Modular Fighter

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AnotherDilbert
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Modular Fighter

Postby AnotherDilbert » Tue May 17, 2016 9:30 pm

Inspired by wbnc I present the combined carrier and long range patrol fighter:

A modular medium fighter with two mission modules: a ventral 5 dT module and a dorsal 7 dT module.

The intention is to produce a fairly cheap fighter that can be operated from a carrier, but also can be used as a patrol fighter based in a system.

It has a small m/3 computer with a m/2fib backup and a limited library of software to save cost. Virtual Crew/0 software allows autonomous operation, but with limited skill. A Sensor Operator AI has better skill. Doctrine dictates using the superior skill of a sophont pilot at visual range to compensate for the limited computer support.

The heavily armoured 35.5 dT hull contains the cockpit and the drives (9 G Manoeuvre + 16 G reaction).
The ventral module can contain weapons, additional sensors, or even forced boarding equipment.
The dorsal module can contain reaction fuel, ECM, screens, staterooms, etc.
It can also carry up to 4 drop tanks with 4 dT reaction fuel each. Drop tanks are not used when based on a carrier to conserve space in the carrier.

Basic crew is 1 Pilot/Commander with additional Gunner(s) and Sensor Operator(s) in the modules.

A basic carrier strike squadron could look like:
1 fighter with a Recon Module and a Fuel Module.
11 fighters with a Fusion Barbette Module and a Fuel Module.

If we expect to meet missile fire the squadron might look like:
1 fighter with a Recon Module and a Fuel Module.
5 fighters with a Point Defence Module and an ECM Module.
6 fighters with a Fusion Barbette Module and a Fuel Module.

Patrol group might look like:
1 fighter with a Advanced Recon Module and an ECM Module.
1 fighter with a Fusion Barbette Module and a Fuel Module.

A small boarding party might use:
1 fighter with a Assault Module and a Fuel Module.
1 fighter with a Fusion Barbette Module and a Fuel Module.


A long range patrol group based in a system might look like:
1 fighter with a Recon Module and a Twin Habitat Module with a couple of drop tanks.
1 fighter with a Point Defence Module and a Triple Habitat Module with a couple of drop tanks.
2 fighters with a Fusion Barbette Module and a Twin Habitat Module with a couple of drop tanks.

A base defence squadron might look like:
12 fighters with a Fusion Barbette Module and a Damper Module with a couple of drop tanks.

An autonomous sensor mission might use:
1 fighter with a Advanced Recon Module and an ECM Module. (No crew)


The basic Fuel Module is cargo space with foldable acceleration benches and collapsible fuel tanks. It can also carry cargo or passengers for a short trip. We can use the fighter as a troop transport or assault lander but the lack of reaction fuel limits performance to 9 G acceleration.

Code: Select all

TL 15          Hull  17                                        33,8           Sensor DM    -4    
                         Desired    ∆TL    Rat    #    dTon    Cost    Power    FirmP    Crew    
Hull                                                 35,500             7,10       2        
Config  Close Structure       4             4                 3,800                
Hull strength  Reinforced     3             3                            
Armour    Bonded Superdense  15            15         4,260   4,560                
Radiation Shielding           1             1                 0,888                
                                            
ManœuvreD     Very Advanced   9      2      9     1   2,556   6,390    31,95              0      Decreased Size
PowerP  TL12  High Technology        3            1   2,590   3,885    55,50              0      Decreased Size
                                            
Drop Tank Collar   4 dT       4      4            4   0,064   0,032                
Drop Tanks                                            
Fuel, Power                   4            15     1   1,000                    
                                            
ReactionDrive Very Advanced  16      2     16     1  11,360   2,840                       0      Fuel per round
Reaction Fuel    1 turns      0             0         0,170                                      0,994
                                            
Cockpit                       1                   1   1,500   0,010                
    Holographic               1                   1           0,003                
Comp           m/15           3            15     1           2,000                
Backup Comp    m/10           2            10     1           0,240                              fib
                                            
Sensors    Basic                                  1                        

                                            
Dorsal Module         5 dT    1                   1   5,000            10,00       2        
Ventral Module        7 dT    1                   1   7,000            10,00            
                                            
                                            
                                            
                                            
Software                                                      9                
Evade/2               15      2             2     1           2                
Fire Control/3        15      3             3     1           6                
Virtual Crew/0         5      1             1     1           1                
     
Sensor Operator AI     
Intellect/1            1                                      0,002           
Expert/3 Elec(Sensor)  3                                      0,100            
                                        
                                        
                                        
Drop Tanks    Performance, Gs    
0              25,00    9,00
1              22,48    8,09
2              20,42    7,35
3              18,71    6,74
4              17,27    6,22




DORSAL MODULES                                        

Fusion Module  Fusion Barbette (Long Range, EneEff)   5,0     6,0      10          2      1
                                                      5,0     6,0      10,0        
                                        
Tachyon Module Tachyon Barbette                       5,0     5,0       4,5        2      1
                                                      5,0     5,0       4,5        
                                        
Plasma Module  Plasma-pulse Barbette (Long Range)     5,0     7,5      15          2      1
                                                      5,0     7,5      15,0        
                                        
Missile Module Missile Barbette, HiTech               3,5     6,0                  2      1
               Missile Magazine    26 missiles        1,5                
                                                      5,0     6,0            
                                        
PD Module      2 Pulse Laser turret (Acc,EneEff)      2,0     3,4       8          2      2
               3 dT reaction fuel                     3,0                
               Point Defence/2 software                      12,0            
                                                      5,0    15,4       8,0        
                                        
Recon Module   Military Sensors    Sensor DM ±0       2,0     4,1       2        
               Enhanced SP         Sensor DM +4       2,0     8,0       2        
               Sensor Station                         1,0     0,5                         1
                                                      5,0    12,6       4,0        
                                        
Advanced Recon Module    
               Advanced Sensors    Sensor DM +2       5,0     5,3       6        
               Use with ventral                                  
               Recon or ECM module                                  
                                                      5,0     5,3       6,0        
                                        
Assault Module Acceleration benches, 0                0,0     0,0            
               Forced Linkage                         2,0     0,5            
               Breaching Tube                         3,0     3,0            
                                                      5,0     3,5            

Fuel Module    Cargo                                  4,95                
               Acceleration Bench, foldable    16             0,0            
               Collapsible Fuel Tank                  0,05    0,0            
                                                      5,0     0,0            
          
          
                                        
VENTRAL MODULES                                        
                                        
Fuel Module    Cargo                                  6,9                
               Acceleration Bench, foldable    24             0,1            
               Collapsible Fuel Tank                  0,1     0,0            
                                                      7,0     0,1            
                                        
ECM Module     CM Suite    ECM DM +2                  2,0     4,0       1        
               Enhanced SP    Sensor DM +4            2,0     8,0       2        
               Broad Spectrum EW software                     0                    
               Sensor Station                         1,0     0,5                         1
               Fuel                                   2,0                
                                                      7,0    12,5       3,0        
                                        
Screen Module  Deflector Screen (2*DecreasedSize)     4,0     6,3       5                 1
               Fuel                                   3,0                
                                                      7,0     6,3       5,0        
                                        
Double Screen Module    
               Deflector Screen (3*DecreasedSize)     7,0    15,0      10                 2
               Fuel                                   0                    
                                                      7,0    15,0      10,0        
                                        
Damper Module  Nuclear Damper                         7,0    15,0      10                 1
               Fuel                                   0                    
                                                      7,0    15,0    10,0        
                                        
Twin Habitat Module    
               Stateroom                              4,0     0,5            
               Fuel                                   3,0                
                                                      7,0     0,5            
                                        
Triple Habitat Module    
               Stateroom                              4,0     0,5            
               Barrack                                2,0     0,1            
               Fuel                                   1,0                
                                                      7,0     0,6
wbnc
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Re: Modular Fighter

Postby wbnc » Wed May 18, 2016 1:51 am

well thought out...good design for a multi-role patroller...I toyed with the fusion/particle barbettes but never put them to paper so your version easily outguns my version :D

I Did not even consider an assault troop delivery version, a great add for craft doing interdiction/smuggler suppression missions. A single ship loaded with these guys and a group of high speed interceptors/Space superiority fighters would have a nasty amount of firepower on call.

if you were using a large enough hull as a carrier/tender you could even possibly install a fabrication/ construction deck to the ship and it could manufacture spare ordnance, and modules to refit the fighters without returning to base or carrying more than a few of each module onboard.

now jus come up with what ya want it to look like and I may give it a go for practice :D
AnotherDilbert
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Re: Modular Fighter

Postby AnotherDilbert » Wed May 18, 2016 2:45 pm

wbnc wrote:now jus come up with what ya want it to look like and I may give it a go for practice :D
I had imagined it as a rather boring somewhat tapered, somewhat squared off cylinder. Easy to stack in a carrier.
Perhaps like a jetfighter without wings and blunter nose. The pilot in the front and the engines aft. The aft half is the drives. The modules slot in from above (weapons) and below between them.

Partially streamlined, so can enter atmosphere without ripping anything off.
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Re: Modular Fighter

Postby wbnc » Thu May 19, 2016 2:38 am

AnotherDilbert wrote:
wbnc wrote:now jus come up with what ya want it to look like and I may give it a go for practice :D
I had imagined it as a rather boring somewhat tapered, somewhat squared off cylinder. Easy to stack in a carrier.
Perhaps like a jetfighter without wings and blunter nose. The pilot in the front and the engines aft. The aft half is the drives. The modules slot in from above (weapons) and below between them.

Partially streamlined, so can enter atmosphere without ripping anything off.
not a flashy design but It could be interesting :) functionally elegant is a good word for it.
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Re: Modular Fighter

Postby h1ro » Sat Jun 17, 2017 1:36 pm

Linked to this thread from the Gazelle thread...

I am pretty sure the rules don't say you can't but what's the deal with 25G?

There's an assumption (is it actually written down somewhere in 2e?) that the M drive comes with "inertial compensators" or some such that means a human crew can survive/operate at/tolerate sustained 9G acceleration but where do reaction drives come into this?

16G alone is enough to render any human unconscious pretty quickly.

Now, if the ship runs autonomously or remotely, fair enough, but there's a crew mentioned too.
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Re: Modular Fighter

Postby AnotherDilbert » Sat Jun 17, 2017 3:10 pm

It is, as far as I know, not discussed at all in MgT.

The best defence I can give you is that no-one protested during beta. Nerhesi, which was as close to official as we got in the beta, built similar craft.


MgT1 had "High-Burn Thrusters" (rockets) that could be used to give ships extra temporary push. As far as I know they could be used concurrently with the main M-drive, with no ill side effects for the crew. This formed my assumptions about MgT2 reaction drives.

In MgT1 (and T5?) small craft can achieve more acceleration without overloading the compensators.

Since we could equip our craft with 16G reaction drives without the crews turning to mush, I assumed G-compensators could handle it.


Since fighters can only attack at Close range they really NEED higher acceleration than ships to get into range.
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Re: Modular Fighter

Postby Condottiere » Sat Jun 17, 2017 4:41 pm

Remember that discussion on whether Traveller is hard scifi?

Inertial compensators are not only magic, they're supramagic. Magic can be explained within the context of a setting; it's not even Schrodinger's Cat.

The Honorverse explanation on inertial compensation:

While the gravity generators of a starship were capable of reducing felt acceleration up to 50 Gs, this limited the starship's acceleration to perhaps 51 Gs. A compensator prevented the crew and delicate equipment like computers from being squashed beyond any possibility of recovery at higher acceleration. If the compensator failed while the ship was under significant acceleration, all the crew aboard would be killed instantly.

A compensator generated a field which turned a vessel's impeller wedge into an inertial sump, greatly reducing the effect of acceleration inside that field. A compensator's efficiency depended on two items; the volume enclosed in its field and the strength of the gravity wave in its sump. (HH1) Compensators could function in the absence of an impeller wedge, but at greatly reduced effectiveness; a 150 G acceleration could only be reduced to an apparent 5 Gs. (HH6)

Prior to the First Manticoran-Havenite War, ships accelerated at no more than 80% of maximum compensator effectiveness (except in emergencies), to avoid an accidental compensator failure. As the war progressed, both sides found that this margin was overly conservative, and began running at higher accelerations more often.


while essentially nonsensical, at least tries.
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Re: Modular Fighter

Postby AnotherDilbert » Sun Jun 18, 2017 12:03 am

Condottiere wrote: Inertial compensators are not only magic, they're supramagic. Magic can be explained within the context of a setting; it's not even Schrodinger's Cat.
Inertial Compensators or G-compensators are just another application of artificial gravity. Compensating for a few Gs simply means strengthening and tilting the internal gravity field so that together with the inertial force you only feel a standard 1G towards the deck as described in MT and TNE.

They are just as much magic as air/rafts, neither more nor less.
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Re: Modular Fighter

Postby phavoc » Sun Jun 18, 2017 2:02 am

The modular fighterm is interesting. When you were coming up with your carrier idea what kind of ratio did you use for storage of the mission modules onboard? With so many variations you might end up with an ordnance and module storage size equivalent to the fighter itself.
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Re: Modular Fighter

Postby phavoc » Sun Jun 18, 2017 2:02 am

The modular fighterm is interesting. When you were coming up with your carrier idea what kind of ratio did you use for storage of the mission modules onboard? With so many variations you might end up with an ordnance and module storage size equivalent to the fighter itself.
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Re: Modular Fighter

Postby h1ro » Sun Jun 18, 2017 4:27 am

AnotherDilbert wrote:
Sun Jun 18, 2017 12:03 am
They are just as much magic as air/rafts, neither more nor less.
Indeed, something to throw into the "is Traveller hard SF?" thread! ;)
AnotherDilbert wrote:Inertial Compensators or G-compensators are just another application of artificial gravity. Compensating for a few Gs simply means strengthening and tilting the internal gravity field so that together with the inertial force you only feel a standard 1G towards the deck as described in MT and TNE.
I hear ya and agree with your point in an earlier reply that "the rules don't say you can't"

But!

M drives are limited to 9 at TL13 (ignoring the higher ratings/TLs as we're talking the 3I setting), there is a limit to what anti gravity tech can achieve and, as M drives are reaction-less and require only power, no fuel, it's fair to reason that they are playing about with gravity and/or inertia at some level. I'd argue that an M drives limit of 9g is much closer to a limit of inertial compensation than a 16G reaction drive would be.

Reaction drives are pretty simple, you put fuel in, set fire to it and channel it out the back. Compared to current thrust and fuel efficiency Traveller reaction drives are on steroids, but still, there's no implied effect that suggests they get their rating from gravity control. Granted, it doesn't say they don't either but you know what I mean! I don't agree that because a reaction drive can achieve 16G that there's equivalent technology to make the acceleration tolerable for humans and other delicate things on board a ship.

Just because you can put a 16G drive on a ship doesn't mean there's some hidden tech that allows humans to tolerate the acceleration. Trouble is, it doesn't say that.
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Re: Modular Fighter

Postby AnotherDilbert » Sun Jun 18, 2017 10:05 am

phavoc wrote:
Sun Jun 18, 2017 2:02 am
The modular fighterm is interesting. When you were coming up with your carrier idea what kind of ratio did you use for storage of the mission modules onboard? With so many variations you might end up with an ordnance and module storage size equivalent to the fighter itself.
My procurement plan included 2 modules per fighter, say 1/1 standard weapon module, 2/3 point defence module, 1/6 recon module, 1/6 ECM module.

A carrier would carry less than this, say 50% extra modules, mostly recon and ECM modules. The carrier force would be pre-configured with a mix of weapon and PD modules, depending on the likely opponent and how missile happy they are.

Down the line it would be much faster and cheaper to buy additional modules than to buy new fighters if the threat environment shifted. E.g. I have Fusion barbettes in my weapon modules and the enemy reacts by deploying ships with lots of Nuclear Dampers, then I can buy weapon modules with Particle barbettes.
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Re: Modular Fighter

Postby phavoc » Sun Jun 18, 2017 10:30 pm

AnotherDilbert wrote:
Sun Jun 18, 2017 10:05 am
My procurement plan included 2 modules per fighter, say 1/1 standard weapon module, 2/3 point defence module, 1/6 recon module, 1/6 ECM module.

A carrier would carry less than this, say 50% extra modules, mostly recon and ECM modules. The carrier force would be pre-configured with a mix of weapon and PD modules, depending on the likely opponent and how missile happy they are.

Down the line it would be much faster and cheaper to buy additional modules than to buy new fighters if the threat environment shifted. E.g. I have Fusion barbettes in my weapon modules and the enemy reacts by deploying ships with lots of Nuclear Dampers, then I can buy weapon modules with Particle barbettes.
I'm not sure you could pull into the local Space Walmart and pick up half a dozen mil-spec weapon modules. That would mean they are commonplace enough for civilians to be using them too. Pulling into a naval depot to swap out or pick up packs is more likely, with even replacing them from the supply vessels you would need if you deployed to a war zone. still, it's a nice option to have, regardless of where you pick them up.

Using the model below, your 35ton fighter would require a minimum of 47 tons per fighter, excluding any missiles or other spares. That gives you you extra 5 ton and 1 extra 7 ton module per fighter. Enemies would probably not be mundane enough to only require a specific load-out. A carrier going into battle (for the Imperium it would be Zho, Aslan, Vargr or Solomani most likely) would expect to encounter enemies with a weapon spectrum just like the Imperium fields. Thus you would need a wider range of modules to equip your ships. Unless you designated X number for beam attacks, X number for missile attacks, X number for ECM. At that point you could load X number of say boarding modules to give yourself flexibility.

The idea isn't radically different than what ground forces do with ammuntion loadouts. But for the most part they deploy with the most commonly used ammo, and then pull specialized ammo as needed.

What kind of time is needed do you envision being needed to swap a module out? There would be the normal unbolt/remove/replace/bolting time to physically replace it. But anything like that would need to have a diagnostic run to verify systems are functioning correctly. Ideally they would be pre-tested before loading to minimize rejects. But the field has a funny way of keeping people honest about those kinds of things. Murphy is everywhere! :)
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Re: Modular Fighter

Postby Condottiere » Sun Jun 18, 2017 10:36 pm

There might be a quick release option, but placing one in requires ensuring that all the connections are aligned, and testing them out.
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Re: Modular Fighter

Postby AnotherDilbert » Sun Jun 18, 2017 11:18 pm

phavoc wrote: I'm not sure you could pull into the local Space Walmart and pick up half a dozen mil-spec weapon modules.
No, of course not. But if it takes a year or two to build pre-designed weapon modules, it is a heck of a lot quicker than designing and building a new class of fighter.

phavoc wrote: Using the model below, your 35ton fighter would require a minimum of 47 tons per fighter, excluding any missiles or other spares. That gives you you extra 5 ton and 1 extra 7 ton module per fighter. Enemies would probably not be mundane enough to only require a specific load-out.
That depends on the enemy. E.g. in the combat system it is not very effective to launch a few missiles, they will be stopped by EW and PD; it is not even very effective to launch a lot of missiles, few will impact; it is only when you launch overwhelming amounts of missiles that they become extremely effective, but that means optimising the entire fleet for missiles, hence the enemy know that they will have to optimise for PD. So an enemy is likely to use very few or very many missiles, and that is not likely to shift quickly, and hence you can optimise for that.

So, I assume, you can mostly pre-configure a carrier's fighter wing for a specific mission or even war. Carrying lots of modules for each fighter would make the carrier very large, hence prohibitively expensive. Choosing between several modules every day would also lower average crew skill, since they would have to train with all of them.

The rest of the modules are stored at a convenient naval base.

And sometimes you will face a battle with an entirely inappropriate mix of modules.

phavoc wrote: What kind of time is needed do you envision being needed to swap a module out?
Like a cutter module, it can be swapped in hours.


What I'm trying to achieve with this modular design is to have the same basic airframe for e.g. carrier fighters, base defence fighters, and long-range patrol fighters. So a reserve carrier wing might be deployed to a naval base and given a different set of modules for the duration of the deployment. When it is deployed to a carrier again, it shifts modules to carrier configuration.

Modules might be shifted more often, perhaps daily, between your current primary weapon module to sensor modules. E.g. on normal CAP the wing might carry a high proportion of sensor modules, but on a strike mission you carry a higher proportion of weapon modules.
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Re: Modular Fighter

Postby phavoc » Mon Jun 19, 2017 12:25 am

AnotherDilbert wrote:
Sun Jun 18, 2017 11:18 pm
No, of course not. But if it takes a year or two to build pre-designed weapon modules, it is a heck of a lot quicker than designing and building a new class of fighter.
Very true. You may want to see about scaling up your fighter to see if you could make various models that all used the weapon modules. The more standard they are the more likely a fleet resupply vessel or depot would stock them. Then at least you would only need a ship to travel to the nearest base to swap out or pick up modules.
AnotherDilbert wrote:
Sun Jun 18, 2017 11:18 pm
That depends on the enemy. E.g. in the combat system it is not very effective to launch a few missiles, they will be stopped by EW and PD; it is not even very effective to launch a lot of missiles, few will impact; it is only when you launch overwhelming amounts of missiles that they become extremely effective, but that means optimising the entire fleet for missiles, hence the enemy know that they will have to optimise for PD. So an enemy is likely to use very few or very many missiles, and that is not likely to shift quickly, and hence you can optimise for that.

So, I assume, you can mostly pre-configure a carrier's fighter wing for a specific mission or even war. Carrying lots of modules for each fighter would make the carrier very large, hence prohibitively expensive. Choosing between several modules every day would also lower average crew skill, since they would have to train with all of them.

The rest of the modules are stored at a convenient naval base.

And sometimes you will face a battle with an entirely inappropriate mix of modules.
This is leading more to something along the lines of the new LCS ships, that can swap out modules, but are really meant to do so in dock rather than at sea. But fighters are meant to be, more or less, modular. At least more so than full-sized vessels. Have you run the numbers on your fighters to see what their performance is with the modules jettisoned? One thing about modules is that if you treat them as external ordance the extra speed to get back to the carrier to re-arm can make a lot of sense. There's nothing inherently wrong with a larger carrier that has increased displacement simply to carry the supplies necessary to maintain and re-arm it's space wing. That's what carriers do. It would also make more sense to have fleet or assault carriers, that offer more battle flexibility, than lighter carriers. Think of Essex class carriers vs. Casablanca class (i.e. Gambier Bay and her ilk). Escort carriers were nifty and handy to have, but didn't have the power projection capability that a full blown carrier had.
AnotherDilbert wrote:
Sun Jun 18, 2017 11:18 pm
Like a cutter module, it can be swapped in hours.

What I'm trying to achieve with this modular design is to have the same basic airframe for e.g. carrier fighters, base defence fighters, and long-range patrol fighters. So a reserve carrier wing might be deployed to a naval base and given a different set of modules for the duration of the deployment. When it is deployed to a carrier again, it shifts modules to carrier configuration.

Modules might be shifted more often, perhaps daily, between your current primary weapon module to sensor modules. E.g. on normal CAP the wing might carry a high proportion of sensor modules, but on a strike mission you carry a higher proportion of weapon modules.
Your logic is sound. Still some things to work out, and the rules are very non-existent on carrier-ops. But you are going in the right direction I think.

If you continue to round out the designs you will also need to start looking at things like flight decks, logic-sizing launch tubes, flight ops, support crews, spare ratios, even things like elevators to external 'decks' (i.e. the hull). Right now the launch rules for small craft or horrendously silly and need a lot of work.
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Re: Modular Fighter

Postby baithammer » Mon Jun 19, 2017 4:22 am

A really good use for a design like this is reduce the number of separate platforms in order to cover roles. ( Allows the building of blank hulls to fill any losses and cost savings at scale would be interesting.)
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Re: Modular Fighter

Postby h1ro » Mon Jun 19, 2017 4:07 pm

AnotherDilbert, have you tried or thought of scaling the fighter to 100 tons so it uses hard points not firm points?
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Re: Modular Fighter

Postby AnotherDilbert » Mon Jun 19, 2017 5:24 pm

h1ro wrote:
Mon Jun 19, 2017 4:07 pm
AnotherDilbert, have you tried or thought of scaling the fighter to 100 tons so it uses hard points not firm points?
Yes, I have tried, but it does not really make sense. Fighters are given massive advantages by the dogfight rule. A 100 Dt super-fighter has no natural advantages, it is only a small ship with a too small computer (lest it be ridiculously expensive).

You can make ships <2000 Dt, they can't be hit with spinals and are difficult to hit with bays, yet they can use good computers without cost becoming too much of an issue.
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Re: Modular Fighter

Postby h1ro » Mon Jun 19, 2017 5:34 pm

Thanks

The way 2e space combat has been structured is all a bit too meta for me :|

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