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Combat Wasps & Space Combat


Space combat is a very complex thing and indeed it would be possible to devote an entire memory flek to this one subject alone. It is the intention of this article to give a broad and basic understanding of Space combat and it's main protagonist the Combat Wasp.

Combat in deep space takes place between numerous high acceleration autonomous drones called  Combat Wasps, which are essentially small pilot-less ships armed with a variety of weapons and countermeasures. The type and scale of these wasps varies wildly and there are many different manufacturers of them within the confederation.  Combat wasps can be fired from almost any suitable platform, including SD Platforms, Adamist Starships, Space Stations, Voidhawks and Blackhawks.

Combat Wasps are also widely referred to as Drones.


The many different faces of the Combat Wasp

Combat wasps are almost as varied as the starships that carry them, and it is not unusual for a combat ready Starship to possess several different types of combat wasp at any one time.

An average combat capable starship is able to carry around 30 combat wasps, although larger ships, including dedicated warships, can carry much more than this. More wasps can be carried in the internal cargo bays, which will increase the combat capacity of the ship, but these will have to loaded into the launchers before any combat commences as it would be impossible to load the stored wasps in the during combat.

Combat wasps are programmed before combat begins, and once launched, are completely autonomous in operation.

Combat wasps are able to perform both Attack and Defense roles.  Combat wasps can either be programmed to lock-on to and target a specific ship or object, or to engage enemy targets at will.

Combat wasps can posses a whole host of varied weapons and sub-munitions, and although it would be virtually impossible to list every type of commercially available wasp here, some common forms include :-

  • Beam Weapons : These expensive drones are armed with powerful Beam Weapons (Particle  Beams or Energy  Beams) and are basically flying guns. At close range they can easily punch through the hull of an Adamist starship. At longer range they will burn the Null Foam coating and warp the silicon hull. If they can continue to hit the hull in the same place they will be able to overload the Binding Generators and punch through to the fragile interior. Beam Weapons cannot be intercepted and only the destruction of the wasp that is firing it  will halt the fire. These weapons can be placed in a defensive role to pick off any hostile wasps before they get to close to any friendly ships.
  • Kinetic Missile : These drones are armed with a series of tubes containing pieces hardened matter shaped into a spear or harpoon shape. These harpoons are launched from the wasp and accelerated to a very very high velocity. If they are able to strike a target, the resulting kinetic force that is released will severely damage the target.  The harpoons can be intercepted and destroyed by other wasps, but their advantage is numbers. A wasp of this type will be able to dispense around 100 harpoons at different or the same target. 
  • Fusion Torpedoes or Bombs : This particular type of drone is able to launch several sub-munitions that can take the form of either  free falling bombs or guided torpedoes. Bombs have the advantage that once launched they are harder to track and can be set to explode when close to an enemy ship. Torpedoes have the advantage of being able to actively track and chase a selected target, but are more likely to become the target of enemy fire.  This type of wasp will accelerate until it is near to it's designated  target before dispensing it's deadly cargo of sub munitions..
  • Electronic Warfare Wasps : Although most wasps will have some sort of inbuilt ECM (Electronic Counter Measure) device or decoy chaff dispensers, this particular wasp if specially designed for this role. On the space battle field, it's role is to confuse enemy wasps into targeting decoys and sensor ghosts, or making them explode at the wrong time. Although expensive, it's strategic deployment can play a large factor in the unfolding battle.

Military Ships belonging to the major governments of the Confederation possess many advanced wasps not available to the general population


Structure of a typical Wasp

Most combat wasps (but not all) will follow the same basic rules in their construction. Because there are a vast and varied amount of different designs available a standard form is often employed. This enables wasps of different kinds to be loaded into most launcher systems without too much modification.

The structure of the typical combat wasp is :

  • Solid Fuel Booster : This module is used during the first few seconds of the combat wasps flight and is used to propel the wasp away from the launcher without damaging it.
  • Propulsion Module : This large part of the wasp contains the guidance and  power for the combat wasp. A typical wasp will be powered by a fusion engine capable of accelerating the wasp to around 25g's. Although outlawed within the confederation, a wasp powered by antimatter will be able to accelerate at round 40g's, giving it a significant tactical advantage over it's slower fusion cousins.
  • Weapon Module : This part of the wasp is the "working part" and contains whatever weapons and counter measures the wasp has at it's disposal.

Combat Wasp Launchers

Combat Wasps are generally launched from Launch Tubes.  These launchers are normally fitted to Starships and Strategic Defense Platforms and come in nearly as many sizes and varied designs as the wasps they launch. A typical launcher will contain a magazine of  around 10-20 wasps, although this will depend on both the size of the wasps and the size of the launcher. Although most wasps and launchers are built to the same standards, it will be impossible to fit a large and advanced wasp into a small launcher. 

The majority of the launcher mechanism is located beneath the protective hull of the ship, with only the launch tube doors exposed above the hull.  These doors will be made from the same strong monobonded silicon material as the hull.


Launch Procedure

When a combat wasp is launched it will normally follow a standard procedure. This launch procedure is :

  1. Wasp is loaded from the magazine into the launch tube. The tube is sealed and the wasps systems are brought online. The wasps is given it's orders, which can be anything from Defense to Attack. The wasps targeting computers will be linked directly to the Combat Sensors of either the ship or the SD platform. As this takes place, another wasp will be moved into the ready position within the magazine.
  2. The Wasp will be launched from the tube on a powerful solid chemical rocket motor. Although not as powerful as a Fusion engine it will not damage the Launch tube.
  3. When the Wasp has reached a safe distance from the ship or SD platform, the solid booster module is jettisoned. If the wasp posses any antennae or maneuvering thruster arms, these will be deployed at this time.
  4. The wasps fusion drives are engaged, accelerating the combat wasp at around 25 g's. The amount of acceleration produced will depend entirely on the type of wasp.  The wasps on board computers will now carry out the orders that have been given. The wasp is now full Autonomous.

A Last Defense

Combat starships of moderate size and up will normally be equipped with beam weapons capable of defending against any wasps, or sub munitions that get to close to them.


Capital Ships

Large capital ships will often be equipped with weapons of their own, as well as combat wasp launchers. These weapons will often be Kinetic Harpoon launchers or Particle Beam turrets and allow the ship to deploy firepower without first launching a salvo of combat wasps. 

The kinetic harpoons can be used to strike strategic targets in space from a distance, or even to strike at targets on a planets surface from orbit


Space Combat

The number of different tactics and strategies deployed in a typical battle is far beyond the scope of this article. It is important to realize that every battle is unique and will depend entirely on the forces involved and their relative strengths.

Adamist starships that enter combat will normally retract their civilian sensors and Thermo Dump Panels to avoid these delicate items from becoming damaged or destroyed. Any heat that is generated by the starship during this time will be stored internally and radiated away later.  During combat, an Adamist starship will deploy and use several arrays of Military grade sensors to enable it to see and fight.

A typical battle will see the deployment of several armed warships each capable of dispensing numerous combat wasps and their associated sub munitions. Some of these wasps will be given orders to strike at the enemy fleet whilst others will be ordered to attack the enemies incoming wasps.

Any sub munitions or wasps that get to close to friendly ships will be targeted by ship based beam weapons and hopefully destroyed. Closely packed wasps can be targeted and destroyed by a well placed fusion torpedo.

Voidhawks and Black hawks will often be deployed to produce a distortion field in the surrounding space, which will stop any Adamist warship from jumping from the area.  This jump inhibit zone can extend up to 100,000 km from the Voidhawk  or Blackhawk that is generating it. 

Starships will be incapable of jumping when in close orbit of a large source of gravity, such as planet or star, and so battles can take place in low orbit with neither side able to jump. This is especially a problem in orbit around large gas giants.



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