Necessity of Launch Tubes

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Sevain
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Necessity of Launch Tubes

Postby Sevain » Sun Apr 05, 2015 4:29 pm

In Highguard it says it takes 60 minutes to launch a craft from a storage hangar.

A standard hangar can keep the craft in "readiness".

A launch tube can launch 10 craft per turn.

What, exactly, do I get for installing a launch tube in addition to a standard hangar? Can't each craft stored in a standard hangar simply launch out of its own hangar?
F33D
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Re: Necessity of Launch Tubes

Postby F33D » Sun Apr 05, 2015 5:56 pm

Launch tubes are a holdover from CT Trav which took them from the 70's TV series Battlestar Galactica. Ignore them as there is ZERO logic behind them. In fact they would slow launching vs. simply opening the hanger bay to outer space.
AndrewW
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Re: Necessity of Launch Tubes

Postby AndrewW » Sun Apr 05, 2015 6:43 pm

F33D wrote:In fact they would slow launching vs. simply opening the hanger bay to outer space.

I'm sorry, F33D. I'm afraid I can't do that.
EvilDM
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Re: Necessity of Launch Tubes

Postby EvilDM » Sun Apr 05, 2015 8:06 pm

The idea probably was that you have a launch tube and storage hangers instead of just standard hangars.

But that costs a lot more tonnage than just have all standard hangers unless you have more than 125 crafts per launch tube so there isn't really a reason to on paper.

Of course you could rule that you can only have standard hangers on the outer hull of a ship and hangars deeper inside the ship are all storage and part of prepping the ship is moving it to an outer standard hanger for launch, something that can be bypassed when you have a launch tube.
Condottiere
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Re: Necessity of Launch Tubes

Postby Condottiere » Sun Apr 05, 2015 8:14 pm

Launch tubes can be viewed as an abstraction. Their origin is the aircraft carrier catapult. And Galactica had multiple launch tubes.

In theory, nothing outside of structural integrity should prevent you from poking as many holes as you like in the hull.
heron61
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Re: Necessity of Launch Tubes

Postby heron61 » Sun Apr 05, 2015 9:28 pm

Condottiere wrote:Launch tubes can be viewed as an abstraction. Their origin is the aircraft carrier catapult. And Galactica had multiple launch tubes.

In theory, nothing outside of structural integrity should prevent you from poking as many holes as you like in the hull.
Or, if your capital ship isn't designed for atmospheric flight, you have all of the fighters, drones, or whatever connected by docking clamps & airlocks. Then, once the pilots are inside you can easily launch all of the fighters at once. I remember someone using this tactic in a Trillion Credit Squadron battle in CT. The battle featured the awesome line - "I launch 500 fighters".
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Re: Necessity of Launch Tubes

Postby EvilDM » Sun Apr 05, 2015 9:38 pm

heron61 wrote:
Condottiere wrote:Launch tubes can be viewed as an abstraction. Their origin is the aircraft carrier catapult. And Galactica had multiple launch tubes.

In theory, nothing outside of structural integrity should prevent you from poking as many holes as you like in the hull.
Or, if your capital ship isn't designed for atmospheric flight, you have all of the fighters, drones, or whatever connected by docking clamps & airlocks. Then, once the pilots are inside you can easily launch all of the fighters at once. I remember someone using this tactic in a Trillion Credit Squadron battle in CT. The battle featured the awesome line - "I launch 500 fighters".
But that makes them quite hard to repair and rearm. That either has do be done by Remote Operation or you need an extra hangar every ship must pass through.

Another interpretation of Launch Tubes is that without them you can't launch at all. The fighters can be battle ready in their hangars, but without launch tubes they can't get out.
Last edited by EvilDM on Sun Apr 05, 2015 9:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Condottiere
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Re: Necessity of Launch Tubes

Postby Condottiere » Sun Apr 05, 2015 9:50 pm

Docking clamps can be retracted, so for streamlined carriers, atmospheric flight should be possible.

Smallcraft can be serviced in rotation in the hangar, while the rest are on a mission or clamped to the hull.
F33D
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Re: Necessity of Launch Tubes

Postby F33D » Sun Apr 05, 2015 10:06 pm

EvilDM wrote:
Another interpretation of Launch Tubes is that without them you can't launch at all. The fighters can be battle ready in their hangars, but without launch tubes they can't get out.
Which isn't based on logic nor any type of reality.
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Re: Necessity of Launch Tubes

Postby EvilDM » Sun Apr 05, 2015 10:36 pm

F33D wrote:
EvilDM wrote:
Another interpretation of Launch Tubes is that without them you can't launch at all. The fighters can be battle ready in their hangars, but without launch tubes they can't get out.
Which isn't based on logic nor any type of reality.
How so?
Without launch tubes you can only place hangars on the outer hull (in the space not occupied by fuel tanks) of the ship and launch them by opening the entire hangar (good luck putting armor on such a design). If you want to launch ships from hangars which are deeper inside the ship you need a way for them to get outside fast, aka a launch tube.

A patrol ship with some fighters as support can get away with the hangar only design. But a massive carrier wants to carry as many fighters as possible so only using the space on the outer hull is a waste.

And what type of reality do you mean? Current day carriers certainly have a "launch tube" (Catapult).
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Re: Necessity of Launch Tubes

Postby F33D » Sun Apr 05, 2015 11:52 pm

EvilDM wrote:
How so?
Open hanger door. Move fighter out. THAT is how so. It doesn't get any simpler than that. :lol:
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Re: Necessity of Launch Tubes

Postby EvilDM » Sun Apr 05, 2015 11:55 pm

F33D wrote:
EvilDM wrote:
How so?
Open hanger door. Move fighter out. THAT is how so. It doesn't get any simpler than that. :lol:
Do that with an hanger deeper inside the ship and not adjacent to the outer hull.
Good luck with carriers who can only devote a small fraction of their space to actually carrying fighters.

You could of course design a very long cylinder as carrier where all fighters could be launched from the hangars, but a single good hit would cut off part of the hangers from the main ship (hull breaches, fires, debris,...), making this a very vulnerable design.
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Re: Necessity of Launch Tubes

Postby F33D » Mon Apr 06, 2015 12:26 am

EvilDM wrote: Do that with an hanger deeper inside the ship and not adjacent to the outer hull.
I'm not taking into account sub-30 I.Q. ship architects...
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Re: Necessity of Launch Tubes

Postby Condottiere » Mon Apr 06, 2015 7:43 am

An open hangar means that every time you close it you have to pump the atmosphere back in.

If it's a garage for one or two smallcraft, it probably doesn't matter.
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Re: Necessity of Launch Tubes

Postby heron61 » Mon Apr 06, 2015 8:03 am

EvilDM wrote:You could of course design a very long cylinder as carrier where all fighters could be launched from the hangars, but a single good hit would cut off part of the hangers from the main ship (hull breaches, fires, debris,...), making this a very vulnerable design.
A disk shaped carrier would also work well for having lots of space for hangers, as would a relatively flat rectangle - lots of exterior surface area on both.

If you want a ship that is only a carrier, all it needs are drives and some screen, the rest of the protection will come from ships it launches. Such a ship could be an unstreamlined distributed structure, with hangers and docking clamps all over it, to maximize the number of smaller ships it could hold. Obviously, it would be designed to stay well away from battle, but if you want a pure carrier, that's always true.

A mixed use vessel that can also fight would work well as a disk or relatively flat rectangle. The exterior is for hangers, hanger doors, and docking clamps, and a few bay weapons, while the interior holds the spinal mount, screens, fuel, drives, and bridge.
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Re: Necessity of Launch Tubes

Postby phavoc » Mon Apr 06, 2015 2:10 pm

The idea behind launch tubes is to rapidly launch your small craft into combat. The explanations behind the idea have been, well, failures.

Ideally the launch tubes should provide a significant acceleration boost to small craft upon launch. That would make a basic assumption that they are in fact more catapult-like and use magnetic accelerators to provide a launch speed of say 10-14G's. The speed wouldn't technically degrade over time since there is no atmosphere, but some sort of idea would need to be applied to slow them down to their normal thrust-rated speed. Perhaps they lose 1G per turn until they reach their normal thrust. One minor issue would be getting the separate launch groups to the same speed as they formed into groups. Not difficult, but it does mean they would have to slow down to join up, thus giving thought to shedding speed.

Launch tubes also offer rapid deployment, something that hangars would be harder pressed to do under combat conditions. Assuming you have a packed hangar full of ships ready to be launched, they would be crawling with techs doing last minute servicing, arming them, fueling them, all the things that happen in real life. Which makes the packed hangars even more packed, which can slow down these processes. The launch tube would take fighters in their ready launch positions and drop them as rapidly as the tube can process them and get them launched.

Launch tubes should never be considered for recovery of fighters. That's just dumb, dumb, dumb. A damaged fighter, an injured pilot, anything at all could cause a wreck in the tube and take it out of service. A hangar bay is needed to recover craft (obviously it would not be able to recover as fast as a launch tube could launch).

One of the underlying problems with small craft is that the rules are for **** for them. They feel kind of tacked on because the idea was "it's space, we gotta have fighters!". And then when the rules were created they become kind of semi-useless. The rules for carriers are non-existent. There need to be rules for deck crews, re-arming, carrying external ordnance, etc, etc. Just like they are on real-world aircraft. So instead of the various publishers fixing the hole, it's been left to a mish-mash of players coming up with their own concepts and ideas (though crowdsourcing rules sometimes comes up with some pretty damn good ones!).

I say if you wanna discuss launch tubes don't use the book rules. The discussions will be far more productive and useful if you do so.
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Re: Necessity of Launch Tubes

Postby simonh » Mon Apr 06, 2015 6:11 pm

The reason launch tubes make no sense is that they are an artificial bottleneck in fighter deployment. How can it possibly be more efficient to funnel all your fighters through a single aperture, rather than just dump each one of them directly out of it's own hangar?

The only circumstance in which they might make any sense whatsoever is if for some reason you cannot use more than a single fighter's width of hull space for fighter launches, but if so how can that situation possibly be more efficient than if you do not have that constraint?

As for launch velocity, that only helps if all your fighters want to go in exactly the same direction, and you don't mind specially orienting your ship that way for all your launches, and the tubes can somehow launch your fighters faster than their own (usually 6G) engines can manage. Even if the tubes can give them a bigger push though, they can only do it for the length of the tube. That isn't going to make any useful difference unless the tubes are unfeasibly long.

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phavoc
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Re: Necessity of Launch Tubes

Postby phavoc » Mon Apr 06, 2015 6:58 pm

Individual hangars don't make logistical sense. There's nothing wrong conceptually with a large hangar bay(s) to handle your craft. Having one or two (or even three or four) main bays allows you to centralize the work as well as the deck crews. It makes it easier and quicker to deliver ordnance from your magazines, plus you can more easily access things like parts and workshops.

Spreading all this work out to individual hangars requires more crew and more tonnage (all those additional passageways, munitions transport systems, etc). Granted Traveller doesn't take any of those into account, but that's the idea behind centralzing vs. decentralizing most everything.

From a pure min/max view, looking to tweak the rules to a players advantage, then yes, individual hangars make more sense because of how the rules are written. Then you could launch your entire fighter complement in a single turn. However you also would pay a 30% tonnage penalty for each fighter using the rules. It would actually be more efficient by the book rules to simply carry all of your fighters externally and pay a 1Dton cost per fighter for the docking clamp (as well as using a distributed hull to further save money).
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Re: Necessity of Launch Tubes

Postby CosmicGamer » Mon Apr 06, 2015 8:28 pm

Might be difficult to do repairs, load ammo, and other functions while depressurizing and pressurizing the hanger for launches and recovery.

Do the rules cover retrieval of launch tube fighters and getting them back into the launcher?
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Re: Necessity of Launch Tubes

Postby Condottiere » Mon Apr 06, 2015 8:39 pm

Eye of the needle.

Galactica's method would be the most logical, followed by:

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