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 Post subject: Future Small Arms?
PostPosted: Thu Oct 19, 2017 1:19 pm 
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What do you guys expect small arms will look like in 50, 100, 200, 300 years?

Also, how do you envisage ship-to-ship and boarding actions unfolding in space craft?

:P

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 Post subject: Re: Future Small Arms?
PostPosted: Thu Oct 19, 2017 10:46 pm 
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Anthropoid wrote:
What do you guys expect small arms will look like in 50, 100, 200, 300 years?

Also, how do you envisage ship-to-ship and boarding actions unfolding in space craft?

:P


Regarding the space-related question.....that is not an easy one to answer.

It has been 56 yrs since man first travelled to space.
And its been 48 years since man landed on the moon.
If you asked anyone back then what we would be doing in space by 2017, I think most foresaw colonies on the moon, and maybe on Mars. They would have predicted manned exploration missions outside our solar system.

Some thought we would have colonies on the moon (by 1979):



Yet here we are...no manned missions to Mars. No moon colonies. We have not been back to the moon since the last Apollo mission in 1972.

Here is how Ian Fleming imagined it might be:



The most likely combat in space might just be one country's space craft versus another...all interchanges by either rocket or maybe laser/particle beams. No boarding of any kind.

Whose to say if we will have any space battles at all?

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 Post subject: Re: Future Small Arms?
PostPosted: Thu Oct 19, 2017 11:29 pm 
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All good points Chi. However, I think it is inevitable that, sooner or later, there is warfare in space. We know there are riches up there. An asteroid belt with more of the precious minerals than all of the Earth (or more precisely, all of the usable and accessible portions of the crust, which is a small fraction of the crust and a tiny fraction of the entire Earth) is bound to become a lure for major powers at some point and when major powers are competing over important strategic resources we know warfare is not far behind.

Some factors that I think are never or very rarely considered in fictional imaginings of ship-to-ship combat in space.

1. All space craft are in orbit of something or other. Even a piece of debris which is sent hurtling away from Earth at tremendous speed and at an arc that sends it far beyond the plane of the ecliptic is still either in orbit of the sun or perhaps some other more inclusive region. The importance of this is that: one does not simply change from one orbit to another major orbit "cheaply." It is a bit like if aircraft could only climb to a certain altitude and establish a certain trajectory at the onset of the journey and then more or less had to keep that trajectory for the remainder of their voyage until they used braking maneuvers to then come in for a landing. Changing course mid flight might be an option, but it would be a very "expensive" option in terms of fuel budget and might well be untenable. These realities toss the vast majority of space based combat right out the window. Space craft in most imaginings are shown to operate like aircraft or even submarines in liquid or gaseous mediums: making many sharp turns, changing speed freely, performing loops, etc., all of which is completely out of the question for space craft and is likely to remain so for many hundreds of years if not forever.

2. The speeds involved are staggering compared to every other type of vessel humans have ever made and used or engaged in combat in. The distances too are potentially extreme.

3. Decompression of a ship with people or sensitive cargo in it is quite likely to be utterly catastrophic.

4. Mass is probably even more important in a space craft in terms of limiting its endurance than in aircraft, and certainly much more so than for modern ships. Thus, the idea that space craft will be "armored" seems pretty far fetched.

There are probably many other important considerations, but these seem to me to be the most prominent which have been more or less utterly overlooked if not explicitly ignored and which are woefully inaccurate in virtually every fictional rendition of space travel and space warfare ever depicted.

With all of these factors considered some conclusions that I can reach speculatively:
I. Piracy is likely to be exceptionally easy, and exceptionally lucrative. Civilian ships are probably going to be pretty much defenseless and if you can manage to rendezvous with them during a point in their journey when they are several days, weeks or months from help you can basically just radio them and say: "We are going to board you. Resist and we'll carefully surgically decompress you and still take the valuables."

II. Space equivalents of "Q-ships" are thus likely to be a very early evolution, and merchants which play defenseless until the last few moment and only then unleash their defenses, or perhaps even wait until the attacking pirate is attempting to dock/lock on to breach and board.

III. Because of the need to plan for rendezvous rather exquisitely to have any hope of interdicting an enemy force, long-range sensing, detection, and conversely stealth are likely to be extremely important. Let us say there is an American or EU or Indian mining base somewhere fairly remote like the asteroids or even the moon. If there are not military ships in orbit over that base and with sufficient delta-V to increase or slow down sufficient to potentially catch attackers as they arrive, a small heavily fueled, but lightly built ship with just enough weapons (and probably plenty of marines) could conceivably swoop in, quickly switch from a stable orbit to an entry orbit (or launch an entry craft) land at the base and take what they want, and get away before any military force could even manage to catch them. Not to mention that: if the military ships are heavily armored they may not be able to catch them, and if they are NOT heavily armored they run the risk of certain death in defense of their home base. All of which leads to the principle that: why bother with military fleets to defend locations, just place the defenses AT the location.

IV. Building from that and expanding it to merchant ships too: why bother with a navy that is useless 97% of the time (because one is only efectively in range for them to respond to help for a tiny fraction of travel) when one can simply beef out the merchant ship itself? Armor, redundant compartmentalization to defend against decompression, and probably most importantly marines. This is why I tend to think that boarding actions will be predominant. The reasons for the combat will generally be to take what is onboard and if you blast them from a distance with missiles or rail guns then there is likely to be nothing left that is valuable.

V. Projectile and missile weapons: I'm not even sure these will be usable at anything other than what is effectively "extremely close range" simply because of the tremendous speeds and the orbital trajectories. My understanding of the physics of it is very simple but it is hard for me to imagine how a warship could fire missiles that would "catch" an enemy ship when the speeds are so high, and the missile would be highly vulnerable to point defense weapons or other countermeasures.

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 Post subject: Re: Future Small Arms?
PostPosted: Fri Oct 20, 2017 5:50 am 
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Two great TV series that have a lot of the science correctly are Legend of the Galactic Heroes and The Expanse.

Legend of the Galactic Heroes is about far off situation where two massive civilizations, the Alliance and the Empire are at an epic war against each other, throwing millions upon millions of men and fleets of tens of thousands of warships at each other.



The engagements occur over distances measured in light seconds and minutes, essentially fleets of tens of thousands of ships firing massive volleys of lasers and missiles at each other from long range and trying to outmaneuver each other.

Stealth is not an issue. The sheer amount of heat and radiation produced by the ships' engines and reactors is impossible to hide.



In this, ships fire at each other with railguns, missiles and have PD weapons to defend against missiles. Mostly stealth isn't a thing because it's so damn hard to hide that engine plume etc., but especially Congressional Republic of Mars Navy CRMN have made advances in stealth technology.

Ships fight primarily from long distance, the velocities are realistic and boarding can happen but is difficult to pull off since you can't just slam into the target's hull, you need to get there in one piece through PD weapons fire and then slow down enough not to squash your crew.

Engine burns are a constant thing during battle, you're constantly trying to maneuver so that it's difficult to take a lead on your ship as you're constantly engaging in evasive maneuvers. Once your drive is hit you cannot evade and are sitting dead in the water.

Also, crews need to use mag boots to stay on decks.

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 Post subject: Re: Future Small Arms?
PostPosted: Fri Oct 20, 2017 6:13 am 
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Anthropoid wrote:
Also, how do you envisage ship-to-ship and boarding actions unfolding in space craft?


These guys have done their research...

Quote:
In case it is not obvious by now, Children of a Dead Earth was designed with no vision in mind, unlike just about every other videogame, novel, or movie attempting to do the same. This is because I never wanted to corrupt the ultimate goal of this project, which was to discover what space warfare would be like, rather than to say what space warfare would be like. To have an initial vision when building this game would have been starting with a conclusion, and then twisting reality to support that vision. By starting with no vision whatsoever, the conclusion would be generated by implementing the equations, and observing how they interact. In this way, the end result of Children of a Dead Earth was little like I had ever imagined actual space warfare would be like, and this will probably be true for you as well.


With a summation of space warfare here...


https://childrenofadeadearth.wordpress. ... e-warfare/

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 Post subject: Re: Future Small Arms?
PostPosted: Fri Oct 20, 2017 12:09 pm 
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EUBanana wrote:
Anthropoid wrote:
Also, how do you envisage ship-to-ship and boarding actions unfolding in space craft?


These guys have done their research...

Quote:
In case it is not obvious by now, Children of a Dead Earth was designed with no vision in mind, unlike just about every other videogame, novel, or movie attempting to do the same. This is because I never wanted to corrupt the ultimate goal of this project, which was to discover what space warfare would be like, rather than to say what space warfare would be like. To have an initial vision when building this game would have been starting with a conclusion, and then twisting reality to support that vision. By starting with no vision whatsoever, the conclusion would be generated by implementing the equations, and observing how they interact. In this way, the end result of Children of a Dead Earth was little like I had ever imagined actual space warfare would be like, and this will probably be true for you as well.


With a summation of space warfare here...


https://childrenofadeadearth.wordpress. ... e-warfare/


It's a great project but it is also limited and not the final say on the matter.

For instance they have to make assumptions, they do not know all technology that exists now and they cannot anticipate what technologies will be implemented.

Their problems scale when economics is introduced.

It still ends up being them saying what it might be like, as opposed to being a great study on what it would be like.

I only say this because I've spent last 7+ years actively researching the topic. They get a lot of things right but really, they make decisions based on their .. opinions on things like economics and future technology, technological advancements and so.

For instance they go with "there's no stealth in space". I won't dive deep to offer indepth explanation why that is silly and wrong and limited take on the matter but suffice to say it is.

Also, their assumptions about acceleration capabilities of nuclear powered craft are very conservative.


I would really like to suggest that the game not be taken as god's truth on the matter. It is, after all, a computer game. Like Operational Art of War series, it gets a lot of stuff right but it also has to cover such a vast field that the seams simply don't hold at the edges.

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 Post subject: Re: Future Small Arms?
PostPosted: Fri Oct 20, 2017 12:35 pm 
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COADE assumes entirely present day technology and, as you say, it's quite conservative in its opinions of what can be done. There isn't even an Orion drive in it.

On the other hand... i like that viewpoint. Less warp drives, more likely realism. Rail guns, lasers, missiles and drone swarms tacked onto craft using RL tech - that's how space warfare would be if it was happening right now or in the near future. Or close enough anyway, given we don't have crystal balls.

Stuff like slinging asteroids down gravity wells would be out of scope, I guess.

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 Post subject: Re: Future Small Arms?
PostPosted: Fri Oct 20, 2017 2:16 pm 
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When was the last time boarding was a battle tactic, it was a an important tactic in the 18th century and had been through out history until recently. Is it feasible today, IMHO only for Spec Ops.

As for fighting in space, we need a different propellant, can you imagine a space battle ship firing with gun power, after a couple of salvos the ship would be shrouded with smoke (inside and out) and no breeze to blow it away.



Rail guns may be the future, you'll need a powerful power source/battery.

Lighter body armor: https://www.armytimes.com/news/your-arm ... r-by-2018/

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 Post subject: Re: Future Small Arms?
PostPosted: Sat Oct 21, 2017 1:06 am 
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EUBanana wrote:
Anthropoid wrote:
Also, how do you envisage ship-to-ship and boarding actions unfolding in space craft?


These guys have done their research...

Quote:
In case it is not obvious by now, Children of a Dead Earth was designed with no vision in mind, unlike just about every other videogame, novel, or movie attempting to do the same. This is because I never wanted to corrupt the ultimate goal of this project, which was to discover what space warfare would be like, rather than to say what space warfare would be like. To have an initial vision when building this game would have been starting with a conclusion, and then twisting reality to support that vision. By starting with no vision whatsoever, the conclusion would be generated by implementing the equations, and observing how they interact. In this way, the end result of Children of a Dead Earth was little like I had ever imagined actual space warfare would be like, and this will probably be true for you as well.


With a summation of space warfare here...


https://childrenofadeadearth.wordpress. ... e-warfare/


Fascinating, thanks for posting that EUB. Confirms much of what I had speculated and offers some tidbits I had not considered. How these basic operating conditions would _evolve_ over time however is of course anyone's guess. No one foresaw the "demise" of the battleship so early after they were brought on the stage and I suspect that in future, that rule will hold true with greater frequency not lesser.

A couple of take home points I come away with:

1. Given the vast distances, incredible speeds, ease of "dodging," lack of stealth (yes that does make sense if one's engines are chemical or otherwise bright, but there are even today other options), one very general point is that warfare in space will not be easy at all. Inconclusive engagements would seem to be quite typical.

2. It seems the real dimensions of these things will necessarily hinge on the rocky places that those ships and fleets are really there to protect/harass/pilfer/conquest/attack.

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 Post subject: Re: Future Small Arms?
PostPosted: Sat Oct 21, 2017 3:47 am 
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Anthropoid wrote:
In case it is not obvious by now, Children of a Dead Earth was designed with no vision in mind, unlike just about every other videogame, novel, or movie attempting to do the same. This is because I never wanted to corrupt the ultimate goal of this project, which was to discover what space warfare would be like, rather than to say what space warfare would be like. To have an initial vision when building this game would have been starting with a conclusion, and then twisting reality to support that vision. By starting with no vision whatsoever, the conclusion would be generated by implementing the equations, and observing how they interact. In this way, the end result of Children of a Dead Earth was little like I had ever imagined actual space warfare would be like, and this will probably be true for you as well.


With a summation of space warfare here...


https://childrenofadeadearth.wordpress. ... e-warfare/[/quote]

Fascinating, thanks for posting that EUB. Confirms much of what I had speculated and offers some tidbits I had not considered. How these basic operating conditions would _evolve_ over time however is of course anyone's guess. No one foresaw the "demise" of the battleship so early after they were brought on the stage and I suspect that in future, that rule will hold true with greater frequency not lesser.

A couple of take home points I come away with:

1. Given the vast distances, incredible speeds, ease of "dodging," lack of stealth (yes that does make sense if one's engines are chemical or otherwise bright, but there are even today other options), one very general point is that warfare in space will not be easy at all. Inconclusive engagements would seem to be quite typical.

2. It seems the real dimensions of these things will necessarily hinge on the rocky places that those ships and fleets are really there to protect/harass/pilfer/conquest/attack.[/quote]

It's a great game, for sure.

Almost all of the stuff in it is so conservative that if you gave NASA the funding they could probably come up with a prototype in 20 years, though some of the things like high yield lasers involve so many engineering advances that they might take a lot longer to master to such level.

Even so they are missing out on several simple things and solutions that aren't hard to come by, I mean, simple things like "does a plane require two sets of wings?" as Hughes asked when he made a monoplane, even he wasn't the first to make a monoplane but it shows how the greatest minds in aviation and engineering can be locked into 'thinking inside the box'.

I remember I had a really good mathematician as my maths teacher at high school. She claimed it was impossible to solve spatial problems 'graphically', without the equations. You should have seen her face when I presented a 99% accurate graphical solver that didn't require any formulas or maths and where accuracy itself was a factor that you could adjust to desired degree such as 99.9999%.

Frustrated and not knowing how to respond, all she could say was "well, whatever, you won't pass this course without those formulas". Which wasn't the point, the point was she said that the formulas were the only way to come up with precise answers and this wasn't the case.

Research in this case simply means they've read what opinions other people have, regardless of how limited those opinions are. Some opinions stem from sheer ignorance or a desire for a thing to be certain way.

"It is what it is because I says so"

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