Small Warships

Discuss the Traveller RPG and its many settings
AnotherDilbert
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Small Warships

Postby AnotherDilbert » Tue Sep 06, 2016 4:15 pm

I've struggles a bit with designing a usable small warship, small enough that regular Travellers might interact with them or even use them. I do not consider the originally LBB2 designs like the Type T or Mercenary Cruiser to be usable in space combat.


This is my latest attempt at a space combat capable Patrol Corvette:
600 dT, J-2, M-9, Armour-15, MCr 600
5 Barbettes (Tachyon, HiYield) and a single Point Defence Battery (3D) [Power enough for any barbette you like]
2 Nuclear Dampers
Can jump with 120 dT external load, e.g. 3 medium fighters, up to 6 × 20 dT utility boats, or drop tanks. Drop tank collars and 6 docking clamps included.

On normal patrol it might carry 2 fighters and 2 utility boats. The utility boats can be used for boarding or as sensor platforms.

Code: Select all

TL 15           Hull  288                                           594,4    
                             Desired    ∆TL    Rat    #    dTon    Cost    Power
Hull                            600                         600              120
Config      Close Structure       4             4                    42    
Hull strength    Reinforced       3             3                
Armour      Bonded Superdense    15            15            72      50    
Rad Shielding                     1             1                    15    
Repair Drones                     1             1             6       1    
                                
JumpD      High Technology        2      3      2     1      29      65      144
ManœuvreD  Very Advanced          9      2      9     1      43     108      540
PowerP (TL12)  High Technology           3            1      35      53      756
    Emergency Power               1                   1       4       5    
                                
External Load        120 dT       1                        
Drop Tank Collar     120 dT       1             1     1       0       0    
Drop Tanks                                
Fuel, Jump                        2             2     1     120        
Fuel, Power                       4           4 w     1       4        
Fuel Purification              48 h          48 h     1       3       0        3
Scoops                                                                1    
                                
Bridge                            1                   1      20       3    
    Holographic                   1                   1               1    
Comp         CORE/60             12            60     1              75    
Backup Comp  m/20/fib             4      2     20     1               8    
                                
Sensors            Advanced       9             4     1       5       5        6
Extension Net                     9             1     1       6       6    
Signal Processing  Enhanced       9             2     1       2       8        2
Shallow Pen Suite                 9                   1      10       5        1
Countermeasures    Countermeas    1             1     1       2       4        1
                                
Staterooms, High                  1                   1       6       1    
Staterooms                     100%            29    28     112      14    
Common Areas                    20%           20%     1      24       2    
Medical Bay    10% of crew        1                   1       4       2    
Armoury                           1                   4       4       1    
Brig                              1                   1       4       0    
Cargo                                                         9        
UNREP                             1                   1       1       1    
                                
                                                    
Barbette                                
Tachyon   Tachyon,Advanced        5      1   TL15     5      25      28       30
                                
Point Defence Type III,Advanced   1      1            1      18      22       30
                                
Screen                      
Damper    High Technology         2      3            2      14      30       20
                                
Docking Clamp                     3                   3       3       2    
Docking Clamp      40 dT          3                   3      15       3    
                                
                                
                                
Software                                                             34    
Jump Control/2                                 10                     0    
Evade/3                                        25                     3    
Advanced Fire Control/3                        30                    18    
Point Defence/2                                15                    12    
Virtual Crew/0                                  5                     1    
                                
                                
                                
                                
Crew                 48                        
    Command           5                        
    Bridge            7                        
        Pilot               3                    
        Astrogator          1                    
        Sensor & EW         3                    
    Engineer          5                        
        Engineer            3
        Maintenance         1,2
    Service           1    
        Admin               0,6
        Medic               0,371833333
        Steward             0,02
    Gunner            8    
    Flight           12    
    Troops           10    
I think a squadron of these might be at least marginally useful in Fleet Combat.
Fleet Combat Stats:
Hull 28
Armour 45%
Traits: Antirad, Fleet Defence
Defence: +7
Salvo Defence: 12
Screen Defence (Damper): 20
Attack: +7
Barbette: 100 / 100 / 100 / 100 / 0
phavoc
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Re: Small Warships

Postby phavoc » Tue Sep 06, 2016 4:25 pm

Interesting design. Though a small warship like that shouldn't mount that sort of armor or defenses. It's a pretty costly little ship, and at only 600 tons it would get torn to pieces in combat between real warships (DD's and up).

Size wise it's not even a frigate. So it would be more of an escort ship designed to tangle and beat up on pirates, scouts and the like. With some of the formal designs not even mounting armor it's hard to justify armor level 15 on such a small ship. That's what players would do, min/max the hell out of their designs. However fleet assets need to, generally speaking, be general assets. A small ship like that would be in a planetary navy, or assigned escorting duties for fleet auxilaries, or perhaps guarding orbital assets. It could also be a system patrol craft for say a Depot-system.

I try to design ships to meet their specific roles and duties, while taking into account navies need hulls in addition to bang for the buck. It's arguably a difficult quest because there isn't anything to draw upon except what surface navies have built in the past. And for small combatants, the choices dictate light armor, light weaponry, decent speed and ok range.
AnotherDilbert
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Re: Small Warships

Postby AnotherDilbert » Tue Sep 06, 2016 5:26 pm

phavoc wrote:Interesting design. Though a small warship like that shouldn't mount that sort of armor or defenses.
As far as I can see warships comes in two varieties: heavily armoured or target-practice. Without decent missile defences even armoured warships are target practice for missile armed ships. So of course all warships should have armour and defences.
phavoc wrote:It's a pretty costly little ship,
Yes, very expensive, but that is roughly where you end up, at MCr 1 / dT. It would rather easily defeat a bunch of Type T's or Gazelles.
phavoc wrote:and at only 600 tons it would get torn to pieces in combat between real warships (DD's and up).
Yes, it's small and fragile, but also more difficult to hit than DDs. A DD would just as dead if a spinal hit.
phavoc wrote:I try to design ships to meet their specific roles and duties, while taking into account navies need hulls in addition to bang for the buck.
Quite. Star systems are large, fleets needs plenty of screens. Small escorts can be used to patrol civilians in peace-time. For me that seems to be good bang-per-buck.
phavoc wrote:It's arguably a difficult quest because there isn't anything to draw upon except what surface navies have built in the past. And for small combatants, the choices dictate light armor, light weaponry, decent speed and ok range.
Yes, but in Traveller all ships can have the same armour and speed. This is not Edwardian surface combat.
phavoc
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Re: Small Warships

Postby phavoc » Tue Sep 06, 2016 5:56 pm

AnotherDilbert wrote:As far as I can see warships comes in two varieties: heavily armoured or target-practice. Without decent missile defences even armoured warships are target practice for missile armed ships. So of course all warships should have armour and defences.
That's a fair statement. I think where you see the difference between real warships and ones like these is the min/max idea that I mentioned earlier. Players tend to min/max the hell out of their designs. "Real" naval warship designers have to live within budgets and other restrictions that gamers do not. Without an agreed upon naval architecture concept your design is as valid as any other out there (though I really do scratch my head at seeing official designs of fleet combatants that have zero armor... I'm like whaaattt???)
AnotherDilbert wrote:Yes, very expensive, but that is roughly where you end up, at MCr 1 / dT. It would rather easily defeat a bunch of Type T's or Gazelles.
Is your goal to build an Imperial naval combatant, or is it one for a colonial/sector fleet? Or even one for a megacorp? From the looks of it I would guess the former. Not all planetary navies can afford these craft. But as long as the primary user is the Imperial Navy you can hand-wave away things like this.
AnotherDilbert wrote:Yes, it's small and fragile, but also more difficult to hit than DDs. A DD would just as dead if a spinal hit.
Ideally this ship would never engage a spinal armed opponent, or if it did it would knowingly do so with the idea that it's probably going to die. Or, perhaps, hope that it's really too small to be noticed. Which is why your opponents will also have (or should have) screening elements, and it's why larger ships mount secondary batteries to engage little pests. :)
AnotherDilbert wrote:Quite. Star systems are large, fleets needs plenty of screens. Small escorts can be used to patrol civilians in peace-time. For me that seems to be good bang-per-buck.
Yes, this is where the design conundrum always comes into play. This ship is designed to attack other warships based upon it's defenses and armament. It wouldn't normally be used in pirate suppression I don't think. You'd want cheaper hulls so you could deploy more. IF they found themselves up against better armed opponents then you's probably see these deployed. Otherwise it seems rather expensive for tasks that have a much greater need of hulls. What if you down-rated the specs some to make a colonial version of this? What would the cost differential be? Say no dampers, 2-4 armor, and no more than particle accelerators/lasers? Not sure if the point defense system would still be part of this too. There have been some changes in HG since my pre-publish copy that I would need to read to see how they might change some assumptions.
AnotherDilbert wrote:Yes, but in Traveller all ships can have the same armour and speed. This is not Edwardian surface combat.
Yeah, I've bitched about that concept since before the 2nd edition. In my mind it's just plain wrong. More armor = more mass, which the contragravity doesn't affect. Plus armor is much more than your how thick of a slab you have on the outside. In reality armor requires a great deal of reinforcement underneath the armor to provide support and dissipate kinetic energy. Otherwise your armor slabs would collapse inwards when hit. And that means ships of a certain size could not physically mount that heavy of armor because of the need to actually make it work. There are some interesting books out there that cover this concept. You don't see it today because nobody builds armored ships, but if you go back to the period of 1900-1950, when it was big guns that ruled the waves, that's where you will find these concepts.
phavoc
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Re: Small Warships

Postby phavoc » Tue Sep 06, 2016 5:58 pm

double post... sorry
Last edited by phavoc on Tue Sep 06, 2016 6:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
AnotherDilbert
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Re: Small Warships

Postby AnotherDilbert » Tue Sep 06, 2016 6:00 pm

20 dT Utility Boat
M-9, Armour-15, basic stealth, MCr 15 in quantity.
5 dT cargo
5 dT module: 5 dT cargo, Breaching Tube, or Sensor (DM+5)
Cargo space includes collapsible tanks and foldable acceleration benches.

With a Breaching Tube module it can carry 20 personnel for boarding operations, allowing the carrying ship to stand off at a safer distance. A fusion gun can be used to breach even armoured hulls for contested boardings.

Basic stealth allows you to surprise civilians: pirates, smugglers, etc.

Code: Select all

TL 15           Hull  8                                            17,0    
                             Desired    ∆TL    Rat    #    dTon    Cost    Power
Hull                             20                       20,00             4,00
Config          Streamlined       2             2                  1,50    
Hull strength   Standard          2             2                
Armour       Bonded Superdense   15            15          2,40    1,80    
Rad Shielding                     1             1                  0,50    
EM Shielding                      1             1          0,40    0,80    
Stealth         Stealth           1             1                  2,00    
                                
ManœuvreD       Very Advanced     9      2      9     1    1,44    3,60    18,00
PowerP  (TL12)  High Technology          3            1    1,40    2,10    30,00
    Emergency Power               1                   1    0,14    0,21    
                               
Fuel, Power                       0           3 d     1    0,11        
                                
Bridge                            1                   1    3,00    0,50    
    Holographic                   1                   1            0,13    
Comp           m/10               2            10     1            0,16    
Backup Comp    m/5/fib            1      2      5     1            0,05    
                                
Sensors        Basic                                  1            
                                
Cargo                                                      5,00        
Collapsible Tanks                10                  10    0,10    0,00    
Acceleration Bench, Foldable      5                   5            0,25    
                                
Module         5 dT               1                   1    5,00        
                                
         
Turret                                
Fusion    Fusion,Advanced         1      1   TL15     1    1,00    2,40     9,75

                                
Software                                                           1    
Evade/1                                        10                  1    




Module, 5 dT                            

Basic     Cargo                                            5    
          Folding Acc Bench                           5            0,25
                                                           5       0,25


Boarding  Forced Linkage                              1    3,00    3,00
          Breaching Tube                              1    2,00    0,50    
                                                           5        3,5    


Sensor    Improved                                    1    3        4,3     4
          Signal processor, enhanced                  1    2        8       2
                                                           5       12,3     6
AnotherDilbert
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Re: Small Warships

Postby AnotherDilbert » Tue Sep 06, 2016 7:13 pm

phavoc wrote:I think where you see the difference between real warships and ones like these is the min/max idea that I mentioned earlier. Players tend to min/max the hell out of their designs. "Real" naval warship designers have to live within budgets and other restrictions that gamers do not.
I'm an engineer, I min/max all day long. Real warship designers spend years min/max'ing their designs, they just have a bit more complex req. spec.'s. I've always struggled with the idea that designing inefficient ships would be role-playing.
phavoc wrote:(though I really do scratch my head at seeing official designs of fleet combatants that have zero armor... I'm like whaaattt???)
The official designs have always been, ahum, questionable. They should be able to scare a Free Trader, perhaps. In a pinch the Ghalalk and Tigress might be usable.
phavoc wrote:Is your goal to build an Imperial naval combatant, or is it one for a colonial/sector fleet? Or even one for a megacorp? From the looks of it I would guess the former. Not all planetary navies can afford these craft.
I'm trying to build a ship that is useful in both war and peace. With reasonable defences it can stand in the line of battle, it can screen a fleet, it can patrol a system, and it can escort civilians.

Type T's can be rather expensive to operate if someone shoots back at you, even point defence clusters, aka laser turrets, can cause serious damage to you, damage that is expensive to repair.

Type T's are not cheaper, since you would need screening warship too.

Such small ships cannot technically be targeted by spinals, even bays have problems hitting.
phavoc wrote:What if you down-rated the specs some to make a colonial version of this? What would the cost differential be? Say no dampers, 2-4 armor, and no more than particle accelerators/lasers?
It would cost about MCr 500, but it would be utterly pointless since it would be helpless in space combat, it would be a target practice victim.
phavoc wrote:
AnotherDilbert wrote:Yes, but in Traveller all ships can have the same armour and speed. This is not Edwardian surface combat.
Yeah, I've bitched about that concept since before the 2nd edition. In my mind it's just plain wrong. More armor = more mass, which the contragravity doesn't affect. Plus armor is much more than your how thick of a slab you have on the outside. In reality armor requires a great deal of reinforcement underneath the armor to provide support and dissipate kinetic energy. Otherwise your armor slabs would collapse inwards when hit. And that means ships of a certain size could not physically mount that heavy of armor because of the need to actually make it work. There are some interesting books out there that cover this concept. You don't see it today because nobody builds armored ships, but if you go back to the period of 1900-1950, when it was big guns that ruled the waves, that's where you will find these concepts.
Armour includes internal bracing. MT & TNE tried to address the armour-size problem, most people didn't seem to enjoy the complexity.

I design spacecraft for Traveller, not Edwardian surface ships.


Edit: Quote fixed.
Last edited by AnotherDilbert on Tue Sep 06, 2016 7:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
phavoc
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Re: Small Warships

Postby phavoc » Tue Sep 06, 2016 7:29 pm

There's an author, DK Brown, who's written some interesting books on naval warship design, German vs. UK vs. US ideals, etc. It's interesting. There's also a series of books by an author named Massie, starting with Dreadnaught, which are good reads too. Though Dreadnought really only covers tech and design in about two chapters, the rest are more about the politics of naval shipbuilding and the royals and why the Germans felt inferior to the Brits.

I'd also recommend a book (hell, ANY book pretty much by Friedman) called The British Battleship. He's got an entire series on US warship design, broken out by class.
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Re: Small Warships

Postby Condottiere » Tue Sep 06, 2016 7:31 pm

Identify likely user/customers and original intent.

Some designs suffer from mission creep, but if the customer has hundreds, if not thousands, of starships in commission, most would tend to be optimized for a specific role.
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Re: Small Warships

Postby phavoc » Tue Sep 06, 2016 7:46 pm

There's also this interesting blogpress design regarding modern warship armor tradeoffs. It's a two-parter, but the author does a pretty good job explaining things. And he puts up a very valid point - much of this is conjecture because we haven't fought a war to truly test our theories (these days it's pretty much Russian vs. US naval design philosophies).

https://warshipphilosophy.wordpress.com ... or-part-1/
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Re: Small Warships

Postby AnotherDilbert » Tue Sep 06, 2016 7:51 pm

SDB
400 dT, M-9, Armour-15, MCr 460.
1 Medium bay [power for any bay, or any two small bays]
1 utility turret
2 Point Defence Batteries, 3D
2 Dampers.
Streamlined to hide in GGs or oceans.
Cramped quarters.
Breaching Tube and some marines to clean up after battles or police civilians.

Code: Select all

TL 15           Hull  176                                            457,9    
                             Desired    ∆TL    Rat    #    dTon    Cost    Power
Hull                            400                         400              80
Config        Streamlined         2             2                    34    
Hull strength Reinforced          3             3                
Armour        Bonded Superdense  15            15            48      41    
Rad Shielding                     1             1                    10    
Repair Drones                     1                   1       4       1    
                                
ManœuvreD     Very Advanced       9      2      9     1      29      72     360
PowerP (TL12) High Technology            3            1      28      42     600
    Emergency Power               1                   1       3       4    
                                
Fuel, Power                       4           4 w     1       3        
Fuel Purification              24 h          24 h     1       1       0       1
                                
Bridge                            1                   1      20       2    
    Holographic                   1                   1               1    
Comp          CORE/40             8            40     1              45    
Backup Comp   m/15/fib            3      2     15     1               3    
                                
Sensors       Advanced            9             4     1       5       5       6
Extension Net                     9             1     1       4       4    
Signal Processing  Enhanced       9             2     1       2       8       2
Shallow Pen Suite  None                            
Countermeasures    Countermeasu   1             1     1       2       4       1
                                
Staterooms                     100%            16    16      64       8    
Escape Capsules                   1                  32      16       1    
Medical Bay   10% of crew         1                   1       4       2    
Armoury                           1                   4       4       1    
Brig                              1                   1       4       0    
Cargo                                                        13        

Breaching Tube                    1                   1       3       3    
Forced Linkage                    1                   1       2       1    
                                
Medium Bay                                
Particle      High Technology     1      3   TL14     1      90      60      45

Turret                                
Pulse Laser   Very Advanced       1      2   TL11     1       1       7      18
                                
Point Defence 3D, Advanced        2      1            2      36      44      60
                                
Screen Damper High Technology     2      3            2      14      30      20
                                                                
                                
                                
Software                                                             26    
Evade/3                                        25                     3    
Fire Control/5                                 25                    10    
Point Defence/2                                15                    12    
Virtual Crew/0                                  5                     1    
                                
                                
                                
Crew                   29                        
    Command             3                        
    Bridge              6                        
        Pilot                 3                    
        Astrogator            0                    
        Sensor & EW           3                    
    Engineer            3    
        Engineer              2
        Maintenance           0,8
    Service             1    
        Admin                 0,4
        Medic                 0,211666667
        Steward               0
    Gunner              6    
    Flight        
    Troops             10    
Condottiere
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Re: Small Warships

Postby Condottiere » Tue Sep 06, 2016 8:27 pm

Steel is cheap and air is free.
AnotherDilbert
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Re: Small Warships

Postby AnotherDilbert » Tue Sep 06, 2016 8:34 pm

Image
+100 years:
Image
+100 years:
Image
+3000 years
Image

A hundred years completely revolutionise warship design. I think we should be careful not to draw too many parallels between last century's watercraft design and spacecraft design 3000 years from now.
Condottiere
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Re: Small Warships

Postby Condottiere » Tue Sep 06, 2016 8:47 pm

Warships are compromised weapon platforms.

Image
wbnc
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Re: Small Warships

Postby wbnc » Wed Sep 07, 2016 12:38 am

Condottiere wrote:Warships are compromised weapon platforms.

Image
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agcRwGDKulw
-Daniel-
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Re: Small Warships

Postby -Daniel- » Wed Sep 07, 2016 2:31 am

Now that was funny as hell. Space Wizards. :lol:
wbnc
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Re: Small Warships

Postby wbnc » Wed Sep 07, 2016 3:14 am

-Daniel- wrote:
Now that was funny as hell. Space Wizards. :lol:
Does put the whole issue in a new light :D
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Re: Small Warships

Postby -Daniel- » Thu Sep 08, 2016 2:48 am

wbnc wrote:
-Daniel- wrote:
Now that was funny as hell. Space Wizards. :lol:
Does put the whole issue in a new light :D
Yes it does. Both on a comic level and on the serious level.

But I just can't shake the whole "Space Wizards" thing. :lol:
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Re: Small Warships

Postby Condottiere » Thu Sep 08, 2016 11:40 am

Image
mancerbear
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Re: Small Warships

Postby mancerbear » Sat Sep 24, 2016 6:22 am

I might be late to the party,but before I design a ship I like to assign a budget, then allow a 10% blowout if necessary. This stops me from min-maxing. I've always thought trying to stick to a budget gives me a more realistic feel to ship design.

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