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  1. #1
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    Default Why did Earth ships have such primitive weaponry?

    One thing that always bothered me about the SG1/SGA series was the battlecruisers and glider craft they made, none of which had any weaponry that was effective against anything more than fighter sized craft.

    It doesn't make any sense to me, they had how many years of off world time to steal and reverse engineer Go'uld based energy weapons, like the staves and the energy cannons mounted on wheels?

    Heck if they, for some reason, couldn't reverse engineer it, then why not steal a bunch of those energy cannons and fit those on the ship, as well as railguns? they have their own power source (liquid naquadah? if I remember rightly), so it's not like they would be a drain on the ships power.

    A single blast from one cannon was able to destroy the bridge and crash an Alkesh (The episode when Teal'c gets stuck in the gates memory)

    If you had 20+ of those things firing at a shielded target, it would probably do some damage.

  2. #2
    First Lieutenant StargateMillennium's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why did Earth ships have such primitive weaponry?

    Well, first off I need to emphasize not underestimating the rail gun. We tend to overlook it since it bears so much similarity to modern ballistics. The staff cannon destroyed teh alkesh bridge but a proper railgun would do the same if not more damage. Now, it's ultimately weaker than Ha'tak staff cannons but to say they were only effective against fighter craft is downplaying its power. Railguns are being researched as a replacement for missiles and other explosive weapons. The reason railguns are seen flinging slugs of metal and not warheads is because a proper railgun's destructive force will completely overshadow anything a non-nuclear warhead can do. If modern rail guns are anything to go by then the railguns on the 302's would be far more powerful than the cannons on a glider. So what they have is more powerful than covering their ships in glider cannons.

    We need to also establish that not all staff cannons are equal. The cannons used in artillery and on gliders were much weaker than those on a Ha'tak. There are some unknowns in other places. For example, I suspect the cannon used on mounts are weaker than the glider cannons (judging from explosion sizes). But it's not confirmed.

    So why didn't they try placing Ha'tak quality staff cannons? One reason is limited access. Teal'c staff cannon was taken from a glider. They didn't get access to the staff cannons on Ha'tak (much more powerful cannons) until much later, S8/S9 later. Did the rebellion even have a fleet in S7? Studying a staff weapon is not like studying a staff cannon as the bigger you go, the more complexities you face even if they rely on the same principle. (I guess you know why they always lost their cool toys after getting them).


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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Why did Earth ships have such primitive weaponry?

    Oh I don't disagree railguns are powerful, but when it came to ship to ship combat, they seemed completely ineffective against capital type ships.

    It just surprised me they weren't able to make their own energy weapons in all the time they had access to the Go'ulds technology

    The only time the railguns seemed to do damage was vs the fighter bay in the wraith ships.

  4. #4
    Captain Xaeden's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why did Earth ships have such primitive weaponry?

    Earth was never able to effectively make its own shields, hyperdrive engines, or energy sources either. They were given the knowledge of how to construct each and every one of those things, so why should they be able to make energy weapons without also being given them? As to stealing: Taking them from the Goa'uld's range of smaller ships and installing them onto the Prometheus is not likely to make much of a difference against an enemy's capital ship and they never had an opportunity to steal a Goa'uld mothership's energy weapons as they never had one for very long.

    Also, it appears that they spent little time early on in pursuit of energy weapons, instead preferring to devote time and resources into researching shield "phasing" missile technology as a means to combat Goa'uld motherships.

    VIDRINE
    Major, are you suggesting a slammer missile would be capable of taking out a Goa'uld mother ship?

    CARTER
    If it's armed with a naquadah-enhanced warhead, and modified with a shield frequency modulator, yes, Sir!
    -Season 4's Tangent

    I don't know what happened to that. They stopped referencing it without explanation, so I assume it didn't pan out. Nevertheless, it was a reasonable approach considering what they had available to them at the time. Energy weapons on a fighter serve no purpose to their then primary goal, which was to fend off future mothership attacks on Earth. Similarly, when they came up with their first battleship, it would've made sense to continue to try to work out a way to get missiles past an enemy's shield as the Prometheus had no ability to beat a Goa'uld mothership by trading energy weapons fire prior to the Asgard stepping in with shield technology.

    Sure, it would've made it easier to take down bombers, it might've helped if they were up against a damaged Goa'uld mothership, and there's the Wraith, but the Stargate Program operates in secret with a limited amount of dark funding and scientists available to them. They therefore had to prioritize what they would focus on. A lot of effort would've gone into just being able to make (and then redesign with Earth tech) those ships, a lot of effort went into trying to get working shields and hyperdrives, and I assume a lot of effort went into trying to find a way to bypass Goa'uld shields with missiles because doing that was more important to them than having energy weapons. That they were able to make their own ships on their own after only a few years (even with parts from Goa'uld ships and alien designed naquadah generators) is a stretch. That they needed more time to crack certain things like energy weapons, especially given the low priority I presume they had, is reasonable to me.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Why did Earth ships have such primitive weaponry?

    Nice, thanks to both of you, was good to read the different opinions.

    I must admit, I don't remember the slammer missile comment.

  6. #6
    Second Lieutenant Chaka-Z0's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why did Earth ships have such primitive weaponry?

    I always found it a bit illogical that energy shields on hostile ships were able to block railguns and missiles as effectively as energy weapons. Energy powered weapons impact is dispersed and absorbed by the shield, that makes sense. What doesn't make sense is how the same shield is able to block a ballistic kinetic-energy based weapon hurled at incredible speeds. One is energy, the other is a huge chunk of metal (or other material). I think SGU was much more accurate in that regards in Season 2, when they had to modify the shield frequency to block certain types of weapons (drones).

    In some way I think this primitive technology was one of the Taur'i's main advantage, as the Asgard mentioned, nobody else in the Milky Way were *stupid enough* to come up with a weapon such as firearms. I just wish it would've been exploited a bit more. I mean, the System Lords were kind of caught by surprise in their first encounters with the Taur'i, they had never seen such tactics or weapons like P90s. Why wasn't it the case with their ships?

    Quote Originally Posted by AdamPD View Post
    The only time the railguns seemed to do damage was vs the fighter bay in the wraith ships.
    Yea, and Wraith ships don't have shields so...

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Why did Earth ships have such primitive weaponry?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chaka-Z0 View Post
    Yea, and Wraith ships don't have shields so...
    True that, but in all their engagements with the Wraith, they never managed to destroy a cruiser or hive ship from memory, solely using railguns.
    It was only when they were able to teleport nukes aboard, did they have the upper hand

  8. #8
    First Lieutenant StargateMillennium's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why did Earth ships have such primitive weaponry?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chaka-Z0 View Post
    I always found it a bit illogical that energy shields on hostile ships were able to block railguns and missiles as effectively as energy weapons. Energy powered weapons impact is dispersed and absorbed by the shield, that makes sense. What doesn't make sense is how the same shield is able to block a ballistic kinetic-energy based weapon hurled at incredible speeds. One is energy, the other is a huge chunk of metal (or other material). I think SGU was much more accurate in that regards in Season 2, when they had to modify the shield frequency to block certain types of weapons (drones).

    In some way I think this primitive technology was one of the Taur'i's main advantage, as the Asgard mentioned, nobody else in the Milky Way were *stupid enough* to come up with a weapon such as firearms. I just wish it would've been exploited a bit more. I mean, the System Lords were kind of caught by surprise in their first encounters with the Taur'i, they had never seen such tactics or weapons like P90s. Why wasn't it the case with their ships?
    I think that's because a lot of scifi writers view shields as just solid walls made of energy and it stops things simply because it's hard enough. Then again, the destructive force of a projectile is still from energy so it just needs to disperse the kinetic energy rather than whatever energy E-weapons use.


    Railguns weren't the only things useless against Goa'uld shields though. They tanked all the naquadah-enhanced nukes too. I think it's fair to say that before Asgard modifications, the Tau'ri had nothing that would pose a serious threat to Goa'uld ships.


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  9. #9
    Second Lieutenant Chaka-Z0's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why did Earth ships have such primitive weaponry?

    Quote Originally Posted by StargateMillennium View Post
    I think that's because a lot of scifi writers view shields as just solid walls made of energy and it stops things simply because it's hard enough. Then again, the destructive force of a projectile is still from energy so it just needs to disperse the kinetic energy rather than whatever energy E-weapons use.
    Good point, perhaps I'm wrong in stating that but where does the actual projectile goes? We don't see it being disintegrated, whereas E-weps don't have any physical projectiles.

    I just had the craziest idea, what about some outside the box low tech thinking?

    What about installing huge rail-gun type canons on ships? Projectiles would be asteroids, just like Annubis did. The ship would collect relatively small sized asteroids, load em up on a railgun tube and hurl them at other ships. Motherships are nowhere near as fast to dodge the ''bullet''.

    Railguns weren't the only things useless against Goa'uld shields though. They tanked all the naquadah-enhanced nukes too. I think it's fair to say that before Asgard modifications, the Tau'ri had nothing that would pose a serious threat to Goa'uld ships.
    I mean its quite obvious that they didn't want the Tau'ri to be too strong, which is why TPTB kept downsizing our tech. Mistakes were made, just like the Zats.

  10. #10
    First Lieutenant StargateMillennium's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why did Earth ships have such primitive weaponry?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chaka-Z0 View Post
    Mistakes were made, just like the Zats.
    Nobody wants to brandish a penis at the aliens.




    Quote Originally Posted by Chaka-Z0 View Post
    What about installing huge rail-gun type canons on ships? Projectiles would be asteroids, just like Annubis did. The ship would collect relatively small sized asteroids, load em up on a railgun tube and hurl them at other ships. Motherships are nowhere near as fast to dodge the ''bullet''.
    I can see this as being an effective siege weapon against planets but I can't see it being that good against ships. Railguns need a very tight grip on its projectile and that'll be very hard with the awkwardly shaped and varied sizes of the asteroids. Also, railguns need its prong to be able to conduct electricity. Though, I guess you could create a sabot of some sort to encase the asteroid but by that point you might as well provide your own armature. A gauss launcher would probably be better, but I don't think you can get the speeds that would make a big enough difference. I think something like this would be better at planetary sieges.

    I think there might be a simpler solution. I don't recall ha'taks ever needing to drop the shields in order to launch or accept death gliders. If they could find the reason for that, they could have a missile that explodes inside the shield.


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  11. #11
    Captain Xaeden's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why did Earth ships have such primitive weaponry?

    Quote Originally Posted by StargateMillennium View Post
    I think there might be a simpler solution. I don't recall ha'taks ever needing to drop the shields in order to launch or accept death gliders. If they could find the reason for that, they could have a missile that explodes inside the shield.
    The death gliders are able to do that because they know the frequency that their mothership's shields operate on. Jumpers and 302s can do the same thing. 304s also use this to beam things through their shields (with the exception of one Atlantis episode where this long established convention was forgotten) or through Atlantis' shields.

    If they know an enemy ship's shield frequency they could get a weapon through, but short of capturing a crew member, reprogramming his VISOR to transmit video, and then letting that crew member return to his ship or having a traitor on that enemy ship give it to you, it's not necessarily easy to get. Motherships belonging to a single system lord may operate on the same frequency, so it's possible that taking down a death glider belonging to, say, Ba'al would've given them an opening to later go after his motherships. The advantage would be short-lived, though; after the first one or couple of ships were destroyed, Ba'a would catch on an change the frequency on all his ships.

    I assume, however, that gliders protect that information behind some sort of encryption, so who knows how long that would take and if the frequencies would even be the same by the time that is cracked as they may change those more regularly than the Atlantis expedition did (this a reference to the Rogue Asgard being able to get through Atlantis' shields).

  12. #12
    Second Lieutenant Chaka-Z0's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why did Earth ships have such primitive weaponry?

    Quote Originally Posted by Xaeden View Post
    I assume, however, that gliders protect that information behind some sort of encryption, so who knows how long that would take and if the frequencies would even be the same by the time that is cracked as they may change those more regularly than the Atlantis expedition did (this a reference to the Rogue Asgard being able to get through Atlantis' shields).
    I think that would be correct, I mean I've worked in places where a security code was constantly changing, every minute or so. If we can do that at our current level technology, I think its safe to say that the frequency is either encrypted or constantly changing in order to prevent unauthorized access. Also kind of a ballsy move to do (sneaking a mothership). What if you got the wrong frequency and splat yourself in the shield just like a fly hitting a window?

  13. #13
    First Lieutenant Cmdr. Setsuna F. Seyei's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why did Earth ships have such primitive weaponry?

    Simple answer is that none of the advanced race share tech with less advanced races by policy. Said policy is usually resulting from having giving a less advanced race higher tech and the less advanced race abused it.
    Requiescat in pace Weedle

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