Ship Design Philosophy

Spaceships: UltraLite Fighters

1. Would in theory be anything below sixteen tonnes.

2. Pragmatically, ten tonnes and below.

3. High Guard two point five lists it at six tonnes, a legacy from Classic, and supposedly you can squish four of them into a thirty tonne volume.

4. Though I'm not too sure that doing so from a fifty tonne cutter is a great idea.

5. There's the Indigo class Pirate Carrier, being notorious skinflints, probably would switch from ten to six tonnes.

6. And the Centaur class Mercenary Carrier, with twenty ten tonne fighters.

7. Without armour, and default one tonne fuel, one tonne power plant, one and half tonne single cockpit, virtual mounted fixture, leaving one and a half tonnes from minimum five tonne hull.

8. Twenty percent thrusters; unlike jump drives, there's actually no minimum tonnage, limited more by technological level potential acceleration, so you could drop it to nine percent at technological level thirteen.

9. So now you're up to two and one twentieth of a tonne to spare.
Spaceships: UltraLite Fighters

A. You could, eh, sidestep the armour question by using a planetoid hull.

B. That's twenty percent for factor two armour, at four kilobux per tonne inclusive organic gravitation.

C. Twenty percent gets you factor two titanium steel, factor four crystaliron, factor sixish bonded superdense armour plating.

D. Remaining one and one twentieth of a tonne would be sufficient for the civilian one tonne sensors.

E. Streamlining is out, I wouldn't try reentry at speed, but manoeuvre drives would allow a dead slow descent.

F. Stealth, I assume, was added that with low tonnage it doesn't cost that much, and if you aren't protected, you would like to remain mostly undetected.
Spaceships: UltraLite Fighters

G. The minimum fuel tankage is a tonne.

H. However, there doesn't seem to be a minimum for the power plant, at least in the current High Guard.

I. Though I do believe it's supposed to be a volume capable of generating a minimum of one power point.

J. Basic systems for five tonnes is one power point, half would be half a point.

K. Laser is three power points, per acceleration factor half a power point, civilian sensors one power point.
Spaceships: UltraLite Fighters

L. Can you shrink the bunkerage?

M. That depends.

N. It's specifically mentioned in the new High Guard as having a minimum.

O. Which for larger spacecraft becomes a rounding error.

P. And only mentioned in a previous adventure as being able to be mostly ignored, so for all intents and purposes, you're stuck with it.
I think 'fighters' are better built using the Vehicles rules since they are better suited to that scale of things.
Probably true, at least for the smaller 'craft.

You could stick a jump drive on a four hundred space (sic) lorry and go interstellar.

I think it becomes a question of system integration, in that vehicle or spacecraft templates or design sequences come attached with a number of assumptions in their capabilities, like sufficient structural strength to withstand high gee manoeuvres.
I think 'fighters' are better built using the Vehicles rules since they are better suited to that scale of things.
I went down a rabbit hole of lumping Smallcraft in with Vehicles when there were still three damage scales in the rules.

It’s the interface craft that get you. The conversion from Thrust to Speed Bands is wonky at best. I ended up putting Smalllcraft back to space scale but kept the Vehicle / Heavy scale. Although the update addresses the concerns we had back then (such as being able to damage a vehicle with a punch or kick).
Spaceships: UltraLite Fighters

Q. There are three ways to deal with it.

R. Utilize it, get rid of of it, or subvert it.

S. Conversion to fuel/cargo container might have been an option, if I didn't interpret the text as requiring a minimum one tonne tank onboard, if that's a requirement of either reactionary rockets and/or the power plant.

T. Same as just adding drop tanks or external ones, that you'd still need an internal tank for that to function.

U. It doesn't say that the tank can't have a hidden fuel tank compartment, under a tonne and ensuring it doesn't block the outlet pump, though hard to imagine how that would have a direct impact on combat, so more of a civilian option.
Spaceships: UltraLite Fighters

V. Getting rid of the fuel tank would require replacing the power plant with one that doesn't need fuel, at least the type that needs a tank.


X. It's a combat craft, so solar panelling doesn't cut it.

Y. The problem with a fission reactor is that we don't know how much the uranium rods cost, and how long they last.

Z. Batteries run out of juice pretty fast in a dogfight, and even on a simple patrol flight, endurance is curtailed.
Spaceships: UltraLite Fighters

1. Utilization means using the fuel to feed a diesel power plant and/or reactionary rockets.

2. That's a week worth for a two hundred kilogramme diesel, generating one power point.

3. Between eight and twenty thrust hours worth, depending on fuel efficiency, for reactionary rockets.

4. Which would probably work out for a point defence, missile armed interceptor.

5. Drop tanks would extend the range and/or endurance.

6. If you turn off internal gravity, you probably can get the pilot to tolerate upto five gees sustained.

7. Gee loc factor five drops to four, which requires only a check every six minutes.

8. Technological level eight caps the rocket at factor six, which might be about as far as you push it.

9. In theory, acceleration couch should compensate for one gee, and an acceleration tank for two, so conceivably upto nine inertially uncompensated gravities.
Spaceships: UltraLite Fighters

A. You could assume that an acceleration couch is integrated with the cockpit.

B. Acceleration tank likely requires more than one and a half tonnes.

C. Though flooding the cockpit with water might work.

D. Afterburners are probably installed in interceptors and dogfighters.

E. Civilian spacecraft might stick with upto factor three, which avoids most complications for untrained passengers.

F. Military craft aren't likely to go beyond factor six, possibly for unmanned or drone craft.
Spaceships: UltraLite Fighters

G. The heart of a spacecraft is engineering.

H. Reactionary rockets factor three and chemical power plant are both available at technological level seven, as well as computer/five.

I. Since the basic sensor package is technological level eight, you probably have to assemble an ad hoc suite from other source books.

J. Weapon loadout would be either an internal missile rack, or an external firmpoint missile container/launcher.

K. Eight thrust hours, even at maximum acceleration, is two and a half hours, with the diesel generating one power point.
Spaceships: UltraLite Fighters

L. Doesn't really help with the current stable of ultralight fighters, but it's a useful reminder where they came from.

M. It does offer a civilian variant, that's very easy to maintain, at technological level seven.

N. You could call it the SkyHopper, being useful for orbital and intercontinental travel.

O. One hundred fifty kilobux for a streamlined ungravitated titanium steel hull, ten kilobux for a single cockpit, twenty five kilobux for aerofins, fifty kilobux for a one power point diesel power plant, sixty kilobux for factor three reactionary rockets, one and three quarter tonnes cargo, two hundred ninety five kilobux.

P. You scale it up to fifty tonnes with forty one cargo and/or fuel for a small aerospaceliner.
Spaceships: UltraLite Fighters

Q. At the other end of the scale, technological level eleven allows factor fifteen reactionary rockets.

R. Since inertial compensators can't seem to be separated from manoeuvre drives, any spacecraft so equipped would be unmanned, or a drone.

S. Since it's unmanned, armour plating and the cockpit would likely be discarded, lowering volume requirements, sacrificing protection for performance.

T. And electronics and/or armaments.

U. Or just load it up with explosives and crash into a target.
Spaceships: UltraLite Fighters

V. The primary advantages of the ultralight fighters are scaling of costs and hangar space.

W. As far as I can tell, detection isn't different from a modular cutter, which isn't different from a Broadsword class mercenary cruiser.

X. Nor are they harder to hit than other smallcraft.

Y. Except, just a tad in dogfighting.

Z. As with all other forty nine tonners.
In regards to Vehicle templates comparison, light grav does max out at twenty spaces, which should be five tonnes, at thirty kilobux per space, or presumably one hundred twenty kilobux per tonne, ungravitated hull.
Spaceships: Engineering and Manoeuvre Drive options

1. Orbital range as a customization advantage.

2. Maybe an additional, not multiplicator five percent bump in cost and tonnage, to turn it into lifters providing anti gravitation field that negates at default the weight of the spacecraft in a gravity well.

3. Zero advantage slot required.

4. Removal or minimization of inertial compensator field.

5. Zero disadvantage slots.

6. Volume and cost are speculative.
Spaceships: UltraLite Fighters

1. It's one thing I liked about the Textron [Cessna, Hawker, Beechcraft] Scorpion.

2. ... concept of building the "world’s most affordable tactical jet aircraft."

3. Besides patrol, I thought that at the time of introduction, giving it endurance would allow it to shoot down unfriendly drones over the South China Sea, without scrambling interceptors or escalating tensions.

4. Relatively cheaply.

5. Something that recent developments would work against slow moving suicide drones, targetting known civilian infrastructure.

6. The other option being I imagined might be arming piston engine aircraft, since there would be quite some distance between them and surface to air missiles batteries, protecting the rear area.

7. Two percent volume for basic stealth is a steal, at an additional forty kilobux per tonne.

8. Enhanced at a semimegabux per tonne would be really pushing it, since it would probably be three quarters of the total cost.

9. Advanced is likely only applied to specific elite units.
Spaceships: UltraLite Fighters

A. I'm not too sure if a ground based simulator might not be equally as good as getting actual flight time, in the sixth millennia.

B. However, dual cockpit would allow this, on practically any spaceship.

C. Or bridge.

D. However, the idea is that operating cost would be cheaper than user the actual (or one of many) fighter 'craft, to get the trainee to have an actual feel of operating something similar.

E. And actual flight time for certified pilots appears to be a thing, so hopping into a trainer would be a cheap way to accomplish this.

F. And so far, they appear to be about as cheap a spaceship that you could design, if you leave out the optional expensive bits.