Starport defences

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baithammer
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Re: Starport defences

Postby baithammer » Mon Oct 09, 2017 1:14 pm

Asteroid come in a wide variety of sizes, shapes and compositions which can be tailored to the mission ( Mining Lasers,Mineral Scanners and Engineers ... ) and in order to get up to the scale of nuclear strike your going to need a large, dense and ductile one.

The nuclear ban in traveller is kind of an odd one given the nuclear weapons in use have a very short persistence and very limited area of affect, while other weapons seem to be fair game even though they have the same radiation trait.

Also need to understand the difference between strike ( Singular / confined object and zone.) and bombardment ( Multiple/wide and over a long duration.).
Reynard
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Re: Starport defences

Postby Reynard » Mon Oct 09, 2017 1:54 pm

My god, people are trying to justify a terror weapon.
msprange
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Re: Starport defences

Postby msprange » Mon Oct 09, 2017 2:24 pm

Reynard wrote:
Mon Oct 09, 2017 1:54 pm
My god, people are trying to justify a terror weapon.
Sounds like a typical group of Travellers round our way...
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xnet445
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Re: Starport defences

Postby xnet445 » Mon Oct 09, 2017 2:30 pm

Reynard wrote:
Fri Oct 06, 2017 7:49 pm
Thing that bothers me, everyone seems to think the universe is in pre-war status and every system is a potential target similar to how many Americans feel they need arsenals to defend their homes from imminent invasion. How many nations around the world have their seaports defended with gun emplacements, aerial flyovers and regular warship patrols? They don't even when at war with any other nation. There will be routine coastal patrolling and warships make stopovers but no one is anchored with guns pointing at the horizon... just in case. Can you imagine the military budgets to give even lip service to all those ports?

Problem is gamers are, oh let's say PARANOID! They arm and armor themselves when stepping off their ship at class A starports. At a galactic level, they simply KNOW every commercial starport is about to have a fleet or two, whether Aslan or pirates, screaming in with massive firepower. And if you're the kind of referee to do something like that, shame on you.
Maybe not today, but until recently active port defenses were extremely common. The minor US port city I live in was continuously defended by island forts and manned coastal artillery batteries, during wartime and peace, for over 150 years, ceasing only in the late 1950's. The tenure of european active coastal defenses was measured in centuries. I find manned/active defenses entirely appropriate in a universe with pirate activity and hostile neighbors who like to go raiding.
baithammer
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Re: Starport defences

Postby baithammer » Mon Oct 09, 2017 3:06 pm

There is a lot of effort to redevelop semi-static defenses for facilities as detection is getting less and less effective.
phavoc
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Re: Starport defences

Postby phavoc » Tue Oct 10, 2017 1:21 am

baithammer wrote:
Mon Oct 09, 2017 1:14 pm
Asteroid come in a wide variety of sizes, shapes and compositions which can be tailored to the mission ( Mining Lasers,Mineral Scanners and Engineers ... ) and in order to get up to the scale of nuclear strike your going to need a large, dense and ductile one.

The nuclear ban in traveller is kind of an odd one given the nuclear weapons in use have a very short persistence and very limited area of affect, while other weapons seem to be fair game even though they have the same radiation trait.

Also need to understand the difference between strike ( Singular / confined object and zone.) and bombardment ( Multiple/wide and over a long duration.).
Why would you even bother? You can't do pinpoint targeting with an asteroid. It's a bludgeon that will wreck the world you are invading. You cannot "tailor" an asteroid to do anything that you could not do with missiles that DO allow you to target EXACTLY what you are trying to hit.

Nuclear weapons are the purview of the government only, and the Imperial war laws make it stupid to ever use them in a small conflict. No planetary system can defend against an Imperial battlegroup because they are essentially unlimited whereas a single system's resources are quite finite.

Would you consider the Tunguska asteroid a targeted strike? I'm former artillery (MLRS). I'm well aware of the difference between strikes and bombardments. And an asteroid meets neither definition. You might as well say that the US and Russia deploy FAE's as pinpoint weapons. It's the same thing as you are proposing.
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Re: Starport defences

Postby phavoc » Tue Oct 10, 2017 1:24 am

xnet445 wrote:
Mon Oct 09, 2017 2:30 pm
Maybe not today, but until recently active port defenses were extremely common. The minor US port city I live in was continuously defended by island forts and manned coastal artillery batteries, during wartime and peace, for over 150 years, ceasing only in the late 1950's. The tenure of european active coastal defenses was measured in centuries. I find manned/active defenses entirely appropriate in a universe with pirate activity and hostile neighbors who like to go raiding.
We have pirate activity today. Nobody has deployed fixed port defenses in the last few generations. To put it in equivalent perspective, people rode horses for thousands of years, ceasing only relatively recently in human history. Notice that they aren't appropriate modes of transport anywhere in the industrialized world, and barely so in the backwaters.
baithammer
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Re: Starport defences

Postby baithammer » Tue Oct 10, 2017 2:47 am

Considering the old time ports were controlled by the military so required fixed defenses.
phavoc
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Re: Starport defences

Postby phavoc » Tue Oct 10, 2017 3:55 am

baithammer wrote:
Tue Oct 10, 2017 2:47 am
Considering the old time ports were controlled by the military so required fixed defenses.
The ports weren't, but the forts around the ports were. Only naval bases and coastal forts were controlled by the military. Well, at least for civilian-led governments. When there wasn't a division between the two then yeah, I'd go with your description.
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Re: Starport defences

Postby AnotherDilbert » Tue Oct 10, 2017 10:11 am

phavoc wrote:
Tue Oct 10, 2017 1:24 am
Nobody has deployed fixed port defenses in the last few generations.
Sweden built fixed coastal defences continuously from at least 13th century to the end of the Cold War in 1990, e.g.:
Image
Image
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/12_cm_tor ... 3%A4s_m/70
Condottiere
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Re: Starport defences

Postby Condottiere » Tue Oct 10, 2017 1:50 pm

How far do you have to throw off the aim of an unguided missile, as I'll assume a hurling asteroid will be?

Not to say if it lands in the ocean a couple of kilometres away from a city, the collateral damage won't be the same.

Most starports are going to have point defences, which takes care of the small fry.

Mongoose will have to make up it's mind if meson weapons smaller than spinal mounts are canon in the Third Imperium, because that's the nine point two inch harbour guns.
phavoc
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Re: Starport defences

Postby phavoc » Tue Oct 10, 2017 2:20 pm

AnotherDilbert wrote:
Tue Oct 10, 2017 10:11 am
phavoc wrote:
Tue Oct 10, 2017 1:24 am
Nobody has deployed fixed port defenses in the last few generations.
Sweden built fixed coastal defences continuously from at least 13th century to the end of the Cold War in 1990, e.g.:
Image
Image
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/12_cm_tor ... 3%A4s_m/70
I had to go research this. You are correct. Sweden did build six fortifications from 77-83, each of which consisted of a 3 gun emplacement of 120mm cannons. It turns out they sold about 8 guns to Norway who built some similar fortifications to house them (and added EMP protections, which the Swedish opted not to). Norway mothballed theirs in 2000. Both sets were built to deter Russian incursions (technically the Swede's built theirs for any European power, but Russia is considered the bigger threat). More here - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/12_cm_tor ... 3%A4s_m/70

So it would seem that some fixed fortifications were built, but have since been scrapped.
baithammer
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Re: Starport defences

Postby baithammer » Tue Oct 10, 2017 7:03 pm

Condottiere wrote:
Tue Oct 10, 2017 1:50 pm
How far do you have to throw off the aim of an unguided missile, as I'll assume a hurling asteroid will be?

Not to say if it lands in the ocean a couple of kilometres away from a city, the collateral damage won't be the same.

Most starports are going to have point defences, which takes care of the small fry.

Mongoose will have to make up it's mind if meson weapons smaller than spinal mounts are canon in the Third Imperium, because that's the nine point two inch harbour guns.
Meson weapons really need to be kept at the scale of spinals as it breaks a lot of mechanics.
Condottiere
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Re: Starport defences

Postby Condottiere » Thu Oct 12, 2017 11:38 am

They would make meson screens a necessity for most large combatants.
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Re: Starport defences

Postby SSWarlock » Thu Oct 12, 2017 11:54 am

For some extra fun, you could always have a world field their equivalent of the U.S.'s "Sprint" missile. It had a 100G acceleration (hitting Mach 10 in 6 seconds) to boost an enhanced radiation low-kiloton nuclear warhead to within target interception range in 15 seconds. Best of all, it can be put together by any nuke-capable TL7+ world. Great write-up in Wikipedia with some very interesting videos on YouTube and an excellent message to pirate groups when their raids become annoying.

*Alarms sound*

Missile Tech: "Sir! Three Vargr corsairs flying nap-of-the-earth at 20km and closing fast!"
Lieutenant: "*yawn* Weapons free; fire a Sprint at each one."
Missile Tech: "Missiles away. Intercept in..I mean, one hit. Sorry, two. No, make that three targets destroyed. Battery has resumed standby status."
Lieutenant: "Very well..um, who's deal was it?"
Missile Tech: "I believe it was mine, sir."
Lieutenant: "Carry on, Sergeant."
Sir Dhaven Hevelin, IOD, Baronet of Fulacin
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Epicenter
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Re: Starport defences

Postby Epicenter » Sat Oct 14, 2017 2:15 am

faethor wrote:
Wed Sep 27, 2017 6:05 am
What defences do you think a Starport should have?
Defenses are created to counter a threat (what you're afraid of) but are constrained by economics (what you can pay). The starport would have defenses according to that. When I use the word "starport" I am talking about a commercial starport - one that is intended to turn a profit off of fees and services provided to passing starships, the majority of which would be civilian merchant traffic. This means the defense budget has to come out of the facility's operating profits. I'm going to flog this profit idea like a dead horse because it's critical to this discussion and many Traveller players have this gleeful militaristic side where they imagine war-girded rings of steel and forget about this idea of budgets.

In an ideal world, most starports won't have much in the the way of fixed defenses around the starport. Defenses cost money and are likely to do nothing at all for their life, and "deterrence" is hard to quantify economically. Instead, they'll depend on the planetary or solar system's defense strategy (and theoretically larger budgets that the starport will pay into). If the starport IS the the planet/system's defense strategy they'll likely have defenses that fulfill the criteria of low cost, multiple mission, and long range. Having a handful of system defense boats (though they might have names like "customs cutters" or whatever) are the most likely solution, as SDBs:

* Lack jump drives, saving the cost of the Jump Drive and the associated systems and maintenance.

* Designed with "short legs" (short duration missions, perhaps two weeks at most), because they're never far from bases for resupply and maintenance. This again lowers costs as components don't have to be overbuilt as spares and aid for breaksdowns is never far.

* Have good firepower for their mass.

* Can be used for customs inspection and space rescue as well. This day-to-day utility makes the voters/accountants happy as they have purpose outside of war; a cruiser or a destroyer could do this as well but they're not very cost-efficient for it. Fighters do f*ck-all except look cool on the tarmac or buzzing by during Fleet Week. Adding to the drain of fighters is that beyond the purchase cost, they cost money for the constant training of the pilots and maintenance on the fighters. All that and they only do something useful during conflict (in contrast, a SDB designed with a customs/rescue role, the crew gets some actual experience in the course of their duties, duties which provide a day-to-day benefit - though their abilities to actually use their weapons might be limited to due to budgetary constraints).

So the SDB is the most likely choice of starport defenses - it's in an ideal spot for trade-offs.

Now let's look at starport defenses beyond this middle ground:

First, the economically less well-off starport in a "frontier" area. These are not going to have more defenses, they're going to have less, even though they're under greater threat. Remember, we're back to money again. A frontier / less well-off starport is that way because it gets less traffic. Less traffic means lower economic activity - fewer ships coming through means less fees and sales of services. You can only raise your prices so much to compensate - the civilian ship operators who visit aren't making as much money (or else it wouldn't be a frontier) so they simply can't pay that much in berthing fees and for services. This is the place you're going to see things like some repurposed starship laser and missile turrets as ground side defenses. Perhaps a "monitor" in geostationary orbit above the groundport -- basically an old merchantman hull with lots of extra armor slapped on but maneuver drives only enough to station-keep on or a hollowed out nickel-iron planetoid towed into orbit that does the same thing. Weapons are likely limited to civilian-grade guns and missiles. Yes, they'd love to have SDBs, fighters, and potentially even something like some Meson Gun. The killer for these places is not actually obtaining these items but the maintenance and training of the personnel necessary to operate them - I'm sure it's possible for most starport operators to get a hold of some old meson gun from "somewhere" (you know, it fell off of an old Zhodani wreck from the 3rd Frontier War) but getting people who can operate the gun and the spare parts to keep it working would be expensive, especially for something that's going to only be a deterrent. In addition, attacks on the starport have another issue; persistent attacks on the starport will drive its customers away. Merchantmen are pretty wary of hazard to themselves, for whatever reason they shy away from risk to their ships and their lives or else they stop being ship operators at some point when the odds catch up to them. Regardless, if the starport gets attacked, it won't take many attacks for commercial traffic to stop coming in. A persistent pattern of them, even low intensity, over the course of years and the starport will go out of business as even desperate free traders are going to risk new markets and routes rather than gamble on the potential destruction of their ship and loss of their lives every trip. A starport under this kind of threat is likely to come to some accommodation with their attackers; either surrendering to them, co-opting them as proteciton (space technicals basically), or most likely paying them "protection money" (bribe / "tribute") after showing them their books and explaining that killing the goose is no good.

The other end is the economically very well-off starport. Again these are going to have less defenses, not more. Being economically well-off means that the area they're in is wealthy as well. There'll be the wealthy world government(s) who will have a space or system navy for local defense and the starport can pay into that and get the benefit of collective defense as the starport brings trade that benefits the world so the world has an interest in keeping it defended. Even if the starport is on some barren world (for whatever reason), the starport is wealthy because there's a lot of trade going through it, which means it is in the interests of those upstream and downstream of the starport to keep the starport operating; it won't be hard to get a "planetary union" or "trade union" help pony up for the defense of the station in the form of regular naval presence or helping pay for a SDB force. In addition, trade thrives in conditions of stability without conflict; the very fact the starport is very well off means that the area is not under threat, again discouraging any kind of standing defense force as an unnecessary expense. A very well-off starport is akin to the global trade situation on 21st century Earth. Yes, we hear about disruptions to oil flow during the Straits of Hormuz crisis during the late 20th century, the Somali pirate problem ~2010, or Strait of Malacca problems now, the actual ships affected are a very small number compared to the actual traffic going through; your chances of being affected are less than 1%, but even then, the naval response was massive, often disproportionate to the threat due to the need for haulers to feel secure.
Last edited by Epicenter on Sat Oct 14, 2017 11:59 am, edited 4 times in total.
Condottiere
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Re: Starport defences

Postby Condottiere » Sat Oct 14, 2017 3:54 am

Starport defences in critical systems, like along a hostile frontier, are very likely subsidized by the Imperium.
Reynard
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Re: Starport defences

Postby Reynard » Sat Oct 14, 2017 10:34 am

That's always the fantasy The Imperium throws money at every system to produce heavily fortified walls surrounded by huge patrols of well financed and well maintained fleets of TL 14-15 ships day and night while every system have incredible amounts of currency to also field their token patrol fleets. The Fifth Frontier War board game never carried that many counters. The Pocket Empire/Imperial Squadrons or the more recent Sector Fleets never displayed such amazing numbers. The history of wars in the Spinward Marches doesn't hold up to the Imperium easily withstanding aggression either.

Economic reality sucks.
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Re: Starport defences

Postby AnotherDilbert » Sat Oct 14, 2017 2:08 pm

Reynard wrote: Economic reality sucks.
Certainly, but there is quite a lot of people and hence economy to base your fleet on.

The Imperial Spinward Marches has a GDP of roughly Cr 2 000 000 000 000 000 = TCr 2 000. If we assume 1% defence spending, half of which goes to naval purposes, we have a budget of TCr 10 per year or perhaps a standing fleet of TCr 100. That would buy us something like 1000 capital ships and a few thousand escorts.

So, even without heavy naval spending nor any help from the rest of the Imperium we should have the ships to patrol all inhabited systems, and a few squadrons of capital ships in every significant (stellar tech, 1B pop?) system.

By canon we have a numbered fleet and a colonial fleet per subsector or, again, a few thousand warships per sector. Given the history of war with Zho and raiding by the Vargr I would expect the Spinward Marches Fleet to be stronger than average.
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Re: Starport defences

Postby Sigtrygg » Sat Oct 14, 2017 2:20 pm

baithammer wrote:
Tue Oct 10, 2017 7:03 pm
[

Meson weapons really need to be kept at the scale of spinals as it breaks a lot of mechanics.
Alternatively the mechanics could have been better written and playtested in order to preserve battlefield/bay sized meson weapons that have been a thing since LBB:4 introduced the TL15 battlefield meson gun. They also appear in CT Striker.
HG79/80, MT, TNE, T4, T20, MgT HG1e all include meson bays - as do the legacy ships in MgT HG2e.

MWM has said he is bound by canon, while reserving the right to change canon:)

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