F-34 Black Lightning; EW-9 Phantom

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F-34 Black Lightning; EW-9 Phantom

Postby Addams » Thu Feb 08, 2018 3:22 am

Howdy, gang.

In addition to sock-puppeting Captain Suzuki, Starbase Vanguard's CO; and writing Chlamydia Addams, M.D.; I also write the Senior Aerospace Officer aboard USS Hermes, Major Beatrice "Butch" Cassidy. I didn't like the fleet database fighters, so I created my own for that game.

That seems insufferably arrogant, so let me explain a little bit. In the closing years of the previous century, I was enlisted in the United States Navy, and was one of the first women stationed aboard an American aircraft carrier. I earned my Enlisted Aviation Warfare Specialist designator. So I've spent time looking at fighter operations and thinking about how and why they work. Most of the fighters presented in the fleet database wouldn't.

Star Trek was designed to be a capital ship universe, capturing that golden age of the battleship from about 1880 to 1920. In that universe, fighters have no place. Larger, more massive engines mean higher speeds, more weapons and shielding, and so on. We see this in the fact that the cruisers have higher speeds than the runabouts or shuttles; in the fact that a runabout or shuttle stands no chance in the line of battle. But over and over, fans have decided that there must be fighters, just as there must be Marines.

If you'd like to see the long form of my explanations for the Black Lightning interceptors and their partners, the electronic warfare Phantoms, they're spelled out in these posts:

http://hermes.rpgs-r.us/index.php/sim/viewpost/68

http://hermes.rpgs-r.us/index.php/sim/viewpost/82

http://hermes.rpgs-r.us/index.php/sim/viewpost/84 (if you only read one of these posts, make it this one).

http://hermes.rpgs-r.us/index.php/sim/viewpost/119

The short version is this:

fighters are best employed when:
[list=]
[*]They stand a reasonable chance of not being observed by enemy targeting sensors,[/*]
[*]they can swarm in great enough numbers to overwhelm enemy targeting computers,[/*]
[*]they move fast enough that enemy fire control can't keep up with them.[/*]
[/list]

Incidentally, these points don't just apply to fighters. Riverine patrol craft and torpedo patrol boats use these same tactics. (see They Were Expendable, W. L. White, for some excellent tales of how that actually worked out in WWII).

The swarm concept is inherent in the idea of fighter squadrons. A modern American supercarrier has as many as 100 aircraft, but for Hermes, I've elected only to have one squadron of interceptors, and part of a squadron of EW craft, along with a couple of refueling craft. These numbers represent a compromise between the necessity of swarm operations, and the desirability of leaving the capital ship something to do.

Modern military aircraft, including drones, have stealth coatings. I've expanded on that with the Black Lightnings and Phantoms, creating a skin which reflects only a tiny amount of the light which shines on it, and has similar properties with regard to other sensor modalities. The Phantoms also use active Electronic Warfare capabilities to lower the profile of the fighter strike group as a whole.

Finally, we come to the question of speed. With starships routinely listed as having top speeds in excess of warp nine, and fighters as listed on the webpage limited to warp four (or even three!) it's obvious that aerospace battles are only going to occur at the pleasure of the aggressor starship, and will terminate when the aggressor starship chooses to terminate their attack. Yes, it's true that we have Paris' assertion that "faster than light, no left or right," as well as the obvious fact that beam weapons will not function at FTL speeds. However, we also have tactics such as the Picard maneuver (more on that later) which tell us that warp speed is in fact used in battle.

So what we need for effective fighter craft is a new propulsion technology. I've come up with a McGuffin which allows me to do that: Quark-Gluon Plasma (QGP). Basically, QGP is a state of matter held under incomprehensible temperature and pressure. Released from the "bottle" in which it's held, it "bubbles" into normal matter and antimatter, releasing energy; the matter and antimatter then mutually annihilate in a standard M/A reaction. This dual-stage reaction releases more energy than a standard M/A reactor assembly, allowing the shuttles to move very fast, indeed. (On Hermes, the "water buffaloes" have the machinery to generate QGP, and it's kept in very, very small quantities to avoid a catastrophic accident, which avoids the question of "why doesn't the starship use it?")

In addition to the QGP reactors, the shuttles are equipped with fast-stutter "skipper" warp engines. This technology rapidly establishes and collapses an Alcubierre warp bubble, causing the craft to skip through real space like a rock skipping across water. This is an application of the Piccard maneuver, as it creates difficulties for the targeting aggressor starship attempting to ascertain where the interceptor actually is at any given time.

The skipper engines also create certain difficulties in navigation for the interceptors, which is why the electronic warfare craft which accompany them have a dedicated astrogator. Data is shared between the four fighters and the EW bird of the flight, and the EW bird calculates and updates the interceptors on their current position, allowing them to calculate firing solutions for themselves.




And yes; I am a nerdy dork who has entirely too much time on her hands; why do you ask?

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Re: F-34 Black Lightning; EW-9 Phantom

Postby Trekgrl77 » Thu Feb 08, 2018 4:24 am

I like what you've written. I've also never really liked Theta Fleet's line of fighters--especially the Razor Class.
Commander Leigh Jacobs
Commanding Officer
USS Valiant

Lt. Commander T'Pral
Chief of Security
USS Hera

Captain Brooklyn Wellington
Chief of Fighter Operations
Starbase Vanguard

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