Author Topic: "Phadar"  (Read 5900 times)

Offline Indefatigable

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"Phadar"
« on: August 21, 2011, 06:27:10 PM »
We've all seen the bit in Nemesis where the E-E searched for the Scimitar using her phasers.  It sort-of worked, but presumably they were at far too low a power to do any damage.  I don't think it was the only time we saw phasers being used for finding things either, I remember seeing a shuttle shooting at an anomaly to map it and Voyager looking for a ship inside a reflective asteroid, but this was the only time we saw it with multiple shots from the same array.  So, how practical is this "phadar"?  Can a ship go to the rough location of a cloaked ship and just sweep the sky with low-power phasers until a contact occurs?  Once she hits something, hold the contact and make a full-power shot, or maybe target the contact with torpedoes (you'd obviously avoid hitting friendlies if you can).  The only drawback I can think of is that it might overheat the phasers.
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Offline Jimi James

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Re: "Phadar"
« Reply #1 on: August 21, 2011, 06:58:58 PM »
I think the problem would be, as we saw in Nemesis, that once you make contact with a moving target and locate the cloaked threat, it's already too late to target it with torpedoes.  By the time your torpedoes get there, it's no longer there, assuming that your low level phaser sweeps are short bursts rather then continuous sweeps.  So unless the target is stationary or unless you have some sort of way to maintain a moving phaser lock on the ship, so that you never lose contact between the low level phaser and the target, (you also have to take into account the threat vessel moving from one arc of fire to another) which seems like a bit of an easy way out, you're going to have a difficult time tracking anything capable of performing evasive maneuvers. 

And as you suggested also, maintaining even a low level phaser sweeps would place quite a bit of stress on a ships phaser arrays.  Over heating issues and simple maintenance problems from continued use, would no doubt be higher then normal.

In a desperate situation, it could prove beneficial, but as standard practice, I think it's a bit much.
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Offline Indefatigable

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Re: "Phadar"
« Reply #2 on: August 23, 2011, 06:51:34 AM »
The Scimitar also had shields up, which makes things more difficult, but presumably that feature will appear on standard Romulan vessels sooner or later.  I suppose Kirk's version in BoT with the 'proximity blast' might ammount to something similar.
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Offline Bernd

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Re: "Phadar"
« Reply #3 on: September 11, 2011, 10:33:52 AM »
At least the "phadar" could narrow down the possible location of an enemy ship and, perhaps in combination with the FTL sensors, get a good lock on the target. A similar concept ("sensor fusion") is used in automotive collision avoidance systems.

Offline Edymnion

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Re: "Phadar"
« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2011, 10:27:46 AM »
Yeah, but in all fairness, the distances used in automotive collision detection are short enough for this to be a feasible approach.  I'd argue that in Trek, it just isn't efficient enough to be worth it in all but the worst of emergencies.

We always seem to forget that the distances between ships that we see on screen, especially during combat, are greatly diminished in order to get both ships in the same shot.  Using a little highschool geometry, lets assume that the Enterprise D is looking for a cloaked D'deridex class romulan warship.  For whatever reason, they decide to fire their phasers out at 1 degree increments trying to get lucky and hit the warbird.  How far away would the warbird have to be before it could safely sit between the phaser arcs without getting hit?

Given a width of 772.4 meters, and a 1 degree firing arc... I'll save you all the math and skip to the warbird needing to be roughly 45 kilometers away to not get hit.  Note that the range on the transporter is 40,000 kilometers (last referenced in Enterprise, Daedalus), while max phaser range appears to be well over 100,000 km (DS9, 100k was considered "well within the range" of Jem'hadar weapons, and the Cardassian system defense disruptors could hit out to 200k km).

While I'm sure the Enterprise is capable of firing at much smaller arcs than 1 degree, its a matter of time and energy expended vs. results.  Just to sweep the area in front of the ship in a 90 degree arc left to right, top to bottom, and everything in between would require 8,100 phaser bursts (as I don't recall seeing any time the various ships have been able to swing a beam around once it was going, going to assume that phasers aren't capable of that, so its gotta be one shot, re-adjust, fire, re-adjust, etc).  To "scan" a full 360 degree sphere around the ship would require almost 65,000 individual shots, and it would only be 100% effective against one of the largest standard ships in the setting on the off chance it was so close you could literally walk over to it were it sitting on the ground.

And thats still assuming the target ship is sitting still waiting for you to hit it.  Lets be generous and assume the Enterprise could fire off 50 shots per second using all of its emitters and try to cover as much space as it could.  It would take just over 20 minutes to finish the sweep, assuming no two points were targeted twice.  If you were in that cloaked ship, odds are you'd have at least a couple of minutes before one of those shots came in your general direction, so you'd be able to figure out how they were firing pretty easily (hey, they never shoot the same place twice!), and just move your ship to a location that had already been targeted.  And thats still assuming the ship is sitting close enough to see if Data still had the bubblegum pink in his makeup or not.

At realistic ranges (50,000+ kilometers), your odds of hitting anything at random are virtually zero.

Offline The Unbound

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Re: "Phadar"
« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2011, 12:58:28 PM »
... (as I don't recall seeing any time the various ships have been able to swing a beam around once it was going, going to assume that phasers aren't capable of that, so its gotta be one shot, re-adjust, fire, re-adjust, etc)...

Well, aside from tracking moving targets on occasion, or countering the motion of the firing ship, phasers were used in almost exactly this way in VOY:The Phage (the asteroid with mirrors in it, remember?) Though granted, they didn't swing particularly fast on those occasions.

I still don't think this would be practical: you'd have to distribute sufficient energy to overwhelm a cloak (I assume that's what makes phasers able to reveal a cloaked ships. Otherwise, you could just use lots of really weak phasers for this result) over a very large area in a short time, which doesn't seem feasible given the way phasers usually work.
Steady on.

Offline Jimi James

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Re: "Phadar"
« Reply #6 on: September 12, 2011, 02:22:04 PM »
I remember seeing in an episode of Voyager, I think it was Dreadnought, a weapon that emanated from the ship as bubble moving outward away from the ship.  If a starship could create a similar effect with some sort of specialized low level phaser array, then it could provide the location of a cloaked ship.  The problem then becomes one of tracking, with the interval between phaser bubble pulses providing a direction a cloaked ship might be traveling in, but not necessarily a precise enough location to be actively targeted.  To provide an exact location of a moving target, you would like need very fast pulses/

So if the specialized phaser bubble array is very low level, and just enough to disrupt the cloak enough to provide a location and not actually damage a ship, the issues of sustained firing might not be as severe.  You could probably maintain rapid low level pulses much easier then trying to fire your main phasers in wide random arcs for long durations.
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Offline TNC

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Re: "Phadar"
« Reply #7 on: September 12, 2011, 02:55:09 PM »
^Dreadnought was the episode you were thinking of.  The Cardie missile had a plasma wave weapon that it used to take out a squadron of fighters that were attacking it.
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Offline The Unbound

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Re: "Phadar"
« Reply #8 on: September 13, 2011, 08:18:47 AM »
^Dreadnought was the episode you were thinking of.  The Cardie missile had a plasma wave weapon that it used to take out a squadron of fighters that were attacking it.

Sounds like a silly sort of weapon. Not only is plasma very suceptible to magnetic fields, meaning you could probably steer it away from your ship if you see it coming toward you, plasma is also very short lived in a vacuum. It cools down to just hot gas quite quickly (although ionized gas more often than not), which keeps cooling down just as quickly.

Also, energy released in a spherical pattern like that will loose energy with the square of the range, meaning it probably stops being lethal not very far away from you. It would probably do well against large numbers of weakly shielded enemies at close range. That would be the only usage scenario that would make sense, though, since a lot of energy goes to waste, putting out onmidirectional pulses like that.

But enough about that, what Jimi suggested will illustrate my point from before well. A phaser discharged like that would be a million times fainter than a beam, assuming a beam is a full degree across, which is already ludicrous, added to which it would loose energy per area, like the plasma weapon, with the square of the range. So even assuming that a millionth of the usual energy of a phaser beam is enough to reveal a cloaked ship, you wouldn't be able to do it at long ranges (certainly not the kind of ranges Edymnion was talking about.

You could, I suppose, tell that a pulse like that had moved across a cloaking field from how the particles deflected by the cloak would have moved farther than the rest, and would have lagged behind, creating a sort of dent in the pulse shape. Mind you, you would only be able to see it once the cloaked ship moves out of the way, so the only information you really get is what direction the ship was in at some point in the past.

I suppose you could make a guess at the time and distance if you knew how large a ship you're trying to find, from the difference between the size fo the dent and the supposed size of the cloaking field. But it still only tells you where that ship was a while ago. But that is something, I suppose.
Steady on.

Offline Edymnion

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Re: "Phadar"
« Reply #9 on: September 13, 2011, 08:38:16 AM »
I still don't think this would be practical: you'd have to distribute sufficient energy to overwhelm a cloak (I assume that's what makes phasers able to reveal a cloaked ships. Otherwise, you could just use lots of really weak phasers for this result) over a very large area in a short time, which doesn't seem feasible given the way phasers usually work.
Yeah, pretty sure using phasers this way would be a "Hey, the beam suddenly stopped over there, it must be a cloaked ship!".  Same way they were mapping that power draining anomaly in TNG, just shoot until the beam disappears and make a note of where it vanished.

So absolute minimum power to the phasers, just enough to keep a coherent beam.