ThymineC wrote:You can equip a centralised intelligence with more advanced and sensitive sensors than you could on a missile/mine. The caretaker would be able to detect signatures that no individual missile/mine would have the capability to do so individually.
Sure, but at that point, why aren't you just assigning a ship to this area? All you're missing are the engines, which eliminate the primary weakness of a minefield and the caretaker in particular. You're giving this thing all the benefits of the presence of strong command and control a ship would provide, but saddling it with all of the drawbacks of mines with their immobility and distributed damage in the vague hope that 'stealth' will keep it safe from harm.
Just slap some engines on the caretaker, as well as the warheads, and fly the whole package towards the enemy. You don't even need to distribute power to the warheads, you can simply shoot them from a gun, simplifying things even further. All the eggs are in one basket either way, you may as well put all the firepower in the same basket so it can be more effectively directed at the target.
By making the central intelligence beam power/information to mines/missiles, mines and missiles can make do without a power supply, with no sensors, and with less sophisticated microprocessors. This makes them cheaper and more expendable, which is what you want of mines/missiles.
Command and control is not only not necessary, it is detrimental. These are mines
. They are not a system for fighting. Their purpose is area denial, not enemy destruction. They are there to temporarily
keep the enemy from traversing some terrain, or using a strategic asset. That is why no mine system uses a central authority, because that makes it far too easy to disrupt.
Cost effectiveness is good until it comes at the cost of effectiveness.
I won't go through all your advantages, but this one stands out:
One of the main points is not to have the power source inside the missiles and mines, because this would make them more easily detectable. By having power beamed to mines and missiles remotely, you don't give away their position as easily.
I really, really, really do not understand how you can think that beaming megawatts of power into a tiny little object is not going to leave a significant trace. Not only can nothing absorb power at 100% efficiency, it also can't convert that power into motion with 100% efficiency. You can claim meta materials all day, but this is a 1kg object, that has a very, very strong laser hitting it on the outside
Once it starts moving, the jig is up. Stealth time is over, its time to come in hard and fast.
Likewise, a missile sitting there with passive sensors sniffing is going to be consuming very little power. It certainly wouldn't be radiating the megawatts of an active drive. It can just be a thermal imaging sensor looking for spaceship engines.