By 2057 the diplomatic contact with the United Colonies and the Emkin Assembly in 61 Virginis had become relatively good and the great powers of Earth inquired through the United Nations about the possibility of sending observers. This was to take a closer look at how the Untiph-bel waged war.
Most of Earth’s militaries saw the Untiph-bel as being much more experienced in matter of space war than themselves or even the Quetzal that had made it into the Sol system. About Two thousand years of experience wasn’t something that should be ignored. Additionally, if it ever came to it, it would allow to try and develop countermeasures against Untiph-bel tactics.
During these observations it became clear that the Untiph-bel largely preferred to use missiles for long range engagements with each other. This was largely due to the long detection ranges that came with the long distances between nations and even habitated celestial objects. Only the spacecraft equipped with the newly rediscovered Quetzal Heim-Feynman Event Generators they were able to get into close fighting ranges quickly, using lasers and kinetic energy weapons.
With missile combat being preferred, several kinds of missile warheads were observed. One of the most common were kinetic warheads that all but covered the target with ball bearing sized ‘grapeshot’, spreading the damage over a larger area. A larger version of these warheads spread small chemical explosives over a larger area that exploded just after impact. Nuclear warheads were not as spread as first thought, where human spacecraft were solely equipped with nuclear weapons.
The use of small ‘counter missiles’ to intercept large missiles over a longer distance was one of the reasons why the large monolithic nuclear warheads had fallen out of favor as the kinetic impactors and ‘grapeshot’ of the counter missiles could intercept about forty to sixty percent of missiles before the terminal approach phases.
Reports on the tactics and weapons used were well received across the globe and sparked off the development of several new missile systems. Due to the modular nature of the commonly used spacecraft, those missiles, while domestic developments, were modular and could be used across all combat spacecraft of Earth.
One of the missile systems was the long range missile, based around the various designs for ground-to-orbit missiles, like the American ESM-12 Trembler with a Delta-V of nearly ten thousand meters per second. Additionally longer ranged missiles with gaseous fission thrusters and experimental fusion thrusters were under development. Each could be equipped with one of several warhead variants. One was a conventional high yield nuclear warhead of 500 kt, while a second was a MIRV nuclear warhead with up to ten independent terminal guidance and a low yield of 10 to 20 kt.
A third warhead was the Shattershot warhead that could be described as an improvement of the Untiph-bel designs. Rather than carrying a mass of ball bearing sized kinetic impactors, the Scattershot was designed around the same principle as cluster munitions. Each warhead was essentially a bus that carried about a hundred soda can sized submunitions equipped with simple sensors, hydrazine reaction controls and guidance systems that communicated with each other and the bus.
The bus dispersed the submunitions with simple springs before the terminal phase, during which each submunition could independently maneuver. Before the actual impact a small explosive charge exploded releasing the actual warhead, a pre fragmented block of tungsten carbide or depleted uranium. The bus itself acted as active electronic countermeasure for the submunitions, pretending to be a conventional warhead with terminal guidance.
The second missile system was a counter missile system that, equipped with a smaller version of the Scattershot warhead, could be used to intercept an opponent’s missile before it entered the terminal guidance phase. In a pinch it could also be used as anti-spacecraft missile.
The Scattershot missile warhead also lead to the development of similar munition for the large 155 mm and 406 mm rail guns.
With the observation of space warfare also came limited observations concerning infantry combat, when it came to infantry assaults on asteroid mines and habitats of the Holy Hegemony of Lerr.
Conventional infantry was equipped with armored space suits and an interesting mix of weapons. Most of these weapons were short ranged shotgun like flechette weapons, as well as handheld short range particle weapons.
The flechette weapons were specially designed that they would be stuck in the walls of a pressure vessel, like the living area of a space station, to minimize atmospheric losses. The particle weapons were primarily used against armored targets to deliver an electric charge that could destroy even hardened electronics, but where notoriously short ranged and prone to emitting ionizing radiation if not properly taken care of.
It was of an interesting note that the Untiph-bel had developed a form of armored fighting vehicle that could be used inside and outside of asteroid habitats and mines, using a design similar to the old Soviet TKS spacecraft, armed with a number of flechette guns, particle weapons and a limited number of explosive tipped missiles.
These observations lead to the development of a series of new Personal Protective Armors specially for the use in microgravity and vacuum environments. In most cases this merely necessitated to add a mechanical counter pressure suit into an existing PPA design, but this was considered to be a stopgap measure until an actual space PPA could be developed.
Still, it was expected that these PPA would do reasonably well against flechette weapons, even if they were vulnerable to particle weapons.
While flechette weapons were already considered for space borne infantry, particle beam weapons were a new field of development for personal weapons. The first prototypes were short ranged weapons based on conventional linear accelerators that were unable to reach the energy levels observed with Untiph-bel weapons. Later prototypes utilizing Wakefield accelerator designs were able to reach up to 1 GeV.
Similar observations on weapons and tactics utilized by the Tiaunt allowed the first comparison to military force that was planetbound like most Earth militaries.
For the most part the tactics used by the Tiaunt were comparable to those on Earth, though the Tiaunt were more in favor of fighting at a distance. Only rarely a Tiaunt would favor close quarters combat situations. This was largely based on their biological development and their ‘build in’ biochemical lasers.
The biochemical nature of these lasers also allowed them to develop a working understanding of optics and lasers early in their technological development, making them masters of optics by the time the Quetzal had found them. The fall and rise of their civilization had done little to reduce this knowledge.
Compared to the lasers available to the Tiaunt, ballistic and kinetic weapons were less developed and handily surpassed by both humans and Untiph-bel.
Where humanity was using coil-assisted liquid propellant kinetic weapons for armored fighting vehicles, the Tiaunt were still using solid propellants without kinetic boosters.
The relative lack of room and high temperature superconducting materials also limited Tiaunt capabilities, as their vehicles were dependent on petrochemical engines or even, though highly advanced, steam turbines. Comparable human vehicles were long since using an all-electric drivetrain with superconducting batteries for power, easily rechargeable in the field by a trailer sized compact fusion reactor.
New designs however were making use of new developments, and the Soviet Union was the first to field a tank armed with a particle beam weapon, where China was the first to use a high powered laser.
Another area of development where the Tiaunt were superior to Earth and the Untiph-bel was protection. While their actual armor used on their spacecraft was comparable to those of mankind and the Untiph-bel, the Tiaunt had managed to developed what could be called force field technology.
This force field technology was actually just a trinary application of the Tiaunt Heim-Feynman Event Generator, using the strong magnetic field produced by the rotating superconductors to create something of a mini-magnetosphere around a spacecraft, capable of deflecting charged particles and even larger metal objects to a certain degree. Additionally some ionizing radiation could be deflected as well, by injecting an ionized gas into the field, creating a thin plasma.
Theories of this technology had existed for a while on Earth, but had not been implemented due to various reasons, like that it had sounded too fantastic to exist, or that the Quetzal had not developed it themselves. Now however the development and use of this technology, combined with the potential of influencing missile warheads as well, received a higher priority. Until the system could be integrated into the next generation of the Heim-Feynman Event Generator, a simple software patch and an external plasma injection module had to suffice, with a higher use of power by the Heim-Feynman Event Generator itself.