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Ground Warfare in the PDS universe - Phase I Conclusion
An HVR in the form of a LAW is to me a better investment than a man portable DEW. To me the advantage of the HVR is also in that in the light infantry role. Fire it and toss it. Easier to use the HVR wheras a DEW needs a prepared positon or at the very least a reasonably flat peice of terrain to set up. With an HVR really all you would need to do is check your back blast area and aim.

Now of course in a prepared position, say a bunker with ready ammunition at hand as well as time to prepare, a DEW has it's uses. An ambush in an urban area, perhaps firing from inside a building, sure that's a use. The capacity for reloading in that situation is to it's advantage. Of course if the need to beat feet out of the area occurs, say a new hostile force approching from a flank or behind, problems could arise and the gun's (hopefully) fast break down time would be an asset.

To sumerize, in a mobile operation an HVR equivilant LAW would probably be best. In a defensive situation or ambush within a limited area the DEW would be best, although the HVR would still have it's uses then as well.
Edited by revan on 04-11-2005 06:54
If you can couple the ground DEW system to a reactor then it can operate so long as power keeps up - a decided advantage over conventional ammunition-based systems.

I also surmise that in the 61st Century some devious means of energy weapons can be produced, like conducting a huge electrical charge through a laser beam or having a large, phased microwave emitter to, for lack of a better term, fry stuff.
Other than a defensive scenario a DEW might best be deployed on a tank or APC.

Would flame throwers have a place in this?
Very interesting discussions here. Coolhand seems to have a clue (not that others don't).

3 to 4 ton mechanized people ought to in the far future of the PDS'verse, get you one very well protected trooper. This of course assumes a comenserate increase in armor technology. Besides if it works for large combatant spacecraft smaller amounts for troopers does not seem very far fetched. That said I just saw the Anime' movie "Appleseed". The mechanized man armor in that movie does in fact seem very plausable (given a leap of faith about compact power generation). Another reason to keep it light is it makes it much easier to transport around the planet by other than its own locomotion. I would venture that most of you are not really aware of the implications to vehicle (air or ground) of adding more required lift capacity to a design. It is a significant effort to say the least. 10 tons is far more problematic than 3 or 4 tons.

As to DEW or not; combined arms applies philosophically to weapons and protection as well. If you only have to worry about kinetic weapons then you solve a very big design challenge for engineers. I would think that if there are DEW weapons in space, then it is very feasible that you would have them in smaller form available on the ground. Sure some of them would work far less effiencently in atmospheres, but as most ground combat takes place at impossibly short range by space combat standards, the energy transfer should remain suffiecent. I will leave it to the resident physics experts to haggle over that.

Finally has anyone out there been in an LRSD? Don't get them mixed up with a SOF direct action team. They like for the most part to travel light. Sensors and commo are their game, with enough firepower to disengage and run like hell to be extracted. Bullet launchers are important but they tend not to have ten variations. Most of the guys I picked up had relatively standard stuff and a fair amount of ammo for it. That way they could share ammo if they need to. I would argue that LRSD as we think of them today would be very redundant in the 61st Century. Microbots and fantastic imagery capability would allow most commanders to get what we expect of LRSD today, with much less challenge (as in, if you put them into enemy territory you have to have a plan to get them out. Robots... not so much). LRSD would likely be a cross between spies and hackers as we know them today, that travel via commercial means well before an effort to do the reconnaissance.
Sorry to tangent, but I've seen 61st century tossed around a lot -- do we have dates from the HW material somewhere?
No I think it was just used to make a point that this is a discussion about a future fairly far down the road.
As an advocate of the shoulder-mounted DEW, I'd like to address a few of the questions/problems that have arisen regarding this weapon.

1. Some people have brought up the fact that this weapon is not very stealthy, and the location of the soldier using it can be pinpointed very easily. Well, this weapon is meant to be anti-armor, and I would like to see an anti-armor weapon that can be defined as "stealthy". Rockets have heat trails and smoke, and no grenade would have the power needed to penatrate 61st century armor technology.

2. Some have argued that a rocket would work just as well as a portable DEW. This is true, but only in certain situations. Close-range encounters, for example, would leave the target very little response time. Rockets would also be more effective at taking out clusters of light-medium armored units, due to great splash. Rockets would also be very effective at demolitions. However, DEWs would be better for long-range confrontations. Rockets, given enough time, can be dodged. DEWs cannot. They would be better at taking out heavy armored units. They would also be good for pin-point destruction. For example, a squad has determined that there are 2 troops hiding in the southeast corner of a building using thermal vision. They can either use a rocket and risk blowing down the whole building, or use a DEW and preserve the integrity of the building.

3. Tel brought up risk of injury to self through usage of the weapon. Correct me if I'm wrong, but Ion weapons do not do damage through heat. This isn't a shoulder-mounted plasma weapon, but a pulsar cannon, so heat shouldn't be a factor.

4. Tel also brought up energy limitations, and therefor limitations to the weapon's effectiveness. The solution I have is to make a bigger gun :lol:. Seriously, instead of making this weapon usable for one infantryman, it could be modified for two-person usage. The launcher would be thickened and lengthened, to a good five or six feet. The energy capsule, instead of being single-shot only, would carry enough charge for maybe 4 or 5 shots, each shot capable of penetrating the frontal plating of a battletank.

I believe DEWs should be implemented as the primary anti-armor infantry weapon, with emphasis on heavy-armor capabilities. Sure, you could use one of these babies to completely torch a light-armor unit, but rockets and grenade launchers would be more effective for that task.
In point of fact a rocket such as might be used for armor penetration does not nessacarily have to leave a trail of smoke or even (supossition) heat. The entire charge of the rocket can be used up inside the tube of the launcher as is the case in the RPG-29 series, which flies only all the way to the target under it's own inertia after leaving the tube of the launcher. Now that is not saying that there would not be a rather substantial heat bloom near the point of origen, but the advantage of a rocket (non-reloadable) is that as soon as you fire you can beat feet out of the area.

Now I am not saying to not use DEWs at all. Quite the opposite, while a crew served DEW would probably not be the best for infantry a manpack DEW (emphasise on man) could be used for say light anti armor work wheras a HVR would be overkill. Also an HVR is generaly not an area effect weapon although I imagine it would have an effect if aimed at the ground. Rather it would be a weapon for destroying armor. Really it might not even need an explosive rather is would relie upon the kinetic impact with the target to do it's damage.
Here is an interesting argument FOR DEW. Today as we speak most of the countries of the world that deal in armored vehicles are in the process of developing or fielding active protection systems to defeat Anti-tank missiles and rockets. Assuming that a culture able to conduct hyperspace travel has computational skills to develop an active protection system (I mean PDS -IS- just that in space), certainly projectiles moving at much slower hypersonic speed ought not to be a big issue for targeting and destruction from a culture making anti-missile system for missiles moving at fractions of the speed of light.

Also thermal and/or chemical signature are not necessary to acquire and identify weapons. Accoustic signature is also now a very real means to acquire, triagulate and identify launch location and systems. Certainly not as timely as radar/lidar, etc. but it is very effective.

I would believe that most DEW weapons would be speed of light systems, or very close to it. While they may be defeatable they would be less prone to intercept than those things we can intercept today in the real world.

Again, combined arms. I would argue for both types of systems. Kinetic or chemical projectiles, launched at range, fire and forget. Most likely flying evasive course and able to overwhlem an active defense through submunition or the like. While DEW systems would be point attack weapon used within line of sight. Also I doubt that it would be necessary to have a human holding it either. That does nothing but increase the (thermal) signature. If anything the human in the loop is hiding in a hole looking at a sensor display from a sensor attached to the weapon via fiber optic or other non-emitting method.

Assuming sensor technology that we anticipate having within the next twenty-five years (Multi-spectral, accoustic, and overhead) in RL are not utterly false; men holding RPG behind walls will be dead meat.
I'm starting to adopt the combined arms aproach as well, having seen the arguements for the DEWs. That said I believe the scale of the DEW is going to be the main point of contention now. A man portable DEW is certainly fesiable but anything that requires more than one man to set up would seem to be a large headache in a mobile infantry operation. That is, outside of a heavy weapons platoon which could well have need for such a weapon

So far as anti missile systems go I'm starting to adopt the philosophy which I think has been stated earlier, that rockets can be used at short to medium range effectively as an AMS will not have the time needed to react. Anything farther and a DEW would probably be best.
Edited by revan on 06-11-2005 04:24
I completely agree with the combined arms doctrine, but just for the sake of detail and fluff here are two points(?). (Not sure what to call them... its more like ranting lol)
1) Inevitably, with the development of anti-missile reactive armor, don't you think weapons technology will also evolve to keep pace? If someone designs an armor which can stop a missile, the other guys going to develop a more powerful missile to blow through the armor. Its the inevitable evolution of warfare. That being said, I dont disagree that armor can at least partially protect against missiles.

2) Because I personally am always a little warry of using a passive defense mechanism (IE armor), in addition to armor, i propose using an active PDS system on armor. It definately wont be to the complexity of a starships PDS system, but in terms of missile interception, i think it would be more effective to blow it up before it hit you than waiting for it to hit and hoping it doesnt damage you. Earlier, I suggested directed fletchett charges which could expell a quick wall of lead in a particular direction to destroy an oncoming missile. Would it be possible to mount a miniturized turret on the back of mechanized armor. If not, another solution could be to have dedicated PDS armor units (either mechanized or not) whose sole purpose would be to provide interception against missiles.
So far as armor goes what about reactive armor?

Reactive armor utilize add-on protection modules conforming of thin metal plates and a sloped explosive sheath, which explode when sensing an impact of an explosive charge (such as High Explosive Anti-Tank - HEAT projectile).

This while detrimental to any combined arms operation could provide a viable defense againist large caliber projectiles and/or rockets and missiles.

Further advancements of the ERA, considered for future implementation, include a "Smart Armor" concept that will has integrated sensors and microprocessors embedded into the armor, which sense the location, type, velocity and diameter of the projectile or jet, will trigger smaller explosive elements, to form an effect tailored against a specific penetrator. Another future version of the reactive armor concept is the Momentum Transfer Armor - which is also designed to counter KE threats. This technology is applicable for front and side protection, where adequate space can be allocated for such installation. The system will be activated by threat warning sensors that will detect an incoming projectile and launch a small steel bar in a direction perpendicular to the flight-path of the approaching threat. Such concepts are studied as part of futuristic armor concepts, among others to the US Army FSAP and French Leclerc 2010 concept.

This struck me as interesting. Oh, the possiblities.

Link provided:
There is a simple way to defeat active armor plates. They are one shot shaped charges. Salvo fire, or 2 or 3 rounds fired in series, would defeat it, since the first round would touch off the armor, the second would splash away any debries left over and or penetrate the underlying armor plateing...the third would just be as backup for the second.

In addition HEAT rounds basically create a "plasma" jet in the warhead. They have to be activated at the proper standoff distance to work properly (hence the reason the TOW has that nose probe and the military has been using "slat" armor to defeat RPGs). Using "61st" century technology, the obvious outgrowth of plasma based technology would be a more effective plasma charge triggered or discharged upon impact of the weapon.

Also, using technologies such as CO2 launched or magnetically launched rockets (the motor ignites in flight, some distance from the launcher) and advanced micro sized fire and forget technology, your "RPG/LAW" would be an excellent anti-armor weapon while giving the trooper firing it some modicum of protection from thermally guided counterfire.

For standard projectile launchers (chemically launched slug throwers or shell launchers) a suppressor would be standard issue to minimize thermal and auditory signature, even on vehicles and PAs.

Just throwing in another two cents.
Wash - "This is going to get pretty interesting"
Mal - "Define Interesting"
Wash - "Oh god, oh god, we're all going to die?"

Still flying!
It appears that someone here doesn't realise the inherent danger of plasma weaponry.

Imagine having a mini fusion reactor on your shoulder that projects its entire load of superheated material out of the front end. That's going to be hazardous for a close range target, anyone near the path of the plasma bolt, and yourself, unless everyone were in 61st Century armoured vehicles and mechanised units with defensive capability built on that from starships which are designed to survive exposure to such temperatures. On the other hand, your skin, BDUs, or any conventional non-powered infantry protection system, wont.

Infantry plasma cannons thus need adequate power and thermal protection for the user, and that adds weight. While Arnie would be able to carry a infantry plasma gun plus its power supply by himself, that is -not- something practical to deploy as a personal weapon. A cybernetically enhanced human being is just that - enhanced, and the main source of power for him is still his muscles, not to mention that the power for the strength enhancing implants, for instance, has to come from somewhere.

Therefore mechanised "Space Infantry" armour and armoured vehicles should mount plasma weapons for short range assault missions, and "soft" infantry shouldn't.

That said, for non power armour use a plasma generating warhead like today's chemical energy rounds, or even advanced missiles are far more practical. That goes the same way for non-powerarmoured heavy weapons teams.

For defensive and offensive technologies, they will, as stated, be competing with each other for the upper hand on the battlefield. Someone deploys a laser or projectile based anti missile system to shoot down your present-day Javelin antitank missiles - you deploy directed energy weapons on armoured vehicles and give infantry hypervelocity kinetic penetrator "missiles".
Edited by TelQuessir on 07-11-2005 22:57
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