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 closer look at starship weapons hubs!
We touched on the topic of weapons hubs in episode #5 when we discussed slamtorpedoes and the torpedo production plant. Athough all three tend to be thought of as separate entities entirely, this is not true in practice, as you will see in the course of this article.
[Incidentally, in order to see the rest of these articles in this series, click on the category name The Tech Side.]
What is the Weapons Hub on a Starship?
Most Terran warships carry two weapons hubs – and most of these tend to be aligned vertically on the ship’s axis; dorsal (above) and ventral (below). In smaller ships such as the Ningan Class battlespringers, these are aligned horizontally – port (left) and starboard (right).
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.
What’s the point of the weapons hub? Well, in simple terms, it’s to assist the targeting computer in getting as many shots fired (torpedo or energy beam weapons) as quickly as possible and as accurately as possible – without having to first guide them around the curvature of the ship’s hull for example. The platform rotates along the horizontal axis, and there are several of each weapon type arranged around the circular platform opposite each other in banks. As the hub rotates to bring the most appropriate (or selected) weapon round or closer to the target, it shortens the distance (and time) from firing to delivery – and can fire multiple repeat shots of the same.
The weapons hub system really comes into its own when the ship is engaged by multiple targets, and since there are two hubs, both cover the ship together and provide a 360 degree coverage (at medium to long range). The targeting computer can now target and fire on multiple targets virtually simultaneously, whereas before it first had to fire at one target, and then wait for the torpedo launcher to reload before engaging the next target.
The advantage of the new system over the old then, could be compared to the difference between a semi-automatic pistol and a machine-gun with an integral RPG launcher.
As visible in the diagram above, a 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 torpedo production plant (TPP) is indicated by the demarcated area amidships.
Torpedo Production Plant (TPP)
Once 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 slamtorpedoes based on a variety of templates stored in memory, as needed. The torpedo is then routed to the appropriate weapons hub via a bilateral coupling which feeds torpedoes to both hubs. A more in-depth explanation is provided here. This system can operate at a fairly high speed, considerably higher than the previous canonical layout of having fixed torpedo launchers at the front of the ship, and perhaps a few along the sides and stern. In fact, as well as appearing as original equipment in new ships, it’s been so effective that it’s been retro-fitted to older ships as well.
Weapons Hub Outline (simplified)
As there are two weapons hubs on each vessel, both tend to be mirror-images of each other, and this can be seen clearly in the next two diagrams:
The internal, horizontal layout of a weapons hub is shown below:
Function & Contribution to Starship Potency
Since this system (including the onboard Torpedo Production Plant) was adopted for all new Space Fleet ships, the Fleet’s firepower jumped considerably. Although the Terran Empire isn’t a war-like entity, it has long-ago learned the wisdom in the old adage “it’s better to be safe than sorry”. Weapons hubs dramatically increased a single warship’s firing rate for both slamtorpedoes and ion canon, even simultaneously and without putting much of a greater strain on ship’s energy resources – although an increase in generated power was later made across the board to compensate.
A single cruiser can now very much achieve strategically what it previously took ten, perhaps more Terran warships to do in an engagement. The addition of this capability has made Terran warships fearsome to any adversary, and what better deterrent is there to anyone thinking of war with the Terrans than counting what it would end up costing them?
- The Tech Side #7: Imperial Starships – A Basic Anatomy Lesson
- The Tech Side #2: Imperial Starships – The Bridge Complex
- The Tech Side #3: Imperial Starships – Artificial Gravity Systems
- The Tech Side #5: Tech To Die For – Slamtorpedoes
- The Tech Side #6: A Basic Guide To The Transmatter
To sum up
Well, that’s the starship weapons hub in it’s simplest form! There are of course more complex versions for the larger ships – battlecruisers and the like, which have weapons hubs with multi-level hubs – with entire levels dedicated to single types of weapons, with each level being able to rotate independently of the other!
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!)
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!
Until next time,
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All material copyright © Christina Engela, 2019.