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Uncompromising Honor, Snippet #3

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Re: Uncompromising Honor, Snippet #3
Post by pappilon   » Sat Sep 30, 2017 4:29 am

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drinksmuchcoffee wrote:
Something I have never been able to work out is *why* missiles would be expensive.


I suppose the actual rod material is a bit difficult to obtain.
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Re: Uncompromising Honor, Snippet #3
Post by Bewildered   » Sat Sep 30, 2017 6:03 am

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At a guess, you're talking cutting edge technology with precision engineering and assembly. But this all assumes you're constructing high tech missiles. Would dirty nukes such as Haven has used on occasion, and even Honor used once or twice, be anywhere near as costly? If all you need is a shell, primitive navigation, a primitive warhead, and some other minor fiddly bits why should it cost anywhere near what Manticore is paying for their missile performance? And what about sellers with stock that's fallen off the back of a starship? I'm not convinced missiles are expensive. Consider plane costs. You could get a combat aircraft for about $55,000 but it'd be a civilian hashup and of very low quality - a Cessna with a bomb rack or a machine gun for instance. Or you could get a cutting edge combat aircraft for well over $100 million. It depends on your needs as to which option will suit best. I suspect missile costs are the same. For 'immobile' targets that don't shoot back almost any missile will do the job.

drinksmuchcoffee wrote:
Theemile wrote:One item to remember is that Missiles are EXPENSIVE. During the build-up years, Manticore spent as much for the missiles in the magazine as the they spent for the SD/DN they were arming.
...


Something I have never been able to work out is *why* missiles would be expensive.

From a resources standpoint, there isn't any kind of precious unobtanium that is required to produce missiles. A trillion-ton stony asteroid likely has all of the raw materials required to make literally millions of missiles. A decent-sized asteroid belt probably has a million or more such asteroids.

From a labor standpoint, the whole manufacturing process (from mining and refining raw materials to final assembly) is going to be highly automated. It wouldn't be like producing P-38s or B-29s during WWII. Even on the transport of raw materials a ship with a crew of a few dozen might be transporting millions of tons of material. So the number of person-hours per missile is likely to be quite low.

The actual production lines would of course be enormously expensive to build. But that is a sunk cost and could be amortized over the production of literally millions of missiles, so the actual per-missile cost would at least be theoretically low.

So it is a puzzle to me.
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Re: Uncompromising Honor, Snippet #3
Post by Jonathan_S   » Sat Sep 30, 2017 9:52 am

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drinksmuchcoffee wrote:
Something I have never been able to work out is *why* missiles would be expensive.

From a resources standpoint, there isn't any kind of precious unobtanium that is required to produce missiles. A trillion-ton stony asteroid likely has all of the raw materials required to make literally millions of missiles. A decent-sized asteroid belt probably has a million or more such asteroids.

From a labor standpoint, the whole manufacturing process (from mining and refining raw materials to final assembly) is going to be highly automated. It wouldn't be like producing P-38s or B-29s during WWII. Even on the transport of raw materials a ship with a crew of a few dozen might be transporting millions of tons of material. So the number of person-hours per missile is likely to be quite low.

The actual production lines would of course be enormously expensive to build. But that is a sunk cost and could be amortized over the production of literally millions of missiles, so the actual per-missile cost would at least be theoretically low.

So it is a puzzle to me.

I would assume that the impeller nodes are complex and expensive to build. For anti-ship missiles we're talking about a ring of 8+ roughly ottoman sized chunks of molecular circuitry and microscopic plasma conduit painstakingly and precisely calibrated and tuned to be able to work together to produce at least a minute of 92,000 gravities of acceleration while simultaneously isolating the missile's other components from that. And that's just the drive.
Even with Honorverse construction techniques high performance impeller nodes seem neither cheap nor easy to manufacture.

Now if you just want a rock with maneuvering thrusters that should be much much cheaper.
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Re: Uncompromising Honor, Snippet #3
Post by MaxxQ   » Sat Sep 30, 2017 12:55 pm

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runsforcelery wrote:IR certainly would have spotted Honor at Cerberus. She was capitalizing on the fact that any ship under power can be detected even more readily, far farther away, and at FTL speeds from its impeller signature and that her victi --- er, opponents, I mean, "knew" there were no enemy starships in-system when they arrived and that they'd see anyone arriving after them long before anything coming in from outside the limit could get into range to be a threat. Because of all that, no one was using IR to look for serious threats. The situation was much like that of a 21st century naval captain who has 360-degree radar coverage. He may have visual lookouts as a last ditch tripwire, but he's not going to rely on them as his primary detection mode against hostile aircraft. In other words, there was a blindness of technique not an incapacity of the hardware that could have been available.

You may, ah, assume that attitude has changed somewhat (on the GA's part, at least) post Oyster Bay.


There's also the issue that, IIRC, you had Honor come in "out of the sun", which would play havoc with IR sensors.
=================

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Re: Uncompromising Honor, Snippet #3
Post by runsforcelery   » Sat Sep 30, 2017 1:48 pm

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MaxxQ wrote:
runsforcelery wrote:IR certainly would have spotted Honor at Cerberus. She was capitalizing on the fact that any ship under power can be detected even more readily, far farther away, and at FTL speeds from its impeller signature and that her victi --- er, opponents, I mean, "knew" there were no enemy starships in-system when they arrived and that they'd see anyone arriving after them long before anything coming in from outside the limit could get into range to be a threat. Because of all that, no one was using IR to look for serious threats. The situation was much like that of a 21st century naval captain who has 360-degree radar coverage. He may have visual lookouts as a last ditch tripwire, but he's not going to rely on them as his primary detection mode against hostile aircraft. In other words, there was a blindness of technique not an incapacity of the hardware that could have been available.

You may, ah, assume that attitude has changed somewhat (on the GA's part, at least) post Oyster Bay.


There's also the issue that, IIRC, you had Honor come in "out of the sun", which would play havoc with IR sensors.


Well, yeah, and that was deliberate on her part on the theory that if anyone was paying attention to IR they might lose her in the background. But that was more a case of her hedging her bets in a case in which she was already pretty sure no one would be paying attention. And, of course, there's a reason I had Mike Henke shred her tactical plan in fron of the middies she'd invited to an evening of supper and tactical games at Harrington House!

It worked, but no one who doesn't have Plot Armor on her side better try it anytime soon! :lol:


"Oh, bother!" said Pooh, as Piglet came back from the dead.
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Re: Uncompromising Honor, Snippet #3
Post by drinksmuchcoffee   » Sat Sep 30, 2017 2:20 pm

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Bewildered wrote:At a guess, you're talking cutting edge technology with precision engineering and assembly...


Why would anyone assume that cutting edge technology and precision engineering and assembly would be expensive on a large scale?

Around your home you have dozens, if not hundreds, of examples of cutting edge technology and precision engineering and manufacturing that you use every day and the end cost to you is tens or hundreds of dollars. If someone is making an advanced CPU chip nobody is assembling each of the billions of gates on that chip by hand. Yes, the factory that produces that part is wicked expensive, but the labor costs can't be very high because humans can't assemble things at the nanometer scale. And the material costs are low because in spite of the fact that exotic elements like gallium, indium, and hafnium are used they are used in parts-per-million quantities.

The thing is that in any advanced civilization like the Honorverse the dominant cost for manufactured goods is likely the production facilities. Resources, energy costs, and labor costs are likely to be tiny.

I'll break this out another way.

Let's assume each missile requires 100 tons of raw material at a cost of $1000 per ton.

Let's assume each material requires 1000 hours of labor at a cost of $100 per hour.

Let's assume that the missile production system (it won't be one factory, you'll likely have multiple manufactories producing subassemblies for final assembly at another location) costs 100 trillion dollars. This is on the order of 4000 times larger than the manufacturing complexes that made nuclear weapons in the United States.

I can't even begin to guess what energy costs would be, but in a world where both solar power collection and fusion power are ubiquitous it is hard to imagine any quantity larger than "very modest".

If you make ten million missiles with that system the cost per missile is $10.2 million each. Notice that the vast majority of the "cost" of a missile is paying for the production system.

The marginal cost in this scenario is on the order of $200,000 per missile.

For a bit of reference, a Tomahawk cruise missile costs approximately $2 million.
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Re: Uncompromising Honor, Snippet #3
Post by ldwechsler   » Sat Sep 30, 2017 2:30 pm

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drinksmuchcoffee wrote:
Bewildered wrote:At a guess, you're talking cutting edge technology with precision engineering and assembly...


Why would anyone assume that cutting edge technology and precision engineering and assembly would be expensive on a large scale?

Around your home you have dozens, if not hundreds, of examples of cutting edge technology and precision engineering and manufacturing that you use every day and the end cost to you is tens or hundreds of dollars. If someone is making an advanced CPU chip nobody is assembling each of the billions of gates on that chip by hand. Yes, the factory that produces that part is wicked expensive, but the labor costs can't be very high because humans can't assemble things at the nanometer scale. And the material costs are low because in spite of the fact that exotic elements like gallium, indium, and hafnium are used they are used in parts-per-million quantities.

The thing is that in any advanced civilization like the Honorverse the dominant cost for manufactured goods is likely the production facilities. Resources, energy costs, and labor costs are likely to be tiny.

I'll break this out another way.

Let's assume each missile requires 100 tons of raw material at a cost of $1000 per ton.

Let's assume each material requires 1000 hours of labor at a cost of $100 per hour.

Let's assume that the missile production system (it won't be one factory, you'll likely have multiple manufactories producing subassemblies for final assembly at another location) costs 100 trillion dollars. This is on the order of 4000 times larger than the manufacturing complexes that made nuclear weapons in the United States.

I can't even begin to guess what energy costs would be, but in a world where both solar power collection and fusion power are ubiquitous it is hard to imagine any quantity larger than "very modest".

If you make ten million missiles with that system the cost per missile is $10.2 million each. Notice that the vast majority of the "cost" of a missile is paying for the production system.

The marginal cost in this scenario is on the order of $200,000 per missile.

For a bit of reference, a Tomahawk cruise missile costs approximately $2 million.


Absolutely right. Once you have the basic pattern right, the engineers can find ways to make it automatic. We do that now. Two thousand years from now it will be even more automated.

Why are missiles expensive? Let's start out with the fact they are very large. Lots of material, etc.

And they make so many of them. Remember there are a lot of ships. If you have more than a thousand ships (and the GA probably does) you will need a million missiles. And they get used.

And planets probably use a real lot more. We're dealing in solid geometry here. If you have missile pods set up only on a single planetary plane, a recon satellite could "suggest" to a raiding fleet going in a different way.

Everything on the missiles and almost everything on the ships is probably more complex than what we have today (perhaps Old Tillman is an exception). An aircraft carrier costs four billion today. What would one many times its size cost in 2000 years.

There is a rough estimate of costs I recall, I think in the book where Honor is more or less in exile on Grayson and even at government prices she became very wealthy from the buyback.
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Re: Uncompromising Honor, Snippet #3
Post by Theemile   » Sun Oct 01, 2017 6:39 pm

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A missile is a little expensive. Like a Tomahawk missile today costs ~2 million dollars US. For what it does, it is mildly inexpensive. But to arm a Burke class with then, you will need $200 million to fill it's 96 launch cells with Tomahawks ( should you decide to do so).

A DN or SD requires 10-30 thousand shipkillers to fill it's magazines, And twice as many CMs. At that number, even if they only cost what an SUV costs today, the price quickly adds up.

So, when someone is discussing a system emplacement with a thousand or so pods, they are discussing the missile load of a DN. And every time you pop off 50 or so pods to handle the smallest threat, you are discussing the entire load out of a classic CA, just to deal with a problem.

Now, if the system cannot afford to buy (and arm) a CA, how is it going to afford a system defense like the above.
Last edited by Theemile on Sun Oct 01, 2017 11:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RFC said "refitting a Beowulfan SD to Manticoran standards would be just about 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: Uncompromising Honor, Snippet #3
Post by Weird Harold   » Sun Oct 01, 2017 7:53 pm

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Theemile wrote: Now, if the system cannot afford to buy (and arm) a CA, how is it going to afford a system defense like the above.


Military Assistance Packages from the GA (or other arms merchant or would-be empire.)

A missile/pod heavy defense system is easier to build and maintain than a single hyper-capable warship. It takes less manpower to operate and maintain and less training (no ship's systems to learn, forex)

"Build and maintain" is a key issue. few systems are capable of building a warship bigger than a LAC or frigate, but almost any system with any sort of manufacturing capability can build missiles. They may not be able to build Mk 23 and Apollo systems, but they should be able to build something like the monster SDMs Technodyne sent to Monica or something like a Cataphract. (system defense installations aren't limited by the need to fit a ship's tubes)

If a system feels a strong need for defense, a missile/pod based installation is the cheapest option available. It can be home grown or imported, but a system that needs one will find a way to buy one and Manticore, at least, will find a way to provide one to mutual defense partners.
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Answers! I got lots of answers!

(Now if I could just find the right questions.)
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Re: Uncompromising Honor, Snippet #3
Post by Theemile   » Sun Oct 01, 2017 11:01 pm

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Weird Harold wrote:
Theemile wrote: Now, if the system cannot afford to buy (and arm) a CA, how is it going to afford a system defense like the above.


Military Assistance Packages from the GA (or other arms merchant or would-be empire.)

A missile/pod heavy defense system is easier to build and maintain than a single hyper-capable warship. It takes less manpower to operate and maintain and less training (no ship's systems to learn, forex)

"Build and maintain" is a key issue. few systems are capable of building a warship bigger than a LAC or frigate, but almost any system with any sort of manufacturing capability can build missiles. They may not be able to build Mk 23 and Apollo systems, but they should be able to build something like the monster SDMs Technodyne sent to Monica or something like a Cataphract. (system defense installations aren't limited by the need to fit a ship's tubes)

If a system feels a strong need for defense, a missile/pod based installation is the cheapest option available. It can be home grown or imported, but a system that needs one will find a way to buy one and Manticore, at least, will find a way to provide one to mutual defense partners.


Cheapest option, yes; most economical option, also yes - in a short term.

But, verge system Delta9 will not be filling a freighter with pods (or dropped, remotely fired missiles) all on it's own unless already has the ability to afford a reasonably sized navy.

And for the GA, Does it have the ability do give away a DN load's worth of missile pods to 2000 verge and protectorate systems? Will we see them at an Idaho/Zunker, of course those are GA members or systems already under the GA umbrella. Of course we will see them at Tillerman and Montana - Those are Manty member systems. But what about Macintosh? or Meyers. What about Saltash, under a new local government?

Does the GA have the responsibility to donate defensive systems to Loomis, Loamis, Lucas, Lupis, and Lomax?

Manticore and Grayson lost their primary missile plants. San Martin and Beowulf are making up for the short term. And we know the next step - hardening GA systems with Moriarty.

And, after they install various levels of Moriarty in the ~150 Haven systems, ~55 Manty systems and ~50 Alliance systems, we will see the hardening of Erewhon, Maya, the ~150 former Haven systems, and the ~60 Andermani systems.

Then, perhaps there will be time for the verge. Yes, 1 or 2 might be done here and there, but 2000 worlds is a lot to defend.
******
RFC said "refitting a Beowulfan SD to Manticoran standards would be just about 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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