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I thought it would be a good idea to have a forum where we can post links, clips, or comments about various real life and/or SciFi logistics. This is, in my opinion, the most important single factor in warfare, increasing in importance when interstellar distances are involved.

Building ships and training troops requires natural resources, money, manpower, etc. You have to feed an army. You have to mine for metals, etc.

Here is an article about an advanced stealth destroyer the US Navy wants, but cost is prohibitive. It doesn't matter if the technology exists, if you can't afford to build it.

http://news.yahoo.com/us-navy-hopes-stealth-ship-answers-rising-china-065329046.html

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Also note the Chinese Admiral using arguments like we see in SciFi debates. A bunch of fishing boats could sink it. Sounds a lot like "a shuttle could beam a bomb on the bridge" arguments to me. :)

Possibly, but it is trash talk. It is also irrelevant if only a few, or none, are ever built.

The outcome of a military conflict would come down to the US economy vs the Chinese economy. Can they build more stuff, or can we? Can they train, feed, and transport more troops, or can we? It would not come down to whether one or a few surface ships are awesome or terrible.

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Worthy of consideration:

 

I've seen it said that, contrary to what the article attests, the navy didn't want the Zumwalt to be that ambitious. Pork bloated what was originally intended to be an evolutionary advance from the Arleigh Burke DDGs into the F-35 of the seas. Probably because, unlike the Airforce generals, the navy brass foresaw the potential for being sucked into a similar death spiral of having fewer and fewer platforms that cost more and more.

 

In terms of scifi, I wonder if we can compare the Zumwalt to the Defiant or the Warlock (not in terms of waste or internal politics, since we aren't privy to the internal politics surrounding naval procurement in the Federation or Earth Alliance) but in terms of relative capability to similar sized vessels and the difficulty of manufacturing next generation systems before they're standardized. We saw very few Defiants or Warlocks compared to other vessels of their size, even several years on from their initial deployments, which suggests that both the Federation and Earth Alliance are subject to the same issues of supply and demand as we are when our ambition outstrips our technical ability.

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The importance of knowing who you are fighting, why you are fighting and how you know when you've won.

 

I can't help thinking about conditions in the post war Cardassian Union or how things must have gone at times for the Empire against the Rebels.

 

When your enemy may look like your friends, things can go very badly very quickly as the M3 computer taught several cruisers and Khan demonstrated aboard Reliant. With the right intelligence Khan achieved near total tactical surprise and very nearly mission killed Enterprise. Had he given away the game early, a fight against a prepared Enterprise might have been much bloodier for both ships and crews.

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The situation is a major factor as well. Let's consider offense vs defense, which I plan a case study on, and a particular situation. Battlestar Galactica. Let's replace it with Enterprise-D. As they don't have shields (or significant shields in the original show), Enterprise could tear Cylon Basestars from the frame. But it could not effectively defend 200 civilian ships from waves of starfighters. One powerful ship is good for offense, but not for defense.

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I wonder if that's why the Federation fared so poorly against the Klingons in the alternate timeline where the Enterprise-C didn't intervene on their behalf against the Romulans. By the TNG era, the Klingons have de-emphasized major capital ships in favor of fielding Birds of Prey anchored by capital ships. During TNG, the smallest recurring ship that we saw (that had any teeth) was the Miranda. Between cloaking devices and Birds of Prey, when you can fit a warhead with a theoretical yield somewhere close to the largest nuclear weapons tested on Earth in a 2 meter capsule, a 12 man scout ship can do a lot of damage, especially when your opponent has their tonnage concentrated in heavier ships that are spread more thinly. While such a strategy might be considered dishonorable, Worf himself, somewhat bitterly I think, commented that to a Klingon Warrior, nothing is more honorable than victory.

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Yeah, sometimes 10,000 TIE fighters would be superior to a single star destroyer. The build cost would probably be similar, and number of men placed in battle as well. That is why the Rebels used mostly starfighters - more bang for the buck. And money and manpower would be the major limiting factors for a small group like that. A single large ship can only be in one place at a time.

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I thought it would be a good idea to have a forum where we can post links, clips, or comments about various real life and/or SciFi logistics. This is, in my opinion, the most important single factor in warfare, increasing in importance when interstellar distances are involved.

 

I can create a sub forum for you if you like for Logistics.

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I think this should suffice. I thought it would be a good way to tie in the criteria I've set up and allow people to explore the importance of it. And maybe we'll learn a few things along the way. I'm constantly learning new things as I work on this project.

I don't think a whole forum is really necessary. I doubt this thread will ever grow to more than 10 pages.

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I think this should suffice. I thought it would be a good way to tie in the criteria I've set up and allow people to explore the importance of it. And maybe we'll learn a few things along the way. I'm constantly learning new things as I work on this project.

I don't think a whole forum is really necessary. I doubt this thread will ever grow to more than 10 pages.

 

Challenge accepted. :p

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Tiny drone, big ethical and strategic concerns.

 

It's an interesting question to ponder: how much authority do the various foot soldiers (or starship captains) have in the various universes and how do the values of their civilizations shape the level of trust given and how much and what kind of force they have at their disposal.

 

For example, due to the distances involved and communication delays it fell to a very junior ranking trooper to decide whether to nuke the colony in Aliens. Kirk was as much an ambassador as battleship commander with broad authority to speak for his government with the consequence of having to start or prevent galactic war.

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Recall TNG The Defector, one of my favorite episodes. Picard was a couple hours out of realtime comm range, and the Admiral told him it would fall on his judgement.

That is fine if you are Captain Picard, but what if it was the guy from B5 In the Beginning? :)

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Many episodes of SG-1 involved Senator Kinsey trying to shut the program down due to expense. This was one base, with maybe a couple hundred people, but they used lots of UAVs (drones) and R&D.

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The Geopolitics of Russia: Permanent Struggle

 

This is a long one, so you might want to pull this one up on the iPad or another reader device and get comfy.

 

I'll summarize: basically Russia looks the way it does geographically and acts the way it does because of, what a Russian would probably argue, is a cruel trick of geography. Muscovy, the ancient core of Russia, is utterly indefensible without annexing vast tracts of land on all directions. To the North there's...well, not much except deep forest which can conceal the approach of raiders by sea. To the east there's nothing except vast tracts of flat lands from which the Mongols swept in historically. To south is arable land but its so far from Muscovy that Russian leaders effectively have two choices: allow transport costs to be factored into food prices on the open market, or make someone, such as the farmers or the state, eat those costs and thus food production is vastly inefficient. Note that the areas of arable land and mineral wealth are already settled by native peoples who preferred to stay culturally and ethnically independent and thus necessitated a strong internal security force to watch for signs of rebellion, watchers to watch the watchers and a military capable of defending the conquests from both outsiders and the conquered.

 

The Soviet Union before its break up was actually geographically, very close to Russia's ideal, geographically defensible form but the inefficiencies in their economy from bad geography but matching militaries with European states that didn't want to be added forcibly to Russia's breathing room ultimately made the whole thing unsustainable.

 

If you substitute "arable land" for habitable planets and "mineral wealth" for exotic materials like dilithium, duranium, tritanium etc. then you could come up with a passable analogy for the Klingon Empire: a hard people already inclined to survival through martial prowess stuck in a vast tract of largely useless galaxy in their immediate interstellar neighborhood and the systems they view as necessary for their survival as an independent space nation are either (A) already owned by races in need of conquering or (B) being actively contested by powerful, competitive neighbors such as the Federation and Romulans. (AKA: NATO & China)

 

You have the makings for an extremely inefficient economy due to considerable costs involved in transporting vital resources across vast distances and maintaining a thinly spread, disproportionately powerful (compared to their population and industrial / technology base) military to defend poorly laid out borders and far flung conquests providing Qonos with the means to be an interstellar powerhouse.

 

Not all of this is speculative, Kang's wife flat out told Starfleet officers when a D-7's crew was rescued that their motives for being aggressive to the Federation was that it was trying to deny them access to mineral wealth and that their home space was poor in natural resources.

Edited by scvn2812

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Navy May Need to Design Ships With Laser Guns in Mind Just happened to stumble upon this as well today.

 

Gee, how often in scifi do you have the problem where a brand new, bleeding edge superweapon....can't just be bolted onto the hull and plugged into the nearest power outlet as if it were just a new mouse for your computer. The only example that comes to mind is that in order to update the Enterprise-nil with all the latest toys...they practically gutted her and rebuilt her...including adding onto and partially reshaping her keel. After she came limping home having been shot up by Reliant, even though the damage seemed superficial on the outside, enough internal damage must have been taken that Starfleet just couldn't see going through the effort to rebuild the same ship again so soon after they just finished putting it back together.

 

I loved SG-1...but dear gods, the way they were able to mix and match hardware on Prometheus and the BC-304s made me want to face palm..and I'm not even an engineer, just enough of a scifi enthusiast to have done enough reading into how building space craft and military gizmos works on a superficial level.

 

Edited by scvn2812

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Also note this article applies to the ICS stuff as well. The greater your power reserve, the more powerful weapons you can mount.

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I'm watching Andy Griffith with my wife at the hospital. Andy said the city voted 6 years ago to build a road there, but they've only raised enough money to put up the stop sign. :)

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Ultra light weight helicopter drone's cutting edge materials not working out so great.

 

Excessive speed leads to excessive vibrations from the light weight, very strong but too rigid rotor blades which leads to important things like the transmission being dislodged. Two things to take away from this. One is more industrial / tactical, which is that brute strength isn't everything and you can't just ramp up the power on something without there being consequences. For example the overloaded phase cannons in Enterprise causing wide spread structural strain and system failures until they figured out how to brace them with the structural integrity fields. The second point is logistical, this is just another general example of the R&D process. Sometimes when you try to push the limits, the limits push back. We've been operating helicopters for half a century or so but even still, we can't always predict what will happen when you tweak elements of the classic design.

 

Reminds me of another famous "tough little ship" that had engines too powerful for her size early on...

 

Also, three words: gigapixel digital camera. On a helicopter drone no less. Now imagine what a Constitution-class starship or a Galaxy-class might be capable of mounting without it even being visible at the resolution the models were built to.

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http://m.wired.com/dangerroom/2012/06/army-data-network-war/

 

This doesn't relate to any particular verse, it's just a worked example of how amazing it could be if the technology we see in scifi were used to its full potential for Ensign Ricky the away team member or the doomed Colonial Marines in Aliens. Maybe in the future procurement procedures still have trouble integrating every thing that can be done in one convenient package.

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i have been thinking recently about the fuel and power simply required in order to preserve city-worlds like coruscant, or to build then fuel the death star. Things that suggest fuel is a limitless resource? Things that suggest the empire would expend quadrillions of tons of fuel in order to preserve or kill billions of people. I have never really seen them covered, they probably deserve some more attention in my mind :-) heres some quik stuff i did on the death star, there might be mistakes, i just wrote it up so its not triple checked or nit-picked or any ting

Hypothetical Planetary Civilization

Population: 10 billion

History: 10 millennia

Power consumption [per head]: 1MW

Energy used: 3e+27 joules

Per billion tons of mass, a vessel might be expected to consume e+27 joules to commence a hyperspace jump [isd using more energy than planetary-civilizations have in their histories].

 

based on the death star, the energy/fuel requirements for the sub-light and supra-light transit of the material bulk of its superstructure to the site of construction[based on water densities]. This process probably accounted *at least* one hundred trillion tons of fuel [annihilated over two years], more likely several hundred. Nothing *that special* or surprising.

 

However, the death star presumably carries over 1+19 tons of fuel in order to generate a 1e+39 energy blast. Further fuel is carried, enough to allow the Death Star to accelerate with 100 gravities of acceleration for say 15 minutes.. <- this assumes the death star is NOT fueled with hypermatter enough to jump to hyperspace, having already used that fuel [which would then need to be replaced/replenished].

Sending all that [just 1e+19 for simplicity] into a hyperspace jump ought to require some 1e+37 joules of energy or greater than one hundred thousand trillion tons of fuel! One of the original data sheets gave the death star something like 0.00001G or some such, maybe this is its acceleration when its prepped for a hyperspace jump, with the stupendous quantities of fuel onboard. Getting a little far fetched yet? XD Each time the death star is refueled, or jumps to hyperspace, theoretically thats how many tons of fuel should be annihilated.

 

Apparently the death star is somewhat lacking in fuel tanks [according to SDN.net], so its hyper-matter reactor may be like a hypermatter dimensional tap, which given the calculations, may be more realistic than other alternatives.

 

Alternatively, this fuel would have to be delivered from across the galaxy, from where ever it is created or generated. This is where the figures get completely ridiculous :p. That much mass stored in super efficient silo ships [many orders of magnitude lighter]. The energy and fuel that would be required to begin such a sequence would be COSMIC. Fuel, in what is probably similar mass to the entire galaxy would have to be annihilated!! But surely, there are some serious ramifications to this, it shouldn't be possible lol.

 

Fuel must be a limitless resource to the empire. there are other examples such as coruscant [providing it with food for quadrillions of people from across the galaxy would require huge energy].

The empire is wiling to both fuel at rates orders of magnitudes higher than the populations in order to either kill them, protect them, or simply feed them! Fuel has to be meaningless? it should be cheaper then men [to the empire]. a single citizen could be worst lol, quadrillions of tons!

 

have you considered doing any detailed videos on these sorts of topics? not very Vs orientated but very interesting (:

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Well, planets like Coruscant are the exception, rather than the rule. Going by some of the things I've seen in books, most planets in SW have populations equal to mid-20th Century Earth, if not lower. Tatooine's was only 400,000. The only planet with a population like Coruscant was Christophsis, shown in TCW, and both of them only have a population of 1 trillion.

 

As for the Death Star's blast, the "Death Star" novel has placed it's yield much lower than 1E39 megatons, flat out stating that the beam works by pushing some of the planet's mass into hyperspace, which triggers the transformation of a good chunk of Alderaan's mass into antimatter, which then annihilates with the rest of the planet's mass. That page on SDN about the Death Star's energy output was written back in '04 I think. Hasn't been updated in years. After all, when the Death Star's beam was at 1/3 power, it needed three shots to destroy Despayre. The first blast burned away all life and boiled the oceans. The second melted the crust and mantle. The third finally destroyed the planet. That doesn't sound like 1E39 megatons to me.

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I haven't read Death Star but maybe it means 1/3 the order of magnitudes or something; after all other sources do say it's the power from the main reactor that builds the energy to destroy the planet. Numerous sources state things along these lines, one stating it can generate power at a rate comparable to hundreds of super giant stars. And another stating its energy burst is equivalent in energy to the weekly output of several "main sequence stars".

 

1 trillion is an outrageously small population for a world like coruscant. Merely take the population density from any city on earth and times it by the total surface area. Do so even with the least densely populated city on earth? Coruscant has almost twice the square area to earth... and the buildings are invariably multiple kilometer in height. Quadrillions is a far more realistic figure. You could maybe get away with hundreds of trillions. The official sources are under stating its magnitude somewhat, and probably didn't do the math! :)

 

Saxton has a nice section on coruscant complete with calcs and pictures from a variety of sources http://www.theforce.net/swtc/astro.html#coruscant

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And i dont consistantly watch clone wars either, but i was under the impresion there were quite a few city covered worlds. Their populations would be of similar magnitude, as Nar Shada for example is covered in the multi-km buildings too. Humbarine was mentioned in ICS also. Wookiepedia lists more than 20 Ecumenopolis worlds: http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Ecumenopolis

Edited by Vince

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