why space fighters would actually be useful
Greg Fish

The ICBM analogy is a very bad one. ICBM need to overcome a lot of difficulty in atmospheric environment. They are almost like a rocket with slightly less ambitious trajectory, and rocket aren’t cheap. Even then ICBM still make bomber obsolete for the propose of nuclear strike. And for aerial combat propose modern fighter are essentially just a missile delivery vessel due to low range of air to air missile caused by atmospheric interference. If you can put modern surface to air missile (which is incredibly accurate) on the warship without its line of sight been block by horizon. There really isn’t any propose for interceptor to exist. In space however, missile can be made much cheaper than ICBM. You don’t need all the stages and boosters for escaping Earth’s gravity, and you can done the initial acceleration via electromagnetic accelerator which further decrease the cost and fuel required. A modern short range guide missile is significantly cheaper than a top of the line jet fighter. Since there is no stealth and no horizon in space. Space warfare will happened at great distance. Point defense system consist of direct energy weapon can leave only a fraction of a second for space fighter to dodge the incoming attack. Even high speed kinetic PD if you can saturate the area of possible position the space fighter can maneuver during its reaction time it will be a death sentence. Having to carry a human and all the life support equipment also limit the maximum acceleration it can endure which also in term significantly reduce its survivability. In short, a space fighter is extremely likely to be destroyed far before it can travel far enough to “whizz” by anything. Also momentum don’t really deteriorate in space. You can lobe your “too heavy” bomb away via accelerator at a long distant at those bunker. If both bomb and missile can be delivered more effectively by either a bigger vessel or a drone. What propose does a space fighter left other than its romantic value in a sci-fi story? The only situation a fighter size craft will be useful might only be in orbital situation which at that point shouldn’t be called “space” fighter at all, and far from what you discuss here.

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