1. J.T. Woody

    J.T. Woody Amateur Human Contributor

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    Military aircrafts in Sci Fi

    Discussion in 'Research' started by J.T. Woody, Mar 26, 2020.

    One of my main characters is a pilot. The aircraft he pilots can transition to flying in space. The aircraft has defensive guns, but the type of craft to attack.
    He and his squad are deployed to provide armed escort, aerial support, and recon.

    When I envision his aircraft, I picture a Strike Eagle. It's the most recognizable air craft to me. But it's a fighter craft and decked out to be in combat (they are fast, but not terribly fast, with all the stuff it has to carry to fight).

    I don't want to just make up an aircraft (I suck at making up stuff like that...). I want to base it off of an existing aircraft and make it just a logical progression of that existing craft. Logically, I'd need some form of jet?
    But looking at them... they all look the same to me. I know its a sci-fi and everything is fiction, but I want it to be as logical as possible, so I don't want to just pick one at random.

    If anyone knows about military aircrafts, could you point me in the right direction?
     
  2. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll I am the reason for safety briefs. :P Supporter Contributor

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    Firstly it would need to have two types of engines, one for
    in atmosphere, and one for space. Though you could in theory
    just pack some air tanks to feed the engine while in space,
    but it would be short range craft in terms of accel and breaking.
    Also it would need maneuvering thrusters that are pretty high
    powered to tighten up how it can change directions while in space,
    though they can only do so much, since you can't just change
    direction in space all that quickly. Also that adds extra weight
    too, cause you have to have pressurized tanks for the thrusters.
    I suppose it would need a pair of really powerful engines to compensate
    for the extra weight, on top of it's load out.
    Maybe looking into how jet engines work, and possibly someone could
    explain how to modify it in theory to be able to function with forced air
    in space flight?
     
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  3. J.T. Woody

    J.T. Woody Amateur Human Contributor

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    i'm conflicted: I'm the type of reader that questions why or how stuff is possible. I would like to explain how their aircraft works (I wrote 2 paragraphs describing take-off as I understand it with a note to go back and add details once i knew a bit more about how to modify a jet to do this stuff), but now im thinking do I really NEED to go into that much detail :superthink:

    Should i just stop at the name and physical description and leave out the technical stuff?
    But if I describe physical description, there needs to be a reason why it looks the way it does (an extra engine, for example), and thus I'd be forced to talk about the technical....?
     
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  4. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll I am the reason for safety briefs. :P Supporter Contributor

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    Well the pilot isn't going to be the tech expert who built or
    maintenance it, unless it is from the tech guy's perspective
    you might want to leave out the tricky bits. Or sort out a
    duel purpose fueled engine that can cut down on the extra
    weight, which might make things easier, but is really not all
    that believable if you are looking to keep it fairly realistic.
    Best bet is to not get too into the fine tuning and just bare
    bones it. Though I am sure some would like all the fancy tech
    bits, but that would kinda take away from the story by straying
    off on a tech explanation.
     
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  5. Selbbin

    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    It's kind of like wanting a tank that also fights in water. The two environments are completely different, so would never be as good as a craft specialized in one area. Even if you remained vague, it wouldn't quite sit right.

    The 'Aliens' dropship was a great compromise, where instead of trying to be a fighter it was more in line with a gunship, so the space part felt more believable.

    Hybrid craft like this have already existed in fiction, specifically Macross. Look at Veritechs.

    In the real world there is no fighter that does it all (and I know you're not suggesting you want that), which is why so many designs exist. Fighter bombers are rarely as good at either job as straight up fighters or bombers.

    The question is, where is the primary arena of conflict? You can have specialist space fighters that are more vulnerable in atmos with atmos fighters designed specifically to protect them. Vulnerability out of the area would be exciting.

    Edit: so for an escort fighter in space, I'd go for something resembling a helicopter gunship, since wings are pointless. And jets require air. You'd need rockets or similar.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2020
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  6. J.T. Woody

    J.T. Woody Amateur Human Contributor

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    My original draft only had it in space. The pilots would dock them at a space station and then get shuttled down to the planet. I kept it this way for a while, making the "aircraft" exclusively a "spacecraft."
    Well, after a while, I thought how impractical that was... like what if they were needed in an emergency? The pilots on the ground would have to hop on a shuttle to bus them up into space, to the space station, to get to their crafts. It wouldnt be like they could just run to the hanger and take off down the airstrip. Which is how I settled on a craft that could go from one to the other.
    (I started this story in like 2016, so a lot of ideas have run its course since then).
    But to answer the question... the crafts are primarily used in space, with take off being the only instance I mention them as being on the ground.
     
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  7. Selbbin

    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    To be honest, that sounds like a much more interesting scenario. You said it yourself, what happens in an emergency? What are the vulnerabilities? I'd keep the escorts as space exclusive. Nothing like a bunch of tension trying to get to your combat vehicle while under attack and vulnerable, dependant on your escorts....

    There could even be rivalry between Terran fighter pilots and space fighter pilots.

    But I digress....
     
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  8. J.T. Woody

    J.T. Woody Amateur Human Contributor

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    ... you know what..... the wheels are turning now:superthink:

    Thank you!
     
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  9. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin I have misplaced my pants.... Contributor

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    You a Star Wars fan? An X wing can fly in atmosphere, can fly in space, is capable of hyperspace travel, and can transport Luke (and sometimes R2D2) from plot point A to plot point B. Does the story need more than that?

    I wouldn't waste any time fussing over thr technological details of things that don't exist yet. Coming up with a compelling story is hard enough as it is.
     
  10. Friedrich Kugelschreiber

    Friedrich Kugelschreiber Contributor Contributor

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    Even today's space shuttles are capable of landing on the ground. I don't see why you would have to depart from that.
     
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  11. Selbbin

    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    But they needed rockets for launch. The wings were purely for a controlled glide descent. No combat manoeuvres.
     
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  12. Friedrich Kugelschreiber

    Friedrich Kugelschreiber Contributor Contributor

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    True, but it's the future.
     
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  13. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin I have misplaced my pants.... Contributor

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    Very true, but who needs massive booster rockets when we have scifi imagination at our disposal? All you need to leave the Earth is a speed of about 11 kilometers per second, and that decreases by the inverse square law as distance increases from the surface.

    In other words: fast engine make ship go!
     
  14. Selbbin

    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    .... true. Sci-fi for the win! It's plausible magic. (in a good way)

    Those new spectral anti-grav engines work wonders breaking orbit. You don't even need wings (for a controlled glide descent)
     
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  15. shiba0000

    shiba0000 Member

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    I'm no aviation expert, but here's some factors to consider.

    What kind of missions would you be conducting in space vs in atmosphere? Is it more important to have dedicated spacecraft and aircraft or hybrids? It's like how you'd be able to design amphibious vehicles but they wouldn't function as well as dedicated land or watercraft.

    You're invisible to everything beyond the horizon with the exception of OTH (over-the-horizon) radars due to line of sight. Low-flying aircraft can hide behind the curvature of the earth.

    The distances in space are massive, and with functionally no drag, spacecraft can move at miles to tens of thousands of miles per second. Trying to conduct warfare in space would be like trying to shoot a bullet out of the sky with another bullet. With stealth, it'd be like shooting a bullet out of the sky that you don't even know exists.

    Next-gen fighter jets could be ditching dogfighting for better stealth capabilities due to the changing meta of massive engagement distances. Maybe your air/space fighters could be stealthy bombers that launch out swarms of AI-powered missiles. Some of the missiles would be decoys and some others would just carry ECM.
     
  16. Selbbin

    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    I believe they're acting as escorts, so fighters. Like fighter escorts for bombers in ww2.

    And to be fair, the impractical (impossible) nature of space warfare being similar to traditional warfare hasn't been an impediment to the many popular sci-fi stories from Star Wars (air warfare) and Star Trek (sea warfare) to Macross and StarBlazers. It's accepted, if not a little silly.
     
  17. Some Guy

    Some Guy Manguage Langler Supporter Contributor

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    'Piggybacking' to get something into space quick. SCRAM jet(?) transition could be a go-fast solution to near-escape velocity, and keep fuel weight down, possibly. Something like piggyback to conventional limit, drop to dive and go sub-meteoric, then break atmosphere and hit the magic super rocket pods...
    Escorts will be needed just to blast space junk from ding your windscreen.
     
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  18. matwoolf

    matwoolf Contributor Contributor

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    I'm progressive-thinking that the pow pow pow pow, bam bam, bam bam bam stuff is '21st century,' y'know..

    While initially - I too imagined 'space shuttle - looks like an aeroplane - and flies in space, the job done,' as @Freiderich Krugerbeaner says...with addition of pointy wings, Harry Potter-esque dialogue interchange.

    Increasingly and knowing the future I instead pictured a world where I flap my arms in a violent exertion, levitating approaching the earth's outer atmospheres, taking a deep breath, punching on through toward the Milky Ways which is more authentic.

    And that ways no need for engineering and blue-collar and boiler suits in space, or rivets or IT. I don't like IT in my stories. So no offense engineers and experts we shall reach space without you in the future.
     
  19. Friedrich Kugelschreiber

    Friedrich Kugelschreiber Contributor Contributor

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    Or maybe if you have an umbrella.
    upload_2020-4-7_11-24-27.jpeg
     
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  20. J.T. Woody

    J.T. Woody Amateur Human Contributor

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    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     

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