Quick question regarding launch tubes

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Annatar Giftbringer
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Quick question regarding launch tubes

Postby Annatar Giftbringer » Fri Feb 20, 2015 11:26 pm

Greetings,

Is it possible to store fighters within a launch tube, or are hangars needed too?
AndrewW
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Re: Quick question regarding launch tubes

Postby AndrewW » Sat Feb 21, 2015 1:00 am

The rules on that aren't specific but I would say you also need hangar space.
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Re: Quick question regarding launch tubes

Postby Galadrion » Sat Feb 21, 2015 1:16 am

Hm. Well, there's nothing in the rules about how long a launchable craft can sit in the tube, waiting to be launched, but...

I can't particularly see launch tubes coming equipped with access to the craft waiting, either. So either your pilot would be sitting, waiting, in the craft the whole time, or it'd be sitting there, unmanned, with no way for your pilot to get into it. Which would be okay for drones, but not for anything with a crew, passengers, or payload needing to be loaded/unloaded.

Also, launch tubes aren't going to have room or access for maintenance crew/bots, so no working on the small craft, or reloading ordinance, or likely even refueling.

All in all, I'd say that a launch tube without associated hanger space is pretty much worthless for most purposes.
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Re: Quick question regarding launch tubes

Postby phavoc » Sat Feb 21, 2015 8:25 pm

Could you? The answer is yes. But if you go down that path you first must determine:

1) For the tonnage set aside for a launch tube, exactly how much of it is set aside for the tube itself?

2) IF you store small craft in there, just how do you get them out? "Launch" tubes are a slight misnomer because you are supposed to be able to recover with them as well as launch. So if you have stored a small craft in there, I would assume that you could not use normal operations to move them in/out, so you'd have to use thrusters, tow cables, or even just push them out.

3) Assuming you are storing them, that also means you have have a way of securing them. Since a launch tube is meant for launch/recovery, it really has no need for grav plating to be installed. Would you assume that it did (and thus have a way of keeping craft from drifting off), or would you assume that it didn't and the small craft would have to be secured via cables attached to the walls?

I could see you using them to store loose cargo, or even spares or whatever if you are in transit to/from someplace and you absolutely had no intent to use the launch tubes. Or in an emergency it would be ok. But beyond that no war ship should ever do it.
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Re: Quick question regarding launch tubes

Postby Annatar Giftbringer » Mon Feb 23, 2015 9:16 pm

Ah well, I guess it was a lousy idea from the start...

My plan was to use approx 20-25 % of the launch tube tonnage as a spacious storage are for a small number of fighters (no more than 4-6) and then use the rest to allow for rapid launch. Perhaps use some of it as a separate "landing tube".

In addition to the launch tube, I'd consider 1-2 normal hangars (the +30% version) close by the tube, for service and maintenance.

I had a follow-up question regarding fighters, but it looks like it's gonna grow to several new questions, so I'll save 'em for a topic of its own.

Thanks for replying everyone!
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Re: Quick question regarding launch tubes

Postby GypsyComet » Tue Feb 24, 2015 4:07 am

In prior editions, it is made *somewhat* more clear that subcraft are carried in their own hangars or slips and have a specific launch and recovery rate. The launch tube is then represented as a way to change the launch rate.
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Re: Quick question regarding launch tubes

Postby Reynard » Tue Feb 24, 2015 3:06 pm

Remember one thing about a launch tube, it is primarily a REALLY big gun and the ammo isn't stored in the barrel. You load the barrel with a fighter and launch. The other end of the barrel is recovery. This barrel needs to be clear for those two functions. At launch and recovery, the tube will also be in a vacuum. That's also bad for storage. The hangar/launch system will be placing craft in and out in a smooth probably automated system for maximum flow.

One way to allow fighters to be part of the launch tube is have each fighter in it's own tube. This could be a great pirate operation in which fighters are shotgunned into combat then recovered with a port for the pilot to get in and out but there are no facilities for repairs or maintenance which will be done back at base.
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Re: Quick question regarding launch tubes

Postby phavoc » Tue Feb 24, 2015 11:49 pm

Reynard wrote:Remember one thing about a launch tube, it is primarily a REALLY big gun and the ammo isn't stored in the barrel. You load the barrel with a fighter and launch. The other end of the barrel is recovery. This barrel needs to be clear for those two functions. At launch and recovery, the tube will also be in a vacuum. That's also bad for storage. The hangar/launch system will be placing craft in and out in a smooth probably automated system for maximum flow.
One would assume (which can be dangerous) that a launch tube has outer doors, like a torpedo tube, that can be close to allow the tube to be pressurized (say for repairs), and also for security's sake. Not to mention a lucky hit down a launch tube would count basically as an internal hit - though the damage tables and critical hit tables don't account for that.

I've always rolled my eyes at the idea of using launch tubes for recovery. That's insane. Recovery, especially under combat conditions is going to be quick and dirty, and dangerous, especially when you figure some of those ships are going to be damaged coming back. A single mistake in the recovery means your tube is blocked and cannot be used for recovery or launch until it's cleared and repaired. The Battlestar Galactica concepts of recovery bays with launch tubes makes more sense for a carrier. For a wet navy, it would be the equivalent of having aircraft launch via catapult and land with the arrester wires occupying the same real estate. At least if you have a bad trap the plane can do a go-around, or at worst, fall off over the side (except in really bad landings where it might plow into parked aircraft, but those are pretty damn rare).
Reynard wrote:One way to allow fighters to be part of the launch tube is have each fighter in it's own tube. This could be a great pirate operation in which fighters are shotgunned into combat then recovered with a port for the pilot to get in and out but there are no facilities for repairs or maintenance which will be done back at base.
The problem with that is the size of the tube would preclude that. A tube takes up 25x the displacement of the largest craft it's meant to launch. You would be better off having individual hangars for each craft and still save on tonnage (or just hang them off the side so they don't have that restriction and they can all launch simultaneously).
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Re: Quick question regarding launch tubes

Postby locarno24 » Thu Feb 26, 2015 2:25 pm

I've always assumed that 'a launch tube' represents a lump of volume assigned to launch and recovery and local flight control ops but isn't necessarily one single tube, for much the same reason.

Fighters in external docking clamps should clearly be able to launch simultaneously, but then they apply drag to the ship by boosting its dTonnage value, hence lowering its acceleration, and come with all sorts of downsides for maintenance and vulnerability. If using 'multiple seperate hangars', I'd still use the volume for a launch tube, but this time to represent twenty-five seperate airlock gates.
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I'm just saying that it's highly effective and I strongly recommend using it.
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Re: Quick question regarding launch tubes

Postby Reynard » Thu Feb 26, 2015 3:40 pm

Problem with docking clamps is there's no means to transfer between vessels unless you include a docking tube and airlock for each clamp arrangement. Expensive. That means fighter pilots live in their fighter for the duration of a mission. Don't think that works well. There's no maneuver or jump issue if these attached vessels are included in the design but that's seems wasteful for tonnage with little return. Seems best for battle tenders.

seriously, if you're looking for a lot of fighters to launch en masse you need launch tubes and then you have to decide if those fighters are meant to be maintained, repaired and rearmed onboard the vessel or returned to base for such service. That decides if you have hangar space or fighter storage space which allows a pilot to enter or exit and not much more. For planetary forces, I could see Light Patrol Carriers using fighter storage to save space and cost as they would have a service facility nearby during port call at the end of a patrol cycle.
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Re: Quick question regarding launch tubes

Postby Tom Kalbfus » Thu Feb 26, 2015 5:42 pm

Reynard wrote:Problem with docking clamps is there's no means to transfer between vessels unless you include a docking tube and airlock for each clamp arrangement. Expensive. That means fighter pilots live in their fighter for the duration of a mission. Don't think that works well. There's no maneuver or jump issue if these attached vessels are included in the design but that's seems wasteful for tonnage with little return. Seems best for battle tenders.

seriously, if you're looking for a lot of fighters to launch en masse you need launch tubes and then you have to decide if those fighters are meant to be maintained, repaired and rearmed onboard the vessel or returned to base for such service. That decides if you have hangar space or fighter storage space which allows a pilot to enter or exit and not much more. For planetary forces, I could see Light Patrol Carriers using fighter storage to save space and cost as they would have a service facility nearby during port call at the end of a patrol cycle.
Why can't launch tubes be airlocks? Lets say each launch tube as a door at the end to space and another door that opens up to the interior of the carrier ship. The pilot walks into the launch tune while its pressurized and climbs into the cockpit of the space fighter, he closes the canopy and seals it, the door to the launch tube is closed, the air in the launch tube is evacuted and the outer door opens, and the fighter is launched out of the tube.

Is that so hard to imagine?

I think its a little tricky getting each fighter back into their launch tubes when the mission is over. The have to dock facing outwards, and be reeled back into the launch tube along the launch rails so they would be ready for the next mission.
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Re: Quick question regarding launch tubes

Postby Reynard » Thu Feb 26, 2015 6:56 pm

Launch tubes are big to start with, 25x the size of the craft intended to use it, and they are meant to feed and launch very rapidly. Evacuating and depressurizing those tubes would probably be time consuming. I did notice the two tubes on the Antiama class fleet cruiser are nowhere near 25x the fighter size. I have a feeling 'what we say and what we do' is at work.

I checked the Azhanti High Lightning class frontier cruiser both in Mongoose Fighting Ships and the 1980 boxed set for a reference especially that deck slice view. The color deck plans are excellent as they show the fighter deck components. The fighters are on a 'race-track' system that is evacuated while the rest of the two hangar decks are pressurized. The fighters are loaded and fired like an automatic weapon, upper deck uses port and lower uses starboard. They are both recovered by a single underbelly dock and reloaded into the track for storage and also the old Supplement 5: Lightning Class Cruiser states that fighters use the aft end of the launch tubes at the boat deck for recovery then are transferred to their hanger area via the race-track. Just like a naval aircraft carrier, the fighter lines up with the aft of the ship and either remotely or manually flies in. The guidance technology should have no problem.
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Re: Quick question regarding launch tubes

Postby Tikon2000 » Fri Feb 27, 2015 1:52 am

I always wondered why launch tubes were arranged like a gun. I take it modern aircraft carrier catapults are the inspiration. But they take into account long runways to gather enough speed to fight Earth's gravity. As bringing popular culture into this, why not have launch rails like in Battlestar Galactica? Smaller ones on the side? Usually the one fighter stored there. All the rule book says is that they are designed to launch a certain number of fighters per round.
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Re: Quick question regarding launch tubes

Postby Reynard » Fri Feb 27, 2015 2:13 am

A modern carrier launch system is more a slingshot than a gun.

It takes 30 minutes to launch or recover ONE craft using a bay or hangar facility. A launch tube is able to launch/recover up to 10 craft in six minutes! That's a lot of mechanical operations. Battlestar was launching very few compared to the capacity of a Traveller ship with launch tubes plus they had force field 'curtains' at both ends of the launch decks so they could have exciting interactions there. From what I remember from deck plans, the BS fighters had to be towed from storage into the launch chamber with the pilot getting in when the script said it was most dramatic then was catapulted through the mentioned force field. I guess someone could have force fields like that in their Traveller game plus expansive naval carrier style decks but the game mechanics are geared toward a 'reality' a bit different. Tubes are for rapid launch/recover while hangars and bays are for storage and possibly slow launch/ recovery.
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Re: Quick question regarding launch tubes

Postby GypsyComet » Fri Feb 27, 2015 4:07 am

Galactica appears to be the primary inspiration, though. We see similar ranks of tubes on Ardala's ship in the Buck Rogers TV series (notably the pilot), but those appear to be more like "everyone has their own door".
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Re: Quick question regarding launch tubes

Postby Tom Kalbfus » Fri Feb 27, 2015 6:03 am

Reynard wrote:A modern carrier launch system is more a slingshot than a gun.

It takes 30 minutes to launch or recover ONE craft using a bay or hangar facility. A launch tube is able to launch/recover up to 10 craft in six minutes! That's a lot of mechanical operations. Battlestar was launching very few compared to the capacity of a Traveller ship with launch tubes plus they had force field 'curtains' at both ends of the launch decks so they could have exciting interactions there. From what I remember from deck plans, the BS fighters had to be towed from storage into the launch chamber with the pilot getting in when the script said it was most dramatic then was catapulted through the mentioned force field. I guess someone could have force fields like that in their Traveller game plus expansive naval carrier style decks but the game mechanics are geared toward a 'reality' a bit different. Tubes are for rapid launch/recover while hangars and bays are for storage and possibly slow launch/ recovery.
I guess your not talking about the 2003 Battlestar Galactica, because I never recall seeing a single force field in it. The original Battlestar Galactica was almost as bad as Space 1999.

As for Buck Rogers, tell me one thing, if the OTU had its own "Buck Rogers", say some shuttle pilot from our time, how would it be different in a self consistent setting. Buck comes from a Teck Level 7 world that just happens to be in the past, how is he different from some other tech level 7 inhabitant? How can he just hop into a Space Fighter and be an ace? Lets say the Red Baron was shot down in World War I and he woke up in the 21st century, and he hops into an F35 Fighter and becomes that Ace he was when he flew that red triplane. Could you imagine a show called "Red Baron in the 21st Century?"
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Re: Quick question regarding launch tubes

Postby GypsyComet » Fri Feb 27, 2015 6:26 am

Tom Kalbfus wrote: I guess your not talking about the 2003 Battlestar Galactica, because I never recall seeing a single force field in it. The original Battlestar Galactica was almost as bad as Space 1999.
Eh? No, they were bad in entirely different ways, and for very different reasons.

The ability to filter out the bad acting or writing while still catching the scenery and tech is useful to develop. It is also the only way I could watch the new BSG. I have a very low tolerance for contrived soap opera and modern TV acting in general.

In the case of Buck Rogers, he emerged from the 20th Century US space program and was on a solo mission. That means he was one of the best and most broadly talented pilots of his generation. The 25th Century Earth fighters had the tech to be simpler to fly than his old rig.
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Re: Quick question regarding launch tubes

Postby locarno24 » Fri Feb 27, 2015 8:50 am

Reynard wrote:It takes 30 minutes to launch or recover ONE craft using a bay or hangar facility.
I've never been able to see that - and I thought I'd looked for it before. Where is that reference in the books, please?
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I'm just saying that it's highly effective and I strongly recommend using it.
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Re: Quick question regarding launch tubes

Postby AndrewW » Fri Feb 27, 2015 9:20 am

locarno24 wrote:I've never been able to see that - and I thought I'd looked for it before. Where is that reference in the books, please?
High Guard Page 46 wrote:Launch tubes: Launching and recovering small craft from a larger vessel is usually an activity taking 30 minutes to launch or recovery one craft.
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Re: Quick question regarding launch tubes

Postby Annatar Giftbringer » Fri Feb 27, 2015 10:56 am

Reynard wrote:Launch tubes are big to start with, 25x the size of the craft intended to use it, and they are meant to feed and launch very rapidly. Evacuating and depressurizing those tubes would probably be time consuming. I did notice the two tubes on the Antiama class fleet cruiser are nowhere near 25x the fighter size. I have a feeling 'what we say and what we do' is at work.

I checked the Azhanti High Lightning class frontier cruiser both in Mongoose Fighting Ships and the 1980 boxed set for a reference especially that deck slice view. The color deck plans are excellent as they show the fighter deck components. The fighters are on a 'race-track' system that is evacuated while the rest of the two hangar decks are pressurized. The fighters are loaded and fired like an automatic weapon, upper deck uses port and lower uses starboard. They are both recovered by a single underbelly dock and reloaded into the track for storage and also the old Supplement 5: Lightning Class Cruiser states that fighters use the aft end of the launch tubes at the boat deck for recovery then are transferred to their hanger area via the race-track. Just like a naval aircraft carrier, the fighter lines up with the aft of the ship and either remotely or manually flies in. The guidance technology should have no problem.
That's interresting info, thanks! And it's another reason for me to go buy Fighting Ships... I understand the deck plans are quite large scale in this book (Good thing, makes it easier to see)? Are they fairly easy to see in the digital version? Some books have quite low-res plans, that are sometimes hard to read...
AndrewW wrote:
locarno24 wrote:I've never been able to see that - and I thought I'd looked for it before. Where is that reference in the books, please?
High Guard Page 46 wrote:Launch tubes: Launching and recovering small craft from a larger vessel is usually an activity taking 30 minutes to launch or recovery one craft.
I spent half a day looking for that little snippet the other day (on and off, not actively looking all the time!) before finally finding it :)

Surely those 30 minutes must include everything from when someone says "I'm gonna take the boat for a ride" up until the hangar door closing behind the craft? Boarding the craft, running pre-start checklists, emptying the air from the hangar and so on... The actual launch must be quicker than that, right? Like, one round or something....

How does this affect a large hangar with several craft in it? 30 minutes from start until the first craft can exit, and after that one per round? Same with landing? The actual process of flying into the hangar should be reasonably qiuck (1-2 rounds) but securing and powering down the craft, refilling the bay with atmosphere and so on would account for the rest of the 30 minutes, IMHO.

This would also mean that it's almost always better with several small hangars that can each launch one craft per 30 minutes, instead of one large that takes hours to empty. Though the single large hangar has the advantage of being able to accept other (larger) craft than the one it's designed for.

High Guard also mentions that cramped hangars take 10 turns to launch from. But how about externally carried craft, or the ones in form-fitting bays? The form-fitting bay isn't the same as the cramped (+10%) hangar if I understand correctly?

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