Future concepts on crew manning skills

Discuss the Traveller RPG and its many settings
Cosmic Mongoose
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Future concepts on crew manning skills

Postby phavoc » Sun Jul 07, 2019 6:54 pm

I ran across this on the Traveller RPG facebook group. It raises a number of excellent questions to the concept of Traveller crew manning. Future ships will have much more computing power and automation possibilities available to them. But, like everything else, what conceptually sounds good on paper may have other pitfalls that can be ignored at your own peril.

There are many ideas that stick out, but here are two that are relevant to Traveller:

Ships manned by generalists:
There have been other incidents. Because of a design flaw, the LCS engines started to corrode not long after the fleet’s launch, but for a long time nobody on board noticed, which led to costly delays and repairs. When a congressional oversight committee found out about the problem in 2011, it called the ships’ crews to task. Who was in charge of checking the engines? The answer was … nobody. The engine rooms were unmanned by design.

Modular warships
Meanwhile, the modular “plug and fight” configuration was not panning out as hoped. Converting a ship from sub-hunter to minesweeper or minesweeper to surface combatant, it turned out, was a logistical nightmare. Variants of all three “mission packages” had to be stocked at far-flung ports; an extra detachment of 20-plus sailors had to stand ready to embark with each. More to the point, in order to enable quick mastery by generalists, the technologies on each had to be user-friendly—which they were not. So in 2016 the concept of interchangeability was scuttled for a “one ship, one mission” approach, in which the extra 20-plus sailors became permanent crew members.

Both ideas probably have better ways to implement. In the case of the engine oiling, the Navy recognized they failed to give crew the proper training and stood down the fleet for more specific training.

In the case of the modular warship, well, that's not really settled. In Traveller I would think it should be less of a problem, but yet would remain one. A cruiser switching from being beam-armed to being missile armed has a different set of needs and tactics. While pushing the red button remains the same, all the other aspects (maintenance, tactics, etc) are fundamentally changed. If things were to follow the same pattern of the LCS, your beam modules sitting at your fleet base are also staffed with the crew, so that's not very efficient use of them. But if you just swap out weapons modules and not crew then your existing crew has to be skilled in both to reach peak performance.

Here's the link to the article - https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/ar ... Ob8ZySXZ34
Cosmic Mongoose
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Re: Future concepts on crew manning skills

Postby AnotherDilbert » Sun Jul 07, 2019 7:19 pm

The Royal Danish Navy seems to be satisfied with their Standard Flex modular system that has worked well for decades.

Re: Future concepts on crew manning skills

Postby Moppy » Sun Jul 07, 2019 8:49 pm

LCS is a giant pile of crap. USN knows but they have gone too far to back out. A replacement program was started in 2017.

I should add that the reason it's crap isn't because of modularisation, as that works for everyone else.
Warlord Mongoose
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Re: Future concepts on crew manning skills

Postby Condottiere » Mon Jul 08, 2019 5:36 pm

1. The Littoral Combat Ship suffered from mission creep and size inflation; I suspect the crew size remained the same.

2. They're meant to be knife fighters in the tradition of motor torpedo boats and their cousins.

3. This makes them expendable; however, cost overruns, a shrinking manpower pool and a contraction of commissioned vessels means that's untenable.

4. I can't recall when they came up with this concept, and it metastasized, but the Pentagon was in the midst of pushing the transformation mantra, which included such gems as the Osprey, the Lightning Toothless, and a bunch of armoured vehicles.

5. The obvious takeaway from this debacle is to split the procurement into buying a smaller bunch of larger and more capable frigates, and give them control over another bunch of seagoing drones that are expendable.

6. As I recall the Danish programme, it was meant to grow organically; also, they have less ships and a more enclosed area of operations.

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