Star Naval Warfare

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Star Naval Warfare

Post by Zor »

Star Naval Warfare

While mankind has had the ability to move from star system to star system for over two millennia, the act of interstellar warfare was until the last three centuries was a futile one. The universal speed barrier of C made even the shortest interstellar voyages an affair that would take decades, making any political drive for interstellar warfare moot beyond simple single minded religious aggression (this leading to the infamous New Jerusalem Wars 15th to 17th centuries After Tranquility). Effectively, every star system under human control was isolated domains with every system, completely cut off from the petty affairs of the whims of any of its neighbors. While there was some degree of interplanetary warfare in a few star systems, for the most part space capable human civilizations lived free of fear of warships attempting to destroy them.

This state of affairs ended shortly after the development of Hyperdrives, demolishing the barriers posed by sheer distance that stood in the way of interstellar political actions and by extension, Interstellar warfare. Fueled by the onset of Space Piracy, the Foundationite war and mutual distrust, space militarization began with a frantic pace in the 21st century, starting in the inner most systems of mankind and pushing outwards over the period of another century. As empires were forged and wars were fought, eventually a roughly standardized form of warfare emerged through trial and error on the battlefield, although various nations prefer different categories of warships.


“Doing Damage is easy, getting that damage to what you want destroyed is another matter entirely”-Common Phrase involving space naval combat.

Missiles-In space warfare missiles are long range weapons, fired off in salvoes to penetrate enemy point defense systems through saturation. Missiles are stripped down to their very basics of space travel, composed of little more than engine and warhead and designed for brief, intense burns to provide a high rate of acceleration for a short period of time. Missiles never the less have some ability to maneuver to correspond to enemy maneuvering and to provide evasive maneuvers to avoid attempts at interception by point defense systems.

To provide an initial inertial boost of speed and to allow missiles to safely clear their launchers without damaging the craft from which they are launching from, missiles are generally launched from linier accelerator catapults. Like with spacecraft, there are two categories of drives used by advanced civilizations, antimatter drives and fusion drives. Antimatter drives have a clearly defined advantage in power to mass ratio, allowing for higher acceleration rates while fusion drive missiles are less volatile and will not destroy a ship if a containment bottle is damaged in battle.

Missiles come in two categories, anti-ship missiles and counter-missiles.

Counter-missiles are the smaller of the two and the cheaper of the two and have a higher rate of acceleration and a shorter overall range. Counter missiles represent the first line of defense of a warship against anti-ship missiles, armed with either low yield laser pumped warheads or loads of flak pellets to destroy incoming missiles. Counter-missiles tend to be about three to five meters long and weigh between four to six tonnes. Due to their light weight, counter missiles can be launched in large salvoes and take less time to recycle. Fusion drive equipped counter missiles can reach an acceleration of thirty gravities; antimatter drive equipped counter missiles can reach an acceleration of up to sixty.

Especially when programmed to crash directly into their targets, counter missiles can be used offensively against spacecraft that lack point defense systems. However, counter missiles have limited maneuverability in comparison and are very vulnerable to interception. Their have been instances in which counter missiles have destroyed fully functional and capable warships, but these are very rare and any attempt to do so is considered a move of desperation.

Anti-Ship missiles, by contrast are designed to get past point defense systems and deliver their warheads through. As such, Anti-Ship Missiles are notably larger, carrying a heavier warhead and have superior maneuverability and range at the expense of acceleration. Anti-Ship missiles are generally equipped with X-ray laser pumped warheads, which allowed them to detonate a fair distance away from whatever they were targeted against. Anti-Ship missiles most of all use speed and raw numbers to overwhelm point defense systems. Some attempts have been made to add active countermeasures such as single shot flak dischargers in attempts to defend themselves against counter missiles, although many nations feel that such measures are not worthwhile for their mass penalty.

Two categories of anti-ship missiles are used, Medium Range and Long Range. Medium Range missiles are the more common due to their cost and can be built in larger numbers, but have lower burn times, being about six to eight meters long. Long Range Missiles are multistage missiles, with considerably longer burn periods (three times two), but are far more expensive and massive and can only be fired from large spacecraft with large linier catapults. Multi-stage missiles measure fourteen to sixteen meters long. Multi-Stage missiles come into two categories, heavy warhead and multi-missile. Heavy Warhead have larger singular warheads, allowing them to detonate earlier and spend less time in point defense envelopes and do more damage. Multi-Missiles have a second stage composed of four independent missiles comparable to Medium Range missiles, making them harder to intercept. Both antimatter and fusion drives are used; Anti Ship missiles have acceleration of 20 to 40 Gs, with antimatter propelled multistage missiles having the highest acceleration.

Directed Energy Weapons-Directed Energy Weapons (in the category of lasers) make up the main close combat weapons used in this day and age, representing close range firepower in firefights. There is no way to intercept or destroy a laser beam, with beams that are much more tightly focused and accurate from laser pumped warheads, as well as being lest costly and more energy efficient in terms of reaction mass to firepower that reaches a targeted warship. However, lasers are also considerably shorter range due to the fact that they don’t track targets. Lasers are low range given beam coherence and tracking limited by the speed of light. Effectively, there are no energy weapons with ranges above a light second, with most anti-ship lasers being in the area of 200,000 to 150,000 kilometers.

There are two categories of lasers, Anti Ship lasers and point defense clusters. Anti-Ship lasers are large, have long recycle rates and have heavy firepower and range. Point Defense lasers are bundles of five to ten lower power lasers mounted on turrets to effectively generate a continuous beam used for point defense, they are low range (75,000 to 50,000 KM).

Kinetic Energy Weapons-Despite being the primary category of weapons for land vehicles and small arms, projectile weapons are of limited usefulness in ship to ship combat due to velocity. Even at high speeds and with the high potential for damage, it is easy for a warship, even a pondering dreadnought to doge an unguided, unpowered projectile at anything beyond low range as they are unable to adjust their vector. They are useful, however, for orbital bombardment and use against effectively stationary orbital fortifications by saturating them using long range kinetic impacters generally carried on specialized spacecraft.

Warship Classes

For the most part, Warships are assigned into a roughly standardized set of categories that fill various distinct roles in battle as well as distinct roles economically. Generally these are based off their size and mass.

Corvettes-Generally ranging from between 75 to 150 meters, have crews of between 30 and 50 and length and massing between 10,000 to 35,000 Tonnes, corvettes are the smallest warships generally employed by navies and are too small to even have hyperdrives and have limited ranges, although they do have decent forward accelerations (3 to 6 Gravities). As such, Corvettes are cheap and easy to produce and maintain even with limited space based industry and are generally considered excellent craft for garrisoning star systems. Corvettes have light armor protection against point defense systems but this plating is of little use against the weapons of spacecraft grade energy weapons, with one or two shots from destroyer level energy weapons being sufficient to destroy a corvette. Most classes of Corvettes only have their prows armored to keep their mass down.

Having limited internal space corvettes and being easy to field in numbers tend to be very focused in their purposes with three main subcategories of corvettes in use, missile, beam and point defense. Missile Corvettes are the most common, being armed with between ten and twenty medium range anti ship missiles, twenty to forty counter missiles (with two to and four point defense lasers. Missile Corvettes are capable of firing all their missiles in one salvo and their standard method of attack is simply to throw out a single salvo at long range and flee as fast as possible.

Beam Corvettes are somewhat less common and exist to provide close range support to Corvette formations. Beam Corvettes armed with a set of point defense laser clusters and sometimes a modest payload of counter missiles, but their offensive armament is a single spinal mounted Laser/Grader/Xraser/Maser in a caliber of 10 to 15 Gigajoule. Beyond providing escorts for Corvettes, Beam Corvettes are often considered preferable for patrol duties due to the fact that they don’t have to expend valuable missiles to deal with lightly armed ships that refuse to obey established rules and regulations.

Point Defense Corvettes are a new development, armed exclusively with four to six point defense laser clusters and a payload of up to one hundred and fifty counter missiles with up to twelve launchers. Point Defense Corvettes exist to screen other ships against missiles at the expense of all offensive capacity, including bolstering the defenses of the Wall of Battle. However, they are still completely dependant on other warships for offensive capacities.

Frigates-Frigates range from 150 to 300 meters long and mass between 35,000 and 200,000 Tonnes with crews from 50 to 100, Frigates are the smallest hyper capable warships and the workhorse of any navy. While more expensive than corvettes Frigates are cheap and can be produced in large numbers fairly easily, and are critical for anti-piracy work. In warfare, frigates work for escort duties, protecting convoys as well as raiding them, as well as generally making up the bulk of the forces in large battles, making use of the natural redundancy from simple volume of craft to make them forces to be reckoned with. Frigates have superior armor and internal redundancy to corvettes, able to withstand a few hits from laser weapons due to this improved durability.

Like Corvettes, Frigates come in a number of specialized varieties. Missile Frigates and Beam Frigates are common analogues to their smaller counterparts. Missile Frigates carry between forty and eighty anti-ship missiles (with eight launchers) and up to two hundred and fifty counter missiles (again, with eight launchers) and six to eight point defense clusters. Beam Frigates carry up to one hundred and twenty five counter missiles; six to eight point defense clusters and a single main energy weapon, either a corvette scaled weapon in a forward mounted turret, or (more commonly) a 25 to 50 gigajoule spinal mounted weapon with a lower rate of fire. A few classes or varients of Beam Frigates have cannons as well as an overshot capacity, which allows for a shot of %100-150 times the usual firepower, but this comes at the price of having a recycle rate two to three times longer due to recooling, requiring more capacitors and decreasing the total lifespan of the cannon.

Point Defense Frigates do exist, but are employed by only a few navies. On the same note a variant of fairly common Frigate exists with no commonly fielded analogue of corvette, the Assault Frigate. Assault Frigates are generalists, having both a missile armament (twenty to forty anti-ship missiles with generally four launchers) and a Laser Mount. The drawback to this is the decreased magazine capacity and recycle rate for the Frigates, though their increased flexibility does allow them to work better independently and in particular makes them useful for convoy harassment in squadrons. A few nations, in lieu of ships of the wall field specialized command frigates, which have extensive and highly redundant communications equipment and heavy point defense systems. The theory of which is that flag staff should not be in the thick of battle but rather stationed aboard a fast spacecraft capable of making a hasty retreat if need be.

Destroyers-Destroyers range from 300 to 500 meters in length, mass between 200,000 to 500,000 tonnes and a crew of 100 to 200. Destroyers are designed to outgun and over power smaller ships such as corvettes and frigates, striking a balance between the cheap and generally expendable frigates and corvettes and the colossal and expensive battleships and dreadnoughts. In battle, formations of Destroyers are specifically used to break through formations of Frigates. The General armament of Destroyers differs from that of Corvettes and Frigates, being generally armed with five laser turrets (one forward, four arranged radially on the forward hull), each in the area of 25 to 75 gigajoules and with a payload of either one hundred to three hundred fifty light anti-ship missiles and eight to twelve launchers or forty to eighty multi-stage missiles with four to six launchers (mixed arsenals are known, but not all that common). Destroyers are considerably more durable and have greater internal redundancy than their smaller counterparts.

The biggest tactical difference between destroyers and frigate is coverage, destroyers have both front and rear mounted point defense lasers as well as being able to bring at least four of their turrets to bear where as corvettes and frigates for the most part have to bring their entire bulk to bear. This is often a critical advantage, especially when frigate squadrons are spaced apart in missile duel. Destroyers are also more heavily armored, and in particular have side armor that is considerably more useful in combat compared to the lighter armor of frigates. The Primary purpose of Destroyers on the battlefield is the elimination of Frigates, particularly by engaging in multi-pronged attacks on Frigate formations. Another purpose for destroyers is for escort.

Cruisers-Cruisers are an intermediate class of warship in between the size of Destroyers and Battleships and the lightest craft considered to be ships of the wall. In Combat cruisers fill either the role of powerful slow accelerating destroyers or fast accelerating but under armored and armed battleships, depending largely on their size. Cruisers have become less common, although nations with limited industrial capacity still produce cruisers and a few sizable nations still field them.

Battleships-Battleships range from 600 to 900 meters in length, mass between 750,000 to 1,500,000 Tonnes and have crews between 300 to 600 personnel. While Destroyers are designed to bring to bear a balance of firepower and speed, battleships are mountains of firepower, able to engage and win against large numbers of smaller assets while being hard to destroy. Battleships are given a heavy arsenal, generally consisting of between one hundred to three hundred multistage missiles with six to ten forward launchers and armed with between twelve and fourteen 50 to 100 gigajoule lasers. Along with their point defense systems, Battleships also are also often equipped with small reserves (30 to 60) medium range single stage missiles and four secondary broadside missile launchers to keep

In particular, Battleships do well in the knife fights of Energy duels and the opposite extreme of long range missile engagements. Even a small squadron of battleships can wreak massive devastation on a fleet while being able to take a considerable beating, despite being outclassed by the sheer volume of firepower that can be launched by a frigate force of comparable tonnage at medium range. Battleships are also impossible to flank, indeed, most battleships have stronger broadside armaments than forward. However, Battleships are expensive to operate and spend most of their peacetime careers docked.

Dreadnoughts-Dreadnoughts are the heaviest class of warships. The term in general terms refers to everything larger than a Battleship. Anything larger than 900 meters and massing more than 1,500,000 tonnes for the general rule is considered a dreadnought, with most Dreadnoughts being in the area of 1,300 to 1,600 meters in length, massing between 3,000,000 to 7,500,000 tonnes and crews between 800 to 1,300 personnel. Along with the size come super heavy arsenals, generally including up to twenty four heavy lasers and up to eight hundred multistage missiles with up to twenty forward launchers and eight broadside and/or rear launchers. Anything larger is informally designated a Super Dreadnought, which are sometimes built but are generally not considered to be cost effective.

While Battleships are the backbone of a Wall of Battle, Dreadnoughts are the Elite Guard of Star Naval Warfare. Dreadnoughts are expensive to build and maintain, generally costing three to eight times as much as a Battleship. Only the largest and most powerful nations can afford to produce Dreadnoughts and even then still primarily really on Battleships for the bulk of their wall power. However, the simple hitting power that they have and there high level of durability and redundancy make them key assets. For this reason, Dreadnoughts are often manned by elite crews and skippered by only the most elite of captains, while often serving as flagships.

The Treaty of Sol

The Treaty of Sol is a nearly universal code of conduct in regards to warfare, in particular that of Orbital Bombardment. Through the use of nuclear weapons and high velocity kinetic impacters, it is fairly easy to do extreme amounts of damage to planets and space settlements and cause a massive loss of Human Life in the order of billions. The Treaty of Sol stipulates clear guidelines to interstellar warfare to insure that such events don’t come to pass. The Treaty of Sol is the most widespread political agreement in the Terran Sphere, with most nations being signatories. Treaty of Sol violations are nearly universally detested, even so far as to be considered a grave sacrilege by many faiths. Minor violations happen occasionally but major violations have only happened six times in the last 150 years (four of on the Frontier). Each of these instances led to the eventual destruction of the nations which committed them.

Under the articles and terms of the Treaty of Sol, it is specifically forbidden for war fleets to engage in acts of extermination against civilian targets. Complete destruction of a planet’s O’Neill cylinder system or planetary sterilization of a habitable world falls under these categories. Acts of unprovoked destruction against civilian targets such as singular cities are also forbidden. However, military targets may be destroyed. A warship is free to obliterate tanks and bases which refuse to surrender. However, a particular role in regard to anti-spacecraft weapons systems stating that using human shields is not an acceptable practice, and as such it is not a treaty violation to nuke a city from orbit to deal with an anti-ship missile launcher (which is why such weapons are always put away from cities).

The result of which is that save for instances in which an attacking fleet is very small, a planet with no orbital fortification will surrender whenever a fleet of warships from a hostile power arrives in orbit. While their generally will be some level of resistance in the form of soldiers who don’t stand down despite the orders of superiors or non government forces, for the most part a planet will stand down and submit to occupation. The best thing a resistance movement can do is make it not cost effective for a nation to occupy a conquered planet.

The Treaty of Sol also covers conduct involving prisoners of war, rescue responsibilities, and rules to the effect of forbidding the creation of Death Camps, Killing Factories and acts of Genocide in general. While the Genocide rules are obeyed by all but three of the nations of the Terran Sphere (which were obliterated as political entities), Obedience to the POW sections of the treaty are unfortunately somewhat less tightly enforced and are more frequent
Last edited by Zor on Mon Mar 21, 2011 11:04 am, edited 3 times in total.
Posts: 271
Joined: Wed May 28, 2008 10:01 pm

Re: Star Naval Warfare

Post by Zor »

Minor edit involving the Treaty of Sol.
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