Missile Pod Concept

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locarno24
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Missile Pod Concept

Postby locarno24 » Mon Jan 10, 2011 10:36 pm

Just something I'd been messing about with: came up with the idea after reading phavoc's VLS concepts - essentially, how do you pack a big opening missile salvo on a small ship within the existing rules?

Suddenly thought of docking clamps holding what are essentially one-use turrets. Queue the corporate logo:

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.

SLAM pod-armed ships are fitted with a 5 dTon pod launch system (to all intents and purposes a docking clamp), and suitable remote operations software on their bridge. This is a relatively compact system (when empty and locked closed) and several can be fitted to most lightweight ships (albeit at a significant cost to manoeuvrability). Spinward Ordnance has successfully retro-fitted SLAM weapons system to many classes of ship – since the pod launch system does not require the high-energy power supplies associated with most weapons system, and (since the SLAM is deployed from the hull prior to firing) arcs of fire do not need to be taken into account, they are far easier to accommodate than a conventional weapons hardpoint. With local space constantly swept by sensors, and repair and overhaul of the pods available in the planetary orbit, they are easy to retrieve and re-use (almost all designs incorporate a compact beacon that can be triggered on command to help locate expended pods).

The SLAM pod itself is deployed from the hull automatically prior to firing, ensuring that its firing systems are clear of obstruction. There are no specific drive systems on board the SLAM pod to separate it from its launching ship, with the changes in vector resulting from evasion and/or combat manoeuvres being more than sufficient to meet this requirement. Orientation is set by a minimal-endurance reaction drive, capable of arresting spin and aligning the pod with a pre-determined bearing but nothing more, and then control is locked in to the remote gunnery systems of the parent ship, and the pod begins firing immediately. Power is supplied by a short-endurance chemical battery (as it is much safer, more suitable for long-term storage, and faster to power up than a fusion plant) that is capable of supplying energy to keep the pod’s reaction control system and launcher at ‘stand-by’ for about half an hour. Locator beacons generally contain their own internal power.

Almost all of Spinward Ordnance’s SLAM systems are built on a standard 80 dTon chassis, the most common of which is the SLAM-6 “Sixgun”. The “Sixgun” heavy missile pod carries a launcher capable of emptying its six-round magazine of bomb-pumped torpedoes in a single rapid salvo before being discarded, allowing ships equipped with one or more SLAM-6 pods to threaten even heavily armoured and well-protected ships.


Image

SLAM-6 Heavy Missile Pod
This is a TL12 Design, and the 'standard design' discount applies in any system which builds SLAM pods under license.
Hull: TL12 S8 Hull (80 dTons)
Armour: None
Manouvre Drive: SvD Reaction Drive
Power Plant: SvD Chemical Battery (Emergency Power Equivalent Only)
Bridge: Drone Command Unit (Remote Operations Only)
Computer: None (Requires Control From Launching Ship)
Electronics: Basic Electronics Suite (Uses Targeting From Launching Ship)
Weapons Hardpoint #1: Large Heavy Missile Bay (3 Miniaturisation Upgrades)
Ammunition: 6 Bomb-Pumped Torpedoes
Fuel: 1 G-Turn
Cargo: None
Extras: TL12 Rescue Transponder (See Mercenary)
Maintenance Costs: 4,509cr Per Month
Purchase Cost: 54,103,100cr
Reload Cost: 108,000cr

Essentially a 400-600 dTon SDB could sacrifice a couple of Gs of thrust and come in packing several pods. A couple of dozen heavy missiles added to an opening salvo is no small beer, and - since they can be fired and dumped in the opening moments of an engagement, they don't really impede combat performance of the ship afterwards. Okay, the pod itself is vulnerable, but if you'd rather shoot at the expended pods than the SDB I'm sure the SDB's captain is perfectly happy....

Thoughts?
Last edited by locarno24 on Thu Apr 28, 2011 8:48 am, edited 1 time in total.
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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Postby phavoc » Tue Jan 11, 2011 2:23 am

I totally dig it. Great idea! :)

It's just one more reason we need a High Guard 2.0. I very much understand for those players who just see ships as a way to get from adventure A to adventure B... but I actually like doing the design work and attempting to make the underlying tech make sense and try to fit it in to place.

I've been working on a 10t missile drone that gives you the ability to remote deploy a platform for long-term, or as a way to give someone a nice little surprise. The only thing not included in the rule is the detachable pod holding the missiles.

The big issue I've found with creating more 'modern' missile launchers is that with no point defense (aside from the silly concept of using anti-ship Mj lasers in anti-missile role... like swatting flies with nukes!), is you can totally destroy the combat concepts. Traveller just doesn't take this into effect and without defense rules to counter missile swarms, its just too easy to overwhelm the target. Which is ok if its the PC's blasting a pirate... but not so much when the pirates are blasting the PC's.

I have found it sooo much quicker to roll up NPC's than the players to create new characters. They bitch about these existential comments like 'dead?? I'm DEAD??? F*CK You! I quit!". :)

Silly things...
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Postby locarno24 » Tue Jan 11, 2011 9:58 am

It's just one more reason we need a High Guard 2.0. I very much understand for those players who just see ships as a way to get from adventure A to adventure B... but I actually like doing the design work and attempting to make the underlying tech make sense and try to fit it in to place.
One thing we have tried - and really enjoyed - is the High Guard campaign stuff at the back. Where using the 'players-as-a-squadron' and the mission generation rules, the result is quite interesting - and good fun - but it means that, once again, the ships become more important, as the ship is the player's "physical characteristics", meaning they can focus much more on things like tactics and interaction skills, and leave getting shot at with small arms to the marines*
I have found it sooo much quicker to roll up NPC's than the players to create new characters. They bitch about these existential comments like 'dead?? I'm DEAD??? F*CK You! I quit!".
Which also has the advantage that since the player is 'the ship', any individual casualty is sort of an NPC, and more replaceable.
The big issue I've found with creating more 'modern' missile launchers is that with no point defense (aside from the silly concept of using anti-ship Mj lasers in anti-missile role... like swatting flies with nukes!), is you can totally destroy the combat concepts. Traveller just doesn't take this into effect and without defense rules to counter missile swarms, its just too easy to overwhelm the target. Which is ok if its the PC's blasting a pirate... but not so much when the pirates are blasting the PC's.
I suppose a lot of people would argue that the main defence is armour plate - the other modern concept that doesn't translate across is that a modern antiship missile is bloody deadly. In traveller, it's a beam laser with a longer range. Even a nuke lacks the power of a particle beam. It's been argued, of course, to an endless degree that given the micrometeorite damage a hull has to resist when making a 4-6G transfer between planets, it has to be that tough, but it means that under normal circumstances, it's not going to be possible for a single missile to do something like this to a ship:
Image
I've been working on a 10t missile drone that gives you the ability to remote deploy a platform for long-term, or as a way to give someone a nice little surprise. The only thing not included in the rule is the detachable pod holding the missiles.
Sounds cool. Look forward to seeing it. The other thought I'd had that I was going to look into was some sort of super-heavy missile - again, something like the 10 dTons or less range, that might have both a bigger punch and the ability to swap out some of its warhead for extra bits and bobs.




* The players are very much not of a 'Star Trek' mindset when it comes to away missions. The last version of a landing party was:

"...Like hell am I taking the ship's boat down there with a couple of armsmen. drop two ortillery railgun slugs on the general area, and once the dust storms have settled, land a company of marines with heavy weapons to search for bodies."
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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Postby DFW » Tue Jan 11, 2011 2:41 pm

locarno24 wrote:I suppose a lot of people would argue that the main defence is armour plate - the other modern concept that doesn't translate across is that a modern antiship missile is bloody deadly.
Actually, against ships with any real amount of armour, modern anti-ship missiles are useless.
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Postby phavoc » Tue Jan 11, 2011 4:53 pm

Yah, the issue is that today's warships are like tissue-paper thin. I keep wondering what an Exocet would do against a WW2 heavy cruiser's hull, or even a true battle-ship's hull. Even though triple-bottom keels and sponsoons were expensive, they sure did help against torpedo hits.

One gripe I've always had with Traveller armor is that it never really makes much difference between civvy and military armor. Yeah, you can add armor to the ship, but I just find it odd that you would build a civvy ship, of any TL, with anything more than what is needed to accomplish the job of the ship. I can't imagine using bonded super-dense hulls on a free trader. You would want to build the cheapest hull that would take the orbital stressing that comes from descending and ascending through atmosphere's. But with the way some of the rules are written, a grav tanks gun is not powerful enough to penetrate a civvy ship's hull. That just seems wrong to me.
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Postby DFW » Tue Jan 11, 2011 4:56 pm

phavoc wrote:Yah, the issue is that today's warships are like tissue-paper thin. I keep wondering what an Exocet would do against a WW2 heavy cruiser's hull, or even a true battle-ship's hull.
I know someone at Boeing who worked on the Harpoon. I had this conversation with him. Current anti-ship missiles would be utterly ineffective against the ships you mention.
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Postby phavoc » Tue Jan 11, 2011 7:55 pm

Harpoon is kinda tiny to take on a heavily-armored warship. I would bet, however, that the latest generation of anti-ship supersonic cruise missiles fielded by the Russian Navy and Air Force would have the ability to cause severe damage to a old-style battleship.

A supersonic missile slamming into a ship a few meters above the waterline and detonating its 1,000kg warhead is going to be at least as damaging as an 18" shell exploding on the deck. Not that a single hit would take out a battleship, but it certainly would cause significant damage.

Of course, had the Navy kept any of their BB's commissioned, they would have been able hit back with their own Tomahawks. I remember reading about a variant where they were going to removed the after turret and put in a missile launching facility for Tomahawks.

Today's most equivalent ship would the the Kirov-class BC's fielded by the Russki's. Too bad (or good!) they don't have a decent blue-water fleet to really flesh out their naval operations.
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Postby DFW » Tue Jan 11, 2011 8:13 pm

phavoc wrote:A supersonic missile slamming into a ship a few meters above the waterline and detonating its 1,000kg warhead is going to be at least as damaging as an 18" shell exploding on the deck.
You're talking about something like the Russian P-800 Oniks. No, they can't really damage an Iowa class ship unless they hit the bridge. None of the super sonic anti-ship missiles are designed to damage anything more than the current paper thin hulled war ships.
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Postby locarno24 » Tue Jan 11, 2011 8:47 pm

I know someone at Boeing who worked on the Harpoon. I had this conversation with him. Current anti-ship missiles would be utterly ineffective against the ships you mention.
Also because they're bloody crude. A tactical-weight SSM/ASM (read - something that can be slung under a fighter-bomber) can damage armoured ships, but generally not cause structural damage - of course, in older designs relying on guns, you don't care about losing antennae - in a more modern-armed ship, losing datalink aerials or the big phased array radars would cripple its fighting power as easily as taking out a weapon, and by their very nature are extremely hard to protect with armour. The ship itself, yes, it'll take a ridiculous pummelling. The estimate by Iowa's CO, in an interview with Tom Clancy, was '5 or so harpoon equivalents hitting in pretty much the same place simultaneously' to punch through any of the ship's citadel areas.
Of course, had the Navy kept any of their BB's commissioned, they would have been able hit back with their own Tomahawks. I remember reading about a variant where they were going to removed the after turret and put in a missile launching facility for Tomahawks.
Iowas did carry tomahawks prior to their (final, final) decommissioning.

For that matter, despite their mass of class b armour plate, they also carried a significant number of Phalanx CIWS - so someone in the naval board clearly didn't agree - or at least were concerned about something heavier.
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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Postby phavoc » Tue Jan 11, 2011 8:54 pm

DFW wrote:
phavoc wrote:A supersonic missile slamming into a ship a few meters above the waterline and detonating its 1,000kg warhead is going to be at least as damaging as an 18" shell exploding on the deck.
You're talking about something like the Russian P-800 Oniks. No, they can't really damage an Iowa class ship unless they hit the bridge. None of the super sonic anti-ship missiles are designed to damage anything more than the current paper thin hulled war ships.
I was thinking more along the lines of the Kh101/102. Those have a much larger warhead (1000kg)than the P-800.
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Postby simonh » Tue Jan 11, 2011 8:54 pm

I'm sure this is all true, but that doesnt mean WW2 era battleships, even with modernised systems, would be very effective or even very survivable in a full-on conflict. Maybe an Exocet or a tomahawk would not take it out, but what about 20 of them, or maybe 30?

BBs were hard to take out because anything that could damage them had to come within range of their guns, and only they they had the very biggest guns themselves. Even fighters had to run the gauntlet Of their AA batteries. This isnt the case anymore. A fighter, frigate or submarine can launch a missile from extreme range that packs just as big a punch as anything the BB can dish out. You don't need a BB to hand out the heavy punishment any more, so they have lost their advantage.

Simon Hibbs

Edit: There is a caveat, as usual. BBs were dropped because it was plain that strategic weapons systems were going to make them obsolete in another World War, but what wasn't factored in is how useful they would be in smaller scale actions. We would have found a BB very handy against Argentina in the Falklands conflict for example.
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Postby Egil Skallagrimsson » Tue Jan 11, 2011 9:15 pm

simonh wrote:I'm sure this is all true, but that doesnt mean WW2 era battleships, even with modernised systems, would be very effective or even very survivable in a full-on conflict. Maybe an Exocet or a tomahawk would not take it out, but what about 20 of them, or maybe 30?

BBs were hard to take out because anything that could damage them had to come within range of their guns, and only they they had the very biggest guns themselves. Even fighters had to run the gauntlet Of their AA batteries. This isnt the case anymore. A fighter, frigate or submarine can launch a missile from extreme range that packs just as big a punch as anything the BB can dish out. You don't need a BB to hand out the heavy punishment any more, so they have lost their advantage.

Simon Hibbs

Edit: There is a caveat, as usual. BBs were dropped because it was plain that strategic weapons systems were going to make them obsolete in another World War, but what wasn't factored in is how useful they would be in smaller scale actions. We would have found a BB very handy against Argentina in the Falklands conflict for example.
Hmm, what the British really needed was a proper aircraft carrier, they just about got away with using an ASW heli carrier and a commando carrier with harrier. Note that the WWII era "General Belgrano" was easily disposed off when it wandered too close to the taskforce.

Frankly, the BB was already out of date by WWII, though the Iowa etc may have had a prestige roll, and use as a fire support vessel, without aircraft to keep away the enemy it would have become a wreck pretty quickly. The future was aircraft and CVs. The big unproven from the 1980s was whether salvoes of heavy ASMs (carrying 1000kg warheads or nukes), fired from aircraft, subs and the Kirov, would put the carrier group out of business, or wheter Tomcats, Phoenix and Aegis would keep them in business. Either way, the BB was already a relic of an earlier age

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Postby phavoc » Tue Jan 11, 2011 11:34 pm

True, the General Belgrano was sunk, but it was taken out with torpedoes. Which have always had a huge risk to ships. Striking at or below the waterline is major doom typically for any vessel. Because it was sunk early on by submarine, we never did get any hard data on the effect of small air-launched anti-ship missiles might have against an armored target. Certainly none of the Royal Navy frigates had armor of any sort, nor did the container ship that was also hit (and I believe sunk).

Large gun-armed ships did fall along the wayside, and they are vulnerable to aircraft if not properly protected (Prince of Wales & Repulse were sunk by aerial attacks) and having adequate defense - neither of which was very well equipped to protect themselves against aerial attack.

However, as ships were no longer subject to defending against shells, the armor on them has become almost a joke now. A .50 machinegun easily penetrates the outer hull of any cruiser today. Look at the threat that the Iranians have been able to make against US ships with their silly little speedboats traversing the Straits of Hormuz. Or what an inflatable dingy did to a US destroyer off the coast of Yemen. Had that been an armored ship of yesteryear, it would have (most likely) shrugged off the damage, or at least not had so much damage done to it.

Still, this is an interesting thread. :)
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Postby DFW » Wed Jan 12, 2011 12:55 am

phavoc wrote:I was thinking more along the lines of the Kh101/102. Those have a much larger warhead (1000kg)than the P-800.
Really? The Kh101/102 isn't supersonic and not rated against 12/14 or 16 inch armour.

Like I said, no go against a large armoured WWII ship.
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Postby DFW » Wed Jan 12, 2011 12:58 am

simonh wrote:Maybe an Exocet or a tomahawk would not take it out, but what about 20 of them, or maybe 30?
If those missiles struck where they were designed to (near the water line) nothing.
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Postby Beastttt » Wed Jan 12, 2011 3:22 am

I cannot remember where I read it but a Harpoon was rated to be equal to an 11" shell while good vs anything less than a battle cruiser
BC's and BB's could shrug them off

Also it would take something like 8 ASM-6's to take out an american CVN
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Postby apoc527 » Wed Jan 12, 2011 4:34 am

Maybe we'll get back to the glory days of big gun ships when the navy starts deploying railguns...
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Postby Egil Skallagrimsson » Wed Jan 12, 2011 7:28 pm

In response to various posts in this thread ....

The thing about warhead size and the supposed ability of armour to defeat is that during WWII capital ships, heavily armoured BBs amongst them, were shown to very vulnerable to successive hits from bombs, so vulnerable that by 1941 it wasn't safe to let the old battle waggons wander about on their own. They were also pretty vulnerable to torpedoes, whether air dropped or sub launched, so effective ASW was a must.

Fast forward a few years and navies get rid of expensive, semi-useless BBs. Whatever the hope of armour might be, waves of bombs (or latterly missile warheads) would sink a BB. The only answer was to abandon the concept, and go with carriers, subs and escorts, as the only vessels that could survive and hit back. The USN had the money to keep a couple of BBs in survice longer than most, but even there it was essentially a vanity project.

A hit by 1000kg of HE (at one extreme) at the end of a plunging ASM will cause immense damage, even if there is a thick belt of armour (and remember that BBs usually had much thinner armour on the decks than on the side belt anyway.

In regard to missile hits on carriers, yes, a big carrier will probably survive one big hit, but may not be able to function as a warship (a "mission kill") even if still floating and moving. The Soviet plan was to try to score many big hits, just to make sure.

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Postby DFW » Wed Jan 12, 2011 7:31 pm

Egil Skallagrimsson wrote:The thing about warhead size and the supposed ability of armour to defeat is that during WWII capital ships, heavily armoured BBs amongst them, were shown to very vulnerable to successive hits from bombs,
Correct. And todays missiles are designed to hit straight forward. Not to come in from high altitude and hit as a bomb would.
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Postby rust » Wed Jan 12, 2011 7:44 pm

Egil Skallagrimsson wrote: Fast forward a few years and navies get rid of expensive, semi-useless BBs. Whatever the hope of armour might be, waves of bombs (or latterly missile warheads) would sink a BB.
Besides, even the shock wave from a hit that does not penetrate the ar-
mour can destroy equipment and incapacitate crew members "protected"
by the armour. There is a point beyond which stronger armour does no
longer translate into better protection of the crew.

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