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Sulendil Ang

"Laser" Technology in Macross Universe

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Yup, this topic is created for the continued discussion of Macross "Laser" tech from Macross Frontier's Mecha Thread, including the placement of the turret and the firepower of the "laser".

One thing, I'm surprised to find out that those lasers are really that strong that it can destroy a mech, as mentioned by March. (Reminds me that don't go to Super Robot Wars if you want to know the real performance of each Valks. :p) Even surprising to me that it is rarely seen being used on screen. Why is that? Is gunpod a more effective weapon than laser gun, or that Kawamori didn't want to make Valks too Gundam-like by using too much beam weapon?

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i think that projectile weapons are more effective than energy based until its an enormous amount of energy (the SDF-1 main cannon, the macross canon for the NMC carriers and the macross quantum canon for the Macross quarter), and about the VF-0 energy laser, the reason why it got the submarine but not nora SV-51 might be in the nature of what he hit, subs probably dont have ECA as powerful as a variable fighter

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Ok here we go, my theories for the lasers in the macross world. (I will have said someone this before in the tech thread, just recapping)

-The lasers on VF-0 are the closest thing to true lasers that will ever be seen on VFs. They are underpowered due to the fact that the 0 has turbofans and not reaction engines. As to why the 0S' lasers due more damage than the one on the 0D I would say that Roy being Roy pulled the limiters on his guns to get more punch out of them or he took some of the power away from the ECA system and fed it to the lasers as that was his only weapon at the time.

-Lasers on later models of Valkyries are a hybrid of laser and beam tech. My theory is that they are a mix of laser and plasma weapons. The laser would fire first then some of the fuel for the VF's engine would be fed into the gun and the laser would pulse again to turn the fuel to a plasma state. This would have the first laser pulse heating the target and making it easier for the plasma round to do its thing. This would make them more of a 'Phased Plasma Pulsed Laser'. (don't think that's a real term, just what I would call it.) They would go on to call these weapons 'laser' just because that is how they started out as and to keep all the different types of beam weapons straight.

And as for why gun pods still are the main weapons, it may have something to do with fire times and how long you could shoot the lase before they start to overheat. Or the cannon round may have longer range of the lasers. In an atmosphere the air would bleed the laser away (I know that drag would affect the cannon round as well) and in space the cold vacuum could also bleed off the laser's energy where as the cannon round would have nothing to even slow it down and would go on forever. That brings up the point that the VF's fire control system would have to be able to rezero the gun pod in flight as the VF goes from vacuum to an atmosphere and back

I know that some will disagree with me, but hey I did put 'my theories' up at the top as a disclaimer.

Edited by hobbes221

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First of all, there is a misunderstanding here: Roy did not destroy an Octos with his lasers, he destroyed a missile just fired by the Octos, and the missile exploding destroyed the Octos.

The lasers themselves did some negligible damage to the Octos. Also Roy was hit by what seemed Octos' own lasers, but he simply shrug them off.

I think that Shin should have done more damage to Nora's SV-51, but maybe it wasn't possibly to show all due to time restraints (keep in mind that Macross Zero was Kawamori's first attempt at making CG viable for mecha). Hikaru though was hitted repeatedly in the second episode and his plane didn't explode.

That said, I think the VF-0 has underpowered lasers compared to the VF-1. Even the gunpod is an earlier model, after all. Also powerplants may matter. In this regard, a VF is likely to be superior to an amphibious tank.

Roy destroying a Regult in SDF may be due to superior powerplants + the focus of 4 lasers, but keep in mind that the scene was just a homage to Gundam (Amuro once destroyed a Rick Dom with his head vulcans, something that seemed slightly impossible but cool nevertheless).

After said this, I must notice there was some kind of change after the 2010 era. Before this, lasers were used mostly to shot down missiles. With Macross Plus missiles were shot down with the gunpod, while head lasers were used to try to shot down aircrafts. One addition to make is that in fact head lasers were becoming head beams. It is possible that this kind of beams is even superior to the gunpod, but limited in usage by excessive heating or energy capacitor.

Aside from this, I think it is possible the existence of some kind of anti-energy weapon armor in Macross. In episode 13 of Frontier, Brera hit a yellow Vajra obliquely and the hit was deflected.

FV

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i think encapsulated plasma is still too advanced for Macross technology.

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Why gun pods and not lasers?

Easy - lasers fire directly from point a to point b. The chances of that shot hitting a moving target (or the target moving through the area that the beam of light travels through) are low. Gun pods, on the other hand, fire a horde of metal on different tragectories. Depending how close one is to mass, the tragectories may be alterted (moreso than lasers over the distances both weapons are effective at.)

Therefore, the chance of getting a bullet to hit is much higher than that of getting a beam of light is. I'm not saying it's impossible for the beam of light to hit, nor that the gun pod is more powerful.

A couple of other factors to consider are the coolness and gimmick factors. Is it not cool to see a multi-barrel gun spitting out hundreds of bullets a second? Is it not retaining a gattling gun in a transforming jet fighter the gimmik; the factor that makes Macross unique from other mecha anime?

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Why gun pods and not lasers?

Easy - lasers fire directly from point a to point b. The chances of that shot hitting a moving target (or the target moving through the area that the beam of light travels through) are low. Gun pods, on the other hand, fire a horde of metal on different tragectories. Depending how close one is to mass, the tragectories may be alterted (moreso than lasers over the distances both weapons are effective at.)

Therefore, the chance of getting a bullet to hit is much higher than that of getting a beam of light is. I'm not saying it's impossible for the beam of light to hit, nor that the gun pod is more powerful.

A couple of other factors to consider are the coolness and gimmick factors. Is it not cool to see a multi-barrel gun spitting out hundreds of bullets a second? Is it not retaining a gattling gun in a transforming jet fighter the gimmik; the factor that makes Macross unique from other mecha anime?

I disagree. A laser is much faster (speed of light versus a few times the speed of sound) than a bullet and travels in a straight line, rather than a tragectory so don't need to lead your target, if the target is in your line of sight, you'll hit it. Over long distance, this benefit is increased as you don't need to worry about rate of the bullet falling down so you don't need to worry about things like the curvature of the planet, gravity, drift, and whether the round will still have enough kinetic energy left when it reaches its destination to do damage (since friction is slowing the round down, thus bleeding energy).

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I think a lot of the problem with firepower in Macross stems from the needs of the plot. Various weapons can appear as extremely destructive or extremely ineffective based on the needs of the particular story.

Sometimes gun pods are shown doing little damage (Max vs. Milia's Q-Rau, SDFM ep 16) sometimes they are shown doing a lot of damage (same episode, Roy vs. the same Q-Raus). Sometimes head lasers are shown doing a lot of damage (Roy in SDFM vs. Reguld pod, Roy vs. Octos in Macross Zero) while other times they are not (Shin's VF-0D vs SV-51 in M0).

As far as I can tell, gun pods, lasers and missiles do comparable amounts of damage in most circumstances. The only factor that appears to mitigate firepower is either the needs of the story or our perception based on the frequency of usage. I've heard fans say they believe the various valkyrie weapons serve different purposes and roles. I agree this makes much more sense, but in practice, the valkyrie weapons are used for every situation and demonstrate firepower beyond any perceived niche function. Even if the creators intended certain weapons on the valkyries to be more powerful/useful than the other weapons (such as the case of the omni-present gun pod being the "main gun" versus the lasers being only "point defense") it's clear the rules will be broken at their earliest convenience. :)

The laser weapon versus beam weapon is an interesting issue, but the more I've thought about it the more it appears the difference is almost insignificant. The only constant seems to be that beam cannons and lasers are almost always small-to-medium bore weapons. Large beam guns like the VF-4 Lightning III, the VF-1S Strike Valkyrie, the YF-19 Heavy Weapons Pack and the VF-27 seem to be heavy weapons that are not required for most combat missions. Especially since gun pods can obviously modified or built to suit any operation requirement, lasers and beam guns are just an optional energy base solution to the same problem.

Btw, in the last update of the M3 I made some very basic entries for the weapons in the Macropedia section. It doesn't really go into any detail; it's just basic information that any fan would know wathcing the anime. But perhaps the information is relevant in some way to this discussion. Here they are:

Beam Gun/Cannon

A generic term used to describe non-laser directed-energy weapons that project some type of particle as opposed to a physical projectile. Beam weapons damage targets via kinetic force and heat and are also versatile weapons operable within an atmosphere, underwater or in space. The most common type of beam weapon is the converging energy beam cannon used as the main gun for many large military space ships (see Super-Dimension-Energy Cannon) or as weapons on variable fighters. Many different types of beam weapons exist such as the Mauler RO-X2A high-powered double-action beam cannon (found on the VF-1S Strike Valkyrie), large beam cannons (found on the VF-4 Lightning III), the Mauler REB-20G converging energy cannons (found on the YF-19), the small-bore rear anti-aircraft beam gun (found on the VF-19A, VF-19F and VF-19S Excalibur) and the high-powered converging energy cannon (found on the VF-22 Sturmvogel II). Beam weapons may also be described as simply "Beam Gun" or other names such as particle cannons and electron beam guns.

Gun Pod

A powerful projectile weapon that along with laser/beam guns and missiles makes up the three weapons (ballistic/energy/missile) part of nearly all variable fighter armaments. The gun pod contains an automatic cannon, ammunition, a self-contained power source and a sensor system. Some gun pods also feature a retractable handle for the Battroid manipulator (hand), an aerodynamic shape (with sliding exterior) for mounting in Figher mode as well as optional features such as foldable stocks, straps, stealth covers and anti-armor bayonets. Gun pods are highly versatile weapons utilized within an atmosphere, also capable of operation in the vacuum of space and fire high speed munitions to intercept incoming missiles. The first gun pod mounted on the original VF-1 Valkyrie variable fighter was the Howard GU-11 55mm three-barrel gatling gun pod with 200 rounds fired at 1,200 rounds per minute. Numerous variants of the gun pod exist for all operational requirements such as the Gun Pod Beam Adaptor (found on the VF-17S Nightmare), the XS-06 Long-Range High-Piercing-Round Gun Pod (found on the VF-11C Thunderbolt Protect Armor), the optional non-lethal Shock Gun Pod (found on the VF-5000G Star Mirage) or Speaker-pod-firing Launcher Pod (found on the VF-19 Excalibur Custom), the electromagnetic Sniper Gun Pod (found on the VF-171 and VF-25G Messiah) and the Converging Energy Beam Gun Pod (found on the VF-27).

Laser

Acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. A laser emits light in a narrow, low-divergence beam with a narrow wavelength spectrum and is used in numerous applications from optical storage to rangefinding. After discovery of OverTechnology, practical laser weapons became a reality and were made standard on nearly all variable fighters. The Mauler RÖV-20 Laser Cannon on the VF-1 Valkyrie variable fighter is a typical high-powered laser capable of destroying most armored mecha, ideal for point defense and a potent anti-aircraft weapon. Pulse Lasers are another type of laser weapon found on the VF-5000 Star Mirage and the VF-11 Thunderbolt.

NOTE: Macross, like most other science fiction, uses the term laser as an easily recognizable directed-energy weapon that most audiences will understand when described in dialog. However, real lasers are ordinarily invisible in space, travel at the speed of light and do not have any kinetic force. In the context of Macross, it is understood the term laser refers to OverTechnology weapons that fire visible energy beams, may propagate much slower than light speed, may fire in bursts or continuous beams and may produce destructive effects that are unlike those of real lasers.

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I think a lot of the problem with firepower in Macross stems from the needs of the plot. Various weapons can appear as extremely destructive or extremely ineffective based on the needs of the particular story.

Undoubtly.

Sometimes head lasers are shown doing a lot of damage (Roy in SDFM vs. Reguld pod, Roy vs. Octos in Macross Zero)

I repeat myself. While Roy destroying a Regult was mainly a homage to Gundam (it was a scene that looked unrealistic even in Gundam), Roy didn't actually destroy an Octos with his lasers: he hit a missile fired by the Octos, and the missile destroyed the Octos.

Here is the actual sequence:

missileoctosct5.th.jpg

FV

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Well that solves that; the VF-0 Phoenix lasers are pretty much useless for anything except point defense which follows the whole non-thermonuclear powered valkyrie theory. By the time of SDF Macross, the VF-1 Valkyrie was blowing holes through Regulds and Q-Rau's with the head cannons likely due to a far greater power source for the laser cannons. Makes sense.

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The funny thing with lasers in anime is that they never seem to travel at the speed of light. Often times they are avoided. No one has the reflexes to dodge lasers.

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Yeah, it's like the little note I made in my post above, describing the problems with lasers as they function in Macross. It's just the nature of sci-fi I guess. The poor laser is probably the most abused sci-fi concept there is :)

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Doesn't the YF-19 (and probably the YF-21) have a laser-reflective coating? That would lower damage from lasers as well as mitigate glancing hits.

I thought that the YF-21 also had the old QRau gatling lasers as well?

In any case, the short scene where you see both the YF-19 and YF-21 firing their lasers definitely show them like lasers (except visible from the side). The beams mostly appear and disappear

Edited by ChronoReverse

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Well, there's a chance their using gunpods simply because bullets are more versatile than simple beams of light. I mean, real world military and police forces today already deploy more advanced rounds than just simple pieces of hot metal (programmable 20mm grenades, non-lethal Taser shotgun rounds, 57mm radar tipped programmable rounds that lock onto a trget and detonate even if it doesn't hit, 50 cal armor piercing incendiary rounds, etc.). Now this of course is only fan-theorizing but just based on this and other bullet technologies we have now, we can see a possible reason why bullets are still in favour. While a laser does good damage and is easier to aim, a round can be designed so that it does more damage per energy used than a laser or accomplish other missions, all from the same gun. For example, a high explosive round that detonates after it pierces the armor doing more damage than simply punching through, or radar tipped rounds that detonate even if they just barely miss the target sending out shrapnel, rounds with speakers so you can use culture shock against an opponent, the possibilities are endless.

Edited by d3v

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I believe d3v brings up another good point. The use of lasers and other energy guns perceived as "light speed" weaponry are only as useful as the supporting technologies that allow these directed-energy weapons to function. The ability to fire upon a target 300,000 kilometers away the same second you pull the trigger isn't any good if one cannot power the weapon sufficiently to ensure it's still destructive at such extreme range. If you have no way of seeing or detecting targets that far out, what good is your super long range laser? How could one possibly build a gun so accurate it could hit something a light second out when even a hair width's of motion at the barrel can throw a shot dozens of kilometers off target by the time a beam travels that far?

These are just a few of the limitations of energy weapons. With the advent of rail cannons and other mass accelerators, ballistic weapons can remain effective for a very, very long time. In fact, the simplicity of the ballistic weapon likely ensures we'll never see it retire. Like I've always said, all we need is a 1 kg bullet going .75c and you've got a 20 megaton reason to dump that power hungry beam weapon :)

Edited by Mr March

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Now back to the laser, it's "what you point at is what you hit" nature may also explain why head lasers are used the way the way they are. The head lasers seem to be primarily defensive weapons, used to take out bogies on your six (in a turning dogfight, the chasing plane is mot liekly to be in area covered by the laser) or taking out missiles (as Roy did in Zero - their position on a small turret turret with a generally large field of vision makes them well suited for this). The use of lasers means that the pilot (or the planes computer) doesn't need to do much to take out incoming threats, it's literally just point and shoot.

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Story influences aside (hero must kill villian no matter what he shoots with, etc.), another couple of angles to look at are the ammo capacity and damage output.

Gun pods tend to have large supplies of ammo, and barrel overheating doesn't appear to be an issue. Lasers/beam weapons in Macross - well, in my memory, I think it was mentioned all of once that head lasers overheat (in SDF:M.) Otherwise, I think the weapons are powered by a capacitor with a low recharge rate relative to the speed a new bullet can be loaded and fired in the gund pod.

Damage output - as has already been mentioned, head lasers do far less damage than bullets. In M0 eps 1, Roy fires a bunch of bullets at an SV-51. If one looks closely, only two or three of them actually hit. All shots look like they pack a large punch, and the SV-51 is downed.

Yes, technology advances, and the recharge rate of capacitors and the damage potential of laser/beam weapons increases. But so to does the ammo capacity, rate of fire, and damage potential of the gun pod.

Another pair of non-technical angles are the human factor and misinforming the enemy. The pilots of VFs may simply prefer using gun pods as they feel more powerful (vibrations, etc.). The misinforming angle is making it appear like VFs are only armed with gun pods and missiles, and once both are gone, they are out of ranged weapons. (Yeah, I know this is a rather weak angle, as either the opponents are vaporized, or the VFs are before the missiles and bullets run out...)

Lastly, and I think this is the real reason: as a viewer, guns firing bullets adds an element of realism.

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Well, there's something else to consider. While a single bullet may do more damage then a laser... consider, a laser is a coninuous beam of light, so while the target is pulling away from you, the laser beam is continuously cutting the target along your line of sight, in relationship to the movement of the target. A gunpod just wouldn't achieve this effect since the bullets fire in bursts and there's lag between each round.

And while a gunpod may carry a lot of ammunition, depending on the actual rate of fire, you're only talking a few seconds worth of actual fire time, versus potentially unlimited ammunition for a laser weapon. And since the damage of the bullet will always be dependent upon the speed of the round and the mass of the round, "fletchlet" rounds or rounds of miniscule size will never really be realistic. So rounds will always be large and thus ammunition capactiy will always be dependent upon large containers.

As for the other point about capacitors and recharge time. This is a very good point, and one I was always confused about based on other Macross technology shown. Things like the SDF-1's rail cannons and pinpoint barriers on valks must have similarly incredible energy requirements and yet on several instances, those are show to be in near constant use without any detriment or diminishment in ability. So I wonder why the energy management system in those functions can't be ported over to power more powerful laser weapons?

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I'm not disagreeing with the ability to put a continuous beam of light on a target. What I'm disagreeing with is the capability to do so when the firer and the target are moving on different vectors at different speeds.

Also, in combat, Macross energy weapons aren't usually shown as continuous beams being fired. They usually appear along similar lines to those bullets. Though, even bullet fire isn't portrayed that realistically... mind you, if it was, we would only be seeing the muzzle flash, and maybe the tracers.

Anyhow, there is also the idea floating around in RL about bullets that chase their targets. I'm not saying that gun pod bullets do that, but there is the potential of adjusting the course of the bullet after firing whereas beam weapons don't have that potential (tangent: unless if there's a lot of gravity or magnetic force. But at the scales I'm thinking of, why use beams anymore when one can crush the enemy in a micro black hole?) It should be noted that the cannon rounds fired by the VB-6 in MF do appear to possess the ability to change tragectory mid-flight (I'm scratching my head thinking how. There was no exhaust, nor flare from rocket engines being fired... no gas of significant quantity... something to do with the rail cannons and magnets???)

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I'm not disagreeing with the ability to put a continuous beam of light on a target. What I'm disagreeing with is the capability to do so when the firer and the target are moving on different vectors at different speeds.

Also, in combat, Macross energy weapons aren't usually shown as continuous beams being fired. They usually appear along similar lines to those bullets. Though, even bullet fire isn't portrayed that realistically... mind you, if it was, we would only be seeing the muzzle flash, and maybe the tracers.

Anyhow, there is also the idea floating around in RL about bullets that chase their targets. I'm not saying that gun pod bullets do that, but there is the potential of adjusting the course of the bullet after firing whereas beam weapons don't have that potential (tangent: unless if there's a lot of gravity or magnetic force. But at the scales I'm thinking of, why use beams anymore when one can crush the enemy in a micro black hole?) It should be noted that the cannon rounds fired by the VB-6 in MF do appear to possess the ability to change tragectory mid-flight (I'm scratching my head thinking how. There was no exhaust, nor flare from rocket engines being fired... no gas of significant quantity... something to do with the rail cannons and magnets???)

well, if a pilot can paint a target with a ballistic round, while dealing with all the factors that I talked about in my earlier post (mainly drift and the effects of gravity) then painting a target with a laser should be easier (instant, ignores wind and gravity).

And lasers have been shown to fire continuously in Macross, in SDFM, they used the head lasers in continuous fire to try and cut their way out of the badolza's ship when they were captured and Hikaru used his head lasers to cut misa out of the alaska base. So we have in show evidence that lasers in macross can behave realisticaly.

As for smart munitions... well, I think those are great ideas against soft targets and/or targets that are relatively nearby. But when the round changes direction, unless it has someway to re-accelerate, the change in direction will bleed speed, thus lowering its kinetic energy. Not a big deal when you're hitting something soft and fleshy but when firing on a hardened target, losing energy can effectively render your attack useless, despite the ability to place the round on target.

I do agree that the ability to have custom rounds make projectile weapons potentially much more versitile than a laser but even a laser has the ability to dynamically dial in the energy output, which can be very useful. For instance, if you find that your rapid fire laser setting isn't able to pierce the enemy's armor, a short burst yet higher energy setting maybe able to do the job, and this could be handled dynamically by the fire computer rather than having to return to base to re-arm or swap out a magazine.

Also, by not having to carry bullets, this could potentially free up weight for larger/more missiles or armor.

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The Ghost X-9 also used lasers (I think it had six forward lasers) and we saw how deadly that was. The Ghost only used its missiles once Guld unlocked the limiters and fooled it to get onto its six.

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But the versatility of rounds come from more than just increased firepower. Depending on the round, different effects can be accomplished, especially when you factor in explosives technology. Again, if we go back to my earlier example of a delayed detonation round, while a laser will simply punch through, with a round like what I described, you can punch through armor then do more damage by detonating inside. It's similar to the HEDP warhead for the SMAW rocket that can punch through the wall of, say a bunker, detonating inside and causing enough pressure to tear down all of the bunkers walls - what we get is a small, effective, localized explosion taking out only that which you wanted to take out. Another possibility is a round that will detonate near a target (air burst round with programmable radar proximity fuse) sending metal balls to take out a target behind a wall. It's not about the sheer destructive force, but controlling that force so that it's used in the most efficient way to cause the most damage with minimal or no collateral damage.

Also, regarding power consumption, routing all power to the PPBs could mean that the lasers can't be used fully (anyone ever play X-Wing?) If a valk is ever damaged enough that its power output is compromised, then it may not have enough juice to use both PPB to protect itself and lasers to fire back. But the gunpods however, are generally independent of your reactors.

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Well, how often would an air superiority fighter be called on to do stuff like bunker busting or taking out an installation? We should figure not on some hypothetical role but on the express role that a valk does... air (space) superiority with an emphasis on interception. And in that regard more missiles and unlimited ammunition would be far more useful.

Yes, for specialized missions, specific munitions would be useful... but for the average valk in its routine mission, having an unlimited ammunition gun that is easier for the pilot to shoot and hit is far more advantageous. Besides, if MF is any sign of things to come, valks can be outfited with specific weapons and armor packs as the mission demands.

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Good points all around.

Nevertheless, I still think the deciding factors are:

the volume of shots fired along slightly different vectors (the recoil factor); lasers are how many shots per second? The GU-11 was 20 rounds per second. Highly likely that the later gun pods have an even higher ROF.

the realism factor (for the viewer)

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I think d3v's interpretation is a valid point. We already know that various variable fighters have been built for various functions, not all of which are aerospace superiority. The VB-6 Konig Monster, the VA-3 Invader, and so forth. The VF-17 Nightmare is a special operations and heavy battroid valkyrie and the VF-171 is described as a fighter/bomber. It goes without saying the VF-1 Valkyrie and the VF-25 Messiah are certainly multi-role variable fighters. Also, the VF-0 Phoenix apparently uses AHEAD rounds for the gun pod and the VF-25 Messiah's were outfitted with Anti-Vajra ESA munitions (rounds and missiles) in Macross Frontier. And of course there are all those numerous types of gun pods for different operational requirements.

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Oh yeah, recoil, another reason why lasers are easier to aim. The pilot doesn't need to compensate for the tendacy of the gun to move itself off aim.

As for rate of fire, you have to consider that the higher the rate of fire, either the less total time the pilot can fire the gun, or the smaller the rounds need to be in order to give the pilot a comparable fire time or the larger the magazine. If the pilot can't fire for as long a period of time, well, the drawbacks are obvious. If the rounds are smaller to allow for more total rounds to compensate.. well smaller rounds mean less mass means less kinetic energy which results in less damage done to target. In the real world, this is demonstrated by guns like the p-90 which fire a smaller rounds which were designed to be more effective against personal body armor but which many people believe are nevertheless ineffective due to their apparant limited "stopping power". Of course, larger magazine is probably the easiest solution to implement given that valks carry their guns on the outside and therefore the restriction of airframe space doesn't apply.

In regards to rate of fire, even if we say that Macross lasers aren't capable of continuous fire (which we have seen evidence of in SDFM) a computer controlled pulsed laser will still be much more rapid than any mechanical system will be. And you have to figure that the faster you spin the barrels of a gattling gun, the more chance you have for jamming a cartridge. And speaking of cartrdiges, there' no chance of a dud round to jam up the system. And it's one less thing for ground crew to worry about.. storing munitions, moving munitions, loading munitions. Not just time saving but also removes accidents waiting to happen and can improve turn around time.

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I think d3v's interpretation is a valid point. We already know that various variable fighters have been built for various functions, not all of which are aerospace superiority. The VB-6 Konig Monster, the VA-3 Invader, and so forth. The VF-17 Nightmare is a special operations and heavy battroid valkyrie and the VF-171 is described as a fighter/bomber. It goes without saying the VF-1 Valkyrie and the VF-25 Messiah are certainly multi-role variable fighters. Also, the VF-0 Phoenix apparently uses AHEAD rounds for the gun pod and the VF-25 Messiah's were outfitted with Anti-Vajra ESA munitions (rounds and missiles) in Macross Frontier. And of course there are all those numerous types of gun pods for different operational requirements.

---Preparing sacrifical catgirls----

Like speaker gunpods? :rolleyes: I know about HE and AP munition, what is ESA anyway? Its probably worked the same as AP munition or its mixed both AP and HE?

Idk if this is canon, in VFX-2, the VF-22 are using beam gun pod with slower fire rate compare to the normal gunpod.

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The compendium does say the VF-1 laser fires at 6,000 pulses per minute, whatever that means.

I believe there was a gun pod that jammed in Macross Plus. One of the fellas in the opening battle requested help when his gun pod jammed.

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---Preparing sacrifical catgirls----

Like speaker gunpods? :rolleyes: I know about HE and AP munition, what is ESA anyway? Its probably worked the same as AP munition or its mixed both AP and HE?

From the M3 :)

Anti-Vajra E.S.A. Munitions

Specialized projectiles that improve the penetrating power of the standard Valkyrie against heavy armor. These munitions were first utilized by the SMS Forces just prior to the second major engagement with the Vajra in 2059 as a measure against the nearly invulnerable energy converting armor of the large Vajra units. The acronym E.S.A. stands for Electronic Safe and Arm.

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I think d3v's interpretation is a valid point. We already know that various variable fighters have been built for various functions, not all of which are aerospace superiority. The VB-6 Konig Monster, the VA-3 Invader, and so forth. The VF-17 Nightmare is a special operations and heavy battroid valkyrie and the VF-171 is described as a fighter/bomber. It goes without saying the VF-1 Valkyrie and the VF-25 Messiah are certainly multi-role variable fighters. Also, the VF-0 Phoenix apparently uses AHEAD rounds for the gun pod and the VF-25 Messiah's were outfitted with Anti-Vajra ESA munitions (rounds and missiles) in Macross Frontier. And of course there are all those numerous types of gun pods for different operational requirements.

Sure, those are mission specifc valks. But even in those capacties, actual dedicated ordinance in the form of missiles and bombs would be much more effective in the mission scenarios that d3v puts forth. Vector controlled rounds, timed rounds, these are all invisioned for urban warfare, shooting around corners, into rooms, etc and hitting soft targets. A bullet that shatters and spreads shrapnel out above a tank would have little benefit. Even a round like a depleted uranium round would lose its effectiveness if you broke it up into dozens of little fletchettes over the target. Remember, a bullet gains its power from how much kinetic energy it has when it arrives on target... you can lose some of that and still be effective against unarmored humans but once we're talking about hardened targets the rules change. But again, how many monsters and nightmares are sortied compared to the number of vf-11 or vf-171s? Again, for the vast majority of pilots, for the vast majority of missions, unlimited ammunition would be far more useful than a limited number of exotic rounds. And I still say, that dragging a beam across the entire length of a target (from initial point of contact) would do far more damage than punching a few holes.. if nothing else because you greatly increase your chance of hitting and destroying vital systems (more time on target).

And given the state of technology in Macross, a gauss rifle would be much more effective than any traditional bullet propelled by some chemical reaction. The whole cartrdige can be the actual round, GREATLY increasing the mass, and the rail system itself would deliver the round much faster than is possible by traditional means. In the real world, the US army is already experimenting with gauss rifles for the next gen mainline tank and those rounds (which are just slugs of metal) are already proving much more effective than their more exotic current counterparts. Greater mass + more acceleration = more bang for the buck.

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Macross already has such guns. The theoretical muzzle velocity limit for gas expansion weapons is 1,800 m/s. The Destroid Defender has 78mm guns with an official muzzle velocity of 3,300 meters per second. Rail guns, like that ones the military are currently researching, can achieve muzzle velocities of 3,500 m/s. So how did the Destroid Defender's guns jump an additional 1,500 m/s beyond the limit of ballistic technology without being a rail gun? Must be OverTechnology.

As for beam guns, I've said it before and I'll say it again: I think fans are being awfully presumptuous about the advantages and capabilities of laser/beam weaponry in Macross. Plenty is said about the numerous disadvantages of ballistics as if directed-energy weapons have none of their own. It's almost taken for granted that because a laser/beam gun fires an energy beam, it's without fault, limitation or disadvantage. Surely, these are not reasonable assumptions.

Perhaps beam weapons don't have the disadvantages of a "ballistic weapon" but they likely have the disadvantages of a "directed-energy weapon".

Perhaps laser/beam weapons have only limited destructive capability when scaled down to fighter size. Perhaps laser/beam weapons may only be capable of firing a certain number of times before they need to cycle down before firing again. What about accuracy? Gun pods don't need to be high precision instruments to be effective, but lasers and beam cannons likely do. A gun pod can be "dragged through the mud" and still work, but what about lasers and beam cannons? They may be far more fragile. What about heating? Overheating in ballistics is one of the major drawbacks in high rate-of-fire, continuous use guns. Energy weapons would be even worse! Beam weapons might require cooling systems that are cumbersome and even the best may allow the energy guns to be utilized only for short periods of time. Perhaps laser/beam weapons have high power consumption. Perhaps beam weapons are greatly affected by harsh environmental conditions like dust, rain, cold or humidity. Perhaps using beam weapons disrupts stealth; they'd be like a blazing beacon for any radar system.

The list goes on.

We have the luxury of hundreds of years of ballistics knowledge and we know all their disadvantages. But because beam weapons are fictional, there's a tendency to assume the rules don't apply to them simply because the disadvantages haven't been spelled out. I'd say if they are still using ballistic weapons in Macross it's because they are still practical weapons even in an era of directed-energy weaponry. I find it a perfectly reasonable assumption that if OverTechnology has advanced the science of directed-energy weapons, it's also advanced the science of ballistics, missiles and explosives.

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Well, why do electronics get hot? Because of the inefficencies in our conductive elements. the inefficiencies get turned into heat. I'd like to think that given all the other advances that OT allowed, more efficient capacitors/transformers wouldn't be too much of a stretch. And the reason why we even use those is to jump up the energy we have to levels necessary to generate a laser. But given the functionally unlimited amount of energy that a valk's thermonuclear reactor provides... well, that's not much of an issue.

As for a lasers environmental durability, much easier to seal a box with no moving parts then it is to seal a system which is inherently open to the environment (casings and exhaust) and again, cartrdiges can jam and or be duds.

As for a gunpod and accuracy... again, which is harder, training a pilot to learn how to lead a target (even in the relatively short distances on earth, pilots need to lead a target to allow for the time a bullet needs to travel to its target), account for wind and gravity and the kick from the actual firing of the weapon, or pointing at a target and hitting it instantaneously? Or, if you've ever fired a firearm... which is harder, shinning a flashlight on the target or firing off three rapid fire rounds and getting a tight grouping? Now, try a moving target, what's easier, following a target with a flashlight, or firing the gun and accurately predicting where the target will be a split second after you've fired? The ability to predict where the target will be only increases as distances increase where as the distances would need to be enormously vast in order for lag to play a role when it comes to a laser.

And let's talk about the destructive power of a bullet versus a laser. If a bullet hits a flamable chemical, what happens? Nothing, unless there's a spark around, no combustion. You could shoot a gas tank or a chemcial reactant and there would be no effect other than rupturing the tank. You hit that same system with a laser and instant combustion and boom, the ship/missile/whatever goes up from internal secondary explosions. Not to mention the laser warping or simply distintergrating whatver it hits. Whereas with a bullet, there's a great chance that it's not going to hit anything and pass through the target.

And beam weapons aren't fictional. We have a variety of beam weapons, we're even mounting them on planes to act as mobile anti missile platforms.

So sure, there are drawback to real world lasers. Slow recharge time, enormous energy requirments and rather large mechanisms needed... but we're talking about macross where people not only figured out sustainable fusion (with temperatures higher than the surface of the sun) but decided to stick them in transforming fighters. I don't think expecting them to shrink and perfect lasers is out of the question.

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All those are concerns in real-life but they aren't really as applicable in Macross. We already know that the valkyries have lasers and that they're effective. The Ghost X-9 even has them as a primary weapon. Six of them, firing at the same time.

But why not still have a gunpod? As d3v said, it lends versatility. And it seems the Macross universe agrees: valkyries have both.

@March

There are real-life lasers with pulse-rate of a billion pulses per second. Of course these ones are for purposes other than cutting but 6000 pulses per second isn't particularly unusual especially when you factor in OverTechnology.

However, if you highlight even a relatively low speed pulse laser (say using some smoke) it would still appear to be a solid beam. Any visible "pulsing" would be a secondary strobe.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Q-switching <== might be interesting

Edited by ChronoReverse

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I'd like to toss out some info as to the guns seen in macross, namely the rotary cannon, and no it's not called a chain gun like in so many games. Anyways the guns used by VFs have a few things going for them that I think we have missed. One being that it is a powered weapon that means that you could have a whole magazine of dud rounds and they would still cycle through the gun just fine for the most part. Two, even in most of today's fighters the gun sight is part of the fire control system which means that if the radar has a lock, the reticle only has to be placed on the target, you would not have to lead the target (that is a very simple version I know that there is some work to put rounds on target). Rotary cannons also deal with overheating very well because with 5 or 6 barrels all going in turn each barrel fires less than a gun with only one barrel while doing so with a higher rate of fire. Take the VF-1s GU-11 it has a rate of fire listed at 1200 rounds per minute with three barrels doing the work, that comes out to each barrel only fire 400 rounds a minute. And as for the ammo loads, the magazine could be loaded with a mix of rounds i.e. have a few rounds of high explosive incendiary with an armor piercing round in between a few more rounds of HEI so that you're covered no matter what you run in to.

As to why VFs carry both types of weapons one reason maybe that pilots just complained about the lack of a 'real' gun. Pilots can get very stuck in their ways so for all we know when the VF-4 rolled out into the fleet pilots could have taken one look at it and said 'Nice, but where's the gatling?'. If any of you think thats reaching I know a whole lot of guys that don't like the idea of any type of battery power sights on their firearms because they feel that there is too much that can go wrong when you need it and thats just a little red dot sight. Also it got me thinking that I'm not sure just how the energy converting armor system works so what if some of the energy from the laser beam could be used BY the armor, or UNS/NUNS leaders fear that someone might come up with a type of ECA that would feed off of energy weapons. I know that I'm reaching with some of this stuff but ideas just start bouncing around sometimes.

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I'd like to toss out some info as to the guns seen in macross, namely the rotary cannon, and no it's not called a chain gun like in so many games. Anyways the guns used by VFs have a few things going for them that I think we have missed. One being that it is a powered weapon that means that you could have a whole magazine of dud rounds and they would still cycle through the gun just fine for the most part. Two, even in most of today's fighters the gun sight is part of the fire control system which means that if the radar has a lock, the reticle only has to be placed on the target, you would not have to lead the target (that is a very simple version I know that there is some work to put rounds on target). Rotary cannons also deal with overheating very well because with 5 or 6 barrels all going in turn each barrel fires less than a gun with only one barrel while doing so with a higher rate of fire. Take the VF-1s GU-11 it has a rate of fire listed at 1200 rounds per minute with three barrels doing the work, that comes out to each barrel only fire 400 rounds a minute. And as for the ammo loads, the magazine could be loaded with a mix of rounds i.e. have a few rounds of high explosive incendiary with an armor piercing round in between a few more rounds of HEI so that you're covered no matter what you run in to.

Well we do see Alto lock on before firing his gun in episode 4. Perhaps the VF-25s fire control and fly-by-wire systems can work in sync to "lock" the gunpod onto the target. And speaking of mixed ammunition types, I'm wondering if not only do they carry a different types of rounds but they also might be able to switch ammo types on the fly - we've already seen Klan do it in episode 4 where she switches from paint rounds to regular rounds when the Vajra comes in, it's possible "modern" (as of 2059) valk gunpods can do this as well.

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