Missile Pod Concept

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locarno24
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Missile Pod Concept

Postby locarno24 » Thu Jan 23, 2020 4:41 pm

With conversations about missiles, I thought I might revisit my old SLAM concept.. viewtopic.php?t=46124


"Spinward Ordnance’s Self-contained Launcher and Magazine (SLAM) missile pods are an unusual way of adding some teeth to the opening punch from medium and light-weight SDBs. They are most commonly used by system navies with reasonable budgets but limited shipyard capacity, as they provide a surprisingly cost-effective means of up-gunning small vessels in defensive engagements, and SLAM pods are built under license in several systems. By comparison, they do not normally see use with subsector navies or the Imperial fleet because of their impact on the fuel requirements of extended manoeuvres and jumps, and the fact that larger ships can incorporate internal weapons mountings of the same size with ease."



So - a disposable missile pod. Given that missiles are scary as heck now, how cost-effective and flexible can a missile pod be made?

~ Well, the logical starting point is a small missile bay. 50 dTons buys you one.

~ Given the new firmpoint/hardpoint rules, we need to fix it to a 100 dTon hull to be able to fire it at full range.

~ 1 Turn of 1G Thrust is more than sufficient to clear the launching ship, align the launcher and start shooting. A reaction thruster capable of doing so is 2 dTons and requires a further 0.25 dTons of fuel.

~ Since the pod will only ever be firing at an identified target, not finding them itself, basic sensors are fine.

~ TL10 Virtual Crew and a TL7 Computer/5 to run it on gives a virtual pilot, gunner and sensor operator. All skill/0 but it's not like they actually need to make any checks.

~ The basic systems, sensors and missile bay require a total of 25 power to run. Running them for 15 rounds (3 to unclamp plus 12 rounds of firing) requires 9.375 dTons of TL10 High Efficiency Batteries.

~ That's a total of 58.5 dTons all-up. With about 40 dTons remaining, 30 can be spent on a Type IV and a Type III docking clamp, allowing the pod to clamp itself onto any ship from 100 dTons up to 2000 dTons - and, crucially, for a pod to clamp itself onto another pod, allowing you to daisy-chain a whole bunch onto a single ship. With ruinous effects on that ship's acceleration, obviously.



100 dTon, Standard Hull (MCr 5)
TL7 Small Missile Bay (MCr 12)
TL7 Computer/5 (MCr 0.03)
TL10 Virtual Crew (MCr 1)
TL8 Basic Sensors (MCr 0)
TL7 Reaction-1 (MCr 4)
1 Turn's Fuel @ 1G
TL10 High Efficiency Batteries - 375 Power - (MCr 0.9375)
Type IV Docking Clamp (MCr 4)
Type III Docking Clamp (MCr 2)

Total - MCr 28.655 plus ammunition load & reaction fuel (144 standard missiles would cost MCr 36)


You could shave the odd credit here or there - since you can't shoot whilst unclamping, technically you only need to run general systems for those three turns, saving 15 power, which drops the cost of the battery pack, the reaction thruster could be upgraded to a TL8 budget version that's slightly less fuel efficient, and a TL12 Specialised Computer/3 can actually run the Virtual Crew off what's essentially a commercial laptop. All told, that saves about Cr 466,000 which is not trivial.

The biggest savings would be using a TL8 budget version of the missile bay, which would save MCr 1.2 at a stroke, but would mean you'd need to increase rather than decrease the size of the battery pack. You still save money overall, taking the whole cost down to about MCr 27.34. Also, since this is essentially a 'throw-away' weapon, there is an argument for building it with minimal structural strength. Non-gravity, dispersed, lightweight structure saves (proportionally) a huge amount of money, at a cost of leaving it with 1/4 the hit points.

100 dTon, Light, Dispersed, Non-Gravity Hull (MCr 0.9375)
TL8 Budget Small Missile Bay (Energy Inefficient) (MCr 10.8)
TL12 Specialist (+2) Computer/3 (MCr 0.0015)
TL10 Virtual Crew (MCr 1)
TL8 Basic Sensors (MCr 0)
TL8 Budget Reaction-1 (Fuel Inefficient) (MCr 3.6)
1 Turn's Fuel @ 1G
TL10 High Efficiency Batteries - 378 Power - (MCr 0.945)
Type IV Docking Clamp (MCr 4)
Type III Docking Clamp (MCr 2)


Final cost is a mere MCr 23.284

Remarkably, a torpedo pod is even cheaper - since the torpedo bay is only MCr 3, and it's less power-hungry to boot

100 dTon, Light, Dispersed, Non-Gravity Hull (MCr 0.9375)
TL8 Budget Torpedo Bay (Energy Inefficient) (MCr 2.7)
TL12 Specialist (+2) Computer/3 (MCr 0.0015)
TL10 Virtual Crew (MCr 1)
TL8 Basic Sensors (MCr 0)
TL8 Budget Reaction-1 (Fuel Inefficient) (MCr 3.6)
1 Turn's Fuel @ 1G
TL10 High Efficiency Batteries - 320 Power - (MCr 0.8)
Type IV Docking Clamp (MCr 4)
Type III Docking Clamp (MCr 2)

Total cost of MCr 15.039 plus ammunition
Understand that I'm not advocating violence.
I'm just saying that it's highly effective and I strongly recommend using it.
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Re: Missile Pod Concept

Postby PsiTraveller » Thu Jan 23, 2020 6:29 pm

High Guard first edition had the 70 ton bomber ship (pg 96)

Virtual crew/drone tech makes ships like this an interesting option.

And have you read the Honor Harrington series? Missile pods are the core of her doctrine. :)
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Re: Missile Pod Concept

Postby AnotherDilbert » Thu Jan 23, 2020 9:50 pm

I would allow a Type III to clamp itself to a ship, since the ship is moving and the pod hangs off the clamp. You only need one clamp, the daisy-chained pods can clamp themselves to the inner pod.

I have found missile pods to be economically questionable. They are very easy to kill, so are unlikely to get off more than a few salvoes.

A planetoid is slightly cheaper and might even have a camouflage advantage.

Using a regular M-Drive and P-Plant(TL8) is only slightly more expensive, and then they can be used to build mine fields. With a Solar Panel and Repair Drones it can operate independently, e.g. as a mine field, indefinitely.

You can squeeze in a medium missile bay with a couple of Reduced Size advantages, but that doubles the cost of the pod.

I get something like this:
Image
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Re: Missile Pod Concept

Postby AnotherDilbert » Fri Jan 24, 2020 1:31 am

locarno24 wrote: TL8 Budget Reaction-1 (Fuel Inefficient) (MCr 3.6)
A Reaction drive only costs MCr 0.2 / Dt, so base MCr 0.4.
Budget is 25% cheaper, so a budget reaction drive is MCr 0.4 × 75% = MCr 0.3.
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Re: Missile Pod Concept

Postby AnotherDilbert » Fri Jan 24, 2020 1:50 am

Based on a barbette we can make a smaller pod with oodles of space left, here wasted on buffered planetoid configuration and some armour, making it considerably harder to kill.

Image

It is somewhat more expensive per launched missile, but uses slightly less tonnage per launched missile, so restricts acceleration less.

Note that missiles on firmpoints are not range-limited. Only the missile-rack is limited, not the munitions, the missile itself.
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locarno24
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Re: Missile Pod Concept

Postby locarno24 » Fri Jan 24, 2020 9:10 am

And have you read the Honor Harrington series? Missile pods are the core of her doctrine.
Yes. And I agree - later on, anyway.
I was more thinking about the Maya-sector built Kabuki-class freighters. The reason the pods have the clamps rather than the ship dropping them is to allow you to take a trader or SDB or something and use it as a 'pod truck'.
I would allow a Type III to clamp itself to a ship, since the ship is moving and the pod hangs off the clamp.
It is. The Type IV is there to allow the pod to clamp itself to anything from a 100-2,000 dTon ship.
Note that missiles on firmpoints are not range-limited. Only the missile-rack is limited, not the munitions, the missile itself.
I'm always hesitant with rules like that, which is why I felt just defaulting to a 100 dTon pod would be safer.
I recall having similar questions about stuff like High Yield missiles in 1st edition - does the tech surcharge apply to the launcher, the missile, or both?
Understand that I'm not advocating violence.
I'm just saying that it's highly effective and I strongly recommend using it.
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Re: Missile Pod Concept

Postby Condottiere » Fri Jan 24, 2020 10:17 am

They're meant to be towed into combat by older warships; one passage that has tended to stand out for me was that the Peeps heavy cruisers had extra capacity in their sublight manoeuvre drives that they could use to do that without substantially impacting performance.

As regards stuff like high yield upgrades, I would say that the spirit of the rules is supposed to be the weapon system as a whole, though in practice, logic would indicate that some tweaks are only applicable to the launcher, or ordnance, and sometimes both simultaneously.
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Re: Missile Pod Concept

Postby AnotherDilbert » Fri Jan 24, 2020 11:43 am

locarno24 wrote:
Note that missiles on firmpoints are not range-limited. Only the missile-rack is limited, not the munitions, the missile itself.
I'm always hesitant with rules like that, which is why I felt just defaulting to a 100 dTon pod would be safer.
Quite, but that was explicitly clarified in beta.
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Re: Missile Pod Concept

Postby locarno24 » Fri Jan 24, 2020 12:22 pm

Condottiere wrote:
Fri Jan 24, 2020 10:17 am
They're meant to be towed into combat by older warships; one passage that has tended to stand out for me was that the Peeps heavy cruisers had extra capacity in their sublight manoeuvre drives that they could use to do that without substantially impacting performance.

As regards stuff like high yield upgrades, I would say that the spirit of the rules is supposed to be the weapon system as a whole, though in practice, logic would indicate that some tweaks are only applicable to the launcher, or ordnance, and sometimes both simultaneously.
They become a much more primary weapon later in the system. The Peep heavy cruisers' drives aren't specifically to carry pods - though they use them that way - but because they hoped that by the time they went into service they'd have figured out how to build a Grayson-style inertial compensator, which would let them use the higher acceleration they're capable of without 'splorching'.
Understand that I'm not advocating violence.
I'm just saying that it's highly effective and I strongly recommend using it.
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Re: Missile Pod Concept

Postby locarno24 » Fri Jan 24, 2020 12:24 pm

AnotherDilbert wrote:
Fri Jan 24, 2020 11:43 am
locarno24 wrote:
Note that missiles on firmpoints are not range-limited. Only the missile-rack is limited, not the munitions, the missile itself.
I'm always hesitant with rules like that, which is why I felt just defaulting to a 100 dTon pod would be safer.
Quite, but that was explicitly clarified in beta.
Fair enough. I will smile and nod - and privately wish said clarification was in the book somewhere....
Understand that I'm not advocating violence.
I'm just saying that it's highly effective and I strongly recommend using it.
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Re: Missile Pod Concept

Postby phavoc » Fri Jan 24, 2020 3:11 pm

locarno24 wrote:
Fri Jan 24, 2020 12:22 pm
Condottiere wrote:
Fri Jan 24, 2020 10:17 am
They're meant to be towed into combat by older warships; one passage that has tended to stand out for me was that the Peeps heavy cruisers had extra capacity in their sublight manoeuvre drives that they could use to do that without substantially impacting performance.

As regards stuff like high yield upgrades, I would say that the spirit of the rules is supposed to be the weapon system as a whole, though in practice, logic would indicate that some tweaks are only applicable to the launcher, or ordnance, and sometimes both simultaneously.
They become a much more primary weapon later in the system. The Peep heavy cruisers' drives aren't specifically to carry pods - though they use them that way - but because they hoped that by the time they went into service they'd have figured out how to build a Grayson-style inertial compensator, which would let them use the higher acceleration they're capable of without 'splorching'.
I think you are referring to the Mars class built by the Peeps. It had more power in it's wedge than it could safely use because they were expecting to upgrade the compensators that the Peeps expected to get from the Manties.

All warships experienced declines in their performance if they tractored pods (or sublight ships) outside their wedges. Hence the creation of pod-layers.
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Re: Missile Pod Concept

Postby Condottiere » Fri Jan 24, 2020 9:08 pm

Tractors are technological level sixteen, so usually outside my purview.

Our manoeuvre drives are limited in acceleration by the technological level they are manufactured at, but can be built with more horsepower.

I thought about pod laying, and had come to the conclusion I could just chuck torpedo mines out of the rear cargo hatch.
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Re: Missile Pod Concept

Postby PsiTraveller » Fri Jan 24, 2020 9:57 pm

Missile attacks are different than other weapons in that the TL of the missile gives the attack advantage when rolling your attack roll. A TL 12 ship, with TL 7 level missile racks can fire TL 14 Advanced missiles at a TL 12 opponent and the TL 14 missile will give a +2 on the attacking roll. (Pg 75 and 162 of Core book)

So build whatever missile pods you want, but get the highest tech level missiles you can because for missile combat that is all that matters.
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Re: Missile Pod Concept

Postby John Done » Fri Sep 25, 2020 8:37 am

The British company Skyrora announced the successful completion of firing tests in Scotland of its Skylark L. The Skylark L launch vehicle will deliver payloads with a total weight of up to 60 kg to an altitude of just over 100 km. Its first launch into space is scheduled for spring 2021.
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Re: Missile Pod Concept

Postby Linwood » Fri Sep 25, 2020 12:17 pm

Condottiere wrote:
Fri Jan 24, 2020 9:08 pm
Tractors are technological level sixteen, so usually outside my purview.

Our manoeuvre drives are limited in acceleration by the technological level they are manufactured at, but can be built with more horsepower.

I thought about pod laying, and had come to the conclusion I could just chuck torpedo mines out of the rear cargo hatch.
That's pretty much what I did in my previous campaign. In that instance the minefield was a short-term tactical weapon meant to force the enemy (an adhoc collection of mostly civilian vessels) to change course.

I like AnotherDilbert's thoughts on a long-term minefield unit. I suggest adding Stealth to improve survivability and perhaps gain a tactical advantage.
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Re: Missile Pod Concept

Postby AnotherDilbert » Fri Sep 25, 2020 8:04 pm

Linwood wrote: I like AnotherDilbert's thoughts on a long-term minefield unit. I suggest adding Stealth to improve survivability and perhaps gain a tactical advantage.
Unfortunately, Stealth costs nearly as much as the rest of the pod.

A warship with good sensors and operators will see it anyway, unless you can get the Referee to give you a bonus for Planetoid configuration, i.e. the "minefield" looks just like a few captured asteroids.
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Re: Missile Pod Concept

Postby Linwood » Fri Sep 25, 2020 8:35 pm

Maybe it would be better to flood the zone with decoys - lots of planetoids with emitters mimicking the signature of the real mines. That should be (relatively) inexpensive.

Having visions of that old X-wing game training mission where you have to go in and shoot up dozens of mines now,,,, 8)
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Re: Missile Pod Concept

Postby AnotherDilbert » Sat Sep 26, 2020 7:28 am

Linwood wrote: Maybe it would be better to flood the zone with decoys - lots of planetoids with emitters mimicking the signature of the real mines. That should be (relatively) inexpensive.
The platform, without launchers or missiles, cost very little, so that might be better.
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Re: Missile Pod Concept

Postby Condottiere » Sun Sep 27, 2020 5:37 pm

Depends on how much surprise is worth.

I'll presume you could stealth missiles and torpedoes, but considering how hard a sucker punch you probably want to throw, torpedoes are the more attractive candidates.

A presumably larger option would be drone cruise missiles.

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