Title Posted
Grav lance Oct 2002
Missile orientation during flight Oct 2002
Missile pods: where are they tractored? Oct 2002
Missile pods as strap-on weapons? Oct 2002
Missile pod launchers Oct 2002
Missile pods: how well can you fit pods/box launchers on the exterior of a hull? Oct 2002
VLS cells for light units Oct 2002
Missile power systems Oct 2002
What happened to Erewhon's League Membership? Oct 2002
How do the Sollies regard the Havenite War? Oct 2002


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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.

Firing through a drive band

  • Series: Honorverse
  • Date: April 22, 2009

In article <>, Joe Buckley> writes:

I'm sure David will *gleefully* correct any incorrect interpretations on my part.

Gleefully? Did you say *gleefully?* How--oh, how!--could you so cruelly misread my sweet and gentle personality as to think such a thing?!

Actually, there's a lot of "almost right" here.

(1) Firing Through Impeller Bands: This is *theoretically* possible for *extremely* powerful weapons at zippo range. The weapon is going to lose an awful lot of umph, however, once it starts redshifting as it crosses the gravity interface. There will be major targeting problems, as well. Trying to localize your intended victim with sufficient precision to target a pinpoint weapon like a laser of a graser on him through the impeller band's distortion will be very difficult, even if you do have an approximate read on its power. This is why I continue to refer to impeller bands as "impenetrable by any known weapon," because--in practical terms--that's precisely what it is.

(2) Sidewalls, Impeller Bands, and Sensors: Sidewalls contain "gunports" for senrors as well as for weapons. While sensor and message arrays are mounted atop the hull, they do not normally operate through the impeller bands, but through the sidewalls. Note that a warship is a very tiny object compared to the internal volume of its wedge, and that sidewalls stretch from top to bottom of the wedgfe bands, which means that any sidewall is a pretty immense vertical barrier. It's entirely possible to put ports for things like, say, message transmission well "above" or "below" the plane of the ship in question, and this is routinely done.

It is possible for sensors to get a read through the impeller bands, but it is a very poor one. Remember in HotQ, when Honor is using the belly band of Fearless to interdict incoming missile fire while she heads in to "suicide" range of Thunder of God? She specifically says something to Rafe Cardones (I don't recall the precise quote, and I'm stuck in NM without the books in front of me) about having to accept that they won't be able to run as good a plot on incoming fire through the belly bands.

One of the reasons for broadside-to-broadside fire has always been the need to keep one's best sensor capability, as well as one's direct fire weapons, aimed in the direction of the enemy. One of the goodies from Ghost Rider, though it hasn't been brought up in the books yet (and so is not a spoiler for AoV), is a radical improvement in recon and sensor drones, coupled with an immense improvement in FTL transmission rates. You still can't get precise, real-time targeting data at extreme ranges, but you can get a much better (and closer to current) tactical picture. And, at shorter ranges, the drones can be deployed above and below the plane of the impeller bands to give a ship genuine 360-degree sensors capability.