With the latest update, a comparison page on weapons ranges, it finally dawned on me that I'm pretty much near the end of the tactical side of the debate (defined for our purposes as pondering ship-to-ship combat), 'cause I've got pages on almost everything I need to have pages on. Sure, there's lots to do yet, but the following facts have been fairly well established:
1. ST weapon range and targeting just embarrasses SW weapon range and targeting.
2. ST firepower readily trumps SW firepower . . . compare "Rise"[VOY] to the small-town-killing shots of Star Wars (the biggest and best they've ever mustered).
3. ST vessels embarrass SW vessels in regards to maneuverability, though expect some changes in this regard . . . ST ships are grand, but SW ships have been underestimated here due to a deceleration example I recently found. But still, ST ships have a 10-to-1 advantage on acceleration at least, and overall maneuverability is incredibly superior.
4. I still need to run numbers and do some analysis on shields (been meaning to do that for, oh, what, six years now?), but assuming anything near parity between effective firepower and shield strength would bring things strongly in Trek's favor. Even assuming vastly greater comparative shielding for SW (i.e. that their shields would last for days in a firefight within their own universe), it still doesn't work well for them.
And this, of course, is the case even using my biased-toward-SW methods.
In effect, then, an ISD can't hope to match even a smallish Federation starship in individual sublight combat. The Federation ship would run circles around the ISD, pummelling it endlessly without any threat of return fire.
What this means for me is that, while I still hope to complete the tactical pages, the simple fact is that as far as ST-v-SW.Net is concerned, the tactical side of the debate is largely over.
I've generally avoided drawing conclusions of that type on the site, instead leaving the reader to draw his or her own . . . and besides which, I prefer to leave plenty of room for new data.
But I can't help but acknowledge that tactically speaking, the tipping point has been reached.
The main question of the debate is now strategic.
But this, too, must be clarified. After all, we know the Empire has around 25,000 vessels of ISD equivalence, going by the guns of the Death Star and some math. In other words, they could have a million ships, but by firepower they only add up to about 25,000 ISDs.
The Federation has something like 10,000 ships. Even if we assume that only 2,500 of these are war-worthy, that's 'only' 10-to-1 odds. In direct fleet-to-fleet action, that wouldn't be impossible at all given the tactical shortcomings of the Empire's best.
The Empire would have two basic choices.
The first comes in two flavors.
The first flavor would be to be brutal, prosecuting a war of terror against the Federation in an effort to win quickly by breaking their will to fight. In other words, trying to race to the nearest large planet or two and destroy all life before the Federation has a chance to gather significant forces, hoping the Federation will surrender in the midst of the surprise. For this, the Empire need only come through the usual plot-device wormhole all at once in overwhelming numbers, and preferably with a Death Star.
The second flavor involves a somewhat slower campaign if the Federation fails to immediately capitulate. This flavor relies on large-scale maneuver and large-scale tactics . . . force concentration and so on. It requires that the Empire destroy all life on several worlds without spreading itself too thin. For this, hyperspace travel would preferably need to be many times faster than warp drive, as opposed to near-equal as it now appears (though this should be qualified, since high warp would be required for long durations for the Federation ships). This option requires many more vessels total.
The only other choice is for the Emperor to truly changing the face of the Empire so that shipbuilding becomes the sole focus, making it a war of economic attrition. This is a long-term, protracted campaign, wherein the Empire is subject to extraordinarily losses but tries to overwhelm the Federation with sheer numbers over time, burying the Federation in broken Imperial hulls. This choice involves total war from the Empire, and probably total war from the Federation in order to win. Heaven help the Empire if the Federation's allies assist, but heaven help the Federation if its enemies attacked.
In short, the first choice (in either flavor) comes down to something akin to Graham Kennedy's "Portal". The last choice would put the Federation in the sort of long-duration war it's never seen.
But in any case, at least ST-v-SW.Net has some vague conclusions now.