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Phased Array Weaponry
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2016 9:08 pm    Post subject: Phased Array Weaponry Reply with quote

Phased array radars are in use now on Navy ships, and use electronically steered beams to scan a roughly 120 cone centered on a line perpendicular to the emitting transceiver.

I'm considering using it as a weapons application for a high-tech ship, firing blaster bolts instead of radar beams.

It ends up looking an awful lot like Star Trek phasers, though, particularly TNG...

Has anyone ever done something like this? If so, what limitations did you place on it?
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Zarn
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PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2016 4:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

They use interference to enhance a field in a desired direction, and suppress it in undesired directions.

This is contrary to blaster bolts. Blasters are "any type of ranged weapon that fired bolts of intense plasma energy, often mistaken as lasers". Which means that you have something other than electromagnetic radiation there. And, it's 'packetized' rather than a field per se.

Another thing is energy density. Using something like that, you won't have the energy density to do anything to your target than perhaps marginally warming it.

An area denial weapon that uses a phased array might be similar to the microwave array 'heat ray' ADS.

I would say that the Star Wars equivalent for blasters here would quite simply be the Death Star 'pumped' planetkiller, with several beams converging into one.
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Sat May 28, 2016 1:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Strictly speaking, you are correct, but this is Star Wars, where we have tractor beams, energy shields, lightsabers, etc, all of which affect or focus in energy in their own way. It's not too much of a stretch to throw out some technobabble that allows a blaster bolt to be electronically guided at an off-angle from the emitter array...
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Zarn
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PostPosted: Mon May 30, 2016 3:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, there are two ways I can think of where the 'technobabble' fits the crime, so to speak.

Option one - magnetically guide blaster bolts to enhance terminal accuracy:

If you have a strong magnetic or electric field that can be redirected somewhat using a phased array and interference, then you might be able to guide a blaster bolt over several rounds. In order to 'bottle' plasma into a blaster bolt, you will likely have to use a 'magnetic bottle' of sorts - a somewhat self-sustained magnetic field that diminishes over time (leading the plasma inside to splatter at long ranges).

(Incidentally, this means that there is a finite maximum range for blasters, and it makes sense to diminish damage with range - but that's a digression.)

Essentially, you could make a blaster cannon 'shoot around corners' with something like that, for installations where it is impractical to have turrets everywhere, or where pinpoint accuracy is necessary.

Option two - lightning gun:

Imagine that the phased array could shape an 'ionization channel' to some target, and then one could just unleash some energy - lightning comes to mind, though you'd have to technobabble a little bit to get it to work in the vacuum of space.

Actually, if you do this through Hyperspace, or subhyperspace, you could have something like Starkiller Base's cannon - first you shape an ionization channel to the target, then you fire the cannon.
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2019 12:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Brainstorm: Option Three - Gravitically Steered Energy Beams
Star Wars tech is able to manipulate gravity to extreme degrees. So, for a "phased array blaster", use intense, highly localized gravity fields at or near the emitter to steer the beam in the desired direction.
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jeff37923
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 31, 2019 4:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

CRMcNeill wrote:
Brainstorm: Option Three - Gravitically Steered Energy Beams
Star Wars tech is able to manipulate gravity to extreme degrees. So, for a "phased array blaster", use intense, highly localized gravity fields at or near the emitter to steer the beam in the desired direction.


This is how lasers are handled in Traveller 4 and Traveller TNE. Lasers use gravitic focussing to achieve extreme ranges beyond what pure optics can do.
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 01, 2019 10:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

jeff37923 wrote:
This is how lasers are handled in Traveller 4 and Traveller TNE. Lasers use gravitic focusing to achieve extreme ranges beyond what pure optics can do.

I’m not hugely well-read on the specifics of Traveller tech; do the lasers use gravity within the barrel to achieve the focusing effect? If so, that would be more the equivalent of the galven circuits in the barrel of an SWU Blaster. I’m thinking more along the lines of Trek-style phaser arrays, where there is little or no actual gun barrel, and the array itself doesn’t physically track on its target, but somehow steers the beam at its target anyway.
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jeff37923
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 01, 2019 11:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

CRMcNeill wrote:
jeff37923 wrote:
This is how lasers are handled in Traveller 4 and Traveller TNE. Lasers use gravitic focusing to achieve extreme ranges beyond what pure optics can do.

I’m not hugely well-read on the specifics of Traveller tech; do the lasers use gravity within the barrel to achieve the focusing effect? If so, that would be more the equivalent of the galven circuits in the barrel of an SWU Blaster. I’m thinking more along the lines of Trek-style phaser arrays, where there is little or no actual gun barrel, and the array itself doesn’t physically track on its target, but somehow steers the beam at its target anyway.


A Traveller laser is based more on having a dish-like focal array similar to a radio telescope (or in some cases a short barrel optical telescope). The gravitics equipment is at the focal array and adjusts the beam out along its path to minimize beam diffusion. As an example, gravitic focussing allows useful damaging beams out to 33 times the distance of non-gravitic focussed (using extreme UV/soft X-Ray light frequencies). If using Extreme X-Ray frequency, you can get out to 3333 times the distance. A hex in Traveller 4 or Traveller TNE space combat is 30,000km long and ranges average in the 1 hex for low tech short range and 10 hex for high tech short range.

It really is a radically different system.

For what you are thinking of, I can imagine a huge number of small blasters or lasers that fire in unison and their beams are directed to all intersect at the target - acting as a distributed network of weapons with a single focus. Individually, the weapons are puny compared to a starship, but acting in unison they can be quite deadly. An improvement on the weapon battery concept.
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 02, 2019 11:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A long while back, I considered an array-type mounting system that positioned cannon evenly around the hull of the ship, all tied into a single central control station. The gunner would aim at a specific target and the 3 cannon with the best firing arc would fire like a linked weapon (I got the idea from the Gunstar in The Last Starfighter).

What originally got me thinking about an electronically steered (or energy steered, more accurately) beam was the Loronar Skyblind, which is only equipped with a proton torpedo launcher. I wanted to fit it with some form of laser weapon, but there wasn't anywhere convenient to put it on the deck plan. The mid-hemisphere rings on the SkyBlind's exterior reminded me of the Enterprise-D's saucer section phaser arrays, which is what got me thinking this direction. Of course, any such system in the SWU would likely be experimental, fragile and highly expensive.

I still like the concept, but I think perhaps my linked array described above would be more appropriate...
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"No set of rules can cover every situation. It's expected that you will make up new rules to suit the needs of your game." - The Star Wars Roleplaying Game, 2R&E, pg. 69, WEG, 1996.

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