Title Posted
Operation Ark's mission plan Apr 2009
A comparative look at the BC(P) vs BC(L) Apr 2009
Where is the RMMC boot camp located? Apr 2009
Do you plan ahead for which characters die? Apr 2009
Elizabeth III is <em>not </em>an irrational nut-job Apr 2009
Order of Battle: Third Clash - The Great Visit Reserve Apr 2009
Wealth and opportunities in the Solarian League Apr 2009
More on the Keyhole platforms Mar 2009
How much has the Maya Sector's military capability improved? Mar 2009
The Mesan Spider Drive Mar 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.

Capital missiles, multi-stage missiles, and missile pods

  • Series: Honorverse
  • Date: June 03, 2009

    Capital missiles are more dangerous than cruiser/battlecruiser-range missiles because:

  1. In RMN service, they have marginally higher maximum acceleration (95,000 gravs versus 85,000), which equates to a small but significant advantage in maximun attack range.
  2. They use a good bit of their additional size to pack in superior ECM and penetration aids designed to fool defensive fire control and the homers on counter-missiles, which makes them much harder to stop than smaller, less capable missiles are.
  3. Capital missiles carry multiple laser heads, each equipped with its own extremely powerful set of reaction thrusters and independent targeting systems which operate in tandem with one another. In essence, a capital missile launches a small cluster of laser heads which separate themselves physically from one another but combine the input from all of their tracking systems in an effort to obtain the most effective firing positions for each independent warhead.
  4. Capital missiles carry fewer but heavier lasing rods, which means that each of them produces a lower number of x-ray lasers, but that the individual lasers are much more powerful and, given the multiple targeting inputs generated by the multiple laser heads, tend to be more accurate, as well. (It also means that, against a given strength sidewall, a capital ship laser head has a greater stand-off attack range, since the more powerful laser can burn through at longer distances.)

    In many ways, the MSM is simply the capital missile writ large. It delivers the same terminal payload and has very similar ECM and pen aids. In addition, of course, it has additional drive units, which give it either a vastly higher acceleration or a much longer burn time (with some "restart" options standard missiles lack), which makes it much more dangerous at almost any range. It pays for this by being larger than the regular capital missile, which means that the birds will be such space hogs that it is unlikely any ship in the present-day (Echoes of Honor) size range of a BC would ever mount them.

    The original RMN missile pods were designed for capital missiles. The missile pods carried by the Medusa/Harrington class SDPs were designed from the outset to handle the MSM, as were the ships' standard broadside launchers. Note that an MSM launcher can fire a smaller missile, although the smaller launchers cannot fire MSMs.