So whats protecting the planet? Orbital defenses.

Discuss the Traveller RPG and its many settings
Condottiere
Warlord Mongoose
Posts: 8952
Joined: Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:23 pm

Re: So whats protecting the planet? Orbital defenses.

Postby Condottiere » Wed Nov 16, 2016 6:49 pm

Wouldn't bother making orbital defence platforms below a hundred tonnes.
User avatar
Reynard
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 3577
Joined: Sat Jun 18, 2011 10:03 pm

Re: So whats protecting the planet? Orbital defenses.

Postby Reynard » Wed Nov 16, 2016 7:35 pm

Actually, we should try all types including sizes to see what ODPs can function Maybe a 100 ton single weapon is not efficient. Is there a size maximum that is better served by an actual station. Are they cost efficient? One function of ODPs is dedicated support for a station leaving ships free to search for or engage a threat away from important locations. They can be more valuable to systems with low threat but still needing protection. That means a wide variety of platform types. HG2e adding virtual crew and gunners make the autonomous platform real. What would a TL 8 or 9 platform look like. How about the high tech net surrounding Regina? As dangerous as they could be, many places can't afford the Best of the Best so what do economy platforms do?

Time to design and show off some representatives.

Here's another consideration, planetary defense platforms that mount ship weapons to protect ground locations considered very important. Not every world has the tech or money for the legendary buried meson gun but one could screen a military or even commercial downport with emplaced or mobile platforms carrying ship turrets with cheap missile batteries keeping assault ships at bay.
phavoc
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 4921
Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2008 6:13 pm

Re: So whats protecting the planet? Orbital defenses.

Postby phavoc » Wed Nov 16, 2016 8:12 pm

Condottiere wrote:Wouldn't bother making orbital defence platforms below a hundred tonnes.
Why would you make them big? The idea is spread your launching platforms among multiple targets. Under the existing rules you have an artificial limitation on the number of missiles or torps you can launch from a platform in a single turn. So if you want a higher salvo throw-weight you want more platforms rather than fewer, larger ones.

Or, if you are going to go big, just drag a couple multi-megaton asteroids into orbit, outfit them with weapons and use 90% or more of the mass as armor. No spaceship could hope to ever come close to matching that armor factor.

Manned platforms, unless they are really big, are just expensive targets.
Condottiere
Warlord Mongoose
Posts: 8952
Joined: Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:23 pm

Re: So whats protecting the planet? Orbital defenses.

Postby Condottiere » Wed Nov 16, 2016 9:27 pm

Any attacker is going to stay at medium range and just pick off any firmpointed defender in orbit.

You can back up the orbital platforms with light point defence interceptors, though, that aren't sitting targets.
Jeraa
Lesser Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 552
Joined: Thu Feb 24, 2011 10:01 pm

Re: So whats protecting the planet? Orbital defenses.

Postby Jeraa » Wed Nov 16, 2016 9:48 pm

wbnc wrote:a standard communications relay satellite ( Motorola Iridium satellite)has a volume of 2 cubic meters...so you could fit 6-7 of them in 1Dton volume..but a weapons sat would need to be a good bit bigger to fit in a starship grade weapon, reactor, and such things as armor and sensors.

so 3-5 tons for a throw away sat, 10 tons for a more advanced model that can function for extended periods.
Any defense system that small would be almost worthless. At that size, you only have firmpoints. At most, weapons mounted on firmpoints have a range of Close (10 km max). If you wanted to hit the enemy, you would be forced to use missiles (whose range shouldn't be affected by being mounted on a firmpoint). That gives you a very limited number of expensive shots that aren't hard to shoot down.

A 100 ton platform, while more expensive, can actually engage the enemy at range with non-missile weapons (Medium range 10000km max to Very Long range 50000km max, depending on weapon). Despite being more expensive, it is vastly more useful.

A usable small defense satellite was at least possible with 1e High Guard, but since 2e switched over to firmpoints instead of hardpoints for small craft it makes small defensive satellites almost pointless.
wbnc
Duck-Billed Mongoose
Posts: 1553
Joined: Mon Sep 15, 2014 7:57 pm

Re: So whats protecting the planet? Orbital defenses.

Postby wbnc » Thu Nov 17, 2016 2:11 am

The small 5-35 ton satellites would not be very dangerous to a combat craft. And would certainly be vulnerable to enemy fire. But the average beat cop isn't much of a threat to a soldier in full combat gear either. If you put any system into a situation that it isn't appropriate to it fails spectacularly.

Id put 10 ton weapons=sats out as pickets or as close protection for larger platforms, as well as set them up to be rapidly launched by a booster into position to complicate the hostiles plans. they would be a pain in the posterior for pirates and light raiding scouting vessels. and could provide a long duration screen around a gas giant in systems where there isn't a populated world. Once a month a tender comes along refuels and rearms the sattelites, as well as replaces any damaged or destroyed sats, and reports back to the nearest fleet or scout base. While a corsair or even a well armed trader could pop a small satellite like a grape that would draw atention.

in a military scenario launching dozens of small satellites to support your larger platforms generates a bit of tactical uncertainty. the hostile can't predict exactly what he's up against ahead of time. thy also provide an outer perimeter, extending the sensor range of a station. the enemy can very well stand off and snipe the sattelites but that gives the main defenses time to respond. If the enemy charges in and ignores the satellites no he has a dozen extra missiles a round coming at hi from widely divergent angles. yeah, most warships can swat those like flies. but there is always a chance one will get through and not every attacker is going to be a heavy warship..ad pirate vessel or raider isnt going to have nearly as many point defenses as a destroyer of a frigate

If I were putting together a satellite/platform constellation I would have

5-ton sensor sats
10-ton Missile sats arranged in clusters,around a laser sat with point defense/broad spectrum EW software.
several 35 ton sats with missile/particle barbettes. they would have their own point defense satellites as well.
the heavy hitters of the basic constellation would be 100 ton satellites with Particle or missile bays

the 100 tonners would have low thrust M-drives to redeploy as needed.

a frigate would swat this aside but it might take some damage in the process. But your average pirate or raider would have to tread very lightly.

it would be pricey, but not unreasonable, and it would have the advantage of being somethign you could set up along a trade route to rpotect passing commercial traffic, and prevent casual attacks.

If multiple constellations were deployed you could add a central command platform with a manned crew and heavier weapons to provide long range support fire,fighters and resupply to the various unmanned platforms.
haveahappy
Stoat
Posts: 59
Joined: Tue Aug 25, 2015 4:44 am

Re: So whats protecting the planet? Orbital defenses.

Postby haveahappy » Thu Nov 17, 2016 6:15 am

Condottiere wrote:Wouldn't bother making orbital defence platforms below a hundred tonnes.
I'd make them whatever the minimum size is to chuck a spinal mount on it :)
Jeraa
Lesser Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 552
Joined: Thu Feb 24, 2011 10:01 pm

Re: So whats protecting the planet? Orbital defenses.

Postby Jeraa » Thu Nov 17, 2016 6:23 am

haveahappy wrote:
Condottiere wrote:Wouldn't bother making orbital defence platforms below a hundred tonnes.
I'd make them whatever the minimum size is to chuck a spinal mount on it :)
A TL 11 particle beam spinal is 3500 tons. At TL 14, they gets reduced to 2800 tons. Since spinal weapons can be no more than 50% of the ship, that means the minimum size of a ship with a spinal mount is 5600 tons. Assuming you can fit everything else required into the other 2800 tons.

For a meson spinal, a TL 15 one is 6000 tons. So a 12000 ton ship minimum. And if you are using the High Technology super laser, you would require a 40000 tons ship at TL 16 and a 32000 ton ship at TL 19.
Hopeless
Greater Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 1163
Joined: Sat May 20, 2006 3:14 pm
Location: UK

Re: So whats protecting the planet? Orbital defenses.

Postby Hopeless » Thu Nov 17, 2016 5:35 pm

Only if there were any survivors who escaped the subsequent change in world leadership if their world was still inhabited before being recolonized by the next lucky colonial mission?

Then there's the obvious turncoat anyone remember the Buck Rogers in the 25th century episode where the Draconians sent a shielded laser satellite to conquer the Earth Protectorate? :wink:

Last of the Starfighters not sure if I got the title right though! :?
phavoc
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 4921
Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2008 6:13 pm

Re: So whats protecting the planet? Orbital defenses.

Postby phavoc » Thu Nov 17, 2016 11:23 pm

As long as you can protect missile sats from EMP, your best bet is to seed 6-12 round missile sats (easily 3-5 tons max) in orbit. Hundreds of these would be able to launch massive salvo's to swamp point defense. You could also have torp sats in the same tonnage range.

But like I said up-thread you can't use the design rules to build these because of the minimum 10 dton requirement (plus computer and power). There isn't a design system to make them, but it's not really needed either. All you need to do is fudge the numbers a bit and you'd have a reasonably priced missile sat that you can use to make your PC's life interesting. :)
Condottiere
Warlord Mongoose
Posts: 8952
Joined: Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:23 pm

Re: So whats protecting the planet? Orbital defenses.

Postby Condottiere » Fri Nov 18, 2016 12:04 pm

We could have missile pods, or more probably torpedo pods, that we just flush into space before battle, and keep in line with tractor beams, and control them from their mothership.

But seriously, if you're outranged you're dead, that's why it would have been obvious that smallcraft rules rule under hundred tonne satellite weapon platforms out. Among other things.

And I don't see any exceptions for firmpointed missiles or torpedoes.
phavoc
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 4921
Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2008 6:13 pm

Re: So whats protecting the planet? Orbital defenses.

Postby phavoc » Fri Nov 18, 2016 1:47 pm

Condottiere wrote:We could have missile pods, or more probably torpedo pods, that we just flush into space before battle, and keep in line with tractor beams, and control them from their mothership.

But seriously, if you're outranged you're dead, that's why it would have been obvious that smallcraft rules rule under hundred tonne satellite weapon platforms out. Among other things.

And I don't see any exceptions for firmpointed missiles or torpedoes.
No tractor tech in regular Traveller ship options means no Weberverse missile pods. An attacking force won't have an endless supply of missiles, and who's to say you couldn't have orbital craft using lasers to defend? They can run away from an incoming missile strike just like attackers. Plus the detection range of tiny missile sats would be short. At that size you could easily deploy hundreds, or even thousands, of cheap decoys that would absorb attackers missiles, draining their magazines.

A well-defended planet is a nightmare for an attacker to try and take. With hundreds, or even thousands of deep-site meson bays an attacker faces a daunting task of trying to take it. If you just want to bombard it from orbit and destroy things you obviously can. But if you are an attacking force and you are willing to lay waste to your enemies worlds, that means your worlds will suffer the same fate. The concept of MAD works in the 52nd century just like it does today.

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 25 guests