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Acceleration is the rate of change in the velocity of an object. Acceleration is describe in units of distance per unit of time per unit of time: typically meters per second per second or m/s².

Calculating Acceleration

Acceleration in m/s² = Thrust in Newtons / Mass of Object in Kilograms.

You have a missile that has the folllowing specifics:

  • Mass: 200 kg
  • Engine Thrust: 1000 kg

First, you convert the thrust in kilograms into newtons by multiplying it by 9.80665

1000 kilograms * 9.80665 = 9806.65 Newtons (or if you want to requantify it further 9806.65/1000 = 9.8 kilonewtons)

So our equation is now: 9806.65 / 200 = 49.03325 m/s² acceleration.

Using it in a VS Debate

Let us assume that a standard Imperial TIE Fighter weighs about 15 metric tons (which isn't that unreasonable, considering that an early model F-16A has a combat weight of 11.4 metric tons).

Since 1 Metric Ton = 1000 kg; the mass of the TIE Fighter is 15,000 kg.

Assuming that we want it to have 3000 gs of acceleration (in a SW EU Novel, a Lambda Class Shuttle is stated to have at least 1500 gs of acceleration); this comes out to:

3000 Gees * 9.80665 = 29,419.95 m/s² of acceleration.

Plugging that into the equation above, we get:

29,419.95 m/s² = X / 15,000 kg

Solving for X via 29,419.95 m/s² * 15,000 kg gives us the thrust of the fighter's Twin Ion Engines: 441,299,250 Newtons, or some 45 million kilograms of thrust. Put into simplistic terms; a TIE Fighter then would have a thrust to weight ratio of 3,000:1.

In contrast, the best modern day fighters, such as the F-22A, have a thrust to weight ratio of 1.26:1