Author Topic: What makes a good space-fleet?  (Read 5364 times)

MRC

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What makes a good space-fleet?
« on: August 07, 2015, 01:53:12 am »
We haven't had a new topic for a while so let me hit you with a random question that passed through my mind. What do you think makes a viable space-faring fleet?

I'm asking this because of the apparent lack of logistical structure in most games' or medias' idea of a fleet. They're mostly handwaved battlefleet optimized for maximum fireworks and laser show. I'm curious as to what they might look like if they were more though-through.

So try describing your ideal fleet composition. How many ships would it feature? what would be their roles? how do they interact amongst themselves, or with other fleets? How do they resupply? What constitute a trade fleet vs a military fleet ...etc.

The idea is not to design fleets for Blockade Runner but to get some idea of how a real space-fleet would look and operate, either in a "real physics" environment or a sci-fi one. Still, I think we can get a lot of useful insights from this that could help shape the BR universe.

I have a few ideas myself but I'd love to hear some original idea from the community before I risk influencing others' with my own elements. So go wild.
With love.  ~MRC

Voltaire

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Re: What makes a good space-fleet?
« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2015, 07:49:36 am »
Nice topic. Ill throw this into the mix first off.

Auxiliary craft, the oft forgotten essentially elements of any fleet - the support vessels; refuelling ships from small to large, replenishment ships for arms and other supplies, casualty ships, landing ships, forward repair ships.  You grow to expect seeing the bling bling of capital ships, but it was the support ships that made BSG feel more real to me.

They may not strictly speaking be fleet ships, but should be to my mind. What do you think?

Czorio

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Re: What makes a good space-fleet?
« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2015, 07:59:31 am »
Logistics from home will keep it running, high quality ships and materials (With a healthy dose of proper maintenance) will keep it from breaking down and good command will keep it from dieing.
"If you're in an equal fight, your tactics suck."

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Concore

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Re: What makes a good space-fleet?
« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2015, 03:45:44 pm »
A fleet that I would use in a realistic situation to combat other fleets would be separated into three sections; the "Core", the
"Inner Shell", and the "Outer Shell".  The ships in the fleet would form a sphere like formation, with the ships in the core section at the middle of the formation, the ships in the inner shell outside of the core, and ships in the outer shell on the outer section of the formation.

The core would be the location of the high command ship for the fleet, as well as any auxiliary craft and spacecraft carriers that may be in it.  The ships in the core have little offensive armaments (other than the carriers spacecraft and some last line defense ships).

The inner shell is where the big guns are; battleships, cruisers, dreadnoughts, all of these ship will be here with the main adjective of
destroying the enemy's offensive and defensive capability's, as well as using there defensives to protect the core ships as much as possible.

The outer shell consists of destroyers and frigates, with the role of supporting the main fleet.  They will be the first line of defense against bombers and missiles, be the location of most of the fleets radar and visual sensors, and will act as decoys to protect other ships.  This makes the outer shell crucial to the defense of the rest of the fleet.

This is just my idea for the structure of a fleet, and not so much of the amount of ships in one.  Feel free to comment on anything.

MRC

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Re: What makes a good space-fleet?
« Reply #4 on: August 08, 2015, 01:04:25 am »
I've put some more thoughts into it since yesterday, so here's my take on a realistic fleet.

Command

I feel that manned ships are incredibly inefficient; they are hardware-intensive and limited in performance. So, command of most ships would either be assumed remotely or by an "dumb" AI ("Smart" AI can't be trusted). These are good enough for a supply convoy with perhaps a pair of low-class military escort. However, neither the dubious decision making of a "dumb" AI or the delay of remote control would be any good in a battle.

For military fleets I'd imagine having a pair of large manned command ships serving as a forward RC post, supported by a variety of independent factory ships producing food and materials for the crew.

Auxiliaries

A few critical auxiliaries for any fleet would be: asteroid snatchers to bring in material, a refinery ship to process and send the various materials to other ships, a mineral assembler producing new parts and a chemical assembler producing foods and other organic compound. This chain would be critical for long term survivability of a fleet. Along with them would be a few support auxiliaries like sensor ships and maintenance drones.

The military would have a somewhat weird addition to their fleet; a telescope. Radars and sensors are alright when it come to detecting the presence of an object, but when it come to telling what that object is (and it's condition in case of an hostile ship) you want a wide-range, hi-def telescope. You could imagine having a 100 meters telescope mounted on thrusters working in tandem with sensors to identify anomalies.

Military

I don't see the military using fighters; they're too vulnerable to lasers. Nor do I see see the use of explosive shell and missiles; again, too vulnerable to laser PD. Yet laser wouldn't be offensive weapons, they are not powerful enough to cause significant damage to armor. At best they would melt exposed electronics and vaporize or redirect micrometeorites in travel.

The way I see it most warships would sit around 50 to 150 meters, and use almost exclusively inert, magnetically accelerated ammunition and fuel. The absence of reactive compounds making them very reliable and resilient.

Composition

Keeping it short I'd say the base size of a viable fleet would be about 8-10 ships, but could go up to 60-70 and go with a roughly 50-50% ration of logistical to military for combat fleets. Trading/civilian fleet would be closer to 65% freighter, 30% logistic and 5% military.

To conclude I feel this is a pretty good base. I'd love to get into more detail on the auxiliary ships but I'd risk shrinking the scroll-bar into a singularity, so I'll leave it there. Feel free to expand on this or your own versions.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2015, 06:08:50 am by MRC »
With love.  ~MRC

MRC

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Re: What makes a good space-fleet?
« Reply #5 on: August 11, 2015, 07:30:10 pm »
Back from the lands beyond the internet and I'm surprised nothing was added to this topic, I was eager to hear what people might come up with.

Anyway I feel like expanding on this some more. Since this is Blockade Runner I asked myself "what would a planetary blockade be like, and what would it take to run through?"

Blockade

Going with my previous setting ('realistic' physics but fairly advanced tech) I would not think simply stationing a large-ish fleet of standard ships in orbit would be viable. In a universe where inter-planetary artillery fire is a thing, staying in a predictable orbit is just asking for trouble. Despite this you would still want to be in proximity to the blockaded planet in order to respond quickly to any crossing attempt.

A good strategy in this situation seems to be the use of drones, lots of them. Arming cheap autonomous cube-sats with a very basic laser and deploying them by the tens of thousands. Their tiny size couple with their number gives a very tick coverage and makes attempts at destroying them all near impossible. A single one of them would barely warm your tea, but a few hundred thousands focusing on a ship is bound to cause some damage.

To run through this swarm, (either in our out) would mean to be exposed to focused fire for days. I haven't figured how it could be run short of teleportation. My best guess would be using an EMP device but even that is bound to be stopped millions of miles from the target. Loads of ablative shield? overrunning them with your own swarm? shooting them down one by one for years?

I dunno.
With love.  ~MRC

Commander Jackson

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Re: What makes a good space-fleet?
« Reply #6 on: August 11, 2015, 11:41:39 pm »
How to run MRC's Blockade

1) Preform a slingshot manuver around the sun to gain rediculous amounts of speed to travel back in time before the blockade was set up.

2) Set up something  (EMP Bomb? Stargate? Mind Control tower?) secretly on the planet.

3) Find a way to travel back to thhe present.

4) Deploy whatever plan you made in the past.

DONE!

 Authors Note: Pick up some whales from the past while your at it.  Might be important.

@MRC:  I was trying to think of a practical fleet when my school restarted.  I had an idea for a mothership being a the source of manufacturing from the fleet while the rest are meant to protect the mothership as it searches for more resources.  Mothership would have a complement of multipurpose drones to repair/build ships and other tools to mine things.
Gabe has a wraith? That explains so much.

Czorio

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Re: What makes a good space-fleet?
« Reply #7 on: August 12, 2015, 08:51:44 am »
No no no no! You need to warp around the sun at around warp 7 or 8 against the rotation of the sun using a stolen Klingon BoP. Also bring whales.
"If you're in an equal fight, your tactics suck."

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Commander Jackson

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Re: What makes a good space-fleet?
« Reply #8 on: August 12, 2015, 04:13:58 pm »
No no no no! You need to warp around the sun at around warp 7 or 8 against the rotation of the sun using a stolen Klingon BoP. Also bring whales.

I stand corrected.

*Runs off to rewatch Star Trek 4"
Gabe has a wraith? That explains so much.

MRC

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Re: What makes a good space-fleet?
« Reply #9 on: August 13, 2015, 03:32:54 pm »
How to run MRC's Blockade

1) Preform a slingshot manuver around the sun to gain rediculous amounts of speed to travel back in time before the blockade was set up.

2) Set up something  (EMP Bomb? Stargate? Mind Control tower?) secretly on the planet.

3) Find a way to travel back to thhe present.

4) Deploy whatever plan you made in the past.

DONE!

In a sense it's not THAT dumb. Building some infrastructure to prevent a blockade before it happens is probably your best bet. Then you wouldn't have to break physics and go to the past.  :P
With love.  ~MRC

Commander Jackson

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Re: What makes a good space-fleet?
« Reply #10 on: August 13, 2015, 09:37:06 pm »
In a sense it's not THAT dumb. Building some infrastructure to prevent a blockade before it happens is probably your best bet. Then you wouldn't have to break physics and go to the past.  :P
. Of course it was a great idea!

Another way to break that blockade is to alter the orbit of a small percentage of a nearby asteroid field and aim it at the planet in a way that it won't collide with the planet, rather scrape the atmosphere just enough to annihilate the blockade.

No risks involved at all :P
Gabe has a wraith? That explains so much.

MRC

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Re: What makes a good space-fleet?
« Reply #11 on: August 13, 2015, 10:09:38 pm »
Another way to break that blockade is to alter the orbit of a small percentage of a nearby asteroid field and aim it at the planet in a way that it won't collide with the planet, rather scrape the atmosphere just enough to annihilate the blockade.

No risks involved at all :P

Considering that, even with millions of drones, you'd have tens or hundreds of kilometers between any two of them, you'd be lucky to hit more than one for every asteroid diverted. ^_^

Face the truth! My blockade is flawless, It shall conquer all!*

*Assuming the destruction of a single drone does not trigger a cascading Kessler syndrome**
With love.  ~MRC

Commander Jackson

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Re: What makes a good space-fleet?
« Reply #12 on: August 13, 2015, 10:19:34 pm »
When I had first started writing that, the plan had been to throw the asteroids AT the planet to force the drones to target the asteroids.  The blockade runner would use this as cover to slip through and do whatever needs to be done.

But then I realized that this would not work if the blockade runner (me) was trying to help the planet, because then they (the drones) would just let the asteroids hit the planet.

Automatic Post Merge: August 13, 2015, 10:22:29 pm
Ah, and if a chain reaction (ie. Kessler Syndrome) were to occur, then these minimally shielded drones would have problems.  After these problems resolve the first (or second) problem that is the blockade, i can fly in with a heavily shielded ship and win.
« Last Edit: August 13, 2015, 10:22:29 pm by Commander Jackson »
Gabe has a wraith? That explains so much.

MRC

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Re: What makes a good space-fleet?
« Reply #13 on: August 14, 2015, 02:39:06 pm »
Kessler syndrome could potentially be kept in check if the swarm where to vaporize any foreign body crossing their orbit, such a debris from their fallen comrades. But I guess that could be overloaded by shooting large bags of sand in orbit.

You'll still have to deal with some of the worst example of Kessler syndrome in existence but you'll be cleared to send heavily armored craft trough. Thing is, heavy ships aren't so good at take-off and landing unless they have a nuclear pulse engine or you go sci-fi. So once the blockade is down the best way to send supply back and forth would be by tossing small armored capsules. Trades from that planet would be slow and expensive until the cloud of debris is cleared, but that's a whole other deal.

On the bright side, the meteoroid showers would be fantastic for a few years.
With love.  ~MRC

Niwantaw

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Re: What makes a good space-fleet?
« Reply #14 on: August 14, 2015, 07:28:28 pm »
I think the drone blockade really depends on just how tough they are though, if they're fragile enough, PD would be more than enough to take one out, so it'd be a case of whether the drones can mass up faster than PD can put them down. (because on the one hand there's many of them, on the other, many kilometers between them there will be a while before they mass up)

Also, I think a swarm of tiny drones like that would probably require pretty massive sci fi anyhow, so the blockade runner will probably have sci fi powahs too

Also: I don't want to be the one to foot the bill for actually making enough drones to pull this off. Just sayin'
« Last Edit: August 14, 2015, 07:30:11 pm by Niwantaw »
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