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SPOILER end of the MA

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Re: SPOILER end of the MA
Post by Sigs   » Mon Jul 09, 2018 11:59 am

Sigs
Commodore

Posts: 904
Joined: Mon Mar 16, 2015 6:09 pm

Vince wrote:What you are overlooking in the case of the Nikes combat capabilities is they mount Keyhole I. With Keyhole I, the Nikes are able to fight with the wedge rolled towards the enemy, fire from both broadsides simultaneously with full control of both ship-killer, ECM, and counter-missiles, and use the Keyholes PDLCs to increase anti-missile capability. An example:



That might go a bit towards evening the playing field but not enough to matter, unless a Nike can stack four of it's launches in one massive salvo and repeat the process quickly enough and the Rolands/Sag-c's cannot do that they still have more firepower than a Nike and if I remember correctly a Sag-C and Roland can at least double up their salvos as well... I may be wrong on that one but I seem to remember they could.


Also the Sag-C's and Roland's both have significantly more PD and CM ton for ton when compared to a nike which means that they may have less armour and weaker PD than a Nike but they have significantly more of them which should be enough to stop or at least soften a nike's attack.
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Re: SPOILER end of the MA
Post by Vince   » Mon Jul 09, 2018 11:17 pm

Vince
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Posts: 1522
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Sigs wrote:
Vince wrote:What you are overlooking in the case of the Nikes combat capabilities is they mount Keyhole I. With Keyhole I, the Nikes are able to fight with the wedge rolled towards the enemy, fire from both broadsides simultaneously with full control of both ship-killer, ECM, and counter-missiles, and use the Keyholes PDLCs to increase anti-missile capability. An example:


That might go a bit towards evening the playing field but not enough to matter, unless a Nike can stack four of it's launches in one massive salvo and repeat the process quickly enough and the Rolands/Sag-c's cannot do that they still have more firepower than a Nike and if I remember correctly a Sag-C and Roland can at least double up their salvos as well... I may be wrong on that one but I seem to remember they could.

Also the Sag-C's and Roland's both have significantly more PD and CM ton for ton when compared to a nike which means that they may have less armour and weaker PD than a Nike but they have significantly more of them which should be enough to stop or at least soften a nike's attack.


Nike's defensive armament is much more powerful than it first appeared in the books, due to an editing error:
Pearls of Weber, Nike (big BC) clarification wrote: I think this has been addressed at least once before, but the answer (in large part) is an error that got made in the copy-editing phase. The actual line which appeared in the book (page 328 in the hc) is:

"The new Nike mounted no lasers, thirty-two grasers -- eight of them as chase weapons, fifty missile tubes (none of them chasers) and thirty counter-missile tubes and laser clusters."

What the passage was supposed to say was:

"The new Nike mounted no lasers, thirty-two grasers -- eight of them as chase weapons -- fifty missile tubes (none of them chasers) and thirty counter-missile tubes and laser clusters [in each broadside]."

In the copy-editing, the rough draft passage was read as saying that there were fifty missile tubes and the chase armament specified in each broadside, which was obviously an error, since it would have given her 100 tubes. The "in each broadside" got deleted to "fix the problem" (as did the em-dash, for some reason I was never able to figure out), which ended up turning it into a description which cut the ship's defensive armament in half.

The main use of all that extra tonnage is in thicker armor, individually more powerful (and therefore more massive) energy mounts, the bigger tubes needed to fire the Mark 16, the increased magazine capacity (and remember, each individual Mk 16 uses up more volume), improved/enhanced com gear, more powerful impeller nodes, the "belt and buckler", hugely increased counter-missile magazine capacity, and twice as many individually bigger and more powerful (and, in the case of the laser clusters, more rapidly-firing) active anti-missile weapons. In addition, the Nikes are designed to carry Marine complements which have not been downsized.

They are, in short, intended as the new iteration of the old Manticoran "generalist" BC, adapted to survive in the new MDM environment. In many ways, they are the RMN's "Mighty 'Ood," I suppose, although they would be Hoods built with the Nevada-style "all-or-nothing" armoring scheme.

Remember that historically the BC has been the Manty ship of choice for almost all missions outside the wall of battle… and that prewar Manty doctrine specifically cut the BC loose from the wall, whereas the Peeps' prewar doctrine incorporated the BCs into the wall as a close-in screening element.

The exigencies of the war, with ships forced to stand in for other, heavier ships on occasion, and with all of the classes (and their weapons fits and defensive vulnerabilities) in flux has caused a considerable rethink. In fact, it's created what I deliberately intended to be viewed as a "muddled" period in mission priorities and design evolution. (Although, at least the RMN hasn't built the Spurious, Curious, and Outrageous!)

The new Agamemnons are limited-endurance strike ships which are reasonably well suited to raids on enemy infrastructure and which can be used (in a pinch) as an adjunct to the wall. Their weaknesses are (a) that they are extremely fragile compared to any waller (or to any BC without a hollow core), (b) that they have few enough pods that they can shoot themselves dry very quickly, and (c) that they have neither the internal capacity for really big CM magazines, nor the tonnage to mount additional laser clusters, which the Nikes have.

The Nike is far more survivable, has the energy armament and ruggedness to go in close against anything short of the wall, has a lower maximum rate of fire but a much "deeper" engagement profile, and is far better suited to the "space control" function, with capabilities which include the traditional BC's ability to put down a full battalion of nasty, pissed-off , battle armored Marines if that seems desireable.

If the RMN's planners were not currently at war with another podlayer-equipped adversary, they would probably be building nothing but Nikes at this point. As it is, they were more or less forced to build more Agamemnons for two reasons. First, it was politically acceptable to the Janacek Admiralty (because BCs are somehow less "imperialistic" than wallers), which means that they were laid down in at least some numbers, whereas Nike was seen as a one-off (and expensive) testbed by Janacek & Co. Second, the RMN needs podlayers, and BCs can be built faster than SDs. As a result, more Agamemnons were laid down in the early days of the White Haven Admiralty before Apollo had proven itself. Now, of course, the ships are seen as too small for Apollo, and therefore the building programs were once again switched to concentrate on "proper" wallers (with the new system) once the BC(P)s in the pipeline had been launched to clear the ways.

Does any of that make sense?
Italics are the author's, boldface and underlined text is my emphasis.

The editing error was corrected in:
House of Steel, The Royal Manticoran Navy, Order of Battle, BATTLECRUISERS (BC) wrote:Nike-class battlecruiser
Mass: 2,519,750 tons
Dimensions: 1012 × 129 × 114 m
Acceleration: 674.3 G (6.613 kps²)
80% Accel: 539.4 G (5.29 kps²)
Broadside: 25M, 12G, 32CM, 30PD
Chase: 4G, 12PD
Number Built: 12+
Service Life: 1920–present

A single Nike-class battlecruiser was commissioned by the Janacek Admiralty as an operational prototype. For almost a year, HMS Nike (BC-562) was the only ship of her class in service, but the prototype’s combat performance convinced the White Haven Admiralty to proceed with mass production of the class. The first new-construction ships entered service in early 1921 PD.
Carrying fifty broadside launchers capable of off-bore firing the Mk16 DDM, the Nike can launch a salvo of fifty missiles into any aspect, and her magazines allow for over forty minutes of maximum rate fire. The class’ improved compensators allow an acceleration rate thirty percent greater than that of the Reliant class, despite being over twice the mass of the older unit. While suffering from the greatest “tonnage creep” of any class in RMN history, the Nike well illustrates the RMN’s policy of defining ships by their role and not by their tonnage. This has not prevented the size and classification from creating intense debate. In raw figures, these ships are five times the mass of a Saganami-C, with only a twenty-five percent increase in missile tubes. Accusations of poor design by BuShips and even outright incompetence are exacerbated by the fact that the Nike carries the same Mk16 DDM as the Saganami-C.
These critics overlook important difference in the capabilities of the two platforms and their designed missions. The Nike is designed to lead and survive independent long-duration deep-raiding missions in an era dominated by multi-drive missiles. The simple numbers of beam mounts, missile launchers and active defense systems belie qualitative per-mount differences. While a Nike and a Saganami-C may carry the same missile, each of a Nike’s launchers has four times the magazine capacity of her smaller heavy cruiser counterpart. A Nike’s grasers and point defense laser clusters are all superdreadnought grade. Their emitter diameter, plasma beam intensity, gravitic photon conditioning hardware, and on-mount energy storage capacity all rival the most modern capital ships. Finally, much of the Nike’s impressive mass is devoted to passive defense. Screening and sidewall generators have near-capital-ship levels of redundancy. The external armor system, internal mount compartmentalization, outer hull framing, and core hull construction are all designed to at least prewar superdreadnought standards. Nikes, finally, carry full flagship facilities and incorporate much greater Marine carrying and support capacity. The Saganami-Cs, while impressive space control platforms, have little or none of this capability.
The only reason, in fact, that a Nike might be less survivable than the prewar superdreadnought is the physical distance between the armor and the core hull. There simply is not enough depth to guarantee the same level of survivability to vital core systems as in a larger capital vessel. Early after-action reports indicate, however, that Nike’s survivability against her intended targets (heavy cruisers and other battlecruisers) has been extraordinary.
Above all other design elements, the addition of the Mark 20 Keyhole platform to the Nike class allows it a greater level of tactical flexibility than any other warship currently in service. This costs a tremendous amount of mass and creates interesting problems (which some commentators describe as weaknesses) in the armor system. But those costs buy the ability to tether the platforms outside the wedge, which, coupled with the off-bore missile launchers, makes Nike the one of the first warships that can fight an entire engagement with her wedge to the enemy. The telemetry repeaters allow full control of both missiles and counter-missiles, and the platforms’ onboard point defenses thicken defensive fire. In addition, the Keyhole platform can act as a “handoff” relay, allowing a Nike to coordinate offensive and defensive missile control for another ship while both keep their wedges to the threat. This flexibility has resulted in vastly increased computational complexity in offensive and defensive engagement programming and helps to explain much of the class’ survivability.
Italics are the authors', boldface, underlined and colored text is my emphasis.

For comparison, the Saganami-C from:
House of Steel, The Royal Manticoran Navy, Order of Battle, HEAVY CRUISERS (CA) wrote:Saganami-C-class heavy cruiser
Mass: 483,000 tons
Dimensions: 610 × 74 × 62 m
Acceleration: 726.2 G (7.121 kps²)
80% Accel: 580.9 G (5.697 kps²)
Broadside: 20M, 8G, 20CM, 24PD
Chase: 3L, 2G, 8PD
Number Built: 149
Service Life: 1920–present

The Saganami-C class is one of the few new classes BuShips managed to get approved under the Janacek Admiralty, which had focused all construction on LACs for system defense and lighter classes for strategic roles. Six of these were approved as an initial design study, although the first did not commission until after the war resumed.
The Saganami-C is uncompromisingly optimized for missile combat, with a total of forty missile launchers for the new Mk16 DDM. The third-generation launchers and missile allow them to fire off-bore up to 180 degrees, launching a forty-missile salvo into any firing arc, and telemetry arrays have also been upgraded, allowing full control of up to three “stacked broadsides” in any aspect not blocked by the wedge. Additional control channels in the broadsides allow the class to handle large missile pod loads in addition to the shipboard launchers. Its energy armament was reduced to only eight grasers, but each is significantly more powerful than those carried by the Saganami-B, with an output yield closer to the weapons some navies mount on smaller capital ships, and improved fire control modeling increases hit probability per mount significantly. Moreover, simulations indicate the larger beam diameters and larger plasma throughput of the new battery will actually increase the probability of kill against other heavy cruisers. It remains to be seen if combat experience will bear this out but early reports are promising.
Another advantage of the Saganami-C design are its two-phase bow and stern wall generators. A traditional endwall closes off the wedge at one end or another, reducing acceleration to zero for as long as it is active, but the two-phase generators carried by the Saganami-C allow the ship to produce what the RMN refers to as a “buckler.” This is a smaller endwall projected across the throat or kilt but not directly connected to the wedge. Its arc of coverage is not as wide as a traditional endwall and leaves vulnerable gaps in some engagement geometries, but the ship retains the ability to accelerate and maneuver when it is active.
Combat experience has been limited to date but early reports have been extremely positive. These are the most modern, powerful heavy cruisers available to any navy, and, between the salvo size they can control and the range advantage granted by the Mk16 DDM, they could easily destroy at least twice their tonnage in older battlecruisers in a stand-up fight.
Italics are the authors', boldface, underlined and colored text is my emphasis.

And the Roland from:
House of Steel, The Royal Manticoran Navy, Order of Battle, DESTROYERS (DD) wrote:Roland-class destroyer
Mass: 188,750 tons
Dimensions: 446 × 54 × 45 m
Acceleration: 780 G (7.649 kps²)
80% Accel: 624 G (6.119 kps²)
Broadside: 5L, 10CM, 9PD
Chase: 6M, 2G, 6PD
Number Built: 46+
Service Life: 1920–present

The Roland class reflects much of what the RMN has learned in the course of the war against Haven. In terms of sheer size, it is the largest destroyer ever produced, rivaling the size of other navies’ light cruisers.
The RMN had been caught short of suitable flagships for cruiser and destroyer service during the First Havenite War, and the Rolands were one attempt to address that shortage. Every member of the class was fitted with extensive command and control capability and, in essence, each can operate as the flagship of a destroyer squadron.
The Roland is also the smallest warship to carry the Mark 16 dual-drive missile, mounting a cluster of six launchers in each hammerhead. Using off-bore fire, it can bring all missiles to bear on a single target. The obvious downside of this arrangement is that a single hammerhead hit can take out half the total missile armament.
The Roland is a match for any conventional light or even heavy cruiser without multi-drive missiles of its own. The Roland is able to engage at a range far outside the opponent’s and is fast enough to make a run for it if its Mk16s are unable to penetrate the enemy’s defenses. As with the Wolfhound, the Roland class has no place in the modern RMN wall of battle, and all of the units thus far deployed have been sent to either the Talbott Quadrant or Silesia for use as pickets, system defense, and convoy protection. The Roland’s use as a commerce raider has yet to be proven but extensive simulations reportedly have shown that the Roland will excel in that role should it be necessary.
Italics are the authors', boldface, underlined and colored text is my emphasis.

Note that the entries in House of Steel for the Roland (DD), the Saganami-C (CA), and the Nike (BC) are all 1920PD (with the Agamemnon BCPs entering service in 1919PD) and reflect the original Mark 16 Mod E DDM, and therefore substantially understate the offensive missile combat power of the ship classes that fire it.

The encounter at the Saltash system between RMN CPT Zavala's 5 Rolands (DDs) and SLN (Frontier Fleet) Vice Admiral Dubroskaya’s's 4 Indefatigables (BCs) took place in or after April 1922PD, when the Mark 16 Mod G DDM was available and loaded into the magazines of the Nikes, Saganami-Cs, and Rolands (and presumably the Agamemnons as well).

Pearls of Weber, Keyhole platform survivability wrote: Okay, one of the (many) things built into the Keyhole platforms (which do deploy beyond the boundaries of the wedges) are extraordinarily powerful EW capabilities and several different layers of active and passive defenses. Moreover, when the RMN developed the system, it also developed doctrines to defend the platforms.

One reason for the multiplicity of Keyhole platforms -- that is, one reason they are fitted to all of the new SD(P)s rather than just to one or two ships per squadron -- is that doctrine has always called for them to "go quiet" to confuse incoming missiles. The FTL links of the Keyhole II platform are the only one which can easily be picked out of the background of ships' wedges, active targeting systems, and the general hell raised by EW/ECM, not to mention the confusion of missile wedges going off in all directions at once.

Because of this, the platforms are simply nondetectable when they are not radiating commands to Apollo. That is, in "Receive mode," they have no betraying signatures. In "Transmit mode" they are readily detectable, but they handle most all of their transmissions in very tight windows, then go dark again. Moreover, whenever more than one podlayer with the system are involved, they share command channels and the "active" platform jumps frequently and randomly. That is, Ship A may transmit the commands to all Apollo drones in one "active" window, while Ship H will transmit the next series of commands, Ship E transmits the third, etc.

The platforms themselves are also capable of movement. By this I mean that the tractors controlling them can shift their positions relatively quickly, which can include simply moving them a few hundred klicks astern or ahead or sucking them back inside the wedge's protection. The squadron tac officer can control which platform is active and deliberately use one of them to suck in enemy fire, then zip it back inside the wedge once the other side's missiles are committed while he brings a completely different platform on line to take over control of the engagement.

In addition, the platforms have the equivalent of the "buckler" mounted in them (I did tell you they were big, didn't I?). If a lot of fire seems to be coming in on one of them, the tac officers also have the option of turning it to face the incoming and bringing up the buckler. This may drive that particular platform off the air until the buckler comes back down, but it also interposes a sudden passive defense the missiles had no idea was coming. Loss of lock is far more common than not in a case like that, and even the ones which maintain lock find their effectiveness greatly reduced.

The EW systems in a single ship's platforms also have the capacity to do the sort of "jingle-jangle" that we've seen ships doing with deployed decoys in the past. By jumping back and forth between the platforms while transmitting orders, it's actually possible to convince missile seekers that the commands are coming from a single platform located midway between the two actual platforms… which brings them in directly on the deploying ship's wedge.

And, finally, missile defense doctrine has been modified to make defending the platforms a very high priority. A percentage of CM fire is normally reserved specifically for defending the platforms, and the platforms themselves are heavily fitted with point defense clusters. In effect, they augment their mother ship's active defenses while simultaneously defending themselves against incoming missiles. Remember that laser clusters are designed to defeat missiles before they reach effective stand off range for a laser head. If the missile is killed before it detonates, no one really cares whether it was aimed at Keyhole or at the mother ship. And it would be extraordinarily difficult to get a missile close enough to take out a Keyhole platform with a "proximity" nuke.

I am not saying that ships will not lose Keyholes, nor am I saying that they are magically invulnerable to missile fire. Another reason for the multiplicity of them in squadrons is to have backups available to take over for destroyed platforms, after all. But they are nowhere near so vulnerable as some people seem to be assuming.
Italics are the author's, boldface is my emphasis.

Pearls of Weber, More on the Keyhole platforms wrote:I really shouldn't be getting involved with this entire topic. For that matter, I don't have any business even skimming the Bar at the moment, with everything that's going on. Nonetheless...

There are two varieties of Keyhole platforms. One of them, the first developed, is primarily a light-speed communications node and sensor platform designed to be gotten beyond the interference of the mounting ship's impeller wedge. It has some limited onboard power storage capability, and most ships fitted with it carried to a bit, in order to provide redundancy and also -- for the first time -- to give an impeller wedge-equipped warship an effective 360 degree coverage area for both communications and sensors.

Keyhole-Two, on the other hand, is fitted with FTL telemetry and communications channels. Because the grav-pulse coms are a heck of a lot bigger than the light-speed coms, the platform had to get a lot bigger, as well. In addition, its power requirements rose pretty severely. And whereas the original Keyhole had only extremely limited anti-missiles self-defense capabilities, Keyhole-Two (in part because it's so much more valuable) has several point defense clusters added to the rest of its size and energy budget. As with the original Keyhole platform, ships equipped with Keyhole-Two are fitted with two platforms each, once again for combined redundancy and 360 degree coverage.

By the time you get up to Keyhole-Two sizes, anything smaller than a capital ship is going to be giving up too much of its broadside weaponry -- offensive or defensive -- simply to carry the damned things (which are docked in hull recesses which are specifically designed and provided for the purpose) when they aren't deployed.

Keyhole -- and Keyhole-2 -- are both towed systems, and they are not towed on any physical tether. They are towed on tractors, and they are primarily powered by transmission from the mothership. They do have some onboard propulsive capability, using the same impeller hardware which was developed for the Ghost Rider recon drones, but that capability is purely secondary. In theory, they could maintain the station on their onboard drives while remaining in the basket to be hit by power transmissions from the mothership and to continue to perform their relay functions. In fact, it's simpler and less complicated to operate them in what amounts to full-time towed mode. There are less things to go wrong, and if the ship takes battle damage sufficient to cut it off from a still functional Keyhole, the ship in question is probably so far up the creek already that it's not going to worry about bells and whistles.

Superdreadnoughts and ships-of-the-wall generally can fairly readily be equipped with multiple Keyhole-One platforms -- that is, the platforms themselves are small enough, with sufficiently low energy requirements, but there's no real reason a ship the size of a waller couldn't be equipped with four or even six of them. Doing that would cut into volume (and broadside area) available for other purposes, however, and the RMN more or less decided that giving every ship in a battle squadron two of them and allowing for weapons to be handed off between one ship in another provided enough redundancy through simple dispersal of the system.

One interesting thing the RMN has observed now that Keyhole-Two has actually been deployed in combat is that the platforms' "self-defense" capability has proved a very valuable adjunct to be Navy's starships' antimissile defenses. Indeed, our good friend Sonja Hemphill is currently tinkering around with a considerably smaller, simpler platform whose primary function would be missile defense and which could probably be fitted to smaller combatants.

The main limiting factors which have so far restricted Keyhole and Keyhole-Two to capital ships are (1) the simple physical size of the platforms; (2) the amount of shipboard power generation and transmission designed into the system; (3) the fact that the system is most useful in long-range missile duels and that nothing smaller than a battle cruiser was likely to be engaging in extremelylong-range combat. Even the Saganami-C and the Roland are equipped with only dual-drive missiles, and BuShips and BuWeaps were thinking in terms of all-up MDMs. Keyhole-Two, in addition, there's no real point to providing the system to somebody who isn't also capable of firing the Apollo control missiles. It's entirely possible that a Keyhole-Two for battlecruisers, possibly with somewhat downsized capabilities, will eventually be produced for the Agamemnons and their Grayson and Andermani counterparts, but that's definitely been a secondary or even tertiary priority in light of other, more immediately critical demands.

That's probably not everything about the system, but it's the best I can do without digging out my detailed technical notes (and spending a lot longer on this than I have any business doing). I hope it's enough to deal with most of the questions raised in this thread.
Italics are the author's, boldface is my emphasis.

Pearls of Weber, The nature of Manticore's battlecruisers wrote: Okay, someone's asked me to put in my two cents worth on the entire nature of the Manticoran Navy's view of battlecruisers, about whether or not Nikes can be fitted with Keyhole-Two, how practical it is to refit from Keyhole-One to Keyhole-Two, etc., etc. I understand that people are sort of heaping speculation on top of speculation, and then proceeding to argue with one another over it.

The sad truth is that I do not have time to deal with this by chasing down all of the threads. For that matter, at the moment my Internet connection is what one might call less than fully reliable, which makes trying to read comments on line slow, frustrating, and… less than effective. I am up to my hip pockets in deadline pressure, and I have a convention coming up in a couple of weekends which is going to blow yet another hole in my writing schedule. Accordingly, what I'm going to do is offer a brief thumbnail about Keyhole, Apollo, Royal Manticoran Navy battlecruiser policy, and design decisions. I do not have time to go back and thoroughly peruse my notes before writing this, so I do not guarantee that I will get every single detail correct. Trust me, there's enough technology floating around in the Honorverse by now that even I need to refer to the Tech Bible if I'm going to be positive that I've got all the details right. Also, do not forget that this is ongoing, evolving technology, that the storyline is also ongoing and evolving, and that I may choose to go in a different direction.

Now then.

Keyhole-One was originally envisioned solely as a telemetry relay platform. Think of it being something along the lines of a submarine raising its radio mast to transmit. The idea was to get a control platform outside the boundaries of the wedge in order to allow a ship's fire control to establish and maintain telemetry links around the interfering barrier of the wedge. Moreover, the original concept concentrated almost entirely on considerations of improved offensive fire control, which did include the idea of giving greater flexibility to target management. In particular, one of the very early concepts was to facilitate "hand-off" between ships, allowing the ship with the best "visibility" to manage fire from her consorts, but did not include any great concern with managing counter-missile fire, extending sensor reach, or making any direct contribution to the mounting ship's close-in defenses.

As the concept began working its way through development, however, it began to evolve. Initially, the idea had been that each ship would carry a large number of relatively small, cheap, expendable communications platforms. They would be outside the wedge and the side walls, and thus vulnerable, and what they were expected to do was relatively simple. The RMN's remote sensor platform capability was already good enough that the emphasis was on a cheap platform designed purely to communicate with outgoing missiles.

In the development process, BuWeaps came to consider additional missions Keyhole might be expanded to include. One of the very first was to include additional telemetry links for counter-missiles. Another early contender was to use the new system to expand a ship's "onboard" sensor perimeter, giving it better "situational awareness" in its own area, regardless of where the remote sensor platforms might be deployed. As its mission and capacity grew, Keyhole became a steadily more sophisticated and capable — and thus larger and less expendable — platform. As it incorporated its own sensor suite and expanded its communications, it became increasingly valuable (in both the tactical and the logistical senses), which made it only logical to fit it with its own point defense. It was made as stealthy as something radiating as powerfully as it did could be made, and it was equipped with its own rudimentary ECM in order to make it more difficult to localize it and destroy it. And, of course, each incremental increase in capability brought with it its own incremental increase in size and cost. You can, if you will, think of this as setting out to design the F-16, or even the A-10, and ending up with the F-15. Every step along the way made absolute, demonstrable, unquestionable good military sense, and the final product was worth every penny of investment, and yet what emerged at the end of the developmental process had changed so much in degree that it had ended up changed in kind, as well. It was, effectively, a completely different animal from the initial concept.

So, at the end of the development process (I'm speaking here of Keyhole-One development), the original cheap, expendable, single-function telemetry link had evolved into a highly capable platform which was an integral part of the mounting ship's sensor suite, provided a much more capable communications node then had originally been envisioned, was stealthy and hard for any opponent to lock up for offensive fire control, and which possessed sufficient onboard point defense capability to not simply defend itself but offer a significant increase in the mounting ship's close-in defenses, as well. The platform itself is stuffed full of essential equipment and hardware, but probably at least a quarter of Keyhole-One's capabilities depend on computer support aboard, and (especially) power generation from, the mounting ship.

The original Keyhole-One platform was about the size of a LAC. The more fully developed Keyhole-One platform carried aboard units like the Nike-class battlecruisers is substantially larger, and fitting a ship to carry it costs quite a bit of potential broadside armament space. It also presents some armoring difficulties, since the platform itself has to be armored when it is tractored into its bay on the exterior of the mounting ship, and the bay itself has to be armored in order to protect the ship when the platform is deployed. Because of those considerations, at the moment, no Keyhole-capable ship currently carries more than one platform in each broadside. This would give a squadron of six ships 12 Keyholes, and, especially given the platform's elusiveness and self-defending capability, the RMN regards this as sufficient to guarantee reasonable survivability through redundancy.

Keyhole-Two is another can of worms entirely. First, the platforms themselves are substantially larger. While the final (or, at least, currently final) generation of Keyhole-One is somewhere around 65,000 tons (or darned near the size of a prewar destroyer), Keyhole-Two is even larger. This is because in addition to the requirement that it must retain its light-speed telemetry links for counter-missiles and non-Apollo shipkillers, it must also fit in the dedicated FTL coms used to communicate with the Apollo control missiles. In other words, a Keyhole-Two platform has to be "bilingual," with the capability to perform its Apollo control function in addition to all of the standard Keyhole-One functions, and this inevitably drives size upward. It is also even more heavily defended, since each platform is individually bigger (and more expensive), represents a larger increment of the mounting ship's capabilities, and (because of its size and emission signature) is a less elusive target. The power budget is also substantially greater. A very large percentage of the computer support carried on board by Keyhole-One has to be located inside the mounting ship, which eats into the ship's internal volume. Additional power generation and transmitting equipment is also necessary, which eats even further into internal volume.

A superdreadnought fitted with Keyhole-One can be re-fitted with Keyhole-Two fairly quickly. Note the use of the word "fairly." Essentially, the superdreadnought has sufficient volume inside its protected core hull that fitting in the additional equipment — while not especially easy — is much simpler than it would be in, say, a Keyhole-One-equipped battlecruiser. Every superdreadnought so far fitted with Keyhole has been a pod-layer, and the quickest and simplest way to accommodate Keyhole-Two is to partition off one end of the central missile core, armor it thoroughly, and then mount the required equipment in the protected space thus created. This somewhat reduces ammunition stowage, does not give you ideal access for servicing and routine maintenance, and leaves the critical new components at least marginally more vulnerable than they would be if they were located inside the core hull proper. On the other hand, any hit which got to the onboard end of the Keyhole-Two installation would almost certainly have to come up the missile core from aft. In such a case, they hit would already have done so much damage that the ship's true main battery — it's missile pods — would already have been mission-killed. Note, however, that a ship need not be able to launch its own pods in order to control someone else's pods through its Keyhole platforms, so theoretically, at least, even a superdreadnought whose missile core had been completely gutted could still be combat-effective. For example, a consort whose own fire control had been crippled might well roll pods for an SD(P) which had lost its own missile core but still had Keyhole-Two capability.

It is far, far more difficult to upgrade Keyhole-One to Keyhole-Two in a ship below the wall. Something like an Agamemnon, with its own missile core, could theoretically retrofit the same way a superdreadnought does, but the mass penalty is exactly the same for both ships, and the much smaller BC(P) has far less ammunition volume to sacrifice than a SD(P). In other words, while the actual volume and mass is identical, the penalty paid is proportionately much higher for the BC(P) than for the SD(P). Moreover, the installation would be far more weakly protected in a BC(P), simply because the BC(P)'s much lower total mass is less capable of absorbing damage in the first place, which doesn't even consider the fact that its general armoring scheme is so much flimsier that of any superdreadnought.

Retrofitting a Nike would be even more difficult. There is very little empty volume in a Nike. In order to shoehorn in all of the necessary ancillary computer support, power generation and transmission, etc., hardware a Nike would have to (a) locate it somewhere outside her core hull and (b) give up additional broadside weaponry. She's already sacrificed a greater proportion of potential armament in order to fit in Keyhole-One than a superdreadnought with Keyhole-One, because the same size of platform represents a proportionately greater surface area of her hull. If additional weapons are removed, her broadside gets still weaker, and the shipyard has to get into cutting, moving, and relocating armored bulkheads between the skin of the ship and the core hull in order to create compartments in which to place the shipboard end of the system, which is a nightmarish task. Moreover, even after the modifications are made, the critical equipment would be outside the core hull, which means that it would be extraordinarily vulnerable.

It might well be possible to build an entirely new class of battlecruiser and include Keyhole-Two capability from the beginning. That would be a considerably more practical solution than trying to squeeze a system even ships-of-the-wall have trouble accommodating (as a refit) into a relatively small hull. In other words, don't expect to see the current generation of Keyhole-Two refitted to a Nike anytime soon.

Now, even if it were feasible to refit Keyhole-Two to an Agamemnon or a Nike, it's unlikely that the RMN would do so. The Manticorans are not interested in building the hyper-capable equivalent of the Graf von Spee. (For those not familiar with the reference, looking it up is left as an exercise for the student. [G]) They've already come perilously close to doing that with the Agamemnon, and as a consequence they've had quite a few BC(P)s blown out of space fighting true ships-of-the-wall. This is not and never has been (as far as Manticore is concerned) proper battlecruiser doctrine. They are not going to build ships which will encourage this misuse of the type still farther.

The entire reason the Manticorans built the new Nike-class in the first place was to resurrect the classic battlecruiser — something which can destroy (or at least reasonably encounter) anything below the wall, which is an ideal commerce-raider, which provides a powerful convoy escort (when needed), which can be built in sufficient numbers to carry out power and influence projection, flag-showing, and similar roles without diverting ships-of-the-wall, and which can function effectively as a space-control vessel, usually by itself or in company with only the rest of its own division. Note that in none of these cases is the ship expected to take on and defeat superdreadnoughts. Obviously, situations can (and have, and undoubtedly will continue to) arise in which battlecruisers find themselves forced to "fight above their own weight," anyway. That is, unfortunately, the nature of the beast. (Or, as Eric Flint's and David Drake's Bellisarius is fond of saying, "Things always get screwed up when the enemy arrives; that's why he's called 'the enemy'.") However, BuShips has no intention of designing vessels which will encourage fleet commanders to do anything of the sort.

The Nike is much, much, much tougher than any BC(P), has better active defenses and far heavier armor (and Keyhole-One) than the Saganami-C, is designed to have more combat endurance (defined in terms of sustained engagement time rather than total throw weight) than either an Agamemnon or a Saganami-C, can run away from anything that can defeat her, has the acceleration to catch anyone else's battlecruisers or cruisers, out-ranges any potential enemy accept an MDM-equipped Havenite SD(P), and has designed accommodations capable of supporting a much heavier Marine complement than is normally embarked. In addition, every Nike is equipped to function as a flagship. In other words, she was designed from the keel out to be a battlecruiser on steroids, and the RMN is very pleased with the way the design has worked out in practice.

As soon as possible, BuShips plans to phase the Agamemnon out of production entirely. There is no battlecruiser role which a Nike cannot perform as well as or better than an Agamemnon. The fleet's concerns with the type's fragility and vulnerability are increasing, not decreasing, and the decreased manning requirements of current-generation SD(P)s make the heavier type even more attractive where true MDM capability is required. I understand there have been some suggestions that an Agamemnon equipped with Apollo should be able to devastate hostile SDs from far beyond their effective range. BuShips and BuWeaps are not strangers to that same argument. However, just carrying standard MDMs aboard an Agamemnon already puts a severe squeeze on her ammunition capacity. Carrying Apollo pods would make that still worse. Besides, economically, industrially, and in manpower terms, it costs substantially more on a per-missile/per-pod basis to carry even standard MDMs onboard an Agamemnon than it does to carry them aboard an Invictus or a Harrington II. Not only that, but an Agamemnon is substantially smaller than a Nike. Sacrificing volume and tonnage to refit with Keyhole-Two (which would be necessary to create an Apollo-capable Agamemnon) would take a much greater proportional bite out of the ship's weapons capability than would be the case for properly redesigned a Nike.

At the present, there is no Apollo-capable version of the Mark 16 dual-drive missile in prospect. That's not to say that one might not be developed at some future time. Should that happen, however, the RMN is virtually certain to field the missile aboard a Nike variant rather than aboard an Agamemnon-derived design. It is probable (and I stress that all of this is purely hypothetical and that the hardware to make it work is not on anyone's radar scope at this time) that an Apollo-capable derivation of the Nike would still be equipped with broadside tubes, but would mount perhaps a pair of MDM-capable tubes in each broadside for the specific purpose of launching the Apollo control missiles. Again, I am most assuredly not saying that any such class is on the horizon. I'm simply saying that current Manticoran thinking is such that a pod-layer Apollo-capable BC is unlikely to emerge.

I have no doubt that someone is busy suggesting that the Manticorans ought to be designing some sort of "command battlecruiser" whose sole function would be to manage Apollo broadsides. This is not going to happen. The Royal Manticoran Navy has learned the hard way (both from observation of others and from its own wargames) that it does not want such special-function units, and that it especially does not want them in its cruiser or battlecruiser force. The very nature of Manticoran doctrine regards the ships as multifunction, multipurpose units — generalists — and the Manticoran Navy has never been really happy with the BC(P). The BC(P) has been viewed (by the vast majority of the Navy) as an interim, improvised platform designed to get additional MDM-capable platforms into space in the shortest possible time period. Note also that the Agamemnons (and the Graysons' Courvoisiers) were both pre-Mark 16 designs. In other words, the only way to give a battlecruiser a range advantage over standard single-drive missiles, at the time the design was conceived, was to use all-up MDMs. Neither Grayson nor Manticore was ever really happy about packing such volume-intensive weapons into a battlecruiser-sized hull; it was simply the only way they could get them deployed. This is one reason why the Agamemnons switched over to pods of Mark 16s as soon as they became available — it let them regain some of the missile capacity they'd had to sacrifice with the larger MDMs. I'm not trying to say that there aren't still factions in both the RMN and the GSN which favor the original BC(P) concept. I'm simply saying that officers who hold that opinion are in a distinct minority and that the design policies of both navies have set rather firmly against the continuation of the type.

Someone has mentioned to me that there has also been discussion of an "escort" type — presumably an escort cruiser or even an escort battlecruiser. Please tell me that no one has been suggesting an escort superdreadnought! [G] I can't absolutely vouch for what some other Navy might do, but there's no way that Manticore is going to field anything along those lines. First, they aren't going to give up the tonnage and the platform capability for what would be, effectively, a purely defensive design. Secondly, the RMN firmly believes in spreading it's anti-missile capability about as broadly as possible in order to ensure its survivability through redundancy. Thirdly, the proliferation of increasingly sophisticated long-range surveillance platforms — including, especially, the Manties' own FTL-capable platforms — is making it increasingly straightforward to identify individual units in an enemy formation by analyzing their fire patterns and their emissions signatures at close range. This means that it will become increasingly feasible for the other side to identify a specialized design — like an anti-missile escort or a Keyhole-Two-equipped battlecruiser — and give special attention to killing it as soon as possible. Fourth, anything lighter than a Nike has become increasingly less survivable in a fleet engagement, and the RMN declines to put its personnel in harm's way aboard identifiable, fragile, easily killed vessels. Fifth, Manticore has concluded that the most effective way to thicken the wall of battle's anti-missile defenses is to deploy CLACs and use their LACs in the antimissile role. LACs are much more difficult targets than any hyper-capable starship. They are far less likely to be targeted in their own right, and it is much less likely that a missile which has lost its original target will acquire a LAC in its place. Its own active defenses are very nearly as good as those of a destroyer (although the exact mix of active systems, stealth, ECM, and maneuverability is different), and the antimissile capability per crewman exposed to hostile fire is actually much greater with something like a Katana or even a late-generation Shrike equipped with Vipers or Mark 31 counter-missiles.

All right, that's roughly 3,000 words, which is approximately 60 percent of my programmed output for a day spent in front of the computer. That's why I have not tried to read all the posts in this thread, why I haven't been turning up on the website or Baen's Bar more often, and why a whole bunch of things haven't been happening. I've been concentrating on getting the books I'm committed to deliver done, and I'm going to go back and do that some more now. In the meantime, though, I hope that this has helped to clear up some of the confusion and ambiguity.

Take care, all.
Italics are the author's, boldface and underlined text is my emphasis.
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History does not repeat itself so much as it echoes.
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Re: SPOILER end of the MA
Post by ldwechsler   » Wed Jul 11, 2018 6:58 am

ldwechsler
Rear Admiral

Posts: 1011
Joined: Sun May 28, 2017 12:15 pm

Vince wrote:
Sigs wrote:What you are overlooking in the case of the Nikes combat capabilities is they mount Keyhole I. With Keyhole I, the Nikes are able to fight with the wedge rolled towards the enemy, fire from both broadsides simultaneously with full control of both ship-killer, ECM, and counter-missiles, and use the Keyholes PDLCs to increase anti-missile capability. An example:


That might go a bit towards evening the playing field but not enough to matter, unless a Nike can stack four of it's launches in one massive salvo and repeat the process quickly enough and the Rolands/Sag-c's cannot do that they still have more firepower than a Nike and if I remember correctly a Sag-C and Roland can at least double up their salvos as well... I may be wrong on that one but I seem to remember they could.

Also the Sag-C's and Roland's both have significantly more PD and CM ton for ton when compared to a nike which means that they may have less armour and weaker PD than a Nike but they have significantly more of them which should be enough to stop or at least soften a nike's attack.


Nike's defensive armament is much more powerful than it first appeared in the books, due to an editing error:
Pearls of Weber, Nike (big BC) clarification wrote: I think this has been addressed at least once before, but the answer (in large part) is an error that got made in the copy-editing phase. The actual line which appeared in the book (page 328 in the hc) is:

"The new Nike mounted no lasers, thirty-two grasers -- eight of them as chase weapons, fifty missile tubes (none of them chasers) and thirty counter-missile tubes and laser clusters."

What the passage was supposed to say was:

"The new Nike mounted no lasers, thirty-two grasers -- eight of them as chase weapons -- fifty missile tubes (none of them chasers) and thirty counter-missile tubes and laser clusters [in each broadside]."

In the copy-editing, the rough draft passage was read as saying that there were fifty missile tubes and the chase armament specified in each broadside, which was obviously an error, since it would have given her 100 tubes. The "in each broadside" got deleted to "fix the problem" (as did the em-dash, for some reason I was never able to figure out), which ended up turning it into a description which cut the ship's defensive armament in half.

The main use of all that extra tonnage is in thicker armor, individually more powerful (and therefore more massive) energy mounts, the bigger tubes needed to fire the Mark 16, the increased magazine capacity (and remember, each individual Mk 16 uses up more volume), improved/enhanced com gear, more powerful impeller nodes, the "belt and buckler", hugely increased counter-missile magazine capacity, and twice as many individually bigger and more powerful (and, in the case of the laser clusters, more rapidly-firing) active anti-missile weapons. In addition, the Nikes are designed to carry Marine complements which have not been downsized.

They are, in short, intended as the new iteration of the old Manticoran "generalist" BC, adapted to survive in the new MDM environment. In many ways, they are the RMN's "Mighty 'Ood," I suppose, although they would be Hoods built with the Nevada-style "all-or-nothing" armoring scheme.

Remember that historically the BC has been the Manty ship of choice for almost all missions outside the wall of battle… and that prewar Manty doctrine specifically cut the BC loose from the wall, whereas the Peeps' prewar doctrine incorporated the BCs into the wall as a close-in screening element.

The exigencies of the war, with ships forced to stand in for other, heavier ships on occasion, and with all of the classes (and their weapons fits and defensive vulnerabilities) in flux has caused a considerable rethink. In fact, it's created what I deliberately intended to be viewed as a "muddled" period in mission priorities and design evolution. (Although, at least the RMN hasn't built the Spurious, Curious, and Outrageous!)

The new Agamemnons are limited-endurance strike ships which are reasonably well suited to raids on enemy infrastructure and which can be used (in a pinch) as an adjunct to the wall. Their weaknesses are (a) that they are extremely fragile compared to any waller (or to any BC without a hollow core), (b) that they have few enough pods that they can shoot themselves dry very quickly, and (c) that they have neither the internal capacity for really big CM magazines, nor the tonnage to mount additional laser clusters, which the Nikes have.

The Nike is far more survivable, has the energy armament and ruggedness to go in close against anything short of the wall, has a lower maximum rate of fire but a much "deeper" engagement profile, and is far better suited to the "space control" function, with capabilities which include the traditional BC's ability to put down a full battalion of nasty, pissed-off , battle armored Marines if that seems desireable.

If the RMN's planners were not currently at war with another podlayer-equipped adversary, they would probably be building nothing but Nikes at this point. As it is, they were more or less forced to build more Agamemnons for two reasons. First, it was politically acceptable to the Janacek Admiralty (because BCs are somehow less "imperialistic" than wallers), which means that they were laid down in at least some numbers, whereas Nike was seen as a one-off (and expensive) testbed by Janacek & Co. Second, the RMN needs podlayers, and BCs can be built faster than SDs. As a result, more Agamemnons were laid down in the early days of the White Haven Admiralty before Apollo had proven itself. Now, of course, the ships are seen as too small for Apollo, and therefore the building programs were once again switched to concentrate on "proper" wallers (with the new system) once the BC(P)s in the pipeline had been launched to clear the ways.

Does any of that make sense?
Italics are the author's, boldface and underlined text is my emphasis.

The editing error was corrected in:
House of Steel, The Royal Manticoran Navy, Order of Battle, BATTLECRUISERS (BC) wrote:Nike-class battlecruiser
Mass: 2,519,750 tons
Dimensions: 1012 × 129 × 114 m
Acceleration: 674.3 G (6.613 kps²)
80% Accel: 539.4 G (5.29 kps²)
Broadside: 25M, 12G, 32CM, 30PD
Chase: 4G, 12PD
Number Built: 12+
Service Life: 1920–present

A single Nike-class battlecruiser was commissioned by the Janacek Admiralty as an operational prototype. For almost a year, HMS Nike (BC-562) was the only ship of her class in service, but the prototype’s combat performance convinced the White Haven Admiralty to proceed with mass production of the class. The first new-construction ships entered service in early 1921 PD.
Carrying fifty broadside launchers capable of off-bore firing the Mk16 DDM, the Nike can launch a salvo of fifty missiles into any aspect, and her magazines allow for over forty minutes of maximum rate fire. The class’ improved compensators allow an acceleration rate thirty percent greater than that of the Reliant class, despite being over twice the mass of the older unit. While suffering from the greatest “tonnage creep” of any class in RMN history, the Nike well illustrates the RMN’s policy of defining ships by their role and not by their tonnage. This has not prevented the size and classification from creating intense debate. In raw figures, these ships are five times the mass of a Saganami-C, with only a twenty-five percent increase in missile tubes. Accusations of poor design by BuShips and even outright incompetence are exacerbated by the fact that the Nike carries the same Mk16 DDM as the Saganami-C.
These critics overlook important difference in the capabilities of the two platforms and their designed missions. The Nike is designed to lead and survive independent long-duration deep-raiding missions in an era dominated by multi-drive missiles. The simple numbers of beam mounts, missile launchers and active defense systems belie qualitative per-mount differences. While a Nike and a Saganami-C may carry the same missile, each of a Nike’s launchers has four times the magazine capacity of her smaller heavy cruiser counterpart. A Nike’s grasers and point defense laser clusters are all superdreadnought grade. Their emitter diameter, plasma beam intensity, gravitic photon conditioning hardware, and on-mount energy storage capacity all rival the most modern capital ships. Finally, much of the Nike’s impressive mass is devoted to passive defense. Screening and sidewall generators have near-capital-ship levels of redundancy. The external armor system, internal mount compartmentalization, outer hull framing, and core hull construction are all designed to at least prewar superdreadnought standards. Nikes, finally, carry full flagship facilities and incorporate much greater Marine carrying and support capacity. The Saganami-Cs, while impressive space control platforms, have little or none of this capability.
The only reason, in fact, that a Nike might be less survivable than the prewar superdreadnought is the physical distance between the armor and the core hull. There simply is not enough depth to guarantee the same level of survivability to vital core systems as in a larger capital vessel. Early after-action reports indicate, however, that Nike’s survivability against her intended targets (heavy cruisers and other battlecruisers) has been extraordinary.
Above all other design elements, the addition of the Mark 20 Keyhole platform to the Nike class allows it a greater level of tactical flexibility than any other warship currently in service. This costs a tremendous amount of mass and creates interesting problems (which some commentators describe as weaknesses) in the armor system. But those costs buy the ability to tether the platforms outside the wedge, which, coupled with the off-bore missile launchers, makes Nike the one of the first warships that can fight an entire engagement with her wedge to the enemy. The telemetry repeaters allow full control of both missiles and counter-missiles, and the platforms’ onboard point defenses thicken defensive fire. In addition, the Keyhole platform can act as a “handoff” relay, allowing a Nike to coordinate offensive and defensive missile control for another ship while both keep their wedges to the threat. This flexibility has resulted in vastly increased computational complexity in offensive and defensive engagement programming and helps to explain much of the class’ survivability.
Italics are the authors', boldface, underlined and colored text is my emphasis.

For comparison, the Saganami-C from:
House of Steel, The Royal Manticoran Navy, Order of Battle, HEAVY CRUISERS (CA) wrote:Saganami-C-class heavy cruiser
Mass: 483,000 tons
Dimensions: 610 × 74 × 62 m
Acceleration: 726.2 G (7.121 kps²)
80% Accel: 580.9 G (5.697 kps²)
Broadside: 20M, 8G, 20CM, 24PD
Chase: 3L, 2G, 8PD
Number Built: 149
Service Life: 1920–present

The Saganami-C class is one of the few new classes BuShips managed to get approved under the Janacek Admiralty, which had focused all construction on LACs for system defense and lighter classes for strategic roles. Six of these were approved as an initial design study, although the first did not commission until after the war resumed.
The Saganami-C is uncompromisingly optimized for missile combat, with a total of forty missile launchers for the new Mk16 DDM. The third-generation launchers and missile allow them to fire off-bore up to 180 degrees, launching a forty-missile salvo into any firing arc, and telemetry arrays have also been upgraded, allowing full control of up to three “stacked broadsides” in any aspect not blocked by the wedge. Additional control channels in the broadsides allow the class to handle large missile pod loads in addition to the shipboard launchers. Its energy armament was reduced to only eight grasers, but each is significantly more powerful than those carried by the Saganami-B, with an output yield closer to the weapons some navies mount on smaller capital ships, and improved fire control modeling increases hit probability per mount significantly. Moreover, simulations indicate the larger beam diameters and larger plasma throughput of the new battery will actually increase the probability of kill against other heavy cruisers. It remains to be seen if combat experience will bear this out but early reports are promising.
Another advantage of the Saganami-C design are its two-phase bow and stern wall generators. A traditional endwall closes off the wedge at one end or another, reducing acceleration to zero for as long as it is active, but the two-phase generators carried by the Saganami-C allow the ship to produce what the RMN refers to as a “buckler.” This is a smaller endwall projected across the throat or kilt but not directly connected to the wedge. Its arc of coverage is not as wide as a traditional endwall and leaves vulnerable gaps in some engagement geometries, but the ship retains the ability to accelerate and maneuver when it is active.
Combat experience has been limited to date but early reports have been extremely positive. These are the most modern, powerful heavy cruisers available to any navy, and, between the salvo size they can control and the range advantage granted by the Mk16 DDM, they could easily destroy at least twice their tonnage in older battlecruisers in a stand-up fight.
Italics are the authors', boldface, underlined and colored text is my emphasis.

And the Roland from:
House of Steel, The Royal Manticoran Navy, Order of Battle, DESTROYERS (DD) wrote:Roland-class destroyer
Mass: 188,750 tons
Dimensions: 446 × 54 × 45 m
Acceleration: 780 G (7.649 kps²)
80% Accel: 624 G (6.119 kps²)
Broadside: 5L, 10CM, 9PD
Chase: 6M, 2G, 6PD
Number Built: 46+
Service Life: 1920–present

Tse enough to take out a Keyhole platform with a "proximity" nuke.

I am not saying that ships will not lose Keyholes, nor am I saying that they are magically invulnerable to missile fire. Another reason for the multiplicity of them in squadrons is to have backups available to take over for destroyed platforms, after all. But they are nowhere near so vulnerable as some people seem to be assuming.
Italics are the author's, boldface is my emphasis.

Pearls of Weber, More on the Keyhole platforms wrote:I really shouldn't be getting involved with this entire topic. For that matter, I don't have any business even skimming the Bar at the moment, with everything that's going on. Nonetheless...

There are two varieties of Keyhole platforms. One of them, the first developed, is primarily a light-speed communications node and sensor platform designed to be gotten beyond the interference of the mounting ship's impeller wedge. It has some limited onboard power storage capability, and most ships fitted with it carried to a bit, in order to provide redundancy and also -- for the first time -- to give an impeller wedge-equipped warship an effective 360 degree coverage area for both communications and sensors.

Keyhole-Two, on the other hand, is fitted with FTL telemetry and communications channels. Because the grav-pulse coms are a heck of a lot bigger than the light-speed coms, the platform had to get a lot bigger, as well. In addition, its power requirements rose pretty severely. And whereas the original Keyhole had only extremely limited anti-missiles self-defense capabilities, Keyhole-Two (in part because it's so much more valuable) has several point defense clusters added to the rest of its size and energy budget. As with the original Keyhole platform, ships equipped with Keyhole-Two are fitted with two platforms each, once again for combined redundancy and 360 degree coverage.

By the time you get up to Keyhole-Two sizes, anything smaller than a capital ship is going to be giving up too much of its broadside weaponry -- offensive or defensive -- simply to carry the damned things (which are docked in hull recesses which are specifically designed and provided for the purpose) when they aren't deployed.

Keyhole -- and Keyhole-2 -- are both towed systems, and they are not towed on any physical tether. They are towed on tractors, and they are primarily powered by transmission from the mothership. They do have some onboard propulsive capability, using the same impeller hardware which was developed for the Ghost Rider recon drones, but that capability is purely secondary. In theory, they could maintain the station on their onboard drives while remaining in the basket to be hit by power transmissions from the mothership and to continue to perform their relay functions. In fact, it's simpler and less complicated to operate them in what amounts to full-time towed mode. There are less things to go wrong, and if the ship takes battle damage sufficient to cut it off from a still functional Keyhole, the ship in question is probably so far up the creek already that it's not going to worry about bells and whistles.

Superdreadnoughts and ships-of-the-wall generally can fairly readily be equipped with multiple Keyhole-One platforms -- that is, the platforms themselves are small enough, with sufficiently low energy requirements, but there's no real reason a ship the size of a waller couldn't be equipped with four or even six of them. Doing that would cut into volume (and broadside area) available for other purposes, however, and the RMN more or less decided that giving every ship in a battle squadron two of them and allowing for weapons to be handed off between one ship in another provided enough redundancy through simple dispersal of the system.

One interesting thing the RMN has observed now that Keyhole-Two has actually been deployed in combat is that the platforms' "self-defense" capability has proved a very valuable adjunct to be Navy's starships' antimissile defenses. Indeed, our good friend Sonja Hemphill is currently tinkering around with a considerably smaller, simpler platform whose primary function would be missile defense and which could probably be fitted to smaller combatants.

The main limiting factors which have so far restricted Keyhole and Keyhole-Two to capital ships are (1) the simple physical size of the platforms; (2) the amount of shipboard power generation and transmission designed into the system; (3) the fact that the system is most useful in long-range missile duels and that nothing smaller than a battle cruiser was likely to be engaging in extremelylong-range combat. Even the Saganami-C and the Roland are equipped with only dual-drive missiles, and BuShips and BuWeaps were thinking in terms of all-up MDMs. Keyhole-Two, in addition, there's no real point to providing the system to somebody who isn't also capable of firing the Apollo control missiles. It's entirely possible that a Keyhole-Two for battlecruisers, possibly with somewhat downsized capabilities, will eventually be produced for the Agamemnons and their Grayson and Andermani counterparts, but that's definitely been a secondary or even tertiary priority in light of other, more immediately critical demands.

That's probably not everything about the system, but it's the best I can do without digging out my detailed technical notes (and spending a lot longer on this than I have any business doing). I hope it's enough to deal with most of the questions raised in this thread.
Italics are the author's, boldface is my emphasis.

Pearls of Weber, The nature of Manticore's battlecruisers wrote: Okay, someone's asked me to put in my two cents worth on the entire nature of the Manticoran Navy's view of battlecruisers, about whether or not Nikes can be fitted with Keyhole-Two, how practical it is to refit from Keyhole-One to Keyhole-Two, etc., etc. I understand that people are sort of heaping speculation on top of speculation, and then proceeding to argue with one another over it.

The sad truth is that I do not have time to deal with this by chasing down all of the threads. For that matter, at the moment my Internet connection is what one might call less than fully reliable, which makes trying to read comments on line slow, frustrating, and… less than effective. I am up to my hip pockets in deadline pressure, and I have a convention coming up in a couple of weekends which is going to blow yet another hole in my writing schedule. Accordingly, what I'm going to do is offer a brief thumbnail about Keyhole, Apollo, Royal Manticoran Navy battlecruiser policy, and design decisions. I do not have time to go back and thoroughly peruse my notes before writing this, so I do not guarantee that I will get every single detail correct. Trust me, there's enough technology floating around in the Honorverse by now that even I need to refer to the Tech Bible if I'm going to be positive that I've got all the details right. Also, do not forget that this is ongoing, evolving technology, that the storyline is also ongoing and evolving, and that I may choose to go in a different direction.

Now then.

Keyhole-One was originally envisioned solely as a telemetry relay platform. Think of it being something along the lines of a submarine raising its radio mast to transmit. The idea was to get a control platform outside the boundaries of the wedge in order to allow a ship's fire control to establish and maintain telemetry links around the interfering barrier of the wedge. Moreover, the original concept concentrated almost entirely on considerations of improved offensive fire control, which did include the idea of giving greater flexibility to target management. In particular, one of the very early concepts was to facilitate "hand-off" between ships, allowing the ship with the best "visibility" to manage fire from her consorts, but did not include any great concern with managing counter-missile fire, extending sensor reach, or making any direct contribution to the mounting ship's close-in defenses.

As the concept began working its way through development, however, it began to evolve. Initially, the idea had been that each ship would carry a large number of relatively small, cheap, expendable communications platforms. They would be outside the wedge and the side walls, and thus vulnerable, and what they were expected to do was relatively simple. The RMN's remote sensor platform capability was already good enough that the emphasis was on a cheap platform designed purely to communicate with outgoing missiles.

In the development process, BuWeaps came to consider additional missions Keyhole might be expanded to include. One of the very first was to include additional telemetry links for counter-missiles. Another early contender was to use the new system to expand a ship's "onboard" sensor perimeter, giving it better "situational awareness" in its own area, regardless of where the remote sensor platforms might be deployed. As its mission and capacity grew, Keyhole became a steadily more sophisticated and capable — and thus larger and less expendable — platform. As it incorporated its own sensor suite and expanded its communications, it became increasingly valuable (in both the tactical and the logistical senses), which made it only logical to fit it with its own point defense. It was made as stealthy as something radiating as powerfully as it did could be made, and it was equipped with its own rudimentary ECM in order to make it more difficult to localize it and destroy it. And, of course, each incremental increase in capability brought with it its own incremental increase in size and cost. You can, if you will, think of this as setting out to design the F-16, or even the A-10, and ending up with the F-15. Every step along the way made absolute, demonstrable, unquestionable good military sense, and the final product was worth every penny of investment, and yet what emerged at the end of the developmental process had changed so much in degree that it had ended up changed in kind, as well. It was, effectively, a completely different animal from the initial concept.

So, at the end of the development process (I'm speaking here of Keyhole-One development), the original cheap, expendable, single-function telemetry link had evolved into a highly capable platform which was an integral part of the mounting ship's sensor suite, provided a much more capable communications node then had originally been envisioned, was stealthy and hard for any opponent to lock up for offensive fire control, and which possessed sufficient onboard point defense capability to not simply defend itself but offer a significant increase in the mounting ship's close-in defenses, as well. The platform itself is stuffed full of essential equipment and hardware, but probably at least a quarter of Keyhole-One's capabilities depend on computer support aboard, and (especially) power generation from, the mounting ship.

The original Keyhole-One platform was about the size of a LAC. The more fully developed Keyhole-One platform carried aboard units like the Nike-class battlecruisers is substantially larger, and fitting a ship to carry it costs quite a bit of potential broadside armament space. It also presents some armoring difficulties, since the platform itself has to be armored when it is tractored into its bay on the exterior of the mounting ship, and the bay itself has to be armored in order to protect the ship when the platform is deployed. Because of those considerations, at the moment, no Keyhole-capable ship currently carries more than one platform in each broadside. This would give a squadron of six ships 12 Keyholes, and, especially given the platform's elusiveness and self-defending capability, the RMN regards this as sufficient to guarantee reasonable survivability through redundancy.

Keyhole-Two is another can of worms entirely. First, the platforms themselves are substantially larger. While the final (or, at least, currently final) generation of Keyhole-One is somewhere around 65,000 tons (or darned near the size of a prewar destroyer), Keyhole-Two is even larger. This is because in addition to the requirement that it must retain its light-speed telemetry links for counter-missiles and non-Apollo shipkillers, it must also fit in the dedicated FTL coms used to communicate with the Apollo control missiles. In other words, a Keyhole-Two platform has to be "bilingual," with the capability to perform its Apollo control function in addition to all of the standard Keyhole-One functions, and this inevitably drives size upward. It is also even more heavily defended, since each platform is individually bigger (and more expensive), represents a larger increment of the mounting ship's capabilities, and (because of its size and emission signature) is a less elusive target. The power budget is also substantially greater. A very large percentage of the computer support carried on board by Keyhole-One has to be located inside the mounting ship, which eats into the ship's internal volume. Additional power generation and transmitting equipment is also necessary, which eats even further into internal volume.

A superdreadnought fitted with Keyhole-One can be re-fitted with Keyhole-Two fairly quickly. Note the use of the word "fairly." Essentially, the superdreadnought has sufficient volume inside its protected core hull that fitting in the additional equipment — while not especially easy — is much simpler than it would be in, say, a Keyhole-One-equipped battlecruiser. Every superdreadnought so far fitted with Keyhole has been a pod-layer, and the quickest and simplest way to accommodate Keyhole-Two is to partition off one end of the central missile core, armor it thoroughly, and then mount the required equipment in the protected space thus created. This somewhat reduces ammunition stowage, does not give you ideal access for servicing and routine maintenance, and leaves the critical new components at least marginally more vulnerable than they would be if they were located inside the core hull proper. On the other hand, any hit which got to the onboard end of the Keyhole-Two installation would almost certainly have to come up the missile core from aft. In such a case, they hit would already have done so much damage that the ship's true main battery — it's missile pods — would already have been mission-killed. Note, however, that a ship need not be able to launch its own pods in order to control someone else's pods through its Keyhole platforms, so theoretically, at least, even a superdreadnought whose missile core had been completely gutted could still be combat-effective. For example, a consort whose own fire control had been crippled might well roll pods for an SD(P) which had lost its own missile core but still had Keyhole-Two capability.

It is far, far more difficult to upgrade Keyhole-One to Keyhole-Two in a ship below the wall. Something like an Agamemnon, with its own missile core, could theoretically retrofit the same way a superdreadnought does, but the mass penalty is exactly the same for both ships, and the much smaller BC(P) has far less ammunition volume to sacrifice than a SD(P). In other words, while the actual volume and mass is identical, the penalty paid is proportionately much higher for the BC(P) than for the SD(P). Moreover, the installation would be far more weakly protected in a BC(P), simply because the BC(P)'s much lower total mass is less capable of absorbing damage in the first place, which doesn't even consider the fact that its general armoring scheme is so much flimsier that of any superdreadnought.

Retrofitting a Nike would be even more difficult. There is very little empty volume in a Nike. In order to shoehorn in all of the necessary ancillary computer support, power generation and transmission, etc., hardware a Nike would have to (a) locate it somewhere outside her core hull and (b) give up additional broadside weaponry. She's already sacrificed a greater proportion of potential armament in order to fit in Keyhole-One than a superdreadnought with Keyhole-One, because the same size of platform represents a proportionately greater surface area of her hull. If additional weapons are removed, her broadside gets still weaker, and the shipyard has to get into cutting, moving, and relocating armored bulkheads between the skin of the ship and the core hull in order to create compartments in which to place the shipboard end of the system, which is a nightmarish task. Moreover, even after the modifications are made, the critical equipment would be outside the core hull, which means that it would be extraordinarily vulnerable.

It might well be possible to build an entirely new class of battlecruiser and include Keyhole-Two capability from the beginning. That would be a considerably more practical solution than trying to squeeze a system even ships-of-the-wall have trouble accommodating (as a refit) into a relatively small hull. In other words, don't expect to see the current generation of Keyhole-Two refitted to a Nike anytime soon.
sis.


I think the new ship building efforts will focus on improving capabilities of some of the classes. Cruisers will move away from being part of the wall. I foresee them leading small light fleets chasing pirates, etc.

Building keyhole Nike classes would be useful. Look for serious upgrades in LACs, particularly those used for planetary defense. More weaponry with more automation (ten crew members is a very high number for a small ship. Planetary defense LACs are more likely to NOT be out for long periods of time.
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Re: SPOILER end of the MA
Post by Vince   » Wed Jul 11, 2018 10:44 am

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ldwechsler wrote:I think the new ship building efforts will focus on improving capabilities of some of the classes. Cruisers will move away from being part of the wall. I foresee them leading small light fleets chasing pirates, etc.

Building keyhole Nike classes would be useful. Look for serious upgrades in LACs, particularly those used for planetary defense. More weaponry with more automation (ten crew members is a very high number for a small ship. Planetary defense LACs are more likely to NOT be out for long periods of time.

The RMN's traditional historical doctrine has been that battlecruisers and cruisers are not designed for, and are not used in, the wall of battle. This is in contrast to at least the early (at the time of the first Havenite/Manticoran War) PRN doctrine.

Once the RMN has time to catch its breath and rebuild its lighter elements, we are likely to see cruisers of all types return to their traditional roles in the RMN.

LACs are analogous to wet navy motor torpedo boats. Motor Torpedo Boat PT-109 could accommodate a crew size of 3 officers and 14 enlisted, with the typical crew size ranging between 12 and 14.

Traditionally, LACs were seen as miniature, non hyper-capable starships:
War of Honor, Chapter 20 wrote:But that, Clapp had pointed out, was also the primary tactical advantage of the LAC. It was just that because it weighed in at thirty or forty thousand tons, people didn't really think of it that way. Even those who'd grasped the tactical reality intellectually hadn't done the same thing on a deep, emotional level. And so they'd continued to think in terms of standoff engagement ranges, sophisticated shipboard systems, and all the other elements which made a LAC a miniaturized version of larger, vastly more capable hyper-capable ships.
Boldface is my emphasis.

And LACs traditionally had larger crews than the Shrike, before the RMN adopted the higher level of automation that merchant shipping utilized to reduce crew sizes:
Echoes of Honor, Chapter 3 wrote:"The power of this weapon is made possible because it is the only offensive energy weapon she mounts, because her missile armament has been substantially downsized, because her impeller node mass has been cut by forty-seven percent, and because her crew is even smaller than that normally assigned to a LAC. Her entire complement will consist of only ten people, which allows a major reduction in life support tonnage. In addition, her normal reactor mass bunkerage has been omitted."
Boldface is my emphasis.

Keep in mind that the RMN Shrikes and Ferrets, and the GSN Katanas, unlike the RHN Cimeterres, have greater endurance than traditional LACs:
Echoes of Honor, Chapter 3 wrote:"I don't expect anyone to be installing them on any planetary surfaces any time soon. For that matter, I doubt we'll see too many of them being installed in capital ships. But one of the new plants handily provides all the power a Shrike needs, and despite all the bad-history bogeyman stories about fission, disposal of spent fuel elements and other waste won't be any particular problem. All our processing work is being done in deep space, and all we have to do with our waste is drop it into a handy star. And unlike a fusion plant, a fission pile doesn't require a supply of reactor mass. Our present estimate is that a Shrike's original power core should be good for about eighteen T-years, which means the only practical limitation on the class's endurance will be her life support."
Italics are the author's, boldface is my emphasis.

War of Honor, Chapter 20 wrote:But that, Clapp had pointed out, was also the primary tactical advantage of the LAC. It was just that because it weighed in at thirty or forty thousand tons, people didn't really think of it that way. Even those who'd grasped the tactical reality intellectually hadn't done the same thing on a deep, emotional level. And so they'd continued to think in terms of standoff engagement ranges, sophisticated shipboard systems, and all the other elements which made a LAC a miniaturized version of larger, vastly more capable hyper-capable ships.
Mitchell Clapp had begun his own design process by going back to a blank piece of paper. Rather than designing a starship in miniature, he'd seen it as an opportunity to design a pinnace on the macro scale. He'd ruthlessly stripped out everything that wasn't absolutely essential to the combat role as he visualized it, and along the way he'd discovered it was possible to save a truly amazing amount of tonnage.
He'd started out by accepting a life support endurance of only ninety-six hours rather than the weeks and months which most LAC designers insisted upon. Next, he'd eliminated all energy armament, aside from an extremely austere outfit of point defense laser clusters. It was pretty clear to NavInt that the Manties had adopted radical innovations to provide the energy supply their new LACs required. Those EW systems had to be energy hogs, and the humongous graser they'd wrapped at least one of their LAC classes around was even worse. NavInt's best current guess was that they'd gone to some sort of advanced fission plant with enormously improved and/or enlarged superconductor capacitor rings to manage their energy budget. They'd also done something distinctly unnatural with their beta nodes to produce impeller wedges of such power without completely unacceptable tonnage demands. Again, all of those were things Haven would be unable to match for years to come, but by ruthlessly suppressing the energy armament and accepting such a vast decrease in life support—and by eliminating over half of the triple-redundancy damage control and repair systems routinely designed into "real" warships—Clapp had managed to produce a LAC hull which came amazingly close to matching the performance of the Manties' designs. Its less efficient inertial compensator meant its maximum acceleration rate was more sluggish, but it was actually a bit more nimble and maneuverable than the observational data suggested the Manty LACs were.
Boldface and underlined text is my emphasis.

Pearls of Weber, Nike (big BC) clarification wrote: I think this has been addressed at least once before, but the answer (in large part) is an error that got made in the copy-editing phase. The actual line which appeared in the book (page 328 in the hc) is:

"The new Nike mounted no lasers, thirty-two grasers -- eight of them as chase weapons, fifty missile tubes (none of them chasers) and thirty counter-missile tubes and laser clusters."

What the passage was supposed to say was:

"The new Nike mounted no lasers, thirty-two grasers -- eight of them as chase weapons -- fifty missile tubes (none of them chasers) and thirty counter-missile tubes and laser clusters [in each broadside]."

In the copy-editing, the rough draft passage was read as saying that there were fifty missile tubes and the chase armament specified in each broadside, which was obviously an error, since it would have given her 100 tubes. The "in each broadside" got deleted to "fix the problem" (as did the em-dash, for some reason I was never able to figure out), which ended up turning it into a description which cut the ship's defensive armament in half.

The main use of all that extra tonnage is in thicker armor, individually more powerful (and therefore more massive) energy mounts, the bigger tubes needed to fire the Mark 16, the increased magazine capacity (and remember, each individual Mk 16 uses up more volume), improved/enhanced com gear, more powerful impeller nodes, the "belt and buckler", hugely increased counter-missile magazine capacity, and twice as many individually bigger and more powerful (and, in the case of the laser clusters, more rapidly-firing) active anti-missile weapons. In addition, the Nikes are designed to carry Marine complements which have not been downsized.

They are, in short, intended as the new iteration of the old Manticoran "generalist" BC, adapted to survive in the new MDM environment. In many ways, they are the RMN's "Mighty 'Ood," I suppose, although they would be Hoods built with the Nevada-style "all-or-nothing" armoring scheme.

Remember that historically the BC has been the Manty ship of choice for almost all missions outside the wall of battle… and that prewar Manty doctrine specifically cut the BC loose from the wall, whereas the Peeps' prewar doctrine incorporated the BCs into the wall as a close-in screening element.

The exigencies of the war, with ships forced to stand in for other, heavier ships on occasion, and with all of the classes (and their weapons fits and defensive vulnerabilities) in flux has caused a considerable rethink. In fact, it's created what I deliberately intended to be viewed as a "muddled" period in mission priorities and design evolution. (Although, at least the RMN hasn't built the Spurious, Curious, and Outrageous!)

The new Agamemnons are limited-endurance strike ships which are reasonably well suited to raids on enemy infrastructure and which can be used (in a pinch) as an adjunct to the wall. Their weaknesses are (a) that they are extremely fragile compared to any waller (or to any BC without a hollow core), (b) that they have few enough pods that they can shoot themselves dry very quickly, and (c) that they have neither the internal capacity for really big CM magazines, nor the tonnage to mount additional laser clusters, which the Nikes have.

The Nike is far more survivable, has the energy armament and ruggedness to go in close against anything short of the wall, has a lower maximum rate of fire but a much "deeper" engagement profile, and is far better suited to the "space control" function, with capabilities which include the traditional BC's ability to put down a full battalion of nasty, pissed-off , battle armored Marines if that seems desireable.

If the RMN's planners were not currently at war with another podlayer-equipped adversary, they would probably be building nothing but Nikes at this point. As it is, they were more or less forced to build more Agamemnons for two reasons. First, it was politically acceptable to the Janacek Admiralty (because BCs are somehow less "imperialistic" than wallers), which means that they were laid down in at least some numbers, whereas Nike was seen as a one-off (and expensive) testbed by Janacek & Co. Second, the RMN needs podlayers, and BCs can be built faster than SDs. As a result, more Agamemnons were laid down in the early days of the White Haven Admiralty before Apollo had proven itself. Now, of course, the ships are seen as too small for Apollo, and therefore the building programs were once again switched to concentrate on "proper" wallers (with the new system) once the BC(P)s in the pipeline had been launched to clear the ways.

Does any of that make sense?
Italics are the author's, boldface is my emphasis.

House of Steel, The Royal Manticoran Navy, Order of Battle, BATTLECRUISERS (BC) wrote:Nike-class battlecruiser
Mass: 2,519,750 tons
Dimensions: 1012 × 129 × 114 m
Acceleration: 674.3 G (6.613 kps²)
80% Accel: 539.4 G (5.29 kps²)
Broadside: 25M, 12G, 32CM, 30PD
Chase: 4G, 12PD
Number Built: 12+
Service Life: 1920–present

A single Nike-class battlecruiser was commissioned by the Janacek Admiralty as an operational prototype. For almost a year, HMS Nike (BC-562) was the only ship of her class in service, but the prototype’s combat performance convinced the White Haven Admiralty to proceed with mass production of the class. The first new-construction ships entered service in early 1921 PD.
Carrying fifty broadside launchers capable of off-bore firing the Mk16 DDM, the Nike can launch a salvo of fifty missiles into any aspect, and her magazines allow for over forty minutes of maximum rate fire. The class’ improved compensators allow an acceleration rate thirty percent greater than that of the Reliant class, despite being over twice the mass of the older unit. While suffering from the greatest “tonnage creep” of any class in RMN history, the Nike well illustrates the RMN’s policy of defining ships by their role and not by their tonnage. This has not prevented the size and classification from creating intense debate. In raw figures, these ships are five times the mass of a Saganami-C, with only a twenty-five percent increase in missile tubes. Accusations of poor design by BuShips and even outright incompetence are exacerbated by the fact that the Nike carries the same Mk16 DDM as the Saganami-C.
These critics overlook important difference in the capabilities of the two platforms and their designed missions. The Nike is designed to lead and survive independent long-duration deep-raiding missions in an era dominated by multi-drive missiles. The simple numbers of beam mounts, missile launchers and active defense systems belie qualitative per-mount differences. While a Nike and a Saganami-C may carry the same missile, each of a Nike’s launchers has four times the magazine capacity of her smaller heavy cruiser counterpart. A Nike’s grasers and point defense laser clusters are all superdreadnought grade. Their emitter diameter, plasma beam intensity, gravitic photon conditioning hardware, and on-mount energy storage capacity all rival the most modern capital ships. Finally, much of the Nike’s impressive mass is devoted to passive defense. Screening and sidewall generators have near-capital-ship levels of redundancy. The external armor system, internal mount compartmentalization, outer hull framing, and core hull construction are all designed to at least prewar superdreadnought standards. Nikes, finally, carry full flagship facilities and incorporate much greater Marine carrying and support capacity. The Saganami-Cs, while impressive space control platforms, have little or none of this capability.
The only reason, in fact, that a Nike might be less survivable than the prewar superdreadnought is the physical distance between the armor and the core hull. There simply is not enough depth to guarantee the same level of survivability to vital core systems as in a larger capital vessel. Early after-action reports indicate, however, that Nike’s survivability against her intended targets (heavy cruisers and other battlecruisers) has been extraordinary.
Above all other design elements, the addition of the Mark 20 Keyhole platform to the Nike class allows it a greater level of tactical flexibility than any other warship currently in service. This costs a tremendous amount of mass and creates interesting problems (which some commentators describe as weaknesses) in the armor system. But those costs buy the ability to tether the platforms outside the wedge, which, coupled with the off-bore missile launchers, makes Nike the one of the first warships that can fight an entire engagement with her wedge to the enemy. The telemetry repeaters allow full control of both missiles and counter-missiles, and the platforms’ onboard point defenses thicken defensive fire.In addition, the Keyhole platform can act as a “handoff” relay, allowing a Nike to coordinate offensive and defensive missile control for another ship while both keep their wedges to the threat. This flexibility has resulted in vastly increased computational complexity in offensive and defensive engagement programming and helps to explain much of the class’ survivability.
Italics are the authors', boldface and underlined text is my emphasis.
-------------------------------------------------------------
History does not repeat itself so much as it echoes.
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Re: SPOILER end of the MA
Post by winsettz   » Fri Jul 13, 2018 2:14 pm

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BC has the bunkerage, the magazine storage and the crew complement for independent action, and might be wasted on pedestrian commerce raiding and protection. Perhaps they have the range to strike systems deeper in the league, which might truly shock people expecting this to be a periphery war. (Though this might escalate the war into a total, unconditional-surrender type war if it isn't one already).

The CA's are getting good, though the limitation in re magazine depth remains. Reduced crew and Marines suggests no more captures of ships, so as commerce raiders they'd be more of the flag it down and destroy it type of ship. That also means use as an infrastructure raider, where the objective is to just burn things and make a clean getaway. Lack of magazines could be offset by a tender in the void between star systems to carry out missile UNREP, along with using freighters or AE's to roll missile pods in battle. Specialized podders are probably going to get bigger and not be wasted on raiding missions, but the demand for more missile capability won't go away.

However, most of the targets will become hardened targets, and the CA's will become less successful over time. This will result in a shift to wolfpacks to the point where wolfpacks can't get the job done. But if pervasive raiding forces the SLN to dilute its tonnage advantage into holding down systems and system defense, that's less ships available to after the GA. And of course, you can overwhelm system pickets that aren't concentrated at will...

At this point, feature creep makes me wonder how long the Rolands (heavy DD) and the actual destroyers are going to be relevant. Might these also go the way of another forbidden ship type?
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Re: SPOILER end of the MA
Post by kzt   » Fri Jul 13, 2018 2:42 pm

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System defenses will mostly be missile pods and SDFs. Not regular navy. Many tens of thousands of missile pods with MDMs.
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Re: SPOILER end of the MA
Post by Theemile   » Fri Jul 13, 2018 2:57 pm

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kzt wrote:System defenses will mostly be missile pods and SDFs. Not regular navy. Many tens of thousands of missile pods with MDMs.


Eventually, more important systems will probably get fortresses as well.
******
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: SPOILER end of the MA
Post by winsettz   » Fri Jul 13, 2018 6:23 pm

winsettz
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Solarians could certainly afford it. Curious if, after many years of inactivity, if they would have such things.

Theemile wrote:
kzt wrote:System defenses will mostly be missile pods and SDFs. Not regular navy. Many tens of thousands of missile pods with MDMs.


Eventually, more important systems will probably get fortresses as well.
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Re: SPOILER end of the MA
Post by Sigs   » Sun Jul 15, 2018 1:26 pm

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Vince wrote:
Nike's defensive armament is much more powerful than it first appeared in the books, due to an editing error:


I am not talking about ship to ship comparison, I am talking about a ton for ton comparison. If we had 2.5 million tons of nike vs 2.5 million tons of Sag-C or 2.5 million tons of Roland.

Assuming they have the exact same Mk 16 missile then the Nike is at a disadvantage as they will have even accounting for the printing error still a 2 to 1 disadvantage in missiles. If they launch 100 missiles they will receive 200 missiles from the Sag-C's, if they decide to launch double their broadside it will take them twice as long to launch each wave of missiles but the Sag-C and Roland can both launch double Broadsides as well.

Even if we assume each PD cluster is twice as powerful as the once mounted on the Sag-C the Nike still will have a little less than half of the Sag-C's PD. CM on the other hand I would assume would be the same for all three platforms and there the Sag_c and Roland have a distinct Advantage in CM number over the Nike. For example 5 Sag-C's would still mount 200 CM's in the same tonnage as a nike would mount only 64 CM's.


Now the question is if We had 2 nikes fighting it out what would be the result? Could 100 Mk 16's get through their defences? If 100 Mk16's have a chance of getting through the nikes defences a portion of 150 or 200 definitely have the ability to get through the nikes defences.


I don't care how amazing their passive defences are, dealing with 400 Mk16's at once might be a little too much for them while for the Sag-C's I think they have more combined CM's and PD's and there are more platforms as well so there is a better chance of some of the Sag-C's coming out of the engagement damaged but functional rather than simply destroyed.
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Re: SPOILER end of the MA
Post by kzt   » Sun Jul 15, 2018 1:49 pm

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Location: Albuquerque, NM

A fletcher class DD displaced ~2000 tons and cost ~6 million per ship, with a crew of ~330.

An Iowa class BB displaced ~45,000 tons and cost ~100 million per ship, with a crew of ~2700.

22 fletchers carry 220 torpedoes, each of which could, in theory, do enormous damage to a BB.

They also wold cost 30% more, and require about 3x the crew.
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