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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.

Grav lance

  • Series: Honorverse
  • Date: October 22, 2002

In article <6e23gp$ndg$>, "Philip Shaffer" writes:

Since we can't seem to get a grav-lance within effective range of an enemy ship, why not let the enemy ship come within range of the grav-lance?

What about seeding a minefield, say around a wormhole terminus, with stationary grav-lances. When an attacking ship comes through, drop their sidewalls with a grav-lance or two then hit-em with some bomb pumped lasers or nukes.



A suitably devious suggestion (Horrible Hemphill would be proud of you) but not practical. Go back and take a look at On Basilisk Station, and you'll see McKeon telling Honor that the grav lance is more of an engineering modification than a normal fire control element. The grav lance requires an all-up set of impeller nodes to generate the lance effect. This is also, BTW, the reason that most of the "pod" approaches to deploying the grav lance at long range are unworkable; the pods' drives don't have the brute power or endurance for the job.

Admittedly, Honor manages to use the lance against Sirius in Fearless' final engagement after taking heavy impeller damage, but both rings are still up--on the beta nodes, at least--and between them were more than sufficient to "fire" the weapon. Building something like that into a suitable "mine" would be virtually impossible with current technology. Indeed, the grav lance could not be used by conventional LACs (assuming you could engineer it down far enough to fit it into one of them) because their beta nodes (you should pardon the expression) lack the power to make it work against anything other than extremely light sidewalls. (That is, a LAC could probably zap another LAC's sidewalls or those of a destroyer or, possibly, even a light cruiser. Against anything heavier, the lance's effectiveness would be--at best--problematical.) And given what capital ships can do to DDs and CLs, there are any number of more cost-effective means of swatting light ships than trying to cram such a mass and volume-intensive weapon system into something as internally cramped as a LAC.

Having said all of that, however, I will also add that I didn't toss the grav lance out there in the very first book without the intention of doing A Little Something with it further down the line. Of course, just exactly what I do with it is for me to know and for you to... well, you get the picture. (Snerk!)




From a post to ALT.BOOKS.DAVID-WEBER dated March 13, 1998:


Hey, if you think reading them can be hard on your health, think about writing them. Once I get zoned in on a chapter, I may as well forget hitting the sack until I finish the thing. That's what Sharon means when she calls me anal ret--er, obssessive/compulsive.

As for your comment on the grav lance and larger ships, virtually all RMN ships larger than CAs/BCs (and some of the latter) routinely mount a grav lance in each broadside. They're extremely unlikely to get the opportunity actually to use the thing because of range constraints, but if the chance does arise, the Manties fully intend to make use of it. The Peeps, on the other hand, see absolutely no point in mounting the damned thing (remember, they still don't know exactly how Honor took out the Sirius in OBS), and in this instance, the Graysons tend to go along with the Peeps.





From a post to ALT.BOOKS.DAVID-WEBER dated March 14, 1998:


This is an incorrect interpretation of what I said. The RMN has mounted grav lances in its new construction for decades. The idea of trying such a mass intensive weapon in a CL hull when it can be used only under extremely unusual circumstances even by a capital ship was what was radical (and wrongheaded) about Hemphill's experiment with Fearless.





From a post to ALT.BOOKS.DAVID-WEBER dated September, 22, 1998:


The idea of a lance-armed LAC, while intriguing, is beside the point because you can't squeeze a lance into a LAC hull. Sorry, but it just can't be done with the current state of engineering in the RMN.




From a post to Baen's Bar BuShips conference dated December, 8, 2002:


Guys, I am going to say this one more time and once only. you cannot put a grav lance into anything smaller than a DD or CL. Not "You could put it in if you had more power." Not "We can figure out a way to do this if we only jigger with the tech enough." It cannot be done. Period. End of story.

(1) To make the grav lance work, you need the impeller wedge of a full-size, all up starship of at least 75,000 tons. The grav lance works by using the impellers of a ship that size to generate the pulse. Nothing smaller can do so.

(2) To fit the grav lance into a ship of 80,000 tons, it was necessary to remove virtually all of her broadside missile and energy weapons and replace them with a low-mass weapons fit which used less than 25% of the volume of the removed systems. You cannot fit that into a missile or drone body. Hell, you probably couldn't fit it into a LAC, if you were going to have anything like, oh, say a crew on board, much less sidewall generators, EW, or point defense!

People, this is not going to happen.