Any published guidelines on how long it takes to online a ship?

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Moppy

Any published guidelines on how long it takes to online a ship?

Postby Moppy » Tue Dec 10, 2019 5:28 am

Any published guidelines on how long it takes to online a ship?

As part of doing wargame rules for High Guard I find myself needing to know how long it takes to online various ship systems. Clearly ships will operate with some positions uncrewed and some systems switched off (the spinal mount obviously is not continuously charged to firing level). The length of time it takes to go to battle stations and arm these systems is important.

As an example of why it matters, as far as I can tell, the naval Phalanx CIWS system (edit: a point defense gun) has been used 3 times "for real" and failed all 3 times. Two of these were because the system was inactive at the time of the attack (USS STARK, INS HANIT). Not relevant to this issue but for those interested, the remaing time was USS JARRETT where it engaged a friendly target instead.

I think they probably have several levels of preparedness - no weapons up - a few turrets up just in case - all turrets up, spinal & bays down - etc.

A related question. Are nukes routinely carried, or issued only in times of crisis?
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Re: Any published guidelines on how long it takes to online a ship?

Postby Linwood » Tue Dec 10, 2019 11:14 am

No idea as to whether there are published guidelines on this, but I have vague memories of task checks for cold-starting power systems and similar things. That might be a good start.

In general it seems reasonable that the larger a given weapon system is the longer it takes to become fully active. It takes time for electronic systems to initiate boot sequences, run initial diagnostics and verify readiness on the ship’s internal network. It may take more time for smart weaponry like missiles to power up their systems.

I’d also assume that starship weaponry has three states of readiness:

(1) Sleep - the weapon is drawing no power other than q-current needs. This is the likely state during jump and maybe most of the time in peacetime to conserve power and limit wear and tear. Time to full readiness might be in the tens of minutes for large systems.

(2) Standby - the weapon’s control systems are active. Diagnostics and network communications are running and some ancillary systems (coolant pumps and the like) may be online. The weapon is drawing some power. This is the likely state for emergence from jump in peacetime (you never know what may be waiting) and while patrolling in low-threat areas. Time to full readiness is likely to be in the tens of seconds to a few minutes.

(3) Operational - the weapon system is fully active.
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Re: Any published guidelines on how long it takes to online a ship?

Postby AnotherDilbert » Tue Dec 10, 2019 11:49 am

MT Imperial Encyclopedia had detailed tasks for powering up ships.

Less detailed systems tend to devolve to:
Core, p155 wrote: If one ship does manage to surprise another, its opponent will not be able to take any actions in the first round of the combat.

In other words, it takes an operational ship one turn to become combat ready.


JTAS#14 had some optional rules for CT:
JTAS#14, p25 wrote: If a ship is caught by an enemy in a powered down state, the crew may attempt to bring the power plant up to full blast. One turn is required for each level of power plant to be restored. No energy-using weapons or shields may be operated during this "stoking-up" period, and agility is reduced to one.
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Re: Any published guidelines on how long it takes to online a ship?

Postby AnotherDilbert » Tue Dec 10, 2019 11:57 am

Moppy wrote: A related question. Are nukes routinely carried, or issued only in times of crisis?
I would assume they are routinely carried on spacecraft.

Non-nuke missiles are generally much less effective, rendering missile ships rather ineffective without nukes.

In space there is generally no problem with fall-out or permanently rendering territory uninhabitable, so much less of a problem using nukes. Nukes are not all that special when Fusion, Particle, and Meson weapons are regularly used, even planet-side.

Ships on patrol really don't have time to take a few months to return to base to rearm at the beginning of a war.
Moppy

Re: Any published guidelines on how long it takes to online a ship?

Postby Moppy » Tue Dec 10, 2019 9:40 pm

AnotherDilbert wrote:
Tue Dec 10, 2019 11:57 am
Moppy wrote: A related question. Are nukes routinely carried, or issued only in times of crisis?
I would assume they are routinely carried on spacecraft.

Non-nuke missiles are generally much less effective, rendering missile ships rather ineffective without nukes.

In space there is generally no problem with fall-out or permanently rendering territory uninhabitable, so much less of a problem using nukes. Nukes are not all that special when Fusion, Particle, and Meson weapons are regularly used, even planet-side.

Ships on patrol really don't have time to take a few months to return to base to rearm at the beginning of a war.
I agree that most people probably do carry them as standard, which means they're probably trival to get hold of in the 2nd hand weapons market, and yet sometimes I wonder how the Imperium still exists. Free Trader Beowulf on a shooting spree could level a whole city fast.

Perhaps it's best that we forget about such things and just get on with rolling dice.
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Re: Any published guidelines on how long it takes to online a ship?

Postby Condottiere » Tue Dec 10, 2019 10:38 pm

1. Image

Two (wo)man authentication for arming nuclear warheads.

2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WCpYqWAIwFA

a. https://youtu.be/WCpYqWAIwFA?t=82

Alert levels, or posture.

b. https://youtu.be/WCpYqWAIwFA?t=108

Presumably, leaving weapon system capacitors at full will cause them to deteriorate faster.

Also, you don't want your missile armed unless entering combat.

c. https://youtu.be/WCpYqWAIwFA?t=17

General Order Twelve
Moppy

Re: Any published guidelines on how long it takes to online a ship?

Postby Moppy » Tue Dec 10, 2019 11:39 pm

i dont think that's a free trader!
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Re: Any published guidelines on how long it takes to online a ship?

Postby HalC » Wed Dec 11, 2019 2:20 am

Nuclear weaponry and/or weapons of mass destruction are not likely to be available on the open market or even generally available to the civilian market. If your Third Imperium permits civilian use of such weapons - well, life for civilians are going to be interesting. ;)

As for nuclear armaments aboard ships? One would have to ask what is reasonable. If it is unreasonable for a warship to have to return to port to get nuclear weapons, that would defeat its purpose for being a warship. On the other hand, the missile load out has to be balanced both budget concerns and expected use concerns. If missiles are a finite resource within a game system, then tracking what is being carried aboard a ship makes sense. If the percentage of nuclear missiles to conventional missiles follows a 10/90 ratio - then you have your answer right there. The real question not asked here is what ratios make sense and when?

If the tensions are high, you'd expect standard missile load outs to favor nuclear missiles DESPITE their cost. If tensions are low, then you'd expect that the load out ratio would be lower.

Bear this in mind...

EVERY single Imperial world is supposed to be its own sovereign entity. Can the Third Imperium weather multiple diplomatic incidents involving weapons of mass destruction? Would the Third Imperium's political structure desire that level of potential destructiveness in anyone's appendages without some level of checks and balances?

Now, throw in the monkey wrench of defense systems against nuclear weapons...

In theory? Nuclear weapons can be rendered inert by Nuclear Dampners. If I recall correctly, the same technology that can render nuclear missiles a dud can also enhance a nuclear explosion (was a Traveller article many years ago in a source I no longer recall, so take that recollection with a HUGE grain of salt!). Even if it can't enhance a nuclear explosion, just the fact that a nuclear dampner seems to be small enough to become standard equipment for a planetary defense system might make sense.

In the end? You as the GM, has to make decisions about your Universe. The phrase "Some assembly required" might make for a good warning label for all Traveller products. *teasing grin*
Moppy

Re: Any published guidelines on how long it takes to online a ship?

Postby Moppy » Wed Dec 11, 2019 10:03 am

i agree such weapons shouldn't be available but doesn't every traveller run around with military weapons? In any case they already have a nuclear fusion reactor and a ship which is equivalent to a dinosaur eraser asteroid.

I guess we will have to start applying the law level on worlds characteristic very strictly, and banning certain systems on space craft, as well as manual piloting within civilised space. This makes it hard to run adventures.
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Re: Any published guidelines on how long it takes to online a ship?

Postby AnotherDilbert » Wed Dec 11, 2019 12:13 pm

Moppy wrote: I agree that most people probably do carry them as standard, which means they're probably trival to get hold of in the 2nd hand weapons market, ...
Not most people and certainly not in the surplus market. The Imperial Rules of War is pretty clear on nukes. Outside the Imperium, who knows?

But warships will carry them routinely.

Moppy wrote: ... and yet sometimes I wonder how the Imperium still exists. Free Trader Beowulf on a shooting spree could level a whole city fast.
Anything large falling from orbit can level a city, just as any aircraft can pretty much destroy any building today. Despite thousands of aircraft flying every day it does not happen very often.
Moppy

Re: Any published guidelines on how long it takes to online a ship?

Postby Moppy » Wed Dec 11, 2019 12:34 pm

AnotherDilbert wrote:
Wed Dec 11, 2019 12:13 pm
Anything large falling from orbit can level a city, just as any aircraft can pretty much destroy any building today. Despite thousands of aircraft flying every day it does not happen very often.
Airplane is very different scale of damage, and quite well protected. Private space craft in Traveller seem quite common and very badly regulated. Given that airplane and car attacks have occured today, I assume spacecraft attacks have also occured in 3I. Sure, I'm exaggerating a little postulating the whole imperium will go down, but there should be a lot more damage on the map.
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Re: Any published guidelines on how long it takes to online a ship?

Postby phavoc » Wed Dec 11, 2019 1:47 pm

Moppy wrote:
Tue Dec 10, 2019 5:28 am
Any published guidelines on how long it takes to online a ship?

As part of doing wargame rules for High Guard I find myself needing to know how long it takes to online various ship systems. Clearly ships will operate with some positions uncrewed and some systems switched off (the spinal mount obviously is not continuously charged to firing level). The length of time it takes to go to battle stations and arm these systems is important.

As an example of why it matters, as far as I can tell, the naval Phalanx CIWS system (edit: a point defense gun) has been used 3 times "for real" and failed all 3 times. Two of these were because the system was inactive at the time of the attack (USS STARK, INS HANIT). Not relevant to this issue but for those interested, the remaing time was USS JARRETT where it engaged a friendly target instead.

I think they probably have several levels of preparedness - no weapons up - a few turrets up just in case - all turrets up, spinal & bays down - etc.

A related question. Are nukes routinely carried, or issued only in times of crisis?
A naval ship (e.g. wet navy) operates in a relatively harsh environment. Sea environments are hard on equipment, much harder than vacuum would be. So it's not necessarily a good equivalent. A Phalanx system is exposed to the weather and, as an electro-mechanical system, it's electronics have to be shielded away from harsh salt water and moisture, and it's mechanical components need to be lubricated and also kept safe from sea salt in the air and from waves & moisture. Depending on how closely the systems are maintained will make or break that issue. The missile systems, in sealed VLS containers, receive almost no maintenance while at sea because they are more protected in their sealed launch cannisters.

A laser would have low maintenance requirement while not in use. But, if it were used regularly, then most likely your emitters would take the most amount of maintenance. Electronics in a vacuum have very little wear on them - those little electrons are pretty easy to deal with. :) Items like sensors would still fail, but diagnostics will help identify those issues pretty easily enough.

For turreted energy weapons I would think they could be brought on-line fairly quickly, certainly within minutes, or one Traveller turn. However, turrets do have a mechanical aspect to them, so those components would still need lubrication applied. This is where having a crew for a turret helps. Otherwise a ship with a very low level of crew would suffer more from a maintenance backlog.

Bay (large turreted weapons) would have a longer time to bring on-line from standby I would suspect, probably two to three turns (for energy weapons). Keeping them charged and ready at all times would lower the life expectancy of the gear, thus no navy and especially merchant, is going to pay for that. Weapons would only be charged when needed. The same goes for missiles. They would be kept in the magazine and only loaded in the launcher when needed (the non-existening magazine in Traveller settings). Since Traveller rules don't postulate a VLS type launching system that's not in consideration.

A spinal mount is a very complicated piece of equipment, comprising some mechanical portion (it's still going to be focusing the weapon beam, so there's a mechanical aspect), plus the many sub-systems, not to mention the time to charge the weapon. I don't think it's unreasonable to say it could take 3-6 turns to bring a spinal mount up from cold status to ready to fire. You'd want a steady and orderly powering up sequence to test the firing circuits and ensure you don't have an overload or failure while you are also diverting power from the reactor to begin charging your capacitors. The amount of energy involved means you really would hate to have your capacitor system fail and discharge all that energy internally.
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Re: Any published guidelines on how long it takes to online a ship?

Postby Rerednaw » Wed Dec 11, 2019 7:54 pm

The startup time was already addressed.

Regarding nukes: the different version implied different levels of access.
Early editions just had prices.
The later editions of Traveller had the Imperium imposing severe penalties if WMDs (nukes, etc.) were used.
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Re: Any published guidelines on how long it takes to online a ship?

Postby AnotherDilbert » Wed Dec 11, 2019 8:47 pm

Rerednaw wrote: Regarding nukes: the different version implied different levels of access.
Early editions just had prices.
The later editions of Traveller had the Imperium imposing severe penalties if WMDs (nukes, etc.) were used.
The Imperial Rules of War, banning nukes, were already in CT:
CT S11 Library Data N-Z, p30-31 wrote: War, Imperial Rules of:
...
One prohibition is clear and firm: use or possession of nuclear weapons, if discovered, and regardless of size or type, will almost certainly trigger Imperial intervention. The lmperium alone retains the rights to such weapons, because of their extreme destructive powers and the relatively low tech level at which they can be manufactured.
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Re: Any published guidelines on how long it takes to online a ship?

Postby AnotherDilbert » Wed Dec 11, 2019 9:12 pm

Moppy wrote: Given that airplane and car attacks have occured today, I assume spacecraft attacks have also occured in 3I. Sure, I'm exaggerating a little postulating the whole imperium will go down, but there should be a lot more damage on the map.
Sure, but a minor city on a minor outpost somewhere does not matter to the Imperium.

The few hundred HiPop worlds that actually matter can afford adequate security.
Moppy

Re: Any published guidelines on how long it takes to online a ship?

Postby Moppy » Wed Dec 11, 2019 9:16 pm

Agreed that there is security on high pop tech worlds.

It would be great if this security was described.

Can you land your space ship yourself or does it revert to autopilt inside the 100D lmiit?

Are there so many Gazelles in the system that you can line them up and walk to the jump point?

How does smuggling work in such a secure environment with automated ship scanners?
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Re: Any published guidelines on how long it takes to online a ship?

Postby Condottiere » Thu Dec 12, 2019 1:00 am

The thing about drawing red lines in the sand, is that you seriously have to enforce them.
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Re: Any published guidelines on how long it takes to online a ship?

Postby TheLonelySandPerson » Thu Dec 12, 2019 2:40 am

AnotherDilbert wrote:
Tue Dec 10, 2019 11:57 am
I would assume they are routinely carried on spacecraft.

Non-nuke missiles are generally much less effective, rendering missile ships rather ineffective without nukes.

In space there is generally no problem with fall-out or permanently rendering territory uninhabitable, so much less of a problem using nukes.
See, the Ancients thought like that too, and now all of space is full of radiation. :mrgreen:
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Re: Any published guidelines on how long it takes to online a ship?

Postby Condottiere » Thu Dec 12, 2019 10:45 pm

By tradition, the power plant should be the one piece of equipment where you don't want to quit functioning, and usually takes a while to get going.

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