assumes that spreading your payload to cripple three ships is considered better then spaffing it all on the first salvo and dusting the first ship but leaving two others viable
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Re: Space Missile Combat: Why salvo when you can launch everything?

Post by loomer » 2020-03-04 05:28am

Launching everything at once precludes the possibility of reloading and requires additional frontage.
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Re: Space Missile Combat: Why salvo when you can launch everything?

Post by chimericoncogene » 2020-03-04 06:50am

(I'm more-or-less assuming nuclear warheads/casaba-howitzers; but the crippling thing is important for kinetics)

(I guess I'm also assuming relatively inexhaustible defensive weapons - typically lasers, but small kinetics work too... wait, does that mean the defense is always superior in space missile warfare, the same way Brilliant Pebbles was touted to be superior to ICBMs?)

If your margin of victory is so marginal that you might not destroy them all, well, adding missiles to your salvo seems like a great way of improving that margin, and it doesn't seem that your second salvo will do much better (unless all defenses are expendable as well).

If enemy defenses are so short-ranged that their defense fire does not overlap, then I guess a salvo-look-salvo makes sense - but that begs the question of why the enemy would not try to integrate their defensive firepower when networked defenses offer so much more redundancy. An enemy fleet that does not provide mutual support is vulnerable to defeat in detail by overwhelming force at each point, and would necessarily be weaker.

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Re: Space Missile Combat: Why salvo when you can launch everything?

Post by madd0ct0r » 2020-03-04 10:24am

Why are you assuming inexhaustible missile stock and that total destruction of enemy vessel is preferred solution?
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Re: Space Missile Combat: Why salvo when you can launch everything?

Post by chimericoncogene » 2020-03-04 10:40am

madd0ct0r wrote:
2020-03-04 10:24am
Why are you assuming inexhaustible missile stock and that total destruction of enemy vessel is preferred solution?
Sorry. What I meant was that defensive weapons are probably more plentiful than offensive ones. Lasers would be inexhaustible, if open cycle cooling were not needed.

A small KKV countermissile or a small nuclear countermissile might be carried in larger numbers than a large offensive missile with greater delta V, especially if multiple interceptors are fired at every inbound missile, but you are correct that this cannot be taken for granted.

Total destruction of the enemy vessel is desirable in war when prisoners and intelligence are considered not worth the cost of capturing the remains of a vessel?

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Re: Space Missile Combat: Why salvo when you can launch everything?

Post by chimericoncogene » 2020-03-04 12:14pm

Thank you madd0ctor and loomer for your points on how attacking in distinct salvos clarify the tactical picture for force commanders.

Is is usually necessary to reload (other than retiring from the battlefield to do so)? Missiles may be designed to be released into free space without need for a specialized launcher, and modern communications should enable adequate control over any reasonable number of missiles (i.e. no beam-riding/command-guidance limitations like those old naval SAMs). Spacecraft may well be able to fire off their entire complements of missiles more-or-less at once.

When I described "a single staggered salvo", it was in the context of salvo-salvo-look rather than salvo-look-salvo (look, in this case, is checking to see whether your salvo got through and what got hit before shooting off another salvo, at the cost of being less able to saturate enemy defenses by allowing the enemy time to reconstitute defenses e.g. reposition/deploy anti-missiles, cycle lasers, vent heat from radiators between salvos). A salvo does not necessarily need to be concentrated on one vessel, although it could well be. With the levels of firepower under consideration, nuclear-tipped missiles should be hit-to-kill.

As with shoot-shoot-look in missile defense, salvo-salvo-look comes with the cost of greatly increased munitions expenditure. If enemy defenses can be attrited (i.e. defenses are very limited) but are difficult to swamp, it may be worth it to attack piecemeal. However, in general, warships are high-value targets, substantially more expensive than the missiles expended, for which profligate overkill may be justifiable. How many space battles do you expect your fleet to fight anyway before they have time to meet up with a resupply vessel?
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Re: Space Missile Combat: Why salvo when you can launch everything?

Post by madd0ct0r » 2020-03-04 02:12pm

How many space battles do you expect your fleet to fight anyway before they have time to meet up with a resupply vessel?
That right there is the question. How many battles and how many different target objectives per battles?
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Re: Space Missile Combat: Why salvo when you can launch everything?

Post by LadyTevar » 2020-03-04 03:40pm

madd0ct0r wrote:
2020-03-04 02:12pm
How many space battles do you expect your fleet to fight anyway before they have time to meet up with a resupply vessel?
That right there is the question. How many battles and how many different target objectives per battles?
Another question -- How many missile launchers does that vessel have, that it CAN launch everything at once? Isn't a "salvo" usually the full blast of every launcher on the ship (or on that side)? Wasn't that the idea of the Naval Broadside, have all the cannon on one side of the ship all fire at once? Then, you reload and hope the other guy didn't load his cannons faster?

Seriously the OP is stupid. Ships aren't made to "launch everything", because 1. there's a limit to the amount of weapons you can bolt onto a vessel and 2. you might need a second shot for the NEXT enemy in line. DUH!
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Re: Space Missile Combat: Why salvo when you can launch everything?

Post by Jub » 2020-03-04 04:26pm

In addition to simply not having enough tubes, or having limited numbers of munitions, there's also the fact that you may have crews trained to fire the amount that worked in simulated combat. A navy may have a doctrine that calls for x missiles per salvo, pause, get orders to fire y missiles in the next salvo. This may not always be the optimal way to fight but battles are rarely fought optimally.

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Re: Space Missile Combat: Why salvo when you can launch everything?

Post by Batman » 2020-03-04 05:51pm

chimericoncogene doesn't seem to understand or at least not like the concept of 'launchers'. From what I can tell he seems to think you just pack all of your missiles into a large enough cargo bay and shove them out all at once, which in space is technically doable.
It's still stupid as it doesn't allow for engaging more than one target at a time and is just begging for a lucky hit by the enemy to at best. take out all your missile capability and at worst kill your ship in a magazine explosion.
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Re: Space Missile Combat: Why salvo when you can launch everything?

Post by Jub » 2020-03-04 06:14pm

That's like dumping a cargo container of torpedoes into the ocean in that you can do it but nobody IRL would be dumb enough to try.

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Re: Space Missile Combat: Why salvo when you can launch everything?

Post by Formless » 2020-03-04 06:34pm

First, to the OP I would like to point out that the "fire everything" doctrine IS seen in fiction-- especially Anime, where the trope is commonly called the Macross Missile Massacre due to its prevalence in the titular franchise, or sometimes the Itano Circus after the animator who pioneered it as an animation technique. However, if you ever watch these shows you will quickly notice something about the missiles in question: they are usually small, often get shot down despite the sheer quantity of them, and in many cases the fighters or mechs still have a second or third volley they can launch from another weapons pod or three. Why would this be, besides visual appeal?

I'll give yo a hint: missiles aren't free. In order to volley a ton of them all at once or in rapid succession, you either have to pay out the ass for all of the ordinance you are wasting, or you need to make cheaper, smaller warheads that you can fire and forget. And there is something to be said about large volleys of rockets as a means of laying waste to a battlefield; just ask the Russians, who have employed that tactic since the second world war. But if it only takes one or two missiles to mission kill a target, wouldn't it be more cost effective to maximize the number of hits you get while minimizing the number of missiles actually fired? Think about it, both machine guns and snipers on the battlefield tend to have a suppressive effect, but the sniper wastes fewer bullets. And total destruction of a vehicle is less important than mission killing it-- either way it can no longer fight. That's the logic the real world military tends to use, especially against moving targets like aircraft and warships, since the missiles we use can cost thousands or even millions of dollars per warhead. In order to make sure each warhead hits the target, the warhead can employ the same countermeasures against getting shot that an aircraft (or spacecraft) might employ. Decoys, chaff, flares and sheer acceleration far beyond what the human body can endure are all means of making sure your warhead hits despite everything the enemy does to shoot it down. And even then there are no promises thanks to ECM and other means. That's why its also not an either-or proposition, because real missiles can employ sub-munitions. What looks like one missile might actually be hiding a half dozen or more smaller missiles designed to launch when the weapon gets under a certain distance to the target, or alternatively targets (nuclear ICBM's in particular are usually designed this way because its a doomsday weapon, so why not, hitting as many cities as possible is the whole goal after all).

In the context of space warfare, a nuclear missile will almost certainly have sub-munitions for striking multiple targets, and even conventional missiles probably will as well so as to saturate large volumes of space with debris and maximize hit probabilities. Doing it this way means you do not need to launch missiles from every tube or weapons pod to get the desired effect; one or two warheads can serve the same purpose. They will also likely have other countermeasures. Against a laser based point defense weapon, the best bet is mirrored armor angled like a star pyramid (actually a great armor system for warships themselves going against laserstar warships). Adding some spin as well minimizes the time any one piece of the armor spends under heat and helps defeat pulse laser systems as well. And have the missile jink and dodge to even further minimize time under laser fire. Keep in mind that lasers themselves are NOT inexhaustible weapons. They are limited by the ship's reactor, efficiency, and heat. Laser based weapons demand a ship have lots of radiators, which are relatively vulnerable (though the idea they cannot be armored at all is an old misconception). Same goes for particle beams. You just need the missile to survive under point defense fire long enough to either reach the target, or get to within its kill distance for a casaba howitzer weapon or saturation fire weapon.

Oh, and nuclear weapons in space go beyond mere bombs and Casaba Howitzers. There are also nuclear explosively formed projectiles which can strike from thousands of kilometers away due to sheer velocity and the shotgun effect, and nuclear pumped x-ray lasers that can strike from even further still (and will DEFINITELY be designed with multiple lasing rods so as to hit many targets at once). These weapons explode so far away from the target that literally the only kind of point defense that is relevant against them are energy weapons. You can also launch drones from a missile tube which can carry laser mirrors (for banking shots such as in a laser web system) or their own weapons pods (for tactics not entirely dissimilar to space fighters, except smaller and more disposable). Such tactics aren't seen much in fiction, but are still possible as ways of confusing point defense (eg, a drone doesn't head directly at its target, but rather looks to strafe the target from the side with energy weapons or bullets).
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Re: Space Missile Combat: Why salvo when you can launch everything?

Post by Lord Revan » 2020-03-04 07:41pm

A missile launcher doesn't have to really be all that complex, just a (metal) tube that can be aimed at proper direction should do. That said just dumping the missiles out of any "convinient" cargobay door isn't really an option as you couldn't control which way the missiles "drop" and thus might end up with a pile-up right at door when several missiles desided to "drop" in a way that would make them collide once the engines are ignited.

The purpose of a missile launcher is to make sure the ordanance is launched at the proper direction, that said they take room. Also as others have pointed out the goal in a battle is to either mission kill the enemy (aka reduce them into condition they can't fight anymore) or to force them to retreat, not the utter annihilation of all enemy assets. Besides you can never be 100% sure just how much assets the enemy has so wasting ammo utterly destroying a target, could leave you helpless against the next target, economy of fire is important if you want to win instead of having nice fireworks then loosing because the enemy was easily able to defeat your now helpless forces.

That's why you don't put all of your eggs in one basket by having 1 huge salvo instead of several smaller ones.
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Re: Space Missile Combat: Why salvo when you can launch everything?

Post by chimericoncogene » 2020-03-04 09:41pm

Thank you all for responding.

I think I understand the point of disagreement. In fictional space battles, multiple exchanges of missile fire are depicted as a normal state of affairs. I believe that when your first salvo fails to achieve objectives, you’re in big trouble and should be asking yourself “Why the heck was I stingy with missiles? Why didn’t I add more missiles to that salvo? Why the heck did the spacecraft designers not sacrifice armor for more launch tubes?”

Because, if the target set has mutually supporting defenses, now you have to launch as many missile-equivalents to engage the target set as you did before, and account for freshly repositioned, regenerated, and redeployed defenses (if they exist), instead of having added a marginal number of missiles to overwhelm the enemy previously.

Fiction, of course, is enjoyable mostly when the crap hits the fan.

There are valid answers to these questions. But they tend to be sketchy when sci-fi series postulate relatively inexhaustible laser defenses, mutually supporting spacecraft, and offensive missiles that are bigger than defensive ones. I personally see little reason you would use reloadable launch tubes instead of a big armored bomb bay/VLS setup unless the launch tube is some sort of electromagnetic projector. You generally want your missiles at a safe distance before igniting, whether they are gigawatt chemical rocket motors or neutron spewing nuclear rockets. The tradeoff is obvious (heavy chemical propulsion separation stage and slower deployment vs EM launcher and more responsive launch), and contextual.

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Re: Space Missile Combat: Why salvo when you can launch everything?

Post by chimericoncogene » 2020-03-04 09:59pm

Also, please try to read my posts (My title was unnecessarily strongly toned, sorry). I well understand the necessity of tactics (I specifically cited pindown, elimination of standoff defenses, and radar blackout as reasons for a staggered salvo), the limitations of logistics (heck, I asked "how soon can you resupply", and emphasized "ammunition limits permitting"), the need to achieve mission objectives rather than maximize destruction, and the likelihood that missiles will in the Plausible Mid-Future (TM) be smart enough to act as strike aircraft, with their own decoys, ECM, jamming, chaff, counter-countermissiles, dedicated DEAD packages, lasers, and various other enhancements such that missile swarms may be comparable to self-escorting packages of strike aircraft.

It is difficult to understand why four super-smart super-hardened space torpedoes are not better than two, if you do not expect to engage another enemy before resupply (emphasis). Warships tend to be expensive, and should be (contextual) well worth the cost of expending a few extra missiles with a good margin of safety.

The closest analogs to space warfare, I believe, are the old SDI vs Ballistic Missile studies. Brilliant Pebbles (the original concept, I recall, was too vague and had many problems) are smaller than inbound torpedoes (contextual). You will have more of them. Defensive Casaba-Howitzers are not necessarily smaller, or cheaper. In ballistic missile warfare, it is entirely reasonable to put three warheads on each target (but that was mostly because of unreliability rather than defensive considerations; that is, if you could shoot-look-shoot, they would've - that was the point of bombers). Spaceships are high-value targets. The highest, since they can shoot back. Note how ballistic missile defenses were much easier to do when the inbound attack was small rather than large. Aerodynamic bombers and hypersonic gliders don't work in space.

When you're throwing Casaba Howitzers and nuclear warheads around, I think any mission kill will be reasonably hard for the plausible mid-future. Kinetics are another matter, I suppose. But if it's still shooting back, well, you didn't shoot it enough - and now your second salvo of kinetics needs to be bigger (or more sophisticated) to survive reconstituted defenses e.g. more Pebbles dumped into space (if any, contextual) than if you added it to the first salvo. Wet navy warships can survive up to the edge of small nuclear fireballs, but I’d say those are pretty hard kills, what with the badly damaged weapons, warped carrier decks, and wrecked electronic systems (among the most irreplaceable and expensive bits of any warship), dead crew (also irreplaceable), and all.

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Re: Space Missile Combat: Why salvo when you can launch everything?

Post by LadyTevar » 2020-03-04 10:02pm

chimericoncogene wrote:
2020-03-04 09:41pm
There are valid answers to these questions. But they tend to be sketchy when sci-fi series postulate relatively inexhaustible laser defenses, mutually supporting spacecraft, and offensive missiles that are bigger than defensive ones. I personally see little reason you would use reloadable launch tubes instead of a big armored bomb bay/VLS setup unless the launch tube is some sort of electromagnetic projector. You generally want your missiles at a safe distance before igniting, whether they are gigawatt chemical rocket motors or neutron spewing nuclear rockets. The tradeoff is obvious (heavy chemical propulsion separation stage and slower deployment vs EM launcher and more responsive launch), and contextual.
AGAIN... Big Armored Bomb Bay is nice... IN GRAVITY.
Why the hell do you think so many people got pissy at that scene where Poe had Missile Ships dropping bombs on First Order Destroyers? BOMBS DO NOT DROP WITHOUT GRAVITY TO PULL IT DOWN.

Thus your "Big Bomb Bay" is useless in Space, because even if YOU have nice lovely Artificial Gravity on your ship, it's gonna do Jack and Shit getting your bombs OFF your ship. You Need Launchers, if only to get the missiles far enough away from Your Ship to avoid Friendly Fire Mishaps.
Or have you not seen what happens to a sub when the torpedo doesn't clear the tube?

Accept the fact you're operating under a Faulty Premise, like the REST of your Threads, and move on to the next shitty premise you think up.
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Re: Space Missile Combat: Why salvo when you can launch everything?

Post by LadyTevar » 2020-03-04 10:09pm

chimericoncogene wrote:
2020-03-04 09:59pm

The closest analogs to space warfare, I believe, are the old SDI vs Ballistic Missile studies. Brilliant Pebbles (the original concept, I recall, was too vague and had many problems) are smaller than inbound torpedoes (contextual). You will have more of them. Defensive Casaba-Howitzers are not necessarily smaller, or cheaper. In ballistic missile warfare, it is entirely reasonable to put three warheads on each target (but that was mostly because of unreliability rather than defensive considerations; that is, if you could shoot-look-shoot, they would've - that was the point of bombers). Spaceships are high-value targets. The highest, since they can shoot back. Note how ballistic missile defenses were much easier to do when the inbound attack was small rather than large. Aerodynamic bombers and hypersonic gliders don't work in space.
No. The closest analogue to Space Warfare is underwater Submarine battles. You have full movement in X, Y, and Z Axis, and you may only know the other ship is there via Radar/Lidar. You have a limited amount weapons tubes, and a limit of ammo on board, so you have to be careful in how you use it because the radar reading may not be accurate due to ECM from the other Sub. Thus having a torpedo that can steer itself with a small 'brain' that can recognize and evade/overcome ECM and other anti-missile efforts is your best bet.

That is Space Capitol Ship Battle in a nutshell. If you want fighter battles, look more to modern Jet fighting, where again you are not firing all your missiles because you're wanting the other guy to run out of countermeasures.

AGAIN... You're only proving you don't understand a single thing about warfare when *I* am able to point out the massive gaping holes in your argument. Once again, you came up with a stupid premise, it's getting rightfully torn apart, and it's time to drop the subject and try to find another stupid premise to troll us with.
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Re: Space Missile Combat: Why salvo when you can launch everything?

Post by Jub » 2020-03-04 10:28pm

Sometimes if you have a great idea that nobody else has had your brilliant, most of the time you're just missing something that people smarter than you have already figured it out. This thread is the second of those two options.

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Re: Space Missile Combat: Why salvo when you can launch everything?

Post by chimericoncogene » 2020-03-04 10:42pm

Thank you for your reply.

Has the zeitgeist of "there is no stealth in space" changed these few years? While we have increasing reports of stealthy satellites and secret constellations, these measures mainly relied on deception rather than purely low observables (they used them too, I guess). That would be news to me, and I would be happy to learn more. I was not aware that ECM/laser jamming (?) was considered highly viable in a space environment with large thrust signatures (contextual as always).

I am well aware that bomb bays do not work without gravity. Spinning the spacecraft for weapons deployment has difficulties. Nonetheless, a cold-launch system or a system that relies on the missile's own maneuvering thrusters need not necessarily to my layman's eye be substantially more complex than a bomb bay (which I've heard is not exactly simple either).

I thought SDI vs ballistic missiles a good analog of warfare in space... because it was warfare in space, albeit with a distant horizon. But there are many limitations to this analog.

Submarine and air warfare do not seem particularly good analogies either. Water is much less transparent than vacuum, allowing submarines to hide with ease. Anti-torpedo and anti-AAM weapons are still in their infancy, unlike antimissile weapons. As I recall, in air warfare, you don't fire everything because you want the other guy to burn energy in evasive air combat maneuvers so your next shot has a higher chance of getting through - but yeah, my understanding is lacking in detail.

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Re: Space Missile Combat: Why salvo when you can launch everything?

Post by chimericoncogene » 2020-03-04 10:45pm

Jub wrote:
2020-03-04 10:28pm
Sometimes if you have a great idea that nobody else has had your brilliant, most of the time you're just missing something that people smarter than you have already figured it out. This thread is the second of those two options.
I never considered this a brilliant, original idea.
I was criticizing science fiction authors (I've been reading Antares Dawn, not the hardest of sci-fi, sorry) for using salvo tactics seemingly merely for dramatic effect, because I believed that less restrained use of missiles to achieve bigger one-shot salvos with higher margins of safety would often have served fictional militaries better.
It is possible to construct scenarios where repeated indecisive salvos can be woven into stories, but it seems needlessly contrived at times.

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Re: Space Missile Combat: Why salvo when you can launch everything?

Post by Jub » 2020-03-04 10:51pm

chimericoncogene wrote:
2020-03-04 10:42pm
Thank you for your reply.

Has the zeitgeist of "there is no stealth in space" changed these few years? While we have increasing reports of stealthy satellites and secret constellations, these measures mainly relied on deception rather than purely low observables (they used them too, I guess). That would be news to me, and I would be happy to learn more. I was not aware that ECM/laser jamming (?) was considered highly viable in a space environment with large thrust signatures (contextual as always).
The fact is that stealth in space depends on the tech level and hardness of your sci-fi. You can't assume that it 'always' works one way or the other and in any setting where a war drags on over a span of years, you should expect to see layers of counter-counter-counter measures taken against whatever the other side uses against you.

Also, ships probably won't be actively thrusting as often as you assume they will. It's likely that ships will, as much as possible, use intertial systems combined with firing thrusters while facing away from your sensors.
I am well aware that bomb bays do not work without gravity. Spinning the spacecraft for weapons deployment has difficulties. Nonetheless, a cold-launch system or a system that relies on the missile's own maneuvering thrusters need not necessarily to my layman's eye be substantially more complex than a bomb bay (which I've heard is not exactly simple either).
If you've put thought into this please detail your design so we can critique it.
chimericoncogene wrote:
2020-03-04 10:45pm
I never considered this a brilliant, original idea.
I was criticizing science fiction authors (I've been reading Antares Dawn, not the hardest of sci-fi, sorry) for using salvo tactics seemingly merely for dramatic effect, because I believed that less restrained use of missiles to achieve bigger one-shot salvos with higher margins of safety would often have served fictional militaries better.
It is possible to construct scenarios where repeated indecisive salvos can be woven into stories, but it seems needlessly contrived at times.
I'd say my point still stands with a side of people in glass houses.

chimericoncogene
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Re: Space Missile Combat: Why salvo when you can launch everything?

Post by chimericoncogene » 2020-03-04 11:20pm

I never had a specific scenario or design in mind.

Missile designs can vary wildly, from guided railgun shells to ICBMs. A lot of this discussion thus becomes highly contextual.

I was actually thinking about that excellent novel, The Humanist Inheritance by Matthew J Lineberger (RedImperator). In that really good fic, he had a few throwaway lines about how the Chinese were reloading their launch tubes manually, vs. the Russians who were using autoloaders. RedImperator knows his stuff (or at least I presume much moreso than average, from his depictions of nuclear attack environments which seem believable to an amateur interested in this sort of thing).

"Airports get groundbursts" = best line ever (i think it was true, since you want to get the concrete blown up).

Given that he was talking two-stage nuclear (casaba howitzer, IIRC) tipped missiles (at least ten meters long, the size of a Spartan missile? Dunno about propulsion), manual loading never really made sense to me, nor did missile tubes (could've been coilgun launchers, but... ehhh... really worth the tradeoff - it's not like you can get a five-tonne missile up to 10km/s with that thing in a reasonably low-acceleration coilgun?). It's not like his ships had armor worth much (did save a few guys in the engine room, but why bother in nuclear war? Of course, probably designed for conventional war too...) The salvos were always a few missiles short of getting through, and friendlies were hit by one or two weapons (nukes!). Defensive lasers are the norm, and I guess they may have been expendable chemical lasers, but they kept reorganizing their kirklin mines mid-battle. I mean, if someone had found a way to mount missiles externally, they would have won that in the opening salvo.

(Yeah, he was the best, and I am a mere amateur in a glass house, but it still bugged me and I would like to know why I was wrong.)

Antares Dawn has a similar problem. Despite antimatter projectors (some sort of pellet gun, I guess), lasers, and other seemingly inexhaustible defenses, everyone seems to fire in volleys and attack in waves (and they're all gunning for a trio of continent-busting flagships) instead of attempting maximum saturation of priority targets with a good margin of victory in a single volley. Some of that might be fracticide and volume-of-space considerations, but it seems that the setup is optimized for single salvos.
Last edited by chimericoncogene on 2020-03-04 11:26pm, edited 1 time in total.

chimericoncogene
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Re: Space Missile Combat: Why salvo when you can launch everything?

Post by chimericoncogene » 2020-03-04 11:26pm

"To the layman, this is obviously silly. "

"Ammunition conservation, a need to perform other missions, and author-imposed guidance/launch limits aside (maybe you're using a weird launcher instead of dropping missiles into the void), there seems to be little reason to fight in such a restrained manner."

I do not think I was being excessively forceful with my claim.

chimericoncogene
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Re: Space Missile Combat: Why salvo when you can launch everything?

Post by chimericoncogene » 2020-03-04 11:49pm

Okay, the "obviously silly" bit was a little too on the nose and for that I am sorry.

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