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Why is the bridge located in a vulnerable spot on capital ships?

In various sci-fi worlds, capital-class space ships seem to have their bridge located in a manner where it is easily accessible to enemy fire (even small ship fire).
It makes it seem like it would be extremely easy for a squad of enemy fighters to shoot at or kamikaze into and take out the bridge, thus disabling most navigation systems and other various ship controls.

Examples:

  • Star Wars Star Destroyers.
  • Not sure what "class" the Star Trek Enterprise ship belongs to but I would say that counts in this discussion as well.
  • And others...

Why not just completely enclose the bridge in heavy armor (or within the interior of the ship) and use cameras & displays?

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  • I took the liberty of improving the style of your post. Note we use a flavor of markdown, so in most cases writing HTML tags such as <br> is not needed.
    – Andres F.
    Nov 26, 2015 at 22:48
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    I'm VTCing this as 'too broad' on the grounds that you're asking a very general question about starship design across a large number of franchises. As such, I don't think there will actually be a single 'correct' answer about this, especially if you're seeking an in-universe design for each. I will retract this VTC if you were to specify it to one particular franchise Nov 27, 2015 at 3:03
  • @N_Soong fair enough. but I would argue that there would be mutually common logical desires/goals in designing spaceships and locating the "bridge" (if there is a bridge) as long as the things in the spaceships are organic living things that "breathe" some sort of synthesized atmosphere and have other environmental requirements in order to stay living, as well as concerns about safety due to things like war, accidents, etc. Just because you are in another franchise doesn't always mean vastly different requirements. We are talking about factors to stay alive in a spaceship, nothing extra.
    – Zero
    Jan 16, 2016 at 4:07
  • @Zero true, but I still think the different franchises are important; the mission of the Enterprise is vastly different from that of a Star Destroyer Jan 16, 2016 at 4:13
  • @N_Soong yet they both have life support systems (pressurized hull) AND some forms of shields and armors. =) AND weapons (different mission or not!)... power generator of some sort, engines, hanger, lifts, etc. etc. The differences are minor in comparison.
    – Zero
    Jan 16, 2016 at 4:16

3 Answers 3

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Out-of-universe: for the drama.

In-universe: it's not always true.

One example is the colonial Battlestar Galactica from Battlestar Galactica (2004 re-imagined series). The CIC - Combat Information Center, essentially "the bridge" is:

located deep in the interior "alligator head" of the battlestar, where the main hull meets the midship section.

Source

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  • point taken. "always" was mis-used as a form of exaggeration.
    – Zero
    Nov 26, 2015 at 20:44
  • So I'll go with "windows" - have a nice view at the great void they call space.
    – Ghanima
    Nov 26, 2015 at 20:46
  • include that in your answer lol
    – Zero
    Nov 26, 2015 at 20:50
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    +1 Good example with Battlestar Galactica!
    – Andres F.
    Nov 26, 2015 at 22:49
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    I would add that in cases where it is true its generally because the bridge location has a great field of view. IE bridges on navy ships are high up and relatively isolated (particularly on something like an aircraft carrier) because they offer the best views on the ship. However, anything that doesn't need a view (ie the CIC) is generally located deep in the bowels of the ship. Nov 27, 2015 at 0:28
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Many of these space ship designs were inspired by real-world battleships. The designers often want the layout to be recognizable - so a prominent bridge with forward-looking windows is often part of the design.

Do an image search for the bridge of modern ships, and compare the designs :)

I guess this is the same reason that SF robots are often humanoid, lasers are gun-shaped, and aliens often are humanoid. It's visual shorthand so the audience recognizes what they're looking at.

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  • Agree it definitely has a part in it.
    – Zero
    Jan 16, 2016 at 4:09
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Mostly humans in other universes are just as arrogant as they are in this one. Take the Borg, the trade federation (Pre human clones), or the yuuzhan vong.

The windows are nice to see outside without a camera, and being daring enough to stand in front of glass (really just some weaker material then the hull of the ship) takes guts and MAY possibly intimidate

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