Title Posted
How the Safehold series won't end (Thu Apr 18, 2013) Dec 2013
Safehold Map Jul 2009
Hyper generator modes of operation Jun 2009
Counter-missile fire control issues Jun 2009
Capital missiles, multi-stage missiles, and missile pods Jun 2009
Prolong effects Jun 2009
Hyper Limits by stellar spectral class Jun 2009
Effective speed by hyper band Jun 2009
Acceleration by ship mass Jun 2009
Do you plan ahead for which characters die? Jun 2009


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Pearls of Weber

A collection of posts by David Weber containing background information for his stories, collected and generously made available Joe Buckley.

MetalStorm missile tubes

  • Series: Honorverse
  • Date: October 22, 2002

Someone is suggesting a "metalstorm" missile tube. Apparently the idea is that the missile tubes would be greatly extended in length and that multiple missiles would be loaded, effectively nose to tail, and then launched in a "burst" effect. The tubes, obviously, would have to be much longer than existing tubes, and no doubt there would be additional issues, but the notion is that this would be a non-pod way to get heavy missile densities on target quickly.


[These] appear to be a grab bag of… odd proposals. There are so many things wrong with this idea that I'm not sure where to begin. First, there's the problem of fire control. One of the reasons to use pods in the first place is to get the missile wedges away from your fire control systems and telemetry links. If you insist on blazing away with what's effectively a saturation pattern, then you forfeit all of the advantages of the remote launch which the pod system has made possible in the first place. Second, these would have to be really, really long tubes. They'd have to be curved to fit into the ships, the sheer mass of the missile tubes would mean that you could carry fewer missiles than you can when the birds are stacked in the magazines, the mass-drivers cannot be arranged in stages along the tube, which would be necessary to make it work. (Actually, the mass-drivers could be arranged that way, but only at the expense of basically building an entire separate launch tube for each missile in the firing queue. In other words, the volume and mass penalty would be prohibitive.) The Manties are definitely not going to be interested in something like this for their new-generation MDMs. They've got to initiate an active fusion reaction inside the missile while the missile is still inside the tube. This is dicey enough even when there's only a single missile in the firing queue. If you start firing up multiple missiles in the sort of type sequence the term "metalstorm" implies, you are going to greatly increase the risk of losing the mag bottle of one of the missiles while it's still in the tubes. This is generally considered A Bad Thing. In fact, the launchers for the new-generation MDMs have a lower rate of fire than previous launchers because of the need to initiate fusion. Basically, the existing launcher is for all intents and purposes firing missiles as rapidly as the fusion bottles can be "switched on" safely already. Again, this sounds more like a wargame gadget than a practical proposition for a weapon. Volume of fire is going to be attained much more effectively through a pod design than through the use something like this. And before someone argues that smaller ships can't carry pods, and therefore might find this an attractive alternative, I'll simply point out that there is a reason that the Shrike uses a rotary launcher rather than a multi-cell launch system. Smaller ships would find it much more difficult to build in tubes long enough for this sort of approach even if it were practical, and they simply cannot afford the mass penalty of building in the additional mass-drivers necessary to make those long tubes work. It would cut too deeply into their magazine capacity.




From an email posted to Baen's Bar Honorverse dated September 14, 2004:


I can't see any advantage to the "metalstorm" concept in the Honorverse, frankly. Not in a pod-combat environment, at least. If you want missile density, simply deploy more pods. Why put any more eggs into one basket than you have to? The destruction of, or even a simple malfunction on the part of, a "metalstorm" pod would cost you more missiles than the same event would for a standard pod. They'd have to be much larger, as well, which would have… unfortunate consequences for handling and stowage aboard pod-laying combatants. Not to mention the fact that to get the same number of missiles out of "metalstorm" pods would require a greater volume and tonnage than getting that number of missiles out of standard pods. The size penalty alone, I think, makes this a nonstarter, especially when I can't see any tactical advantage to it in the first place.