Theory of Star Wars Jamming

Imperial Department of Military Research.

Moderator: IDOMIR

Forum rules
Imperial Department of Military Research

Image
For instructions on entering a project in the Imperial Department of Military Research, click here.

Designation: What your completed design will be called. This is not necessarily your project name. (for example, Project "Twin Ion Engine" may produce a design with the designation "TIE Fighter")

Purpose: State the purpose of what you are designing, why it should be designed, why you are designing it.

Application: State how your design is used.

Schedule: In Star Wars time, how long it will take to design. You may create the finished project the next minute in real life, however it may take longer to actually design it. The average schedule is from 1 week to 2 months. If you wish, you can reply to this message with a description of your progress on different days/weeks (based on your schedule) leading up to your prototype completion. When you are ready, reply again with all of the information on the prototype. This should be posted as a reply to the original message, and contain the following information:

Visual Description: Simply describe what the prototype looks like. A picture is appreciated but not required (except for vehicles, fighters and capital ships).

Technical Specifications: State all of the properties of your design, for example, if it is a fighter you should include its speed (MGLT), hull rating (RU), shield rating (SBD), weapons, etc. Also, if at all possible, indicate the Star Wars technology used in the prototype and for what purpose.

Weaknesses: Realistically, every design should have some.

Projected Upgrades: Self-explanatory. You have to ability to reply to this topic as many times as you wish to upgrade your design. Always reply, only one topic per project.
Post Reply
User avatar
Kane
Emperor
Emperor
Posts: 1732
Joined: 2008-03-24 08:12
Custom Title: Sith Apprentice
Organizational Unit: First Fleet NIFSS Nemesis
Contact:

Theory of Star Wars Jamming

Post by Kane » 2015-12-25 13:18

This topic could just as well go into Star Wars Discussions, but I suspect that it will be of more use in this forum.

Postulate

1. It is a well known quantity of Star Wars energy weapons that they can fire off-axis. Examples are found in all the films, particularly with the fixed-mount X-Wing lasers and the Death Star, but also the Eclipse from the Empire at War game.

2. Exactly by how much isn't known, but it's not a huge number, maybe 15 degrees or so, possibly bar the somewhat unusual multi-beam DS superlaser. At range however, 15 degrees can make a lot of difference between a hit or a miss.

3. This is supposedly done by some sort of vectored guidance, a force field if you like. Closeup of details on weapons also suggest that the thingies near the ends of X-Wing barrels have such a function. Ion engines also have vectored thrust which provides maneouverability and retardation.

If this is the case, it would be a huge boon for targeting. Particularly for fixed-axis mounts, but also turreted weapons, because a guidance field could probably react at electronic speed unlike a mechanical turret which traverses and rotates.

Theory

Suppose then, that enemy jamming can affect those guidance fields. This would then affect not only hitting your target - obviously - but it could also affect maneouverability, if the jamming is sufficiently strong. Consider this line from the A New Hope novelization (canon in both old and new systems):

'Also, their field generators will probably create a lot of distortion, especially in and around the trench. I figure that maneuverability in that sector will be less than point three.'

What's more, it could explain why there's a lot of misses in an easily understandable way. It's not just a matter of adjusting your aim and leading your target, in order to hit the enemy your weapon has to be physically trained at where they will be when the blast arrives at that point. In short, the guidance fields are rendered ineffective by jamming and you have to rely on mechanical aim.

Another consequence of this theory is that in the absence of jamming, or in the presence of very weak jamming, accuracy would increase dramatically. As I recall, that matches the descriptions from the Legends Vong books, where the Vong doesn't use traditional jamming and so the heroes of the republic finds that they can engage at significant fractions of lightspeed and still hit with accuracy.

Additionally, it would make sense to have vessels dedicated for EW, because it would be a force multiplier. Interestingly enough, we get to learn that such vessels exist and are used - the communications cruiser in ROTJ is a prime example.

Counters

Someone would ask how you would counter such a thing. Well, the obvious answer is stronger guidance fields, which would in turn be countered with stronger jamming. A consequence of this is that larger, more powerful ships, could be expected to be more accurate against smaller ships with less reactor power and thus less jamming power - but they have of course maneuverability on their side (not so much straight up speed/acceleration).

It's also a matter of distance from the source. At longer distances, jamming would be weaker by the inverse square law, and it would also react more slowly since it would take a fraction longer to arrive, allowing the enemy computer to adjust more efficiently. An enemy with an advantage in jamming would want to get closer. An enemy with an advantage in accuracy (possibly due to the enemy's lack of strong jamming) would want to keep a longer distance.

Likewise, an enemy with an advantage in maneouverability would want to stay at range and an enemy with an advantage in firepower would want to close in.

It would be a lot easier to make stronger guidance fields at the tip of your barrels and engines than to flood a volume of space with jamming. But even tiny alterations could make a lot of difference at typical engagement ranges.

A fighter equipped with a jammer - many of them are - could affect turrets in the vicinity trying to hit them. Not turrets at range, but they have of course the disadvantage of being at range and the fighter is fast and maneuverable. If capital ships are present to support with heavy jamming, it would be very, very hard to hit such fast, small targets.

Interestingly, jamming wouldn't affect missiles too much in that way, since they have continuous guidance. It would however affect their tiny sensors quite a bit, so they're best released close to the target or guided in by a capital ship to close range before being released.

Continuous-beam weapons wouldn't be much of a boon for accuracy since leading your shots doesn't work any better than for regular weapons. Rather, it ensures that your shot is weaker because it's delivered over a longer time than with a pulse weapon. In essence, it explains why they're not used more.

Now... I'd like to see if you have evidence or arguments for or against my theory, and I'm reasonably sure that you'd like to rub those braincells into thinking of something that might make use of this.

The best benefit in my opinion is that it gives a more tangible view on EW and how it can be used or countered. Something that can be exploited in role-playing.... oh, and it gives Force users a so-called unfair advantage, since they can effectively aim by instinct and bypass jamming entirely, but that wasn't much of news, I suppose. I may point out that it wouldn't just work for Jedi fighter pilots but also for a Jedi at the helm of the fire-control system of a capital ship.
Image

User avatar
Abraxes Rancor
Lieutenant-Commander
Lieutenant-Commander
Posts: 178
Joined: 2010-01-22 21:51
Organizational Unit: Executive Officer of TFJ, Fourth Fleet.
Contact:

Re: Theory of Star Wars Jamming

Post by Abraxes Rancor » 2015-12-25 20:21

1. I would rationalize most lasers and attack weapons in Star Wars are guided plasma due to lasers themselves being invisible.

2. I could see a plasma shot trajectory being altered slightly from a fixed axis, dependent on factors and how the plasma was contained before firing. Magnetic bottles certainly are a possibility... So it's likely during the firing phase of after leaving the "barrel" such charged plasma shots could be enacted upon by an outside force , even refracted or dispersed.

Brings in mind what shielding has as principles, though makes me wonder why in in the original movies (episode 4) some people argue that Proton Torpedoes can bypass shields , but I imagine that might exploit a shield weakness due to oversaturation or something.

Also, I imagine a lot of electronic warfare and targeting systems have to do with distance and speed of the combating forces relative to each other.

At longer distances it would be like firing at an opponents visual shadow, or trying to "lead" them based upon the delay of light, some form of hyper sensory equipment then what principles we have now would be needed for "real time" engagements.

At least that's my own personal theory and it seems to jive with yours a lot in some places.

However, the sheer amount of misses could be attributed to the evasive patterns we see that happen somewhere in the delay as calculated trajectories to "lead" the target are thrown off by pilot action due to light delay.(or any band of the EM spectrum)

When we see this in smaller, fighter vs. Fighter engagements, or subcap engagements, I think there's a balance between the target and the pursuer's sensors and EW systems.

The greater the magnitude of difference with the targeting systems and the opposibg EW is, the closer one has to approach for a valid lock, at rather high MGLTs meaning it could be a reason why we see in the movies fighter craft furballs more consistent with WW2 dogfighting,



As for exploitation... Precog could also help handle the visual delay from longer distances or evasion from enemy systems or crazy actions.

Like in the clone wars; the hail Mary attack of Anakin Skywalker and the clone fighters against the malevolence comes to mind as a case study of force users vs. Non force Users where he was reprimanded the clones (to paraphrase) couldn't keep up.

Computing power for communication between a crafts onboard systems might also play a factor between a crafts sensors, and targeting systems as well to hinder the delay in target aquisition . Your guidance fields theory work into that as well.

This isn't the most scientific response, and a gross oversimplification - I know that- , but it's just my two cents.

As for how to make use of this, personally?

Well there's a reason I have my royal guard candidate learning technometry, (though I could use some advice on how that TC thread is going.)

As for the rest of speeding things up for target aquisition: that TIE shadow had a nifty AI in it , didn't it?

User avatar
Kane
Emperor
Emperor
Posts: 1732
Joined: 2008-03-24 08:12
Custom Title: Sith Apprentice
Organizational Unit: First Fleet NIFSS Nemesis
Contact:

Re: Theory of Star Wars Jamming

Post by Kane » 2015-12-26 01:17

Abraxes Rancor wrote:1. I would rationalize most lasers and attack weapons in Star Wars are guided plasma due to lasers themselves being invisible.
It helps thinking about them in that way, but the explanation has problems which means that theory is at best incomplete. Specifically, plasma would have to be contained or it would immediately disperse, and if you have such a containment field bottle, it would be so strong that you might as well just fire that as a giant bullet. Some indications also point to blaster and by extension turbolaser bolts being massless, which means they automatically are travelling at lightspeed and plasma isn't massless.

A particle beam would fulfill some of these requirements better, but it's still not a perfect explanation. It does seem to be the official version, though.

I've also considered cold plasma. It has all the advantages of the plasma theory and you don't need a powerful containment field. It explains why for example Death Star gunners can be in the same room as a tributary superlaser beam - it's not actually hot besides the air it could excite, and the containment field they're using means it fires in a vacuum. All the heat from a hit only happens when the plasma excites the molecules of the target. The problem with this theory is, how you do get highly energetic but still cold, plasma? That's cutting edge science and it may actually be possible, but it also means we still don't have the right model.

In any case this is tangential. I take it you agree with off-axis firing being a thing.
Abraxes Rancor wrote:Brings in mind what shielding has as principles, though makes me wonder why in in the original movies (episode 4) some people argue that Proton Torpedoes can bypass shields , but I imagine that might exploit a shield weakness due to oversaturation or something.
It is as simple as the Death Star I's exhaust port being ray shielded but not particle shielded, so a proton torpedo can indeed bypass some forms of shielding. Games like Empire At War uses this as a mechanic and propagates the idea that missiles bypasses shields. Unfortunately, they take it too far since there are clearly particle shields which do block physical projectiles. Let's mention the Gungan's theatre shield being pounded on by Trade Federation projectile tank guns as an example. Or maybe we can settle for the air containment field on the DS in Ep IV or the Gungan's keep-water-out field, etc.
Abraxes Rancor wrote:Also, I imagine a lot of electronic warfare and targeting systems have to do with distance and speed of the combating forces relative to each other.
Certainly.
Abraxes Rancor wrote:At longer distances it would be like firing at an opponents visual shadow, or trying to "lead" them based upon the delay of light, some form of hyper sensory equipment then what principles we have now would be needed for "real time" engagements.

At least that's my own personal theory and it seems to jive with yours a lot in some places.

However, the sheer amount of misses could be attributed to the evasive patterns we see that happen somewhere in the delay as calculated trajectories to "lead" the target are thrown off by pilot action due to light delay.(or any band of the EM spectrum)
That could only take place at high relative velocities or fairly long ranges, however. It's certainly not a factor in the knife-in battles we typically see in the films.
Abraxes Rancor wrote:When we see this in smaller, fighter vs. Fighter engagements, or subcap engagements, I think there's a balance between the target and the pursuer's sensors and EW systems.

The greater the magnitude of difference with the targeting systems and the opposibg EW is, the closer one has to approach for a valid lock, at rather high MGLTs meaning it could be a reason why we see in the movies fighter craft furballs more consistent with WW2 dogfighting,
Obviously.
Abraxes Rancor wrote:This isn't the most scientific response, and a gross oversimplification - I know that- , but it's just my two cents.
I take it you rather agree then?
Abraxes Rancor wrote:As for how to make use of this, personally?

Well there's a reason I have my royal guard candidate learning technometry, (though I could use some advice on how that TC thread is going.)

As for the rest of speeding things up for target aquisition: that TIE shadow had a nifty AI in it , didn't it?
Perhaps we can look into it. Having an AI run your ship is a... controversial subject at best.
Image

User avatar
Tavish McFini
Grand Admiral
Grand Admiral
Posts: 1505
Joined: 2008-03-30 17:36
Custom Title: Fleet Commander, Self-Proclaimed Bartender, Baron
Organizational Unit: Third Fleet, Task Force Conquest, ESD Intimidator
Location: ESD Intimdator
Contact:

Re: Theory of Star Wars Jamming

Post by Tavish McFini » 2015-12-28 22:57

Okay, I'll bite.
Kane wrote:1. It is a well known quantity of Star Wars energy weapons that they can fire off-axis. Examples are found in all the films, particularly with the fixed-mount X-Wing lasers and the Death Star, but also the Eclipse from the Empire at War game.
I always did find this one strange, the biggest example being the Death Star trench run where the TIEs were locking on to the X-Wings and you could visibly see the lasers go from the TIE flying down the center of the trench over to the X-Wing that was more to one side, without changing vectors and getting in behind the X-Wing like is typical in most combat flight sim games or space combat flight sim games. But I digress.
Kane wrote:3. This is supposedly done by some sort of vectored guidance, a force field if you like. Closeup of details on weapons also suggest that the thingies near the ends of X-Wing barrels have such a function. Ion engines also have vectored thrust which provides maneouverability and retardation.
So, to make sure I have this straight, the vectored guidance is happening at or relatively near the point of exit for the projectile and not mid-flight?
Kane wrote:Suppose then, that enemy jamming can affect those guidance fields. This would then affect not only hitting your target - obviously - but it could also affect maneouverability, if the jamming is sufficiently strong. Consider this line from the A New Hope novelization (canon in both old and new systems):

'Also, their field generators will probably create a lot of distortion, especially in and around the trench. I figure that maneuverability in that sector will be less than point three.'
I remember that line but never really drew the same conclusion but maybe because I saw a different context in it. The statement about the field generators creating a lot of distortion in and around the trench makes sense, you've got a confined area with all sorts of ECM and jamming signals bouncing off the walls that flying in and around the trench will screw up anyone's sensors, targeters and navicomputers. If all the field generators are located in and around the trench, flying in such close proximity is bound to magnify the effect versus flying elsewhere on the surface of the Death Star.

The maneuverability part was related in a different fashion in my mind because if your sensors are messed up and you're flying at 80 or 100MGLT (which is probably pretty darned fast), you're going to be relying on your sensors to tell you whether or not you're going to collide with a piece of the Death Star's super structure (like a connecting strut or bridge across the trench) in a quick fashion because by the time you see it with your eyes, given the curvature of the Death Star and the speeds you're going, you probably won't have enough time to react before you collide with it.
Kane wrote:What's more, it could explain why there's a lot of misses in an easily understandable way. It's not just a matter of adjusting your aim and leading your target, in order to hit the enemy your weapon has to be physically trained at where they will be when the blast arrives at that point. In short, the guidance fields are rendered ineffective by jamming and you have to rely on mechanical aim.
So, there's an over-reliance on the computer assisted aiming and not enough good, old-fashioned dog-fighters out there who can simply look down the targeting crosshairs, pull the trigger and know with some degree of certainty that their shots will strike home. Maybe I'm taking this concept and knowledge and not really appreciating it enough because I figured everyone using lasers had to rely on mechanical aim unless they were using torps/missiles. Probably to much X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter which didn't really have vectored guidance for the lasers. Actually, probably more a byproduct of having played far too much of those sorts of games in my case.
Kane wrote:Another consequence of this theory is that in the absence of jamming, or in the presence of very weak jamming, accuracy would increase dramatically. As I recall, that matches the descriptions from the Legends Vong books, where the Vong doesn't use traditional jamming and so the heroes of the republic finds that they can engage at significant fractions of lightspeed and still hit with accuracy.
When you say significant fractions of lightspeed, how long would it take an X-Wing to accelerate to that? Maybe my concept of dogfighting is somewhat archaic but if they're fighting at those sorts of speeds, they're not really dogfighting so much as they're making high speed passes against the targets and then slowly changing their vectors so as to not have to re-accelerate too much as they swoop by for another pass against a slower, more easier to hit enemy.
Kane wrote:Someone would ask how you would counter such a thing.
Simple: turn off your fancy techo-laser-bolt-guidance-thingy and rely on pure mechanical aim and sight. You only need your sensors to tell you about where you need to go, get the visual on them with your eyes and then leave the guns full front and blast away. Maybe not as elegant but if you're in the presence of a field generator, your shots are probably going to be just as likely to miss if you rely on the guidance systems anyways right?

Here's a curve ball to throw back at you: how does the field generator distinguish between friend and foe? The TIEs in the Death Star trench seemed to have much greater ease flying around and I somehow doubt it's normal practice for their pilots to do simulated trench runs (if no one thought an attack down the trench would be any threat until after the attack was already underway and it was analyzed).
Kane wrote:Well, the obvious answer is stronger guidance fields, which would in turn be countered with stronger jamming. A consequence of this is that larger, more powerful ships, could be expected to be more accurate against smaller ships with less reactor power and thus less jamming power - but they have of course maneuverability on their side (not so much straight up speed/acceleration).

It's also a matter of distance from the source. At longer distances, jamming would be weaker by the inverse square law, and it would also react more slowly since it would take a fraction longer to arrive, allowing the enemy computer to adjust more efficiently. An enemy with an advantage in jamming would want to get closer. An enemy with an advantage in accuracy (possibly due to the enemy's lack of strong jamming) would want to keep a longer distance.

Likewise, an enemy with an advantage in maneouverability would want to stay at range and an enemy with an advantage in firepower would want to close in.
Anyone who plays World of Warships will know how bloody hard it is to hit a destroyer with the main turrets of a battleship, especially at range and even more so if they're actually trying to zig-zag before they come up along side you and drop torpedoes on your hull... I imagine a similar parallel could be drawn here.
Kane wrote:A fighter equipped with a jammer - many of them are - could affect turrets in the vicinity trying to hit them. Not turrets at range, but they have of course the disadvantage of being at range and the fighter is fast and maneuverable. If capital ships are present to support with heavy jamming, it would be very, very hard to hit such fast, small targets.
So it almost begs the question: why would we bother with point defense lasers on ships at all or are we hoping their mechanical aim is stronger than any field guidance systems in place?
Kane wrote:Interestingly, jamming wouldn't affect missiles too much in that way, since they have continuous guidance. It would however affect their tiny sensors quite a bit, so they're best released close to the target or guided in by a capital ship to close range before being released.
They have continuous guidance, but would it be safe to assume that the missile has the same vectored thrust that the X-Wings and TIEs do and that's what allows them to maneuver in space? Why would a missile's guidance be any less hindered than an X-Wings if they're both using the same vectored thrust? If anything, the missile would be more susceptible to the jamming because it'd be getting a mess of signals that may throw off its thrust vectoring by 10% one second, 5% the next second, 50% the third second and so on. It's forever compensating all the way to the target so it'd be lucky to hit anything depending on the level of jamming and the reliability of the controller trying to overcome the jamming. Something tells me a simple PID control loop would simply not suffice in this instance.

Looking at it in that sense, that might actually explain something (tsk, no media tags):

Star Wars Short Film - Interdictor Prevents Torpedo Attack

So I'm not exactly sure if the link worked as intended, but if you go to 3m40s in the video, you see a bunch of rebel ships attacking an interdictor. As the torpedoes are inbound, the captain motions for an office in the crew pit to activate something. If we assume this to be the same jamming being discussed here, you see in the next scene the torpedoes going all over the place but what's interesting is that, looking at the patterns, they're not entirely erratic, some of them look to be genuinely trying to get back in line with the target but, for whatever reason, their guidance systems aren't properly compensating for the loss of control.

Of course, this isn't canon material though the guy who made the film spent a great deal of time on it and used all manner of references so it could be said that, if nothing else, there's something out there that possibly lends more light to the theory presented above.
Kane wrote:Now... I'd like to see if you have evidence or arguments for or against my theory, and I'm reasonably sure that you'd like to rub those braincells into thinking of something that might make use of this.

The best benefit in my opinion is that it gives a more tangible view on EW and how it can be used or countered. Something that can be exploited in role-playing....
The only evidence I have against the theory comes from the X-Wing and TIE Fighter and indeed just about any of the games where I got to pilot a Rebel ship. However that was probably more due to hardware/programming limitations of trying to implement such a system. The crosshairs would change colour when a shot, fired at that instant against a target, would hit it, but so far as I could tell, aiming was still a purely mechanical affair.

Thinking about it, I vaguely recall one Star Wars game that had some sort of laser tracking. I forget the name of it now, but at one stage, I was "piloting" an A-Wing (I use the term loosely because the whole segment was on rails) and had to take down a Star Destroyer. The lasers, despite my ship flying at a different angle, would be able to hit targets that weren't directly in front of me. I chalked it up to the idea that maybe the A-Wing had pivoting laser cannons (the scale model toys did at the time).

So, I'm willing to lend credibility to the theory since I seem to be finding more evidence that supports it rather than contradicts it. I still have a few reservations about it as noted above, but by and large, it actually sounds quite plausible.
Kane wrote: oh, and it gives Force users a so-called unfair advantage, since they can effectively aim by instinct and bypass jamming entirely, but that wasn't much of news, I suppose. I may point out that it wouldn't just work for Jedi fighter pilots but also for a Jedi at the helm of the fire-control system of a capital ship.
As if we needed to give them any additional advantages! :P
Image
- Admiral McFini and Ensign Hales discovered why Executor-class Star Destroyers seldom ram anything.

User avatar
Kane
Emperor
Emperor
Posts: 1732
Joined: 2008-03-24 08:12
Custom Title: Sith Apprentice
Organizational Unit: First Fleet NIFSS Nemesis
Contact:

Re: Theory of Star Wars Jamming

Post by Kane » 2015-12-29 03:44

Tavish McFini wrote:I always did find this one strange, the biggest example being the Death Star trench run where the TIEs were locking on to the X-Wings and you could visibly see the lasers go from the TIE flying down the center of the trench over to the X-Wing that was more to one side, without changing vectors and getting in behind the X-Wing like is typical in most combat flight sim games or space combat flight sim games. But I digress.
Essentially they're FX boggles, but there's no such thing under suspension of disbelief.
Tavish McFini wrote:So, to make sure I have this straight, the vectored guidance is happening at or relatively near the point of exit for the projectile and not mid-flight?
That's actually an excellent question. We do have one example of an ISD turbolaser being guided mid-flight as it fires on an asteroid.

The standard concept we see from fighters appear to be adjustment just at the exit of the barrel. We can't really see such guidance from capship turrets unless it's mid-flight correction, however, since we rarely get to see the turrets themselves.
Tavish McFini wrote:I remember that line but never really drew the same conclusion but maybe because I saw a different context in it. The statement about the field generators creating a lot of distortion in and around the trench makes sense, you've got a confined area with all sorts of ECM and jamming signals bouncing off the walls that flying in and around the trench will screw up anyone's sensors, targeters and navicomputers. If all the field generators are located in and around the trench, flying in such close proximity is bound to magnify the effect versus flying elsewhere on the surface of the Death Star.

The maneuverability part was related in a different fashion in my mind because if your sensors are messed up and you're flying at 80 or 100MGLT (which is probably pretty darned fast), you're going to be relying on your sensors to tell you whether or not you're going to collide with a piece of the Death Star's super structure (like a connecting strut or bridge across the trench) in a quick fashion because by the time you see it with your eyes, given the curvature of the Death Star and the speeds you're going, you probably won't have enough time to react before you collide with it.
Excellent argument, but there's one small catch. As the X-Wings "accelerate to attack speed", they're actually slowing down from going much faster travelling to the Death Star. This seems self-contradictory, but it works fine when analyzed. First, obviously they have a limited speed in which they can travel along the equator without risking crashing into anything. Secondly, there's not actually anything that's retardation or deacceleration in space even though we use that term. Everything is just acceleration, in one or another relative direction.

So limited maneuverability have to refer to when they're actually flying around the surface and shooting things up like Beggar's canyon. The trench is by itself very limiting without any interference to add to it, and the sector comment suggests that the problem was especially bad at specific areas. The Death Star is dotted by protrusions and surface turrets, some which are shield generators. It's not far fetched to the idea that some of them houses jammers. However, your argument still works. I'm just pointing out that my interpretation explains that too, and then some.
Tavish McFini wrote:So, there's an over-reliance on the computer assisted aiming and not enough good, old-fashioned dog-fighters out there who can simply look down the targeting crosshairs, pull the trigger and know with some degree of certainty that their shots will strike home. Maybe I'm taking this concept and knowledge and not really appreciating it enough because I figured everyone using lasers had to rely on mechanical aim unless they were using torps/missiles. Probably to much X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter which didn't really have vectored guidance for the lasers. Actually, probably more a byproduct of having played far too much of those sorts of games in my case.
Well, let's put it this way. What's the difference between using computer assisted aiming that barely works because it's mostly jammed and no guided aiming at all?

None, but if jamming isn't that bad, you'd have guidance.
Tavish McFini wrote:When you say significant fractions of lightspeed, how long would it take an X-Wing to accelerate to that? Maybe my concept of dogfighting is somewhat archaic but if they're fighting at those sorts of speeds, they're not really dogfighting so much as they're making high speed passes against the targets and then slowly changing their vectors so as to not have to re-accelerate too much as they swoop by for another pass against a slower, more easier to hit enemy.
It's called Boom and Zoom. We can compare X-Wing acceleration by that of the Delta-7's 5000 gs and arrive at the conclusion that to get up to about 0.3 c or 30% lightspeed, it would have to run at maximum acceleration for 31.5 minutes. However, they don't necessarily have to start at zero relative speed, they could be launched from a capital ship already travelling at .3 lightspeed.
Kane wrote:Simple: turn off your fancy techo-laser-bolt-guidance-thingy and rely on pure mechanical aim and sight. You only need your sensors to tell you about where you need to go, get the visual on them with your eyes and then leave the guns full front and blast away. Maybe not as elegant but if you're in the presence of a field generator, your shots are probably going to be just as likely to miss if you rely on the guidance systems anyways right?
Well, not everyone can rely on the Force. But I answered this above already.
Kane wrote:Here's a curve ball to throw back at you: how does the field generator distinguish between friend and foe? The TIEs in the Death Star trench seemed to have much greater ease flying around and I somehow doubt it's normal practice for their pilots to do simulated trench runs (if no one thought an attack down the trench would be any threat until after the attack was already underway and it was analyzed).
It can't, obviously. TIE fighters do have better maneuverability than X-Wings to start with. We can tell that they were still affected since we get to see Darth Vader fiddle with his scope to sort out the frequency interference.
Tavish McFini wrote:Anyone who plays World of Warships will know how bloody hard it is to hit a destroyer with the main turrets of a battleship, especially at range and even more so if they're actually trying to zig-zag before they come up along side you and drop torpedoes on your hull... I imagine a similar parallel could be drawn here.
Yes. I may point out that battleships have midships and smaller guns for dealing with such threats precisely because the main turrets can't track maneuverable targets quickly enough. They're meant to fire at long ranges at relatively predictable targets.
Tavish McFini wrote:So it almost begs the question: why would we bother with point defense lasers on ships at all or are we hoping their mechanical aim is stronger than any field guidance systems in place?
Why wouldn't we? A real life parallel is asking why we have Phalanx style close-in weapon systems when soft interception has a proven and much higher interception chance.

Because we do.

It's also worth noting that point defense missiles are a lot more effective than point defense guns. For starters they have much longer range. But they're a lot more expensive to use, too.
Tavish McFini wrote:They have continuous guidance, but would it be safe to assume that the missile has the same vectored thrust that the X-Wings and TIEs do and that's what allows them to maneuver in space? Why would a missile's guidance be any less hindered than an X-Wings if they're both using the same vectored thrust? If anything, the missile would be more susceptible to the jamming because it'd be getting a mess of signals that may throw off its thrust vectoring by 10% one second, 5% the next second, 50% the third second and so on. It's forever compensating all the way to the target so it'd be lucky to hit anything depending on the level of jamming and the reliability of the controller trying to overcome the jamming. Something tells me a simple PID control loop would simply not suffice in this instance.
In so many words, they do have the same vectored thrust and they would have to adjust for it. The main problem isn't compensating but rather the fact that it reduces effective missile range and makes the NEZ (no-escape zone) smaller. But jamming is supposed to interfere with missiles, so that's just doing the job. If the missile was left to compensate forever, it would eventually hit the target.
Tavish McFini wrote:Looking at it in that sense, that might actually explain something (tsk, no media tags):

Star Wars Short Film - Interdictor Prevents Torpedo Attack

So I'm not exactly sure if the link worked as intended, but if you go to 3m40s in the video, you see a bunch of rebel ships attacking an interdictor. As the torpedoes are inbound, the captain motions for an office in the crew pit to activate something. If we assume this to be the same jamming being discussed here, you see in the next scene the torpedoes going all over the place but what's interesting is that, looking at the patterns, they're not entirely erratic, some of them look to be genuinely trying to get back in line with the target but, for whatever reason, their guidance systems aren't properly compensating for the loss of control.

Of course, this isn't canon material though the guy who made the film spent a great deal of time on it and used all manner of references so it could be said that, if nothing else, there's something out there that possibly lends more light to the theory presented above.
It's a good example of what we're talking about. The link works as advertised. We have a tag for youtube actually, but I can't put in 'general' media tags without coding specifically for the media in question, one by one.
Tavish McFini wrote:The only evidence I have against the theory comes from the X-Wing and TIE Fighter and indeed just about any of the games where I got to pilot a Rebel ship. However that was probably more due to hardware/programming limitations of trying to implement such a system. The crosshairs would change colour when a shot, fired at that instant against a target, would hit it, but so far as I could tell, aiming was still a purely mechanical affair.
So you had a very limited version of computer guidance.
Tavish McFini wrote:Thinking about it, I vaguely recall one Star Wars game that had some sort of laser tracking. I forget the name of it now, but at one stage, I was "piloting" an A-Wing (I use the term loosely because the whole segment was on rails) and had to take down a Star Destroyer. The lasers, despite my ship flying at a different angle, would be able to hit targets that weren't directly in front of me. I chalked it up to the idea that maybe the A-Wing had pivoting laser cannons (the scale model toys did at the time).

So, I'm willing to lend credibility to the theory since I seem to be finding more evidence that supports it rather than contradicts it. I still have a few reservations about it as noted above, but by and large, it actually sounds quite plausible.
Well, that's interesting.
Tavish McFini wrote:As if we needed to give them any additional advantages! :P
Indeed.
Image

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest