Technology 106 - The Shielding Systems

Shielding systems provide the first line of defence for a vessel. There are several systems that are collectively known as shielding systems.

Particle Shields

Almost every starship is equipped with particle shields. These matter deflective fields repel matter from the ship. At high speeds this deflects matter that might otherwise damage the ship. In an atmosphere they will repel the air, and typically form an aerodynamic or even lifting surface. There are various settings applicable for these systems, and users will typically create several 'profiles' to make their use a lot easier. High energy usage, such as would be typical for atmospheric operations or very high speeds in space, will typically route power directly from the SIR to the invading piece of matter. This energy is often many times that of the incoming object. With these in operation an object striking the vessel's perimeter at a collective speed of, say, two thousand kilometers per hour, may find itself deflected at fifty thousand kilometers per hour. This is usually enough to cause the object to spontaeneously plasmify, and accounts for 'burn through' visible on some ships during high speed descents.

A secondary system in place on many ships is a structural particle field, which serves to support the spaceframe and external plates against physical buffeting. Some cheaper systems use a single system to do both jobs, usually these systems will have very limited options available on power settings.

Hangar Shields

Seen on many ships, hangar shields are a reliable system designed to maintain atmospheric pressure within the bay whilst allowing transit of ships. These shields are basically tuned particle fields that repel with a force greater than one atmosphere. Combat starships can typically increase the power of these fields to a much higher level, so that a ship attempting to pass through the barrier is severly damaged or destroyed.

Ray Shields

Many ships feature energy shields. These are designed to protect the ship against attack from energy weapons, and are divided into four broad catagories. These catagories are classified as being either Absorbing or Deflecting, and Conformal or Non-Conformal.

1 - Conformal Absorbtion Mould

This type of shield is preferred by the Galactic Empire for their capital ship command section defence. CAM shields work by directing a stream of energy from the SIR onto a mould composed of exotic materials. This mould converts the energy form and causes it to propogate out through the surrounding area. The precise size and make up of the mould determines when the energy drops down a level and forms the 'shell' of protection. Cheaper versions of these shields are often spherical, or ellipsoid. If money is no object, however, they can be manufactured so as to generate a field very close to the hull of a ship.

2 - Conformal Absorbtion Strip

These shields are popular with utility vessel manufacturers as they're pretty easy to maintain. Each ship is surrounded by a web of small thin emitter strips, typically between hull plates. These form a mesh of layered panels of shield energy which completely cover the ship, forming a rough approximation of the shape of the ship.

3 - Non-Conformal Gimbal Deflector

These shields are often issued to fighters as they're very parsimonious with power whilst providing a great deal of protection. Within their housings these small emitters create a single, large planar deflection field. The gimbals can orient these fields to any position, making a kind of energy based armour plate. When a blaster hits a deflector field it effectively bounces if the energy of the field is greater than the energy of the shot. This would normally mean the shields ought to consume a LOT of power, however the power to deflect the shots is proportional to the amount of deflection. Essentially if you can angle the deflector at a steep enough angle that the bouncing shot will 'just' miss you can often do this with next to no power at all. The down side is that if a deflector is angled too sharply a shot will simply slip around it and hit an unprotected ship. To combat this many fighter doctrines dictate using a pair of shields or more to 'double up' with one field at a steep angle and another at a less steep angle, hedging the bets that if the first misses, the second might catch the shot, albeit at a higher energy cost.

Really effective deflector jockeys can make all the difference in heavy combat.

4 - Waveguide Absorbing Shields

These see far less use on starships than in other envirnoments. Essentially a single deflector field is enhanced by being contained within a wave guide frame. These shields are much stronger for their power requirements than most other kinds of shields, but the waveguides themselves are VERY vulnerable and weapons systems exist to target them specifically.