The Tech Side #5: Tech To Die For – Slamtorpedoes


In this series of articles – The Tech Side – I continue expanding on various bits of assorted tech, what gave me the ideas for them, and a little about what I did with them in various stories.

This time, I’ll be taking a look at slamtorpedoes – one of the primary weapons used by starships of the Terran Space Fleet!

A slamtorpedo is a self-propelled explosive device roughly the size of a small sedan. It’s streamlined in appearance and carries a destructive payload unmatched by most other standard ship-board offensive weapons carried by starships of the Terran Space Fleet.

[Incidentally, in order to see the rest of these articles in this series, click on the category name The Tech Side.]

The slamtorpedo is the third generation of self-propelled, guided missles in use by the Space Fleet, following earlier models and versions of a wide variety and scope too broad to list here, however earlier devices which fall in the same category are the much older “star-torpedo” and before that, various different types of rocket-powered space missile.

Each slamtorpedo consists of three modules – beginning at the front end, the payload/warhead, in the center, the avionics package, and at the back the drive module. Below, a separated, color-coded diagram:

Warhead/Payload

Slamtorpedoes are typically armed with an array of choices – each of which is preselected by the weapons operator on the ship’s bridge according to the nature of the mission and/or the type or classification of the target that needs to be damaged or destroyed.

Choices include the rather ordinary HE (High Explosive) option, followed by more exotic fare like AM (Anti-Matter), TN (Tactical Nuke), TP (Thermite Plasma) – and an adaptable variety of others.

The tip of the warhead’s nose-cone consists of neutronium, reportedly one of the hardest substances known to science – this is to aid in penetration of hardened targets, such as enemy ship’s hull plating, concrete bunkers, or even as far as possible, unknown elements.

Avionics Package

The lightweight avionics package handles the mechanical control of the entire torpedo from activation to target. This sophisticated computer effectively turns the torpedo into a ‘smart bomb’, which multiplies it’s useful applications tenfold. Not only can it operate as a simple, basic ship-to-target missile, but using its instruments and sensors, can also independently follow, track, trace, strategize and attack its designated target. This also means the slamtorpedo can also be used as a drone in deep space, and can be fitted with additional surveillance sensor packages, or in rarer cases, as a delivery system where the warhead has been replaced with a storage unit.

The torpedo computer can also accept remote control input from it’s ship of origin, such as to be recalled to the ship for retrieval. There’s also a self-destruct function, for in the event the torpedo is unable to reach its target, etc.

The slamtorpedo is adaptable and can also be used as a self-propelled mine – that is, it can be programmed to wait motionlessly at a space, and ordered to fly at and destroy any approaching ships – with the additional capacity to discern enemy ships from friendly ships, making it an extremely useful weapon indeed!

Drive

The propulsion system of the slamtorpedo consists of three stern EM thrusters and a number of graviton thrusters for attitude adjustment.

Although the torpedo is launched  from an EM catapult, which launches it at an already high speed, the EM drive takes over to maintain that speed, accelerate or change course, depending on the sort of guidance directives set into its computer.

Onboard Storage & Production

At first, Space Fleet’s warships would be loaded up with their torpedoes at resupply stations – which meant that the individual ship’s armament (or number of torpedoes it could fire during a mission or engagement) was limited to how many it could carry. Later, after transmatter and replication technologies became refined enough, starships came fitted with onboard torpedo production plants. This machine uses transmatter technology to create an endless supply of flawless copies of a variety of templates stored in memory, as needed.

Just think about it – beautiful gleaming slam-torpedoes made to order – copied from the patterns stored in the device’s memory bank, negating the need for warships to carry all their armament in a magazine like warships of old. This means that if the ship takes a critical hit from enemy fire that happens to penetrate into the torpedo manufacturing plant – the entire ship wouldn’t be blown apart from the inside! In fact, only the single live torpedo that strikes it would likely detonate – since unless a slamtorpedo is armed and ready to launch – or in flight to the target – the warhead is entirely inert and will not explode or add to the destruction of the explosion.

As visible in the diagram above, the Benatar Class cruiser has two weapons hubs – one underneath, and one above. The ideal location for the torpedo production plant would be somewhere between the two, since it will supply torpedoes to both hubs. This supply chain consists of a number of drive or conveyor belts which ensure a reliable, efficient supply of slamtorpedoes to the torpedo launchers in both weapons hubs. In this example, the general location of the TPP is indicated by the demarkated area amidships.

Weapons Hubs

In brief, the dorsal and ventral weapons hubs on a Terran starship contain launchers for slamtorpedoes, laser cannons and other weapons typically carried on a warship. Weapons hubs in a sense resemble the turrets on seaborne battleships of old, although all their gear is stored inboard, and weapons hubs can have several separate platforms, rotating around the same central axis, and sometimes smaller independent axes in order to get the selected weapon on target while in motion, or to select multiple targets wherever their position on the clock. The role played by placing these all on two central weapons platforms improves both aiming, firing and supply of torpedoes, rather than having to mount static launchers at fore, midship and aft positions, each with their own individual weapons and added complications.

To sum up

Terran slamtorpedoes are renowned for their effectiveness, stopping power and ease of use. Though they were developed well after the end of the Gimp War, they nevertheless strike fear in the hearts of Corsairs whose own ships typically have little defense against them.

Although slamtorpedoes are specifically designed and manufactured for use in the Terran Space Fleet, there have been cases where stolen or illegally obtained examples have been used by Corsair in the past – although the Corsairs did not possess the means to modify standard transmatter units into replication devices such as used in the torpedo manufacturing plant.

For more information about the sort of ships and tech – or the Space Fleet – featured in Galaxii , feel free to download the free guide shown below (click on the cover!)

In Closing

All of these items, offices and amenities form part of the feature of Terran starships known and referred to together as “the Bridge Complex”.

That about covers it! I hope I’ve explained everything in a way that’s easily understood! I really enjoyed translating my original hand-drawn sketches into digital blueprint diagrams for this article, and I think they look pretty neat that way!

Feel free to email or message me via Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn if you have any comments or questions!

Until next time,

Cheers! 🙂

P.S.

If you’re reading this long after it was posted, click “The Tech Side” to see a list of all the articles posted in this series!


TIP: If you want to know what Christina Engela writes, or who her focus group or target market is, please read here.

If you’d like to send Christina Engela a question about her life as a writer or transactivist, please send an email to christinaengela@gmail.com or use the Contact form.

Show your appreciation for Christina’s work!

All material copyright © Christina Engela, 2019.

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Real Neat Blog Award Nomination II (+ tags) – Lee's Hall of information

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: