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Starport defences

Posted: Wed Sep 27, 2017 6:05 am
by faethor
Hi,

What defences do you think a Starport should have?

Just some ship (fighters), or lasers and missils from installed turrets?

Thank you.

Re: Starport defences

Posted: Wed Sep 27, 2017 11:02 am
by Hopeless
Should vary wildly.

Some has minimal defences after all if you wasn't aware it existed why would you go there?

Perhaps some former warship or freighters modified to function as part of the star port would still have some weapons that could be used?

Then there's the wealthy systems or Corporations that can afford to build or ship in defences to protect their interests could include fighter wings, moon base specifically to be able to counter raiders and even natural calamities effecting any inhabited world under threat?

Re: Starport defences

Posted: Wed Sep 27, 2017 1:10 pm
by phavoc
I agree with Hopeless. For the most part it will be about security, not defense. Starports in rough areas would have more defenses than those in very safe ones. That also would mean safe starport would have more subtlety than rough ones. Missile and laser emplacements project power, but also risk.

Patrol craft and interceptors would be the norm I would think. An emplacement is helpfulnwhen attacked, but your options are limited to shoot or not. Plus there's that whole idea of star ship debris falling out of the sky that's kind of off putting to most populations. Small craft allow you to project power and engage in orbit or at a distance in the planetary atmosphere.

A missile emplacement or two, along with a few laser batteries might be fine for a frontier starport C or D. More important ones would have more defenses and probably a military presence. The starport in Jewell would have a bunch of ground based defenses as well as an orbital presence due to their proximity to Zhodani space. Installations along Vargr areas would be oriented towards stopping pesky raiders, whereas Jewell would be about stopping battle fleets and landers.

Re: Starport defences

Posted: Wed Sep 27, 2017 2:00 pm
by Rikki Tikki Traveller
Forget turrets. Defenses will likely be the equivalent to Large Bays or Spinal Mounts; most on moveable platforms so they are not such easy targets. If Meson weapons are used, they are buried underground and invisible from orbit/surface.

I use equivalent warship tonnages to estimate defenses (these are just for the starport, remember the entire planet will have even more defenses).

Class E: Little or Nothing, 1000 ton warship max

Class D: At least 1 large bay, likely more depending on population. 10000 ton warship equivalent

Class C: Likely a Spinal Mount, 100,000 ton or more equivalent. Orbital defenses are also likely present to support defense of the starport.

Class B: Several Spinal Mounts. 1,000,000 tons or more equivalent. Orbital defense are definitely there

Class A: Like Class A but more. May have the equivalent of a squadron worth of weapons.

Separate from these fixed defenses, the Planetary Defense Force will have fleets of SDBs to support them.

Class E: a Single Small Craft - likely a Cutter or shuttle

Class D: A couple of small craft, a couple of shuttles, and maybe a flight (4-6) of fighters

Class C: dozens of small craft and shuttles, a squadron of fighters (10+) and a squadron of SDBs

Class B: Hundreds of small craft and shuttles, several squadrons of fighters and dozens to hundreds of SDBs and a monitor or two.

Class A: thousands of small craft and fighters and hundreds of SDBs and several large monitors.

Again, YMMV

Re: Starport defences

Posted: Wed Sep 27, 2017 4:27 pm
by phavoc
Rikki Tikki Traveller wrote:
Wed Sep 27, 2017 2:00 pm
Forget turrets. Defenses will likely be the equivalent to Large Bays or Spinal Mounts; most on moveable platforms so they are not such easy targets. If Meson weapons are used, they are buried underground and invisible from orbit/surface.

I use equivalent warship tonnages to estimate defenses (these are just for the starport, remember the entire planet will have even more defenses).

Class E: Little or Nothing, 1000 ton warship max

Class D: At least 1 large bay, likely more depending on population. 10000 ton warship equivalent

Class C: Likely a Spinal Mount, 100,000 ton or more equivalent. Orbital defenses are also likely present to support defense of the starport.

Class B: Several Spinal Mounts. 1,000,000 tons or more equivalent. Orbital defense are definitely there

Class A: Like Class A but more. May have the equivalent of a squadron worth of weapons.

Separate from these fixed defenses, the Planetary Defense Force will have fleets of SDBs to support them.

Class E: a Single Small Craft - likely a Cutter or shuttle

Class D: A couple of small craft, a couple of shuttles, and maybe a flight (4-6) of fighters

Class C: dozens of small craft and shuttles, a squadron of fighters (10+) and a squadron of SDBs

Class B: Hundreds of small craft and shuttles, several squadrons of fighters and dozens to hundreds of SDBs and a monitor or two.

Class A: thousands of small craft and fighters and hundreds of SDBs and several large monitors.

Again, YMMV
The problem with this is that if you only have larger weapons you can't engage smaller craft. And you may want to actually just damage a craft rather than vaporize it. Just like larger warships, don't you think a starport would need secondary armament to engage multiple smaller craft? Besides, starports aren't necessarily militarized everywhere. Lasers and non-nuclear missiles are the type of equipment you'd provide to your starport security services.

For military bases, at least primary ones, I'd say your description above is likely. Though I'm not sure any starport would have dedicated spinal or meson weaponry. Those would be the purview of planetary defense forces only.

Re: Starport defences

Posted: Wed Sep 27, 2017 9:14 pm
by paltrysum
It probably also depends upon the locale. Near the Imperial Core, for example, there are massive clusters of worlds separated by only one parsec. Some of these jump-1 clusters are dozens of parsecs from the Imperial border and might have the notion (however faulty) that they are safe from attack. Such worlds might depend on a "center of the herd mentality," investing little in defenses because they are surrounded by so many neighbors and are so far away from perceived danger. They might also subscribe to the idea that only on the very fringes is a big investment in system defense required.

Re: Starport defences

Posted: Thu Sep 28, 2017 1:57 am
by Reynard
Systems are homes to patrol corvettes, police cutters, fighters and system defense boats dealing with the normal lawlessness systems encounter. This is bolstered by transient planetary, subsector and sector naval units stationed for restocking or maintenance or regular patrol duties usually more than enough in normal times especially in deeper uncontested regions. A normal non-military port has no need for integral defensive capabilities let alone offensive batteries. It's just not cost effective.

Then there are regions on contested borders with aggressive neighbors. Even then the starport wouldn't be armed and armored to the teeth but there will be posted naval assets plus structures such as orbital forts or ground bases housing hangar facilities for small craft, native SDB elements and warships in proportion to the calculated threat. Important targets could also have cheap defense satellites. Look at the map of the Spinward Marches and notice it still doesn't mean every important starbase is well defended. Mobile squadrons and fleets go where most needed.

Re: Starport defences

Posted: Thu Sep 28, 2017 1:43 pm
by Rikki Tikki Traveller
Phavoc - you brought up a good point. In my haste to post, I did forget to say that there would be lower level defenses; I was trying to describe the largest.

BUT, I also don't think that any Starport Defense would be designed for "wounding" if you are pulling out the Starport Guns, you want to kill something - quickly. So the weapons are going to be sized to kill, if larger weapons are ineffective against fighters and other small craft, then there will be small craft defenses on top of what I listed. I was just trying to give some general guidelines, but I was thinking defense against starships and spaceships, not small craft.

Good catch, Thanks!

Re: Starport defences

Posted: Thu Sep 28, 2017 2:01 pm
by phavoc
Rikki Tikki Traveller wrote:
Thu Sep 28, 2017 1:43 pm
Phavoc - you brought up a good point. In my haste to post, I did forget to say that there would be lower level defenses; I was trying to describe the largest.

BUT, I also don't think that any Starport Defense would be designed for "wounding" if you are pulling out the Starport Guns, you want to kill something - quickly. So the weapons are going to be sized to kill, if larger weapons are ineffective against fighters and other small craft, then there will be small craft defenses on top of what I listed. I was just trying to give some general guidelines, but I was thinking defense against starships and spaceships, not small craft.

Good catch, Thanks!
Well, nobody wants to ding the paint of a pirate or dirty Corellian scoundrels smuggling nerf-hides. BUT.... say you have a liner that was just hijacked. You wouldn't want to blast them out of the sky, but dinging the paint on that would let the hijackers know you mean business. Swatting them out of the sky with a particle beam bay might not sit well with the locals. Having the option of putting one across the bow vs. vaporizing them is a nice option for a commander to have.

We also, in this discussion, are all probably talking about the main starport for a system or planet. Nearly all planets are going to have more than one starport. The single Imperial starport and then a multitude of B/C/D/E spread around the globe. Balkanized worlds will have a larger mix. The level of defenses would be commensurate with the type of starport, the nature of it's cargo's, and the inherent instability that the world faces.

But even then, since we are talking about civilian facilities and such, the level of defenses would, I think, be minimal. The question becomes where to draw the analogy. Do we look at naval ports with ye olde castles and shore artillery protecting the civilian ports, or do we look at modern airports with their rent-a-cops and chain link fences?

Re: Starport defences

Posted: Fri Sep 29, 2017 5:23 am
by GarethL
Worth noting that there are much cheaper options than sdb's,

I knocked together a fairly competent anti-ship missile launcher with the vehicle rules (think MRLS) for about 5MCr,

You can buy a lot of those for the price of one SDB,

Whilst SDB's have a lot more flexibility, a poor nation can fairly cheaply defend itself against casual attackers if they have access to even moderate TL markets (the only think that really pushed the TL up was the mandatory fusion plant).

Re: Starport defences

Posted: Fri Sep 29, 2017 8:52 am
by msprange
GarethL wrote:
Fri Sep 29, 2017 5:23 am
Worth noting that there are much cheaper options than sdb's,

I knocked together a fairly competent anti-ship missile launcher with the vehicle rules (think MRLS) for about 5MCr,
Not amazingly cheap but, in the Great Rift box set, we have submarines with anti-ship/anti-orbit missiles that fire than submerge and move...

Re: Starport defences

Posted: Fri Sep 29, 2017 10:47 am
by GarethL
msprange wrote:
Fri Sep 29, 2017 8:52 am
Not amazingly cheap but,

To be sure,

To be honest my thinking was that once you've paid for the power plant and chassis it's cheaper to fit a triple turret and three racks than buying three vehicles...

My biggest difficulty was with sensors, even maxing out range they're going to be dependent on other sensor platforms to locate targets...
msprange wrote:
Fri Sep 29, 2017 8:52 am
in the Rift box set, we have submarines with anti-ship/anti-orbit missiles that fire than submerge and move...
Cool

Re: Starport defences

Posted: Fri Sep 29, 2017 11:19 am
by msprange
GarethL wrote:
Fri Sep 29, 2017 10:47 am
My biggest difficulty was with sensors, even maxing out range they're going to be dependent on other sensor platforms to locate targets...
For low orbit targets, you should be fine. If you want to hit someone who has landed on the moon, you may have issues...

Re: Starport defences

Posted: Fri Sep 29, 2017 11:31 am
by GarethL
Sure, but if they can stand off and threaten your star port or whatever with missiles from 300, 000km off then the defences are useless...

They need eyes at least as good as the enemy or they're dead.

I guess that may work for the subs because they're ambush attackers (more like a guerilla warfare operation) .

Less good if you've got something important to defend that you can't easily hide.

Re: Starport defences

Posted: Fri Sep 29, 2017 12:15 pm
by msprange
GarethL wrote:
Fri Sep 29, 2017 11:31 am
Sure, but if they can stand off and threaten your star port or whatever with missiles from 300, 000km off then the defences are useless...
They can shoot down the missiles when they get closer...

However, for effective system defence, you are always going to need ships on top of anything else you have planetside.

Re: Starport defences

Posted: Fri Sep 29, 2017 12:35 pm
by Condottiere
Within the Imperium, Starports enjoy extraterritoriality.

Internal security is likely standard, depending upon the current management's paranoia.

Epsilons probably have chain linked fences and some rottweilers.

Deltas point defence autocannons and counter battery/anti ballistic sensors.

Charlies laser, missile and sandcaster batteries.

Betas nuclear dampers.

Alphas meson screens and an extensive drone network.

Re: Starport defences

Posted: Fri Sep 29, 2017 1:26 pm
by GarethL
msprange wrote:
Fri Sep 29, 2017 12:15 pm
They can shoot down the missiles when they get closer...

However, for effective system defence, you are always going to need ships on top of anything else you have planetside.
For sure,

I was really looking for something for lower tech worlds for the Drinax campaign when I designed it (I also designed some low TL SDB's), Worlds without the budget or training for SDB's.

Mobile launchers seemed to scratch that itch,

They aren't perfect, but they are very cheap and can quickly launch a lot of missiles. A basic sensor platform in orbit quickly multiplies up their effectiveness however (plus it also makes a system weakness, exploitable by clever players ;) ).

It's also worth noting that whilst the launcher may be fairly high TL, the missiles are only TL 7... Meaning that a lot of worlds can make them (at no penalty - the smart bonus uses the better TL of launcher or missile).

Re: Starport defences

Posted: Sat Sep 30, 2017 1:17 pm
by Linwood
GarethL has a good point. A lower-tech or poor world (especially one outside a polity like the Imperium) likely won't be able to afford the defenses a TL 12 world could muster. Worlds without space-faring tach would either have to buy fighters or SDBs or simply do without. I like the suggestions for scaling based on star port rating but you may want to make adjustments based on tech level, wealth, and similar factors.

Of course a non-aligned world might negotiate a defense treaty w/ the Imperium. Could be an ugly surprise for a pirate band expecting easy pickings to find an Imperial destroyer visiting.

Which brings up a question - how aggressively will the Imperium hunt down pirates? Are Imperial naval vessels authorized to pursue pirates into non-aligned systems?

Re: Starport defences

Posted: Sat Sep 30, 2017 1:32 pm
by Reynard
According to Pirates of Drinax, you have to get pretty aggressive and become well noticed to have a world or two beg for the Imperium to intercede. The Imperial navy usually has better things to do than waste ships for cry baby worlds who won't take care of themselves unless it really, really is having a significant impact on Imperial trade. Business is business.

Re: Starport defences

Posted: Sat Sep 30, 2017 3:10 pm
by GarethL
Linwood wrote:
Sat Sep 30, 2017 1:17 pm
Which brings up a question - how aggressively will the Imperium hunt down pirates? Are Imperial naval vessels authorized to pursue pirates into non-aligned systems?
Whilst not wishing to post a spoiler, this is a huge theme in Drinax (for me at least).

The kings whole strategy is based around the Imperium not being able to just seize worlds to stop Piracy (because of the aslan treaty, etc), and being stretched too thin to effectively patrol the area without it being a part of the Imperium.

Consequently the Imperium might be forced to accept Drinax if the king keeps the peace in the region.

As for "authorised"... See also 'Sun and Shadow'.

I suspect the answer is that local governments accept it because they can't stop it, and pay lip service to keep in with the Imperium, but secretly do their own thing and probably resent Imperial 'help'.

A good guide might be the Honor Harrington 'Honor amongst enemies' which deals with a very similar situation.