Expendable munitions have always been an important part of the Colonial arsenal, even more so in the Rag Tag Fleet. The energy requirements needed to launch torpedoes is almost nil, so most civilian ships can mount some torpedoes. The Cylons, on the other hand, make less use of expendables, relying primarily on energy weapons.
Colonial missiles and torpedoes come in varying sizes and with varying warheads. Large torpedoes and missiles can deliver nuclear war heads but more commonly are tipped with Solonite warheads. Solonite is the most powerful, conventional explosive yet devised by man. It is refined from Tylium ore much like Solium. Most missiles and torpedoes are set for Impact Detonation, these are naturally known as ‘Impact Torpedoes.‘ However, in the case of nuclear weapons and in some missiles intended to air-burst for micro munition deployment, they use proximity detonators.
Light and medium torpedoes can be mounted externally on ship hulls in launch racks. This means they do not take up internal cargo space, (important in the tight confines of the Rag Tag Fleet) as do reloadable torpedo tubes, but they require external activity on the part of the crew to reload the launch racks. This is a time consuming process that is EXTREMELY dangerous in battle.
Missiles vs Torpedoes
Though common parlance often confuses the two, and even some military personnel use the terms interchangeably, there is a difference.
Missiles are used by orbiting spacecraft to attack targets on a planetary surface. They are designed for a short acceleration, usually less then 1,600 metrics (1,000 miles.) At which point their engines die and do not restart. Upon entering atmosphere they extend small wings and fins to aid in targeting. The targeting computer and sensors are designed to locate and track objects on the planet surface using downloaded maps and photographs. Missiles invariably fall under the category of large or heavy weapons. The warheads on missiles are typically large and in some cases nuclear.
Colonial Torpedoes, also called Laser Torpedoes, fall into three size categories; Light, Medium and Heavy. The term ‘Laser Torpedo’ is derived from the low level laser mounted in the torpedo for tracking a target. It is not a weapon in itself.
Colonial Light Torpedo, sometimes referred to as a ‘rockets.’ These are used to suppress enemy fighter activity. Small, fast, and highly manoeuvrable, they are launched in pairs or groups. They seek out enemy targets, working in order of priority from those closest to ‘Base’ or launch point, to those farthest away. This defensive priority is designed to target enemy fighters that are attacking the ship first, but it can be overridden prior to launch, if a particular target is desired. Once the torpedo locks on an enemy craft it will continue following it until it is destroyed, the torpedo is destroyed or the torpedo runs out of fuel. Light torpedoes carry small warheads, capable of destroying an enemy fighter easily, but doing minimal damage to larger ships except with multiple hits. Light torpedoes are often mounted on external racks allowing rapid deployment. Their relatively low mass means that they have little impact on the lifting capacity of the ship carrying them. The maximum range of a Light Torpedo is about 16,000metrics (10,000 miles.)
Cylon Marauders are the only Cylon ship to employ light torpedoes or rockets. These are used in surface attacks as well as against ships. They are armed with conventional warheads and have range and stats similar to theColonial variety.
Colonial Medium Torpedoes are larger and carry correspondingly bigger warheads. Capable of inflicting serious damage to large ships these torpedoes are often slung underneath Vipers for delivery to larger enemy ships. They can be rack launched (usually on larger civilian ships where the extra mass is negligible.) but more commonly are launched from internal, re loadable tubes in military vessels. Not as manoeuvrable as a light torpedo but with larger, faster engines and longer flight times, they are not suitable for attacking small fighter craft. Targets are designated at launch with a list of secondary targets if the primary is not available. The maximum range of a Medium Torpedo is about 64,000metrics (40,000 miles.)
Cylon Torpedoes tend to be multi functional, able to double as missiles. Their size and stats generally confirms to that of a Colonial Medium Torpedo. They are generally nuclear tipped and their onboard computers are as smart as the Colonial Heavy Torpedo..
Colonial Heavy Torpedoes, the big ship killers. These require special launch tubes (which also double for launching missiles) and are found only on military ships. Packing powerful Solonite warheads and capable of delivering nuclear warheads they are formidable weapons. These torpedoes posses long range tracking sensors, sufficient AI capacity to ‘play dead’ and wait for opportunity, on board stealth suites to limit their detection and ablative armor to reduce the effects of enemy defensive fire. Targets are assigned at launch with secondary targets if the primary is not available. The maximum range of a Heavy Torpedo is about 322,000metrics (200,000 miles.) This is at full thrust. The AI computer is smart enough to shut down thrusters and coast for vast distances if the mission requires it.