CN Threat Report K459-C Kilrathi Skipper Missile
Distributed to: All Command Personnel
First Issued 2646.252
Current Update 2654.071
Based on intelligence analysis, development by the enemy of the Ultra-Long-Range Phased Photon-Cloak Torpedo, aka “Skipper Missile,” has been upgraded from “potential” to “imminent” threat status. This threat may be reasonably expected to appear in the enemy's arsenal within six months to three years.
The Ultra-Long-Range Phased Photon-Cloak Torpedo (hereafter referred to as the Skipper Missile) is a strategic ship or satellite weapon used for single-strike assaults on installations and cap ships. It may carry high-explosive, nuclear, radiation, antiradiation or exotic warheads.
The Skipper Missile employs a photon cloak to evade counter-measures. The photon cloak uses a linked array of at least three antigraviton emitters to route photons and other electromagnetic emissions around the object with no reflection or diffusion. In effect, the cloaked missile becomes invisible to all electromagnetic sensors, including the human eye.
As a long-range stealth weapon, the Skipper Missile will probably move quite slowly by ballistic standards-probably more slowly than a starfighter at full acceleration. This means that effective interception may be possible.
As currently envisioned, cloaking technology inhibits sensor operation from both directions. That is, just as it is impossible to see what's in a cloak, it is likewise difficult to see out from within the cloak. Furthermore, early cloak generators may require an exceptional energy output to maintain, particularly in a torpedo-sized object. There is further a likelihood that a working photon cloak will lead to heat and radiation buildup within, since the energy output of the cloaked object cannot dissipate normally. Energy emissions from within a cloaked area will be “caught” in the cloak field and circulate in an increasing feedback loop, eventually leading to shield overload and possibly the destruction of the cloaked object. Early versions of the Skipper Missile, therefore, can be expected to uncloak periodically. This will allow them to correct their course (particularly against cap ships and other moving objects), and also to vent energy emissions. Because of this “energy vent” effect, Skipper Missiles should appear as “bright spots” on most sensor readouts-they will stand out much more keenly to sensor arrays than other torpedoes and probably most fighter-sized objects. It ca be expected, however, that these decloaked periods will be transitory in nature, probably somewhere between 1 and 10 seconds. It can be expected that Skipper Missiles targeted on moving targets (e.g., cap ships) will uncloak for periods somewhat longer than those targeted on stationary or orbital targets (e.g., satellites and installations), due to the necessity of both venting energy and correcting trajectory.
Decloaked Skipper Missiles will be easily detected from most cap ships, at distances up to several hundred thousand kilometers. It is essential, however, that they be recognized for what they are. An intense reading as from a large, slow-moving object that appears suddenly and vanishes after a few seconds may be dismissed as an equipment glitch or transitory astronomical phenomenon.
Operators should be made aware of the possibility that such a reading may represent a Skipper Missile. When such a reading is detected, any fighter escorts should be informed immediately of an unconfirmed bogie, and that sector of space should be monitored carefully for at least 15 minutes for any repeat of the same reading. If a repeat occurs along a rough line between the first reading and any potential target, it should be regarded as a confirmed reading, and full defensive posture adopted.
The most effective defense against skipper technology will probably be fighter interdiction. Fighters have the requisite speed and mobility to close with and destroy a Skipper Missile in the seconds it may be decloaked. Upon notification that a bogie is a possible Skipper Missile, fighters should move to interpose themselves between the target ship and the Skipper, and wait for any more readings while scanning visually for the missile's next decloak. Fast, long-range, low-damage weapons like lasers should prove effective, as it is unlikely an unmanned, torpedo-sized object will mount both cloak and shield technology.
Depending on its warhead, there is a possibility that the destruction of a Skipper Missile may result in spontaneous detonation, possibly causing collateral damage.
Cf. Threat Report K422-B, Kilrathi Stealth Fighter, Updated 2654.012