Space Guns

In the prior post, Misconceptions about Space Warfare, combat was roughly explored.

The general idea was that missiles and drones dominate long range combat since given enough delta-v, they can go anywhere a capital ship can go. Projectile weapons tend to dominate mid range combat, when capital ships or drones are tens or hundreds of kilometers away. And finally, lasers dominate short range, but also see use for mid range precision damage.

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What it’s like on the receiving end of a drone projectile barrage. The occasional ricochet is also physically based.

Today, we’ll explore projectile weapons. The big three projectile launchers used most are Conventional GunsRailguns, and Coilguns. There are also Linear Induction Motors used (railguns are technically a specialization of Linear Motors), which do not see major use aside from electromagnetic catapulting.

At their core, projectile weapons are concerned with two things: how big of a projectile it can launch, and how fast it can launched.

However, there are a multitude of other considerations as well. Mass. Cost. Size. Power Consumption. Cooling speed and temperature. Turning speed and angle. Armor against enemy attacks. Ammunition mass, cost, volume, and volatility. These are all accounted for in Children of a Dead Earth.

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Firing a railgun. Ganymede in the background.

Before we contrast our three weapons, let’s start with commonalities.

All three weapon designs end up being tubular shaped, and accelerate their projectiles down that tube. This means these weapons are Cantilever Beams, or beams supported at one end, and as such, they will vibrate upon firing, causing inaccuracy and possibly shattering the weapon if the stress is too great. This is one limitation alluded to in a previous post (Origin Stories).

Another consideration is recoil, which all weapons must have, lest they violate conservation of momentum. Recoil stresses can also damage the weapon, and must be accounted for. Unless you use a Recoilless Rifle. Recoilless rifles have the issue that they need an exit pathway for the exhaust gases, which is tricky to make work in a large spacecraft, especially if the weapon is turreted.

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Diagram of a recoilless rifle.

Note: Recoilless railguns or recoilless coilguns have never been attempted, but they are hypothetically possible, if you wish to eject the rails or the coils. That would likely be more expensive than what it’s worth, however.

A final concern is cooling. All of these weapon designs can use simple radiative cooling effectively in space to cool down, letting their long, exposed barrels radiate away all their excess heat. This is actually quite effective, and it is uncommon for projectile weapons to require additional radiators beyond their own gun barrel (unless you count the reactors powering them, which is a different story).

Now the differences.

Conventional guns detonate an explosive, and use the expansion of gases from that combustion reaction to accelerate a projectile down the tube. It’s more or less a combustion rocket engine with a bullet stopping it up. The tube is nothing more than a container to keep the gases in. As a result, the tube is cheap, the explosive ammunition is cheap, and no external power is needed. The downsides are lower muzzle velocities (less than 2 km/s usually) and the ammunition is very volatile.

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An ammo bay explodes, tearing the capital ship in half. Note the explosion is faint and spherical. Explosions in space lose all brightness and color microseconds after combusting.

Volatile ammunition is a problem not just for when your ammo bays get hit, but for lasers as well. Precision lasers love conventional guns, as they can heat up the tube, prematurely detonating the round, and also potentially shattering the weakened gun barrel in the process.

Railguns run current through a pair of rails with a sliding armature between them, and the Lorentz Force that results from the current loop accelerates the projectile armature. They tend to have much higher muzzle velocities (<10 km/s) and nonvolatile ammunition. On the other hand, they require huge power draws, and the rails/barrel tend to be much more expensive and massive. Due to the way the rails ablate from heat and friction, railguns excel with smaller projectiles, and suffer with larger ones. All things considered, smaller projectiles are easier to make more accurate.

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Designing a powerful 13 MW coilgun.

Coilguns run current through a series of loops, and use the magnetic field that results from these current loops to accelerate a magnetic armature down the barrel. They tend to have comparably high muzzle velocities as railguns, and also have nonvolatile ammunition. Their downsides are huge power draws again, but the coils/barrel tends to be somewhat cheaper and less massive than railguns. On the flip side, the ammunition is usually very expensive (unless you want to use cheap magnetic material like Iron, which yields much lower exit velocities compared to exotic stuff like Magnetic Metal Glass). In stark contrast to railguns, coilgun projectiles excel with larger projectiles, and suffer with smaller ones. This is due to Magnetic Saturation, where projectiles become saturated, and begin accelerating much slower, and it can only really be fought by using more and more massive projectiles (longer barrels do not help).

In a way, the three weapons tend to have their own niche in space warfare.

Conventional guns are cheap, and perfect for putting on disposable drones and small crafts without huge power supplies. Also, small crafts will be fast enough to get into range, as conventional guns have lower exit velocities and thus shorter ranges.

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Conventional guns are cheap, low power, and small, which makes them the ideal weapon for small drones. Ceres in the background.

Railguns and Coilguns both have comparable exit velocities and power consumptions, much higher than conventional guns, and they dominate the capital ship battle space.

Railgun projectiles, though, tend to be smaller, less damaging, yet more accurate. This makes railguns the main point defense projectile system against drones and missiles (though lasers tend to beat them out against drones). Railguns also enjoy prominent use against enemy capital ships, great for perforating Whipple Shields and wearing down main bulkheads. The main autocannons in any capital ship engagement.

Coilguns, with their expensive and massive projectiles, tend to be limited to select ships which can afford the mass of their weapons. They form the inaccurate but devastating heavy hitters of capital ship combat.

These are the main constituents of mid to close range combat. There are a few projectile weapon technologies that were passed over for various reasons, but should be mentioned here.

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A two stage light gas gun. Much bulkier than its electromagnetic brethren.

Light Gas Guns are a weapon which is capable of reaching similar exit velocities as railguns and coilguns. They are based on the principle that the speed of sound in a light gas (like hydrogen) is much higher than the speed of sound in air. With that in mind, a projectile can be accelerated at the speed of sound in the light gas using an explosive piston compressing that gas. In a sense, a light gas gun is like a spring airgun, only it uses a light gas instead of air. They also have none of the high power requirements of railguns or coilguns.

The downsides of light gas guns are their large size, and large and volatile ammunition. Each round launched requires not just explosives to hit the piston, but also a significant amount of light gas to accelerate it. As earlier posts pointed out (Gasping for Fumes), light gases like hydrogen have terrible densities, requiring huge volumes. Your ammo bay, in addition to exploding if hit, is going to be prohibitively large, making light gas guns not particularly viable for space warfare.

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A Ram Accelerator

Ram Accelerators are weapons which launch a projectile supersonically into a tube of combustable gases. Using scramjet technology, the weapon will accelerate even faster through the tube of gases. It has the advantages of a conventional gun (cheap, low power) with muzzle velocities comparable to railguns and coilguns. However, it requires additional combusting gases with each firing, giving it similar problems to light gas guns.

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An Explosively Formed Penetrator.

Explosively Formed Penetators are modern day weapons (they currently see heavy use in Iraq as IEDs) which uses a huge amount of explosives shaped in a lens to form a jet of molten metal and launch it at a target. Although it is primarily used as a warhead (and referred to as a Shaped Charge in that case), it can be used as a long range weapon. It is competitive with coilgun and railgun muzzle velocities, at the expense of only being able to shoot an explosively shaped projectile, meaning no payloads can be used with this. One major issue is the vulnerable ammo bay, which is like conventional gun’s ammo bay, but much worse. One hit, and the bay will have enough explosives to instantly shred the entire ship apart.

The other major flaw is that this weapon is that it’s absolute laser bait. The weapon is large, and the explosives are only covered by a thin coating of material, which makes for an easy precision laser hit. Because the explosives must be detonated in the correct manner, a laser-induced detonation is likely to severely damage the weapon as soon as any protective armor is pulled back.

Helical Railguns are a cross between a coilgun and a railgun. These systems have very little literature written on them, and the technology does not exist in a practical form, nor have their limitations and promises been studied heavily.

Nuclear Launched Projectiles are a technology where nuclear detonations are used to fling projectiles at a target (one test yielded a whopping 66 km/s). The main problem is that this requires the gun to be very far away from your capital ships, a single-shot drone essentially. Very little research has been done into this sort of weapon, so its actual viability for warfare is unclear. It is likely to be extremely cost ineffective.

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A Voitenko Compressor, the only known practical method for generating enormous velocities.

Finally, Voitenko Compressors are guns which uses explosives to shape a gas into a shockwave to launches projectiles at enormous velocities, 60 km/s or higher. It was developed in the 1960s but little progress has been made with it, as a firing of it destroys the entire weapon, as well anything surrounding it. This relegates its use to a single-shot drone, once again, if these problems can’t be resolved. In the future, it could end up being the most powerful projectile ever developed, but currently, it is not a viable technology.

That was a small survey of possible future technologies, and most were not implemented because Children of a Dead Earth is near future. Far future technologies do not have the same rigorous application of engineering analysis, and so there no data on these technologies’ limitations, scaling laws, or true performance.

But what do we actually shoot? There’s more to what you shoot than simply mass, even for small weapons. Even if you’re not launching a payload, or a small gyrojet, or even a full blown missile, the shape and material of your projectile still make a big difference on how it will damage the enemy. We’ll explore these in a future post.

 

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37 thoughts on “Space Guns

  1. In the great Human Reach series of books (one of the few that depict reasonably realistic space warfare), large, slow kinetics are used instead of intending to directly hit ships, to create “terrain” around which enemy ships must maneuver, hopefully corralling them into locations and orientations more advantageous to you. Does, or could this kind of tactic arise with the current implementation?

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    1. Lovely idea. That’s what minefields, and a lot of artillery, is used for today. Move the enemy where you want them, deny them ground, etc. I like it a lot.

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    2. Hm, it’s an interesting idea, but it never really panned out in Children of a Dead Earth, because space is so enormous. If you drop a “mine” in the path of an enemy, any smart enemy will always be making tiny thrusts, constantly keeping their orbit unpredictable. A small burn costing negligible delta-v can send your orbit off thousands of kilometers further along, making inactive mines not so big of a threat.

      In Children of a Dead Earth, how you usually corral the enemy is with active “mines”, i.e. missiles and drones. With several fleets of missiles or drones, you can push around the enemy, as they try to avoid you without spending too much delta-v, forcing them into disadvantageous orbits. Or they might try to meet your missiles head on, if they want to keep their orbits.

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      1. Will guns (chemical/rail/coil/…) also be useful for corralling the enemy? At least when they are large enough?

        Would a terminal guidance to (large enough) projectiles be a workable idea? I can think of a guidance unit, a spinning projectile and a cold gas jet (non-explosive, but very limited dV) over monopropellant to hypergolic fuel (explosive, but if you go with chemical guns in first place …) or a rotatable projectile that fires the impactor (maybe explosive formed) in a 90° angle so that it’s path will intersect with the target again.

        Of course all these “enhanced” projectiles will be somewhat/very much/extremely susceptible to e.g. laser damage compared to a dumb mass-only projectile, and many types will cause wonderful explosions on magazine hits (but then if you use chemical explosive propellant already …), and of course there will be less damage when hitting than a projectile where no mass is diverted to guidance. OTOH, a projectile that misses does exactly zero damage …

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        1. You can make guided projectiles in game. However, as you pointed out, laser damage is a huge problem for them. In particular, a laser can simply puncture a guided projectile’s propellant tank and it’s useless. On the other hand, a laser must fully vaporize or liquify a dumb projectile to disable it, which is far more difficult.

          Generally, I found that you have to put on a lot of armor to make guided projectiles useful. And that requires much bigger engines and much more propellant, and then you find that you are firing full blown missiles. Most projectiles weapons in the game tend to those two extremes, small dumb projectile, or much larger long distance missiles.

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  2. Voitenko compressors as stand-off missile warheads? Although once you hit a high enough projectile velocity, you just get a tiny, sharp-edged hole through your target. If you can get the projectile to deliver its energy, then 60 km/s v_m is fantastic – you’re delivering pure Hell. But you’re most likely to hole a couple propellant tanks, unless you’re really good at aiming…

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  3. Very Interesting analysis. The way this is shaping up, i feel like this game could really set new standards for the sci-fi genre.
    I’ve always wondered which one was “better”: Railguns or Coilguns? I should have figured that they just have different specialties.
    By the way: Will there be any particle beam accelerators (cyclotrons, linacs, etc.) as weapons in COADE?

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    1. Particle beam accelerators were considered, however, the only one I am aware of that appears combat ready was one developed by the USAF, but the details were still classified. Particle beam damage effects are also not well studied. I suspect in practice, they would function similarly to lasers, being effective at precision damage at very high speeds, though I’m not so sure they would be effective at bulk damage.

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  4. I did notice the stinger drones in Gasping For Fumes don’t seem to have much ammo space. How much ammo can it actually carry, and did it have actual ammo space at the time?

    Also, a couple of unrelated questions:
    1. Will there be ways to temporary attach ships together? Like a docking port or something? This relates to the Laser Thermal Rockets in Slosh Baffle- a separate, reusable Laser Thermal tug would let you move warships around without them having to carry the huge mirror into combat.

    2.Will there be more ways to power ships than just nuclear fission reactors or variants thereof?

    3.What are your thoughts on free electron lasers?

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    1. To be more specific for 2.Would there be solar panels, or solar boilers, or beamed power? Or is beamed power too speculative?

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      1. Stinger drones have 5000 rounds to start out with. The rounds are tiny, but you can see the ammo bay as a small cylinder next to the weapon.

        1&2. Right now there are only fission reactors and radioisotope thermolectric generator for power sources. At earth, you need kilometers of solar panels to be competitive with nuclear power, and it only gets worse further out in the solar system.
        I don’t think beamed power is too speculative, but it again suffers from range, requiring you to stay in low orbits around planets or moons you control. For invading or any other sort of combat away from low orbit, beamed power isn’t very effective. For this reason, there is currently no way to attach ships together.
        3. I think free electron lasers have the potential to be the next big military laser design after solid state lasers, however, I think the tech is not quite there yet. Currently, the US Navy is trying to get hundred kilowatt lasers working, which is good, but it’s still a far cry from effective space warfare. If large power versions can be made that aren’t enormous or massive, they could quite competitive with solid state lasers.

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        1. Will batteries or fuel cells be a thing for drones or smaller warships?
          Nothing that would power a weapons grade laser or railgun, but something that would let missiles or drones operate without wasting an RTG on each one.

          When I talked about laser thermal infrastructure, beamed power, and docking, I usually think strategically rather than ‘tactically’, in the context of one battle. Rather than using separate tankers and the warship’s own engines, you use a separate stage with more ISP and less thrust to get there. Laser thermal engines would let you set up infrastructure to transfer between bases quickly and efficiently, or launch an invasion without expending expensive tankers. Plus a laser ‘railway’ would make interplanetary travel for civilians a fair bit cheaper and quicker, whether boosting directly to their destination or to a cycler for a longer, comfy trip.
          I suppose it’s a background thing, but it’d be important for world building to have.
          In a more tactical sense, you could have laser thermal missile buses, boosted by a Laser Frigate, for more deltaV and range than a (cheap) chemical engine would allow. Or the same could happen with drones.

          Oh, another few things.
          Can we recover drones once they’re launched, or are they stuck outside once launched?
          Will microwave weapons be a thing?
          Are sensors, countermeasures, and LOS simulated? Or does everyone know where everyone is all the time, even if someone does a burn behind a planet or moon?
          It’s a bit of an edge case, but I imagine I can fake out someone if I can do such ‘hidden’ burns.

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  5. > Note: Recoilless railguns or recoilless coilguns have never been attempted, but they are
    > hypothetically possible, if you wish to eject the rails or the coils. That would likely be more
    > expensive than what it’s worth, however.

    Why eject the reusable bits of the gun? If equating the coils to the propellant, that’s an odd way to think about it. Recoilless systems today do not only use exhaust gasses but often pack along a counter mass (plastic flakes, etc) to both add weight and reduce the velocity due to drag in the atmosphere.
    If you wanted a recoilless rail/coil gun, you’d just have to eject something out the other side with the same energy, so likely gas or liquid (which vaporizes but whose denser storage is free) so that it doesn’t become a projectile you have to make sure doesn’t hit anything else. Lots of issues with carrying more mass and using energy to fire the other way, but energy is energy and you have to counter the recoil somehow. Thruster mass may or may not be more efficient to use.

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    1. This is true, I hadn’t considered that. It would require a more complicated setup, as the coils and rails will be suffering the recoil force, the force would have to be transferred to the exhaust. It probably would be cheaper, though.

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  6. Very interesting analysis!
    I’ll be curious to see in mods how the last two will change the picture, being one-shot weapons instead of classical guns.

    For conventional guns, what explosives do they use? Are there several variants, or is one clearly dominating?

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  7. About linear accelerators used as catapults, can it be used to give an initial boost to ships, and/or for external pebble propulsion? At first glance, pebble propulsion seems more accessible at this tech level than the likes beamed power or laser-sail.

    Also, is there any possible justification for Gatling-like rotating guns in space?

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    1. Linear accelerators can be used to give initial boosts to ships, though I’m not exactly sure what you are referring to with pebble propulsion (are you talking about Space Fountain designs?).

      Gatling-like rotating guns are certainly feasible and valuable for the exact same reasons they are used on earth. However, in all the cases where it could be usable, simply adding additional barrels is often a cheaper and easier solution (small automatic gun barrels tend not to mass much).

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  8. There are controllable solid rocket motors. They work a few different ways but there’s essentially a package of electrodes as part of the motor, then a computer and power source elsewhere.

    They also make GPS guided artillery rounds, where the projectile, computers, battery, and fin mechanism all survive the acceleration.

    This tells me that you can, with virtually 100% certainty, more than enough for your model – combine the technologies. You could use the mass numbers and cost numbers for GPS artillery round’s package, and then assume a modest solid rocket motor ISP for a small rocket motor.

    What would this be for? After leaving a railgun or coilgun, the projectile would receive updates on the position of it’s target relative to itself by an encoded signal sent from the launching ship. It would fire the solid rocket thrusters to negate any inaccuracies from the firing mechanism, zeroing out that effect you mention above. It would also be able to chase enemy ships until it runs out of fuel.

    Three obvious drawbacks : a. The individual projectiles have solid rocket propellant that will burn if the ammo bay is hit. b. The launching ship must have functioning sensors and communication lasers or antenna during the flight of the projectile. c. Each one is laser bait – a laser would set off the solid propellant and send the projectiles flying out of control.

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  9. I think you have the wrong idea with an EFP. Rather then being used as a gun they are used as warheads and tend to be found in bombs, shells, and missiles. Like the IED’s they were sometimes found in, they are also used in a few different types of mines including anti-helicopter mines.

    They also don’t turn into a liquid but through heat and pressure the metallic disc is basically inverted and turned into a slug. With careful shaping of the plate and control of the explosive you can make long and short rod type perpetrators as well make a single sheet of metal into multiple projectiles off of one charge. They are a type of stand off kinetic warhead.

    http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/munitions/bullets2-shaped-charge.htm EFP is the last section.

    “Wide angle cones and other liner shapes such as plates or dishes do not jet, but give instead an explosively formed projectile or EFP. The projectile forms by dynamic plastic flow and has a velocity of 1-3 kms-l . Target penetration is much less than that of a jet, but the hole diameter is larger with more armour backspall.”

    The Small carry-on impactor of Hayabusa2 will be a type of EFP to gouge a crater in an asteroid so samples can be gathered.

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    1. EFPs are often used as a warhead, and you are correct that this is their primary use case. However, they can be used as a ranged weapon at standoff distances (short ranges) against armored vehicles, and research is constantly ongoing to extend the range of EFPs. Your link even describes various longer range EFP designs.

      About the liquefaction, you are correct, I have fixed it in the article.

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      1. As anti-armor weapons they are still treated as one shot warheads not really as guns. Especially true in anti-armor which is their primary use.

        Weapons like the Sensor Fused Cluster Munitions(cluster bomb), SADARM artillery shells, and even a variant of TOW missile carry them as a warhead. Tow them scatter sub-munitions over the target area where they go off the TOW variant flies directly over the target setting off the warhead.

        The several static versions are a type of mine usually referred to as off route mines. The EFP-IED, the adhoc version, just like the large explosive IED’s stand in for purpose built AT mines. They are a static one shot like pretty much any other mine.

        The closest they get to being fired from a gun are in the M93 Hornet mine and in XMX1100 Scorpion: Intelligent Munitions System. Which lobs the sub-munition in the direction of the threat to attack from above a target. However it isn’t a gun firing the slug but firing the munition itself at the target. As I understand it the power of the explosives makes their use in a gun a bit on the prohibitive side and it is a lot easier and safer to fire it at the enemy.

        They might make sense as a type of self destructing gun like the other example but it makes more sense to think of them as a more sophisticated variety of directed fragmentation weapon.

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      2. Before I forget…again. There is also a type of anti-drone you might find interesting. There was small UGV that mounted a set of sensors and an EFP warhead on the vehicle that it could fire. It was basically mobile off route mine that could be moved to various positions to attack tanks ideally from the side or rear. There isn’t a lot out there on it but there is at least a youtube video showing how it is supposed to work.

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  10. Fascinating discussion. About the explosives in an EFP, my understanding is that modern explosives are fairly stable. Without a blasting cap, you can shoot it or set it on fire (in the presence of O2), and it won’t explode. I suspect a laser`s heat will make it boil off or dissociate, but not explode.

    Another possible use for EFP could be submunitions released by a missile of some time. Without an atmosphere, the metal penetrators could conceivably travel a fair distance; close by, they could be directed towards particularly sensitive but well-armored bits of the ship. E.g. something like these BL-108 submunitions

    http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/munitions/blu-108.htm

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  11. Fascinating discussion. About the explosives in an EFP, my understanding is that modern explosives are fairly stable. Without a blasting cap, you can shoot or set it on fire (in the presence of O2), and it won’t explode. I suspect a laser`s heat will make it boil off or dissociate, but not explode.

    Another possible use for EFP could be submunitions released by a missile of some time. Without an atmosphere, the metal penetrators could conceivably travel a fair distance; close by, they could be directed towards particularly sensitive but well-armored bits of the ship. E.g. something like these BL-108 submunitions

    http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/munitions/blu-108.htm

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    1. Modern explosives can be made very stable, this is true. However, a partially dissociated explosive payload will detonate incorrectly, and at best shape the charge incorrectly and miss, and at worse, damage the weapon.

      And yes, EFPs are used as a submunition in missile warheads a lot in modern combat.

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  12. So with conventional guns does the choice of combustion fuels make any difference?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Combustion_light-gas_gun

    Not to be confused with normal light gas guns which as you describe are giant air guns the “Combustion” light gas gun is simply a conventional cannon fueled by propellants that get better isp than traditional solid explosives allowing them to achieve higher velocities(I don’t know if it’s a big enough difference to matter at orbital velocities though). Not only that CLGG’s would be able to feed from the ship’s large store of maneuver propellants with no need to store a large cache of volatile bombs that could blow the whole ship to smithereens with one lucky penetrating bullet.

    It would especially make the most sense for the same small craft and drones which you said benefited the most from chemical rockets which would use the same bipropellant mixtures as CLGG’s as there are potential mass savings from having the maneuvering fuel pull double duty over managing solid explosives and potentially shell casings (assuming the ammo isn’t caseless for whatever reason).

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  13. I`m sorry if that was asked before. You mentioned nuclear warheads, and absolutely adequately stated that it have to hit target point blank to deliver all that devastating damage. I`ve got 2 questions.

    1) What about EMP warheads? Not an EMP effect from nukes (no atmosphere, so EMP effect from ordinary nuke will be clese to zero), but specifically designed nuclear-pumped EMP warheads?

    2) Are nuclear shaped charges, so called “casaba howitzers” considered as an option for missile warhead? Since those seems to be quite a game-changer.

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    1. 1) In the future, one can expect fiberoptics to dominate future electronics. While fiberoptics are not immune to EMP, they are highly resistant to it. Additionally, Faraday Cages can be used to very cheaply shield against EMP attacks if need be. Ultimately, I don’t think EMP attacks would be cost effective in the absence of Earth’s atmosphere and magnetic field, as simply using nuclear power to pump NNEMP is far less effective.

      2) Casaba Howitzers are a tech I was keen on, but unfortunately, most of the design and performance characteristics are still classified. It is possible that the project was not successful in producing the power that it promised, or it might have been successful, but this is unclear. From looking at papers of the Orion drive, the nukes were extremely ineffective the smaller they got, which indicated that the weapon would only be valuable with very large nukes.

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      1. For casa Howitzers you should look this site: http://www.projectrho.com/public_html/rocket/spacegunconvent.php

        It say that a Casaba Howitser can achieve a partcicule beam spread up to 0.006° with 10% efficiency with up to 10 000km/s beam velocity.
        So a 100 Megaton nuke could apply an intensity of 100kJ/cm2 (100 GW/cm2, because nuke detonation last only 1 micro-second, enought for an impulsive shock) at a distance of 36000km.

        Such a weapon would be way more effective than all the weapon listed above

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        1. The source document that page is taking a lot of their information from has some issues with your weapon however:

          “The NKEW concept is thus one that may require subkiloton
          explosives to be feasible. If its feasibility also depends on employing shaped
          thermonuclear explosives to help direct the pellets or dust more efficiently,
          then the concept is further burdened by the difficulty of designing thermonuclear
          devices with yields less than 1 kiloton. Whatever the case may be,
          it is clear that demonstrating a rush of hypervelocity pellets from a nuclear
          blast, while perhaps impressive, in no way guarantees that a useful weapon
          will ever be derived from this concept”

          http://scienceandglobalsecurity.org/archive/sgs01fenstermacher.pdf

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  14. Nuclear Launched Projectiles are a technology where nuclear detonations are used to fling projectiles at a target (one test yielded a whopping 66 km/s).
    Orion-pulse guns. Now, that is am becoming death.
    Is there any problem nuclear weapons and engineering can’t solve in a flashy, impractical, and destructive manner?

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