Weapons in the Battle Fleet Universe

Lasers:

The laser is a tight beam of coherent photons that is projected over significant distances. A laser weapon systems greatest advantage lies in its status as a light speed weapon. The target will only become aware it is under fire when struck. It is also the only known form of energy weapon that will function effectively within planetary atmosphere. While laser based weapon systems are used in ground based point defence batteries and the Star Forts of Planetary Defence, to date Battle Fleet has declined to arm any ships with laser weapon systems. This reluctance stems from a number of inherent problems. Against all but the most fragile target the beam will be required to focus on one location long enough to achieve a burn through. Under combat conditions with both target and firing maneuvering, this may difficult to achieve, especially if the target is armoured, thus requiring an even longer focus period. Exacerbating this problem is the localised nature of any damage inflicted, on the target. At present laser weapon systems are used as primary armament by most of the star nations of the the Tample and in the point defence systems of the Aellr.

Laser cannon

Plasma Cannons:

Standard anti-ship weapon system in both Battle Fleet and the Aellr Defence Fleet, this weapon launches a bolt of fusion temperature plasma at high speed. The bolt integrity is maintained by magnetic field, generated with bolt by a device known in human service as a sustainer rod. While the rod itself is vaporised within moments of the bolt being formed within the cannon firing chamber, the magnetic field fades only over the course of several seconds. The bolt is launched via an modified railgun type assembly. The dissipation effect means a hit from plasma bolt at point blank, will strike with considerably more force than at extreme range. The plasma cannon is not a light speed weapon therefore across standard fighting ranges more deflection will have to be applied to compensate. Starships are equipped with four or more guns to allow them to fire salvo at four subtly different location, to cover all possible locations of the target by the time the plasma bolts arrive. While there are currently numerous versions of plasma cannon in service they can be broadly broken down into three categories: Light, Standard and Heavy. Light are found on destroyers and other small craft. They have the short range at only 60,000 kilometres but the lowest weight and power requirements. Standard size is the most numerous form is found and provides cruiser classes with their primary armament. These weapons are considered effective out to 100,000 kilometres. Heavy Plasma Cannons are currently at the pinnacle of energy weapon technology. While at least twice the size of contemporary Standard Plasma Cannons with a matching power requirement, they allow Battleships to deal out shattering damage at ranges up to 160,000 kilometres.

Plasma Cannon 1Plasma Cannon 2Plasma Cannon 3

The only significant difference between Human and Aellr is in terms of physical dimensions. Aellr plasma cannon are roughly two thirds the size of contemporary Human designs.

Railgun:

A railgun is an electrically powered electromagnetic projectile launcher firing unguided projectiles along a ballistic course. While impact is likely to prove catastrophic for any vessel, irrespective of armour or any other passive defences, the relative slowness of the projectiles and the lag between firing and impact mean a direct hit is unlikely against a maneuvering target at standard combat ranges. However the sheer lethality of large caliber railgun rounds means that even at standard range, they can be used to break up an opposing starship formations. In recent years Battle Fleet has sought means by which the effective range of Railguns might be improved. Ammunition with proximity fuses have entered service and linked fire from several ships concentrated on one target, hemming it in has been experimented with.railgun turret

Flakgun:

A sub category of the Railgun, the Flakgun is designed for long ranged defence against fighters and missiles. Flakguns have a higher rate of fire and smaller explosive projectiles. To date Flakguns are only found in Battle Fleet and even there only in a handful of dedicated escort craft. Flak guns have been developed in single, double and quad mounts.

Flakgun

Missiles

Self propelled guided projectile. Common to all of the known races while details and level of sophistication alter between them. In theory able to inflect far greater damage than any of the gun types, the requirement for a missile to close on a manoeuvrings target and penetrate point defence fire makes these subordinate weapons to guns. In Aellr and Human the missile is seen as a mid range weapon to be used against target already damaged and slowed by gunfire. Where they are used at longer range, it is generally in massed salvos, to saturate defensive fire.

Point Defence:

Point Defence can be loosely described as a collection of small, low powered versions of the weapons listed above designed to provide a ship with an active defence against fighters and missiles. With short effective ranges they are not suitable for anti-ship roles and are the only weapon type to be routinely found on non-military vessels – for protection against micro-meteorites. At present the Aellr have tended to favor Plasma pulse guns, while the Mhar have only been able to manufacture small caliber railguns. The Tample use a mix of small lasers and railguns, while humanity uses a mixture of all three.

Point defence 1Point defence 2Point defence Laser

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2 Comments

Filed under science fiction, Ship design, Ships of the Fleet, starship

2 responses to “Weapons in the Battle Fleet Universe

  1. Tarnehat

    I do love your Nameless War books, they remind me of the game ‘Freespace’. I do get confused by the timeline though – It seems far too close to present day! Can’t wait for the next one

    • I’ve occasionally wondered whether I went for too close a date for my future. The thinking was that I wanted my characters, their mindset and the world beyond the fleet to be fairly similar to that of the reader today. Which limited how far forward I could go. A lot of how humanity has become a space-faring race inside half a century was supposed to be covered in my lost book (the briefly mentioned Contact War) but I didn’t adjust after that was abandoned. I take the view that it is a decision I can’t now alter and I just have to roll with it and make sure book three wraps things up well.

      Regards

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