-Z- (z@gundam.com)
Sat, 23 Sep 2000 11:13:45 -0700

> > One assumes not, but again, I've never seen figures for the Dogos Gear's
> > capacity. Given its size and number of decks, and the fact that the Titans
> > have few other ships in their fleet, perhaps the Dogos Gear is designed
> > specifically to serve as a mobile suit carrier.
> This point addresses a fundamental question that is bound to spark much
> controversy. Why do ships need catapults for their MSs? Catapults don't
> save MSs much propellant anyway, since they are not quite long enough to
> adequate momentum on an MS and MSs use their own propulsion during "take off"
> anyway. In a battle where reaction time is more crucial than anything,
> mother ships be better off in opening a hatch so that multiple MSs can dive
> action at once?

Think oof it less as a ship-based catapult launching a fighter plane -- the
analogy to the conventional aircraft carrier that was used even more literally
in Macross -- and more as a railgun that fires manned missiles -- the analogy
here being to the mass driver.

The ship has much superior sensors, ranging gear, and ballistic computers than
any MS could possibly carry, so why not use the power most effectively? The
catapult, controlled from the bridge or gunnery section, can launch the MS with
the most precise vector and acceleration to put it at the desired battle station
is minimum time, without expending propellant that the MS will need in battle
and recovery.

I used to work on the avionics and weapons control systems of the F-106A/B
fighter interceptor. When the interceptor program was first developed, it was
based on a system called the Semi-Autonomic Ground Environment (SAGE). SAGE was
a network of computer and communication systems in concrete bunkers staged all
across the Northern Tier (Alaska, upper Continental US and Greenland) that
received input from the Distant Early Warning (DEW) radars and used to to fly
the fighter interceptors to within ten miles of the incoming targets. During
deployment, the pilots were passengers in a guided missile that was released to
their control only when they were within engagement range. It wa a pilot
rebellion that finally killed SAGE -- like the Mercury, Gemini Apollo
astronauts, they didn't like being passengers and wanted complete control at all
times -- but variations on the idea are still in use with AWACS and other
command and control systems.


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