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Author Topic: PSA ON NAVAL VS. AIRFORCE  (Read 2944 times)

Deshara

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PSA ON NAVAL VS. AIRFORCE
« on: November 16, 2016, 02:30:46 PM »

If you've ever wondered why all space games make their ships into an allegory of naval vessels, here's why; the functional distinction between navy and air force vehicles is that if a naval vessel suffers disabling but repairable damage, it's simply knocked out of the fight temporarily. If an airforce vehicle suffers disabling damage, it crashes.
Self reparability is the key here. A 'ship' in SS is big enough that any damage it takes, given enough time and supplies, it can just float and fix it on its own. A 'fighter' however isn't big enough to hold enough supplies to a self-repair, nor are they structurally redundant enough having sustained critical damage to be capable of fielding a repairing expedition (see: the prospect of climbing out onto the wing of a jet liner to fix an engine before it hits the ground).
Also, fighters in SS are small enough that few of them have enough armor not to take serious damage if their engines gets blown out and they collide with another ship, whereas ships don't have this problem in SS as in real-life (anymore).

Basically, if you were to change one thing in SS to take it from a naval allegory to an airforce allegory it would be to remove the ability to repair hull outside of a dock, so that after a serious battle no matter how many supplies you have or time you've got, in order to recover from damage you have to return to the nearest market, and if a ship is disabled and recovered it's mothballed until you can dock it again.
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Cik

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Re: PSA ON NAVAL VS. AIRFORCE
« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2016, 06:12:49 PM »

i have serious doubts that ships in the modern age can actually survive hits in combat in anything other than the glancing category.

ASMs get deadlier every year, and what little data we have said that even ~30 years ago an exocet hit basically screws your day up beyond hope of repair.

the naval allegory fits more because of the multiple non-fixed-forward firing weapons, focus on staying power rather than strike capability (for the most part) and also because of lack of maneuverability relative to fighters, and the relative endurance; ships generally don't run out of fuel inside a day, whereas even if you climb for endurance in a fighter you will still have to AAR several times to hit 6+ flying hours (barring some exceptional design optimized for huge fuel stores)

fighters don't generally have turrets post WW1.
« Last Edit: November 16, 2016, 06:20:23 PM by Cik »
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Deshara

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Re: PSA ON NAVAL VS. AIRFORCE
« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2016, 06:57:01 PM »

Well keep in mind we haven't really had any cultural exposure to naval combat since 1949
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Cik

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Re: PSA ON NAVAL VS. AIRFORCE
« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2016, 08:19:02 PM »

hey man if you haven't had cultural exposure to naval combat you're just in the wrong culture

naval combat is pretty sick
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BHunterSEAL

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Re: PSA ON NAVAL VS. AIRFORCE
« Reply #4 on: November 17, 2016, 07:18:46 AM »

The Falklands War in '82 is probably the most recent example of large-scale combat between modern fleets--or at least, one modern fleet and one semi-modern fleet. This took place before the long and sad decline of the Royal Navy into its current pitiful state; it was, at the time, arguably the third-strongest naval force on the planet. The Argentines made up for a lack of numbers and contemporary tech in its surface fleet with a force of Exocet-armed Super Etendards that proved deadly, sinking several destroyers, frigates and support vessels. The Argentine navy lost an ex-USN, WWII-era cruiser.

It's worth pointing out that none of the ships sunk had effective anti-missile defense systems like the 20mm Phoenix CIWS (US) or 30mm Goalkeeper (Dutch), of which all British surface combatants now have one or the other. In Starsector terms, it's not surprising that destroyer- or frigate-class ships lacking effective PD or shields would fall to one or two licks from a Harpoon or what-have-you. But plenty of other ships were damaged during the conflict and either went to port in friendly South American countries or limped back to Britain for servicing.
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harrumph

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Re: PSA ON NAVAL VS. AIRFORCE
« Reply #5 on: November 30, 2016, 06:37:28 AM »

I would say that the principal functional distinction between aircraft and oceangoing vessels is that they move through different media (air and water, respectively). This means that their speed and maneuverability are radically different and imposes radically different demands on their form and construction (different aerodynamic/hydrodynamic needs, different thrust-to-weight requirements, commensurately reduced/increased ability to mount thicker armor, extra weapons, etc.). Realistically, no such distinction would exist in space-based "naval" combat, and it's hard to imagine why fighters/bombers as we know them would be used. But in a videogame, we can have just fun with the familiar Second World War–based roles and dynamics.
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Thaago

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Re: PSA ON NAVAL VS. AIRFORCE
« Reply #6 on: December 01, 2016, 04:56:06 PM »

A common distinction in sci-fi both hard and soft that I have read is that 'ships' have long endurance, while 'fighters/bombers' can only last for their mission duration.

The extra fuel/supplies/life support infrastructure etc gives the 'ships' a lower thrust to weight ratio (or drive magic to weight ratio, for non-Newtonian sci-fi like SS); hence fighters can accelerate/dodge better and approach closer to the target without getting shot.

Still very hand-wavery, but it replicates the whole 'slow ships fast fighters' WWII paradigm ok.
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