57 Recent Deviations
Featured: UAF Grogan Heavy Defense monitor
Mop Up JobLucas held on to the overhead strut with his right arm as he surveyed the landscape rushing by only 30 meters below. Had he not had his helmet on, he could have heard the rushing air swirling around the aft hatch of the shuttle that remained open. They wanted a quick exit when they reached the drop point. Hopefully, they would not need to jump before then. As the craft continued to rattle in the dense atmosphere, he glanced back at his troopers, all seated and strapped in. Only he stood braced near the rear hatch as the shuttle shook its way to the destination. Looking back at the grassland below him, he saw a herd of hexiphants scatter as their formation buzzed overhead. Flying in tight formation were 3 shuttles and 1 kestrel class fighter. Lucas looked back down at the herd. There must have been nearly 50 of them. The elephant-sized bovines resembled 6 legged bison. Supposedly, they have a temper but are grazing creatures that largely pay no attention to humans or other smaller creatures. He hit his comm button, “Hey Sally, you see any Quad-Rexs in the area? We just past a herd of their favorite prey.” “Not for a while. Last pack of Quad-Rexs I saw was near the jungle’s edge.” crackled her answer. “Good! How far out are we?” Lucas asked her. “I can see some smoke on the horizon that looks to be at about the coordinates we estimated their impact would be. If I punch it hard, I can be there in 90 seconds.” “Do it!” Lucas tightened his grip on the strut as the craft accelerated. He could see the other 2 shuttles on either side fall behind momentarily before accelerating to catch up. Pressing his comm button to go to open-channel. “Ok, everyone. We are 90 seconds out. Lock and load. Zoe, go get a good look at the pod and hit it with a few missiles for good measure. If you see anything else that looks like it might be a Cyrealian, you are weapons-free.” “Yes, Sir!” Came Zoe’s enthusiastic response as her Kestrel fighter zipped out ahead of the slower shuttles. “OK,” Lucas continued. “Sally set us down front and center. Jill set your shuttle down on our right flank about 100 meters from the crash site. Rebecca, set your shuttle down on our left flank. We should try to envelop the site in a triangular formation.” “Hey, Lt! Just fired two missiles at it.” chimed in Zoe. “Be advised the enemy craft was definitely a shuttle, not an escape pod. Also, it is right near the edge of a small canyon. About 50 meters from the lip of a drop off into a small river below.” “Ok new plan. We still use the triangle, Jill with team 2 and Rebecca with team 3. Just drop your teams off at the edge of the canyon on the left and right side. Sally set us down on the opposite side of the crash, away from the canyon. We will drive any survivors to the other teams as we approach the crash. If it is not too late, I don’t want any Cyrealians to get into that canyon. Swimming after them is not my idea of fun. How copy?” “Solid copy shuttle 1”“Solid copy shuttle 2”“Solid copy shuttle 3” “Solid copy kestrel, and just FYI I see a spot for the shuttles to set down after the drop. Rocky patch of raised ground on the other side of the canyon. Good visibility and no grass for anything to hide in.” “We are here.” Sally said as the shuttle banked hard to the left then leveled out as it lowered to the top of the tall grass.“Everyone, out of the shuttle, let’s go! Sally, Jill, Rebecca, after all your teams are unloaded, go to the rocky outcropping. Have your copilots pull security at the back hatch with the auto turrets. Keep the engines spooled up in case we need to get out of here.” With that Lucas turned and jumped, keeping his knees bent as he fell through the grass, not sure where the ground would be. Turns out the grass was at least twice as tall as him. Landing, Lucas rolled forward out of the way of the rest of the troopers dropping in after him. Besides him, shuttle 1 had carried 20 C.A. model troopers and 2 C.H. troopers. Shuttle 2 piloted by Jill had 15 C.A. troopers making up team 2, same as Rebecca’s team 3 in Shuttle 3. Lucas pressed forward in the thick grass, monitoring his navigation Hud. “Darius, Xander, on me. Stick 1, form a line to my left. Stick 2 form up on my right. Let’s sweep to the crash. Looks like it is going to be slow going.” A chorus of “Roger that” and “Yessirs” echoed over his local comms channel as the team began to make their way to the enemy shuttle. Lucas called his two squad leaders in the other teams. “Chris, Will. SitRep.” “Second squad here, Lt. We made it to the edge, but the grass is still pretty tall. Though not as tall as where it looks like you are,” reported Chris.“Third squad is at the edge of the Canyon. Looks like we are on your left flank. Shorter grass here so we can see pretty well. We have formed a loose picket line along the edge to keep a lookout.” said Will. “All good here, Lt.”“Roger that. Form a line along the edge as best you can team 2. Try to link up with each other if possible. We are on our way to the crash site.” “Solid copy Lt.! Wilco!” There was a short burst of static as Chris and Will ended their transmissions. No doubt due to all the foliage that was acting as interference. “Darius, Xander. You two take point. I want our two heaves up front in this tall stuff.” Pausing for a moment, he let the two hulking frames of the CH model clones wade past him in the elephant grass. Looking left then right, he checked his team using his heads up display. The augmented reality helped every trooper in the field keep tabs on what was happening. He could see a small blue square for each of the CA models, and the heavy CH had a circle inside their blue square. “Everyone, use your Hud for the waypoint marking the crash. It will help keep your orientation. Stay in line and move toward the crash. I don’t want anyone to get lost in this stuff.” Lucas followed Darius and Xander. It turns out it was much easier to make progress following them as they bent all the grass down out of the way with their impressive size. “The Fuck is that!?” broke over the local comms channel, followed by a brief burst of weapons fire. “What’s going on stick 2?” called Lucas. A CA model answered, “Tim, the new guy, just saw his first doggiedid, Lt.” “A what?” asked Tim.Lucas sighed, “Big dog-sized grasshopper-looking thing? Yeah, those are harmless. But most of the creatures that eat them are not harmless. We are looking for Cyrealians! Only shoot at bugs that have 22 legs and are as large as a horse from now on.”“Aye Sir!” came Tim’s answer. “Alright everyone, pick up the pace. The sun is setting. Let’s not get stuck out here in the dark.”Lucas growled as he followed the CH models, clearing the way to the crash site. As they reached the waypoint, they found a crater in the ground surrounded by burned grass with scattered metallic parts of what was once a Cyrealian shuttle. Surveying the scene and the lack of a shuttle to search, Lucas keyed his comms button for an open channel. “Good shooting, Zoe. Anyone seen any survivors yet?” As if on cue, Zoe’s kestrel streaked overhead. “Thanks, Lt! And I haven’t seen any of those creepy crawlies from up here.” “This is Sally in shuttle one. We are all sitting over here on the other side of the canyon. None of our co-pilots have reported anything outside yet.” “Ok, this shuttle didn’t fly itself. Adam, Tim, Jerry. You three look for remains. The rest of us will push forward to the Canyon. Darius, Xander, take point we are moving out.” Lucas motioned for the canyon where the other two teams were waiting. The team fell into a column formation 2 by 2 following Darius and Xander making their way to the edge of the Canyon. When they were about halfway, a burst of fire erupted to their right followed by a yell over the radio, “Contact! We have cont---!” then the transmissioin ended in static. “Cyrealian sighted! Sir, your column chased it to us. It burst out of the grass and went over the edge before we could get a shot at it. Looks like it took Will, Jack, and Lars with it as it went. Say again 3 men down.”The amount of fire to the right flank began to intensify. More shouts coming in quickly over the radio. Lucas called back. “Is there more than one? I thought you said you didn’t get a shot off. Report!” with that he and the rest of team 1 sprinted the last bit to link up with the other two teams. “This is Leon with team 3 Sir. We are not in contact currently. We sighted a Cyrealian just after team 2 started shooting. They could have startled it. It took 3 men over the edge. Situation: 3 men down no shots fired. I have sent a 5 man fire team down into the canyon in pursuit. Looks like the Cyrealian made it to the water Sir.” There were a series of about 4 explosions coming from team 2’s area to the right and smoke starting to rise. “Sit-Rep team 2!” Called Lucas as team 1’s column reached the canyon ledge and met up with Leon, the new acting leader of team 3 who had replaced Will. “How many Cyrealian’s are you in contact with?” Switching the Comms to open channel. “Zoe! We need your eyes and weapons now. You are cleared to fire. Go help team 2.”“Sir, not Cyrealians! Say again not Cyrealians! We have crawlers!” Yelled the un-named clone as another trio of small explosions reverberated through the tall grass and echoed off the far wall of the small canyon. “What are your casualties and how many are you in contact with Trooper?” Lucas sternly asked as he made hand motions for his column to form a defensive line with Darius and Xander forming the center.“Estimate 8 casualities...well make that 9 now there goes Quin, and the number of crawlers is a fucking swarm. We are falling back while maintaining fire. The 6 of us left are throwing all of our remaining grenadines as we walk backward toward you, keeping them suppressed with automatic rifle fire. Be advised. We seem to have started a brush fire in this dry grass.” “Yeah no kidding.” Leon said as he pointed up to the sky as the flames were turning the smoke-heavy atmosphere a glowing rust color. Screeching overhead, Zoe’s Kestral banked hard and dove back toward the swarm of crawlers providing a hail of covering fire for Team 2’s retreat. She opened up with her heavy auto cannons as they spewed super heated plasma into the fray doing nothing to slow the spread of the fire. “Hey Sally we need you to swing by and pick up three at the crash site. That fire is moving their way quickly.” Lucas ordered. “On it Sir,” came Sally's response. “Tim, how are you three holding up at the crash site?” Lucas questioned? “We are holding for the moment Sir.” Tim answered. “Waiting for that pick up though, the grass around us is starting to move about. Think some of that swarm running from the fire is starting to encircle us.” “Look at the river Sir!” Leon pointed with his rifle. Lucas turned and looked down below to the river where the 5 troopers had made it to the water’s edge. They were inspecting one of the 3 bodies that had been left near the water's edge. Just then a Cyrealian lept out of the water and grabbed the first two troopers with its massive scorpion-like pincers and slammed their heads against the rocky bank before thrusting them under water. It then starting firing at the remaining 3 clones, with an automatic plasma weapon in each of its 4 hands. Quickly, two of the other clones were torn apart by the weapons fire as the last remaining trooper dove for cover behind a boulder. “Light it up!” Lucas commanded the troopers around him standing at the top of the Canyon. Immediately All the troopers started shooting at the Cyrealian in the water. The thick atmosphere proved to be more than a match for their plasma rifles, dissipating most of their fire before it reached the Cyrealian in the water. The few shots that made it were ineffectual against the large centipede-like creature. Seeing the troopers high above it on the rim of the canyon, the Cyrealian ducked back down under the water in the narrow stream. “Grenades!” Called Lucas. Each trooper started to throw grenades into the water showering the area the Cyrealian was last seen. As the grenades started to detonate and send plums of water up, Lucas turned to Leon, “Get the rest of your team down there and finish that thing off! We will hold the crawlers here and cover you.” “Aye Sir!” Leon turned to the rest of 3rd squad “You heard him! Let’s get that bastard.” He then jumped off the ledge and started to slide down to the water. His squad followed suit, hurrying to the narrow stream and to catch the Cyrealian before it could escape. “Here they come!” Lucas looked back toward the brush fire that was sweeping toward them. What was left of 2nd squad, only 3 survivors out of 15 broke out of the grass to join 1st squad. Following right behind them was a massive swarm of Crawlers. “Open fire with anything you have. Weapons free! Weapons free!” “Hey I got bad news Lt.” Sally commented over the comms channel in Lucas’ ear as he was firing his weapon at the onslaught of crawlers. “Is there any good news at all today?” Lucas answered as he tossed a grenade and reloaded. “Afraid not. Those 3 at the crash site I just went to pick up got swarmed just before I got there.” Sally informed him. “However, a silver lining is that most of that swarm you are fighting off is headed away from the canyon now into the open prairie. Fire has them running away.” “That’s good at least. But it looks like that fire is gonna make us take a swim to keep from getting burnt as well.” Lucas noted. Taking a moment to reload again he appreciated how much of an impact Daris and Xander were having on the center of the swarm with their heavy auto cannons. The rest of the 20 C.A. clones were mopping up the edges of the swarm getting any outliers and preventing them from being flanked. He could now feel the heat from the fire as it was closing in. The amount of plasma fire from his troopers probably started a new brush fire that was just adding to the situation. But Sally was right. There were less crawlers now than there had been. “Ok everyone! Good shooting. Time to get wet before that fire gets here. Everyone down into the Canyon now! We need to finish off that Cyrealian and see if he has any friends.” Lucas turned and let the way sliding down the mostly dirt embankment to the bottom. “Hey Sir! Zoe here. Just got a call from Hrothgar. A Cyrealian fleet just warped into orbit. Looks like an invasion Sir. I have been ordered to intercept anything that tries to land on the planet.” “Good hunting Zoe. Thanks for the update.” Flipping off the comms channel Lucas turned to Leon. “Has your team made contact with the Cyrealian since you came down here?”“Yes Sir, we lost two more men when it started firing at us from mid stream. We returned fire but it seemed to turn and head down stream. Do you want us to go after it?” Leon asked. Looking down the edge of the river Lucas considered for a moment. “No you have only 5 men left in your squad and one of them is wounded. Darius and Xander! You two are too big to make it along that narrow stretch of loose dirt along the water effectively. I am placing you in 3rd Squad under Leon. You all will stay here. Myself and the 17 left in 1st squad and the 3 survivors from 2nd Squad will continue downstream. Everyone understand?”“Yes Sir!” came a chorus of responses. With that Leon positioned his men on a sandbar just a few meters upstream. Everyone else started to head downstream along the left side of the river bank single file. It was difficult terrain and a very narrow strip of somewhat flat ground just above the water. As they walked Lucas made his way over to one of the survivors from 2nd squad. “Hey Rodger, you are one of the 3 survivors from 2nd squad. What happened to your squad when the crawlers attacked?” Lucas asked as the squad started to move out. They were making their way along the left side of the river heading downstream. “Well Sir in the tall grass we were all strung out in a long thin line. They came from our flank and picked us off one by one with their long tongues sticking through the thick grass. We had no visibility for more than a meter. Their striking distance is about 4 meters. One by one we could not amass enough firepower to deter them until we were able to group up again,” Rodger recounted. “Usually in the past we faced crawlers in a bit more open space and only 1 or 2 at a time. Never a swarm before.” “I see. Our intelligence has never reported crawlers living out here in the plains.” Lucas looked at the trooper, “Besides, we do know the Cyrealians have the ability to communicate using a sort of electrostatic discharge. Telepathy if you will. But, from our intel it seems more like dolphins talking with electrostatic bursts instead of sonar. They could have enticed the crawlers to attack for all we know through a mechanism we are still unfamiliar with. You did all you could given the situation.”“I know sir.” Roger said as they kept following the river. “L.T.! I think I see something in the water up ahead,” came a call via helmet comms from the trooper currently on point.“What do you have, trooper?” Lucas asked as he zoomed in with his visor to scan the water. The trooper identified as Alvin in Lucas’ hud kept walking along acting like he had not noticed anything as not to alert the Cyrealian, exactly as he was trained. “2 shinny looking stones across the river sticking just out of the water. Those might be its compound eyes sticking up watching us.” “Good work trooper! That is what it looks like. Everyone, open up on that thing on the count of 3 let’s get it by surprise,” Lucas said over squad comms. “1-2-3!” Instantly all 20 troopers opened fire on the Cyrealian across the small river. However, with its lightning reflexes it was able to duck just under the water when it saw the troopers start to raise their guns and turn towards it. But, with this many troopers firing automatic plasma rifles closer than the last time, their rounds still carried enough static discharge to electrify the water near where their rounds were impacting. This had a stunning effect and played havoc with the Cyrealians sensory organs and nervous system. What the squad didn’t see was the other Cyrealian peering out of a burrow about halfway up the canyon wall on the far side of the river. This Cyrealian had a large weapon that would have been something like a crew served weapon for humans. Soon as all the troopers were firing into the water at the one they saw, the hidden Cyrealian started firing from an elevated position at the single file line of 1st squad as they were caught completely in the open. With a long burst of fire from back to front, so the troopers, distracted by what they were shooting at, didn’t see the troopers behind them getting hit, the Cyrealian fired its heavy weapon into the column. 8 troops were killed instantly, including Rodger. Lucas dove into the river along with a few fast thinking clones. The wounded ones were then pummeled with another sweep finishing off 4 of the wounded. Another sweep killed the final 2 left on the bank of the river. Seeing what was happening downstream Leon’s 3nd squad started shooting at the Cyrealian in the burrow that was raining fire down on 1st squad. Darius and Xander with the heavy weapons laid down a withering amount of fire. However the Cyrealian had quickly dug the firing position out behind a boulder and not a single clone in all of 3rd squad could get a good angle to fire at it effectively. “Sally, Jill, Rebecca! We need covering fire from your shuttles right now. Cyrealian in a borrow just under your location about half way down the cliff.” Leon called out over the radio. “Inbound hot!” Sally called back. With the clones of 1st squad either dead or in the river the Cyrealian in the water was no longer being stunned by electricity from their rounds hitting the water. It swam toward 6 C.A. clones and their leader Lucas. The Cyrealian in the borrow firing down on them started sweeping the water near them as they ducked. Now it was their turn to get hit with what felt like a very strong police taser while they were under water trying to hold their breath. As if on cue the Cyrealian shooting at them tazing them stopped firing just moments before his partner reached them. No doubt due to their ability to communicate and plan so effectively. With each of its large pincers it snapped the legs off the first 2 clone troopers and moved on. The next 2 were grabbed by its 4 arms. They had their necks snapped quickly and were discarded. Lucas and the remaining 2 clones came up for a much needed breath just as Lucas could see what was happening with his watertight visor providing a measure of visibility in his predicament. The Cyrealian in the burrow half way up the canyon turned and leaned out of his hide slightly to shoot around the boulder protecting it. Quickly Leon’s team 3 started to take casualties as well. Darius was hit in the chest and went down as the few remaining clones kept firing at it. The shuttles screeched into the Canyon turning their backs to the Cyrealian in the burrow. With their back ramps open each shuttle had their Co-Pilot operating an auto cannon like a door gunner. The Cyrealian didn’t have time to elevate his heavy weapon to shoot up and hit the shuttles in time as the fired directly into its upper body disintegrating it. Down in the river Lucas ditched his rifle as it would not work under water, and if he made it back to shore there were several lying on the bank of the river to pick up. Seeing the Cyrealian coming straight for him and the 2 other clones in the water. Lucas pulled out 2 grenades and armed them and swam toward the beast. When the Cyrealian grabbed him and one of the other clones with its pincers, Lucas reached his arms out toward the Cyrealian’s head. As Lucas pressed the grenades against the side of its head, both grenades detonated. The explosion killed Lucas and the Cyrealian, along with the last two clones in the water. “Sally, can you confirm that that last Cyrealian is down?” Leon asked.“That is affirmative. It just floated to the top and its head is blown off. No survivors, Cyrealian or clones down here. Looks like your squad of 3 plus 1 heavies is all that is left.” Sally reported. “Roger that. Jill, Rebecca fly a final loop around to scan for any more Cyrealians. Sally come pick us up. I heard some radio traffic that more Cyrealians are showing up in orbit. I don’t think we are done fighting today.” Leon said.
A Semi-Primer for Realistic Starfighter Combat.Granted, science fiction space fights as portrayed in movies, TV shows, and literature have had varying degrees of realism ranging from none at all to quite believable. In my own pursuits, I've always been drawn to what might be, what is possible, and what is believable and realistic. I couldn't settle with the notion of breaking the laws of physics, as we currently understand them, or depending on more fantastical elements to explain away things that are either not really plausible, or not yet possible. The list of things I have here likely isn't definitive, probably isn't comprehensive, and certainly not exhaustive, but should provide an idea of reasonable constraints to actually doing combat in fighter sized craft in a science fiction setting, given our current understanding of warfare, and the science behind what is and what could be.In no particular order, here is a list of things to consider when trying to write or illustrate combat with starfighters:1) Dogfighting will not truly be a thing, if it is one to begin with. Fighters deployed in a non-atmospheric environment will be more analogous to one-man or unmanned, highly-maneuverable missile boats, maybe with some kind of gun. Deploy your payload (meant for smaller threats like patrols and small ships), score hits, and run. Shoot and scoot… it works well for the infantry. It will work bloody wonders for you. 2) Engagements of whatever kind will tend more towards surgical strikes where larger ships might have a problem, planet side ground support roles, and interception; where you go out, shoot whatever down, and return to base. Dogfighting, even in the more traditional sense, would be more likely to occur in an atmosphere, but chances are that whatever you’re trying to hammer away at will be defended by automated batteries of missile and gunnery platforms, and will likely know of your presence, even if it’s just a reasonable expectation rather than outright knowing you’re there. Don’t count on racking up fighter kills. 3a) Space combat in general will be relegated to fleet-on-fleet engagements, satellites and orbital defense platforms, ground-to-orbit launch platforms, or orbital bombardments, let alone any combination of these. Any fighters deployed will likely be kept in relative proximity of their host fleet and meant for very small sized objects of reasonably high threat, such as standoff missiles, drones, berserkers or kamikaze style weapons. Point defense weaponry, if there is any, will generally be sufficient for this task, however.3b) Fleet engagements will look a lot more like naval doctrine from about WWII onward. Simple, deliberate movements. Long range fire with overlapping fields of fire. Based on capital ships like carrier battlegroups or led by the equivalent of dreadnaughts, battleships and battlecruisers. It'll all be in a three dimensional arena, so pay special attention to enemies coming from "above" and "below" you. It will not look like the hokey garbage of Star Trek and series of the like where your big ship fly around like a swarm of angry hornets. Your fighters will also, as pointed in point 7, be more ballistic in their flight paths, though still retain such maneuverability. Babylon Five and even BSG, to a point, illustrate this nicely. The Expanse also has very good examples of fleet or ship based fighting in a vacuum, though it is very conceivable that most of you will be using ships that won't necessarily need to do retro burns or breaking maneuvers outside of emergency stops, like they do in The Expanse Series. 4) Designs and manufacture of “space fighters” would be better off following more of a multi-role approach. Even if the more classic idea of Air Combat Maneuvers “coulda, woulda, shoulda” happen, it’ll be rare, but still a possibility. As mentioned before, a pilot or drone would more likely see surgical strikes or ground support, possibly scouting or interception on their frag orders. 5a) Sensors, telemetry, and information gathering of some form will still be important, probably more so than it is even now, in real life. One thing to consider, however, is that by the time you see a juicy frigate or destroyer worth hitting, it will likely have long since been made aware of your approach. Sensor systems and intrusion detection will also be a lot more likely to operate in EM bands outside of just thermal IR and microwave based radar systems.5b) Reading the information that it all has gathered would also have to be presented in a true 3D manner, or in something that can adequately emulate a 3D appearance if screens and flat panels are still used. 5c) Stealth will be the norm in terms of widespread adoption, but will be an evolving tool within the greater arms race of making things bigger, better, stronger and faster. Space is full of things that are wicked hot and wildly cold, as well as other emissions that could interfere with sensors and possibly present false returns. Detection systems would then have to be multispectral to limit false returns, and adapt to the environment being scanned. This would likely have a negative impact for you as a pilot as far as being seen outright, but with proper manufacturing processes put into your craft, it can be minimized.5d) Decoys and countermeasures, such as chaff, flares and electronic jamming, will also grow to accommodate the change in technology. Real life CM’s narrow in on a certain band of EM emissions, Thermal IR for flares, microwave based RADAR for chaff, and ECM pods through a wider gamut of electromagnetic “noise.” With the change of sensors to be more broadband and multispectral, these decoys will have to match the EM signature to be seen in whatever band is being used, and you likely won’t really know, nor have time to figure out what you’re being painted with. Best solution is, as stated, build for stealth and carry decoys as encompassing as possible. 6) Fuel, even in the most fuel efficient engines, will truly be a range limiting factor. You will also burn more of it if your craft is capable and actually flying through a medium that will act in anyway that an atmosphere typically would, as you’re overcoming aerodynamic forces as well as (usually) a gravity well. You’re engines would only need to engage or even pulse with considerably less thrust and fuel consumption in the relative vacuum of space, and more of it to counteract the centrifugal/centripetal forces of changing directions or orientation. Even then, however, space is vast. You are an insignificantly small half-a-grain of dust on a flea’s ass compared to it. If you need to get somewhere, even if you have FTL capabilities… check your fuel… and catch a ride on a bigger ship, if you can. 7a) Physics will also be a matter of concern. G-forces will, without a proper working counter, be enough to pulp even the more sturdy of organic pilots. While inertial dampeners do exist in the technological standards of the time and universe, without them being used outside of FTL jumps (hyperspace or warp), you’ll likely be executing relatively slow and wide turns versus a droid fighter that is usually capable of pulling turns well in excess of 9G’s, and that’s just so that the organic pilot would A) not black out, and B) not be killed by the exertions physics naturally would impart on them.7b) Speed being another factor, especially when you consider the differences imposed by being in a gravity well, atmosphere, or a vacuum. You might get a brisk few mach in level flight in an atmosphere, but in space you are likely to exceed that many times over, since you’re dealing considerably less with gravity making your massive craft weight tons, and dense gasses causing resistance and friction due to your speed. If we assume that the Star Wars measurement of sublight speed, a unit of megalight, is about the same as a unit mach speed, the classic T-65 X-wing, for example, would be capable of about 96 mach in level flight. Going along with this, such high speeds in a vacuum would make your flight path largely, if not completely, ballistic in nature, from low orbit on up. 8) Full on battle operations, like a major offensive on some location, will consist largely of fleet work, and ground ops or boarding and takeover actions. WWII offers really good, if relatively primitive, examples of this in real life; Normandy Invasion (D-Day), or the island hoping campaign in the Pacific Theater of Operations. “Air cover” and supremacy did tend to be more along the lines of surgical and ground support roles. More contemporary examples reinforce this, such as the 1991 Gulf War, and the various campaigns in the War on Terror. 9) Energy weapons would likely be preferred for any system analogous to a gun or gun battery, whether it’s a smaller point defense system, larger naval cannons, and all things in between. Flight times of the shots fired tend to be considerably faster than current ballistic technology and not as constrained by loss of energy, though considering aerodynamics (or lack thereof) physical rounds may still have a place in certain situations. Fire placed right here and now would heavily favor energy rounds, where as area-denial weapons that would likely sit there for a while would favor physical objects. 10) Alpha-strikes, where whole squadrons or wings worth of fighter craft would move to strike a target all at once, would not necessarily be effective. Accuracy and precision of just about every weapon from your fighters through to your capital ships and orbital defense platforms will typically relegate such a thing to historical texts. The power of these weapons will go hand in hand with it, too. If fighters are deployed for a precision strike, it will likely follow something more alike modern air combat. It’ll only need a craft and a wingman, maybe double that in a small strike package. TLDR: This ain’t your daddy’s style of fighting. It’s all different. ALL OF IT! It isn’t that a fighter sized craft will be a thing of the past, per se. But with all things, they will be in need of an evolutionary and revolutionary change in doctrine, among other things. Our own space programs have demonstrated that the physics of flying in space are remarkably different from an atmosphere, though at least some of the same rules will still apply. That's even irrespective or us ever finding real world, practical faster-than-light technologies to let us run among the stars. Hopefully this list was helpful and insightful, and would provide some interesting challenges to your next work of fiction space battle with starfighters and ships. Stay creative and have fun.
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