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Do we actually need SD(P)s?

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Do we actually need SD(P)s?
Post by Loren Pechtel   » Sun Jan 26, 2020 11:51 pm

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The original purpose of the pod was to make the missiles match the performance of internal missiles. This was back in the single-drive era, however--since then the performance of the missiles has gone way, way up. Also, we now have delayed launch and we have off-bore launch (which completely negates the benefit of the launch tube.) That suggests to me a different approach:

Lets make a little power device for a missile. It can keep a missile ready to fire for say 20 minutes. This an external strap-on, you don't need to devise a new missile. (We do something like this for current missiles--rocket motors that strap to an air-launched missile to convert it to a ground-launch missile.)

Build a ship with no broadside missiles at all. All the missile tubes are in the core of the ship and pointed along it's axis--since they don't go through the sidewall they don't need spacing between them. You aim 90 degrees from your target. The missiles are fired out staggered rather than as a volley, the missiles all turn and head for their target as a volley. The launch tubes spread the missiles over as much of an arc as they can without slamming a missile into the wedge, this will deconflict the missile wedges.

You need a bunch of tubes to match the firepower of a SD(P) but you are removing all those pods--which basically are a collection of launch tubes in a box.

This doesn't let you leave missiles in space like you can leave pods in space, but you have an awful lot of mass available for launch tubes to make up for it.
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Re: Do we actually need SD(P)s?
Post by ThinksMarkedly   » Mon Jan 27, 2020 1:16 am

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Loren Pechtel wrote:The original purpose of the pod was to make the missiles match the performance of internal missiles. This was back in the single-drive era, however--since then the performance of the missiles has gone way, way up. Also, we now have delayed launch and we have off-bore launch (which completely negates the benefit of the launch tube.) That suggests to me a different approach:


I thought that pods were meant to give more missiles to carry aboard an SD and fire at once than what could be fired from internal tubes. This has several advantages, like the ability to replace the types of missiles and pods without redesigning the ship to fire different missile bodies. Moreover, it dedicates the ship's surface to defensive equipment, without having to compromise between defensive and offensive.

Pods can also be tractored to the hull to supplement the ammo carried internally. If you need to have pods anyway and the ability to control them, might as well use pods for everything and simplify logistics.

Doesn't mean pods are good for everything. Q.v. BC(P).

Lets make a little power device for a missile. It can keep a missile ready to fire for say 20 minutes. This an external strap-on, you don't need to devise a new missile. (We do something like this for current missiles--rocket motors that strap to an air-launched missile to convert it to a ground-launch missile.)

Build a ship with no broadside missiles at all. All the missile tubes are in the core of the ship and pointed along it's axis--since they don't go through the sidewall they don't need spacing between them. You aim 90 degrees from your target. The missiles are fired out staggered rather than as a volley, the missiles all turn and head for their target as a volley. The launch tubes spread the missiles over as much of an arc as they can without slamming a missile into the wedge, this will deconflict the missile wedges.

You need a bunch of tubes to match the firepower of a SD(P) but you are removing all those pods--which basically are a collection of launch tubes in a box.

This doesn't let you leave missiles in space like you can leave pods in space, but you have an awful lot of mass available for launch tubes to make up for it.


You're forgetting one important functionality of the pod: powering the missiles up, either by initiating the compact fusion bottle or by charging the capacitors. Once the missile is powered up, its lifetime clock is ticking down. So current technology wouldn't allow you to individually fire missiles that loiter around you before you point them at the enemy and they go. And that doesn't even answer the issue of how much time you'd need to build a massive launch.
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Re: Do we actually need SD(P)s?
Post by locarno24   » Mon Jan 27, 2020 4:00 am

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Pods also have mass drives in them, I believe. You're correct that that was the original job - to thicken up the initial volley. They fell out of use because pod drivers couldn't keep up with shipboard drivers (or probably more likely their power plant couldn't keep up with a shipboard power plant).

without mass drivers of the same grade, either you had the pod launched missiles being slower (so you don't get a time-on-target attack) or you had to slow your ship-launched missiles. Either makes enemy point defence better and hence you get diminishing returns from firing more missiles.

Once manticore managed to crack making pod drivers close enough to shipboard ones, they went back to using them.



Given the ridiculous range and time-of-acceleration of a multi-drive missile, the original 'throw' velocity can't be that significant, but should you ever end up in a closer-range fight it might matter more.

Of course, an SD(P) really doesn't want to be in a closer range fight. The class' big weakness* is that once a formation of pod-layers is trading shots, you've got to drop-and-launch the pods almost immediately, because you can't have the pods sat there whilst enemy missiles come in.

But - could you build pod-free missiles and just throw them out the back? I guess so? You'd need to charge the missiles, as noted, but that just means attaching a power feed to the missile drop mechanism or the missile storage - not impossible.
Since MDMs can be powered up without their drives running (yes, lifetime clock is burning but it's possible, see some employments of Apollo), then yes, in theory you could have the missile loadout power up, 'swim out' and separate to avoid interference, then turn en masse and start accelerating. Performance from a 'cold start' would be poor but the key thing is that you're correct (I think)- over MDM flight times and with MDM acceleration, I can't imagine the velocity imparted by the mass driver matters that much.

Obviously slower = worse but if it's a pretty small proportion of the final speed, then it may be an acceptable sacrifice if not needing a mass driver opens up other useful options.

It'd be a nightmare to co-ordinate and probably involve a lot more hidden problems I can't think of, but it essentially turns the ship into one massive missile pod.



* aside from "you've lost your stern door, you're basically just fire control and point defence from here-on out" and what is noted in-universe as a slight reduction in structural strength.
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Re: Do we actually need SD(P)s?
Post by Theemile   » Mon Jan 27, 2020 5:53 am

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locarno24 wrote:Pods also have mass drives in them, I believe. You're correct that that was the original job - to thicken up the initial volley. They fell out of use because pod drivers couldn't keep up with shipboard drivers (or probably more likely their power plant couldn't keep up with a shipboard power plant).

without mass drivers of the same grade, either you had the pod launched missiles being slower (so you don't get a time-on-target attack) or you had to slow your ship-launched missiles. Either makes enemy point defence better and hence you get diminishing returns from firing more missiles.

Once manticore managed to crack making pod drivers close enough to shipboard ones, they went back to using them.



Given the ridiculous range and time-of-acceleration of a multi-drive missile, the original 'throw' velocity can't be that significant, but should you ever end up in a closer-range fight it might matter more.

Of course, an SD(P) really doesn't want to be in a closer range fight. The class' big weakness* is that once a formation of pod-layers is trading shots, you've got to drop-and-launch the pods almost immediately, because you can't have the pods sat there whilst enemy missiles come in.

But - could you build pod-free missiles and just throw them out the back? I guess so? You'd need to charge the missiles, as noted, but that just means attaching a power feed to the missile drop mechanism or the missile storage - not impossible.
Since MDMs can be powered up without their drives running (yes, lifetime clock is burning but it's possible, see some employments of Apollo), then yes, in theory you could have the missile loadout power up, 'swim out' and separate to avoid interference, then turn en masse and start accelerating. Performance from a 'cold start' would be poor but the key thing is that you're correct (I think)- over MDM flight times and with MDM acceleration, I can't imagine the velocity imparted by the mass driver matters that much.

Obviously slower = worse but if it's a pretty small proportion of the final speed, then it may be an acceptable sacrifice if not needing a mass driver opens up other useful options.

It'd be a nightmare to co-ordinate and probably involve a lot more hidden problems I can't think of, but it essentially turns the ship into one massive missile pod.



* aside from "you've lost your stern door, you're basically just fire control and point defence from here-on out" and what is noted in-universe as a slight reduction in structural strength.


Before we found out that fusion MDMs required ~15 seconds to light up their reactors, several people exposed the "missile dump" design, where missiles are simply dumped out the back of the ship with preprogrammed firing orders. For the old capacitor birds, this would work, as they were charged en mass in the magazines, but not for Fusion missiles.

In such a system, you could literally just roll them lengthwise out a dispensor opening, with multiple dispensors surrounding the aft hammerhead.thd ship could still have it's broadsides.

Only problem is programming inflexibility once launched, and with missiles constantly telling behind you, you would get salvo dispersion.
******
RFC said "refitting a Beowulfan SD to Manticoran standards would be just as difficult as refitting a standard SLN SD to those standards. In other words, it would be cheaper and faster to build new ships."
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Re: Do we actually need SD(P)s?
Post by tlb   » Mon Jan 27, 2020 8:21 am

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Isn't the arrangement of Apollo (8 Mark 23 missiles and a Mark 23-E control missile) such that it is simpler to leave it in a pod? While I do not doubt that it would be possible to coordinate the same using tube launchers, that would require a special tube for the E missile (since it is bigger) which introduces a failure point. Tube launching also has the Mark 23 missiles initially under ship control requiring a process to assign and transfer control to the E missile.
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Re: Do we actually need SD(P)s?
Post by munroburton   » Mon Jan 27, 2020 12:17 pm

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tlb wrote:Isn't the arrangement of Apollo (8 Mark 23 missiles and a Mark 23-E control missile) such that it is simpler to leave it in a pod? While I do not doubt that it would be possible to coordinate the same using tube launchers, that would require a special tube for the E missile (since it is bigger) which introduces a failure point. Tube launching also has the Mark 23 missiles initially under ship control requiring a process to assign and transfer control to the E missile.


Fixed arrangement mandated by pods has pros and cons. Eight-to-one may not necessarily be the maximum ratio a MK23-E can control- this ratio was more dictated by pod dimension constraints than anything else.

Tube-launching 23-Es(or their future equivalents) allows a great deal more flexibility. You could fire just one MK23-E, as a high-speed recon drone(they already do this, but waste the rest of a pod). Or you could fire two and have them control up to 50 missiles - meaning something like a Nike-B would only need a few 23-E tubes and magazines.

Off-bore technology means that as few as four 23-E tubes could be needed - one mounted on each armed side of the ship. It's still a small number of critical failure points, but significantly less exposed than the BC(P)'s four failure points are.
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Re: Do we actually need SD(P)s?
Post by cthia   » Mon Jan 27, 2020 6:58 pm

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munroburton wrote:
tlb wrote:Isn't the arrangement of Apollo (8 Mark 23 missiles and a Mark 23-E control missile) such that it is simpler to leave it in a pod? While I do not doubt that it would be possible to coordinate the same using tube launchers, that would require a special tube for the E missile (since it is bigger) which introduces a failure point. Tube launching also has the Mark 23 missiles initially under ship control requiring a process to assign and transfer control to the E missile.


Fixed arrangement mandated by pods has pros and cons. Eight-to-one may not necessarily be the maximum ratio a MK23-E can control- this ratio was more dictated by pod dimension constraints than anything else.

Tube-launching 23-Es(or their future equivalents) allows a great deal more flexibility. You could fire just one MK23-E, as a high-speed recon drone(they already do this, but waste the rest of a pod). Or you could fire two and have them control up to 50 missiles - meaning something like a Nike-B would only need a few 23-E tubes and magazines.

Off-bore technology means that as few as four 23-E tubes could be needed - one mounted on each armed side of the ship. It's still a small number of critical failure points, but significantly less exposed than the BC(P)'s four failure points are.

Why does spending a 23E in that manner have to waste the rest of the pod? Why am I an idiot, for thinking the orphaned brew can be fired right along with any other unbroken family? It can simply be programmed to track the wedges of the complete brew ahead of it, following it in.

Son, your mother says I have to hang you. Personally I don't think this is a capital offense. But if I don't hang you, she's gonna hang me and frankly, I'm not the one in trouble. —cthia's father. Incident in ? Axiom of Common Sense
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Re: Do we actually need SD(P)s?
Post by munroburton   » Mon Jan 27, 2020 8:42 pm

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cthia wrote:Why does spending a 23E in that manner have to waste the rest of the pod? Why am I an idiot, for thinking the orphaned brew can be fired right along with any other unbroken family? It can simply be programmed to track the wedges of the complete brew ahead of it, following it in.


I don't know that it has to waste the rest of the pod, but pods have always seemed to be all-or-nothing and I don't remember any textev of partially fired pods.

Upon further thought, having the extra sensors along may improve the recon 23E's performance somewhat, plus act as decoys against the enemy's interception attempts. Even so, a tube-launched recon Apollo bird could be accompanied by however many tube-launched companion missiles are deemed necessary.
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Re: Do we actually need SD(P)s?
Post by kzt   » Mon Jan 27, 2020 10:00 pm

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Mk-23E has no sensor package or warhead iirc.
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Re: Do we actually need SD(P)s?
Post by SharkHunter   » Tue Jan 28, 2020 1:29 am

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This was effectively answered both in Honor Among Enemies and Torch of Freedom, and finally in Shadow of Victory. Massive missile counts don't mean a whole lot without the armoring schemes that superdreadnoughts receive. To explain:

(1) If Wayfarer had enough armoring, they wouldn't have lost "cargo one" and could have gone on dumping pods until all the RHN battlecruisers are mission killed or detroyed.

(2) If Rozak's ammunition ships had armoring, his ammunition ships at least partially survive and his salvo density stays high enough fast enough to end the battle more quickly.

3) With the Charles Taylor "fighting ships" -- which have military-grade compensators and some armoring, Captain (Ginger) Lewis still needs to get her ship out of the battle space... against battlecruisers.

Where it gets interesting is in the "what if the RMN falls back to Sag-Cs or their next iteration, Nike(s), and David Taylor FSVs?" in terms of new build hulls, with the rest of the GA SD(p) and CLACs as a ready and always up to date reserve.

Then maybe we don't need SD(p)s... at least until the MAlign again raises their evil heads with effective fighting ships out of mystery star system Darius. Then all bets are off.
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All my posts are YMMV, IMHO, and welcoming polite discussion, extension, and rebuttal. This is the HonorVerse, after all
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