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Roland II's as "Forward Missile Controllers"?

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Roland II's as "Forward Missile Controllers"?
Post by SharkHunter   » Fri May 14, 2021 6:20 am

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Given that it is no fun to just keep reading "the GA ships swatted task force or attacking force" X using the same tactics we've seen in prior books, and the idea that tactics & strategies MUST evolve in a battle-space, a thought occurred to me.

While LACs have proven to be superior CM platforms, deepening the counter-missile zones as HH felt needed to happen in Mission of Honor, I'm picturing a build mix for a Roland variant useful where there's plenty of missiles available... if the interception basket could be radically extended. Example: 1) maybe 2 Sag'Cs full up w/ Mark 16 pods, plus any older ships ALSO full up with Mk-16G pods] and 2) only a limited arc where ship-to-ship missile control can be passed.

I'm picturing a number of these "damn sneaky" DDs in the same hull size, being reconfigured full up as CM platforms that are also configured 100% to accept non-Apollo MDM or DDM hand-off as far forward from the missile ships as safely possible.

Aye or Nay?
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Re: Roland II's as "Forward Missile Controllers"?
Post by Theemile   » Fri May 14, 2021 8:19 am

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SharkHunter wrote:Given that it is no fun to just keep reading "the GA ships swatted task force or attacking force" X using the same tactics we've seen in prior books, and the idea that tactics & strategies MUST evolve in a battle-space, a thought occurred to me.

While LACs have proven to be superior CM platforms, deepening the counter-missile zones as HH felt needed to happen in Mission of Honor, I'm picturing a build mix for a Roland variant useful where there's plenty of missiles available... if the interception basket could be radically extended. Example: 1) maybe 2 Sag'Cs full up w/ Mark 16 pods, plus any older ships ALSO full up with Mk-16G pods] and 2) only a limited arc where ship-to-ship missile control can be passed.

I'm picturing a number of these "damn sneaky" DDs in the same hull size, being reconfigured full up as CM platforms that are also configured 100% to accept non-Apollo MDM or DDM hand-off as far forward from the missile ships as safely possible.

Aye or Nay?


David has already nixed specialized anti missile ships on several occasions. besides, DDM range (~40 MKm) is well inside what Manty fire control can handle. Apollo has the MDM game wrapped up (and the RMN isn't going to build any more non-Apollo MDM pods). I can see the occasional use for some SAG'cs lobbing Mk 16s with a long ballistic segment, but not enough to build an actual class to accomplish some weird one offs.

It would be better for the Sag-C's to carry a handful of DDM ACM variants and swim them out the boatbay with the salvo
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Re: Roland II's as "Forward Missile Controllers"?
Post by jtg452   » Fri May 14, 2021 10:18 am

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An purpose built drone design that works like the ad hoc recon drone/Hermes buoy mash up that Honor mentions to Elizabeth would be more likely than a specialized missile control destroyer.

The drone can come off of an assembly line instead of tying building slip, requires no manpower and is a far more elusive target. It would shorten the control loop of non Apollo missiles (grav pulses to the buoy and then a light speed relay to the missiles) in a manner that cost less, is more expendable than a ship and can deployed in higher numbers if necessary.

Even if ships only carry 2 or 3- under the ancient military axiom that 1 is none, 2 is 1 and 3 means you have a spare- that's still a couple dozen per squadron.

I can see how they would work quite well if the SOP of delousing a system with a dense recon drone shell that locates the opfor at range continues. The relay drones can then be deployed to one side and behind the recon drones so that the wedges aren't interfering with stacks of replacements positioned farther fronm the targets that are ready to step up as replacements or intercept any course changes.
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Re: Roland II's as "Forward Missile Controllers"?
Post by Brigade XO   » Sat May 15, 2021 1:05 pm

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We already see a variation of this use of the Ghost Rider Drones since at least the start of the Shadow line of books. The drones sent into the system where Byng butchers the RMN destroyers were left in place and were available to feed all their collected and current information to Henke when she arrives. She wouldn't have used them for targeting from the fringes of the system but she could have as -if I remember correctly- Byng's little fleet was just sitting in orbit and MDMs could have been well inside their own independent engagement envelopes by the time the fleet started moving.
It sure as heck was what was going on at Hypatia. Lighting off the drives on missiles creeping in the opponents general direction and using the feed from GR to identify exactly what ships to target.
But, no, you don't need purpose built anti-missile DDs. You might want to consider variations on the CM pods launched from missile tubes Terekhov used at Hyicynth (or the Hasta weapons system) to forward deploy CM but it's a compromise between sending something out at very low power (or ballistic) to something which may or may not be in your engagement window (with the CMs). The LACS fill this niche very well- at least in-system- since they are really stealthy and can stand outside of the opponents fireing solution with a very low chance of getting targeted by the missiles they are intercepting vs a full-up DD which will light when it does start launching and is likely to attract some of the incoming missiles that get distracted.

How many control channels can you build into a modern DD to handle not only a really large number of CMs and do it using something like GR or the Apollo Control MDM to provide enough range with FTL to manage the CMs at an effective distance that also doesn't immediatly paint the DD as a critical value target to the other side's missiles?
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Re: Roland II's as "Forward Missile Controllers"?
Post by munroburton   » Sat May 15, 2021 8:47 pm

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The future of anti-missile defense is smaller, not larger. There has always been a severe limit imposed upon any vessel on how many missiles it can physically spread out across the perimeter of its own impeller wedge before wedge fratricide between the missiles become a problem.

Improved launchers capable of flinging them harder and faster can help this, but not to the point where something the size of a Roland can ever provide the same output as its equivalent in Ferrets. The podnought is so much deadlier because it disperses the launchers used for all its missiles in pods.

I know countermissile pods have been suggested before and rejected - they wouldn't increase the countermissile basket at the expense of offensive ammunition - but the Solarian Husky is an interesting evolution of Haven's Donkey.

In its present state, it's not that useful to Manticore(whose pods can tractor themselves) but it seems to me that such units could tow countermissile pods out.

Or a drone a quarter the mass of a Ferret could be made to carry a third of its CM load. Either solution removes the exposure of human crews, as well as its associated penalties(eg. compensator limits).
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Re: Roland II's as "Forward Missile Controllers"?
Post by Jonathan_S   » Sun May 16, 2021 10:16 am

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munroburton wrote:The future of anti-missile defense is smaller, not larger. There has always been a severe limit imposed upon any vessel on how many missiles it can physically spread out across the perimeter of its own impeller wedge before wedge fratricide between the missiles become a problem.

Improved launchers capable of flinging them harder and faster can help this, but not to the point where something the size of a Roland can ever provide the same output as its equivalent in Ferrets. The podnought is so much deadlier because it disperses the launchers used for all its missiles in pods.
And then there's the other problem with missile launches, the follow-up salvo cutting the control links because its wedges get in the way. That's why Keyhole boosted CM defenses so much.
You couldn't cram more launchers onto the hull (less actually because the Keyhole bay took up a bunch of your broadsides) and you were still physically limited on how many CMs could launch simultaneously. But by placing your fire control (via relay) well off to the sides you weren't cutting links anymore and could much more tightly sequence your salvos - allowing for many more CMs per minute.
[All the CMs from both broadsides in every salvo; and 8 CM salvoes instead of 5 - combined those lets Honor's SD(P)s Solon at fire just over 7 times as many CMs as without Keyhole. Though that's a bit of an outlier as they were fleeing and thus, without Keyhole, would have been limited to just their chase fire control links limiting how many broadside CMs they could handle. Still at a minimum it increases their defensive launches by (8/5) salvos * 2 (nd broadside) = 3.2 times. And at that we're told there was time to launch 11 salvos; but even Keyhole could control only 8. So there's room for some improved Keyhole to improved that minimum of 3.2x another nearly 40%, to (11/5)*2 = 4.4x ]


But right now the RMN/GSN are in the presumably enviable position of having CMs with sufficient range to exceed their effective lightspeed control. A Mk31 can reach 3.5 million km from rest - but at that distance any updates from the ship take over 11 seconds to reach the missile!


And while being able to throw more CMs in each salvo is useful (assuming you can find space for the fire control links for them all) I can't help thinking the next major advance in CMs (beyond Keyhole) is going to be some method of shortening that control loop. That could be new technology, like a FTL receiver in the CMs. Could be an CM fire-control relay (like Keyhole) that was drone mounted and could fly itself 1.5 - 2 million km towards the enemy and use FTL links back to it's launch ship (where the CMs were handed off to it as they flew past). It could be a new tactic where some LACs are kept in close, around that 1.5 million km from the fleet, in order to have CMs handed off to them so they can effectively engage salvos using the deep CM magazines of capital ships long after they've depleted their small onboard magazines. Or maybe it'll be some totally other method of doing this.

And of course for ships too small to mount the current Keyhole I they don't yet have a way to duplicate its ability to handle at least 3.2 times the CMs per salvo. So they can already launch more CMs than they can control - so simply adding CM pods or drones is useless for them (or for SD(P)s for that matter) unless those extra CMs also somehow come with extra fire control links.


So, to my mind, making changes to take full advantage of the CMs capabilities you already have (improving long range control of the CMs you can already control; and adding enough additional control links to control all the CMs you can physically launch) would be a focus before looking at way to brute force more CMs per salvo.
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Re: Roland II's as "Forward Missile Controllers"?
Post by jtg452   » Mon May 17, 2021 10:48 am

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Jonathan_S wrote:
munroburton wrote:The future of anti-missile defense is smaller, not larger. There has always been a severe limit imposed upon any vessel on how many missiles it can physically spread out across the perimeter of its own impeller wedge before wedge fratricide between the missiles become a problem.

Improved launchers capable of flinging them harder and faster can help this, but not to the point where something the size of a Roland can ever provide the same output as its equivalent in Ferrets. The podnought is so much deadlier because it disperses the launchers used for all its missiles in pods.
And then there's the other problem with missile launches, the follow-up salvo cutting the control links because its wedges get in the way. That's why Keyhole boosted CM defenses so much.
You couldn't cram more launchers onto the hull (less actually because the Keyhole bay took up a bunch of your broadsides) and you were still physically limited on how many CMs could launch simultaneously. But by placing your fire control (via relay) well off to the sides you weren't cutting links anymore and could much more tightly sequence your salvos - allowing for many more CMs per minute.
[All the CMs from both broadsides in every salvo; and 8 CM salvoes instead of 5 - combined those lets Honor's SD(P)s Solon at fire just over 7 times as many CMs as without Keyhole. Though that's a bit of an outlier as they were fleeing and thus, without Keyhole, would have been limited to just their chase fire control links limiting how many broadside CMs they could handle. Still at a minimum it increases their defensive launches by (8/5) salvos * 2 (nd broadside) = 3.2 times. And at that we're told there was time to launch 11 salvos; but even Keyhole could control only 8. So there's room for some improved Keyhole to improved that minimum of 3.2x another nearly 40%, to (11/5)*2 = 4.4x ]


But right now the RMN/GSN are in the presumably enviable position of having CMs with sufficient range to exceed their effective lightspeed control. A Mk31 can reach 3.5 million km from rest - but at that distance any updates from the ship take over 11 seconds to reach the missile!


And while being able to throw more CMs in each salvo is useful (assuming you can find space for the fire control links for them all) I can't help thinking the next major advance in CMs (beyond Keyhole) is going to be some method of shortening that control loop. That could be new technology, like a FTL receiver in the CMs. Could be an CM fire-control relay (like Keyhole) that was drone mounted and could fly itself 1.5 - 2 million km towards the enemy and use FTL links back to it's launch ship (where the CMs were handed off to it as they flew past). It could be a new tactic where some LACs are kept in close, around that 1.5 million km from the fleet, in order to have CMs handed off to them so they can effectively engage salvos using the deep CM magazines of capital ships long after they've depleted their small onboard magazines. Or maybe it'll be some totally other method of doing this.

And of course for ships too small to mount the current Keyhole I they don't yet have a way to duplicate its ability to handle at least 3.2 times the CMs per salvo. So they can already launch more CMs than they can control - so simply adding CM pods or drones is useless for them (or for SD(P)s for that matter) unless those extra CMs also somehow come with extra fire control links.


So, to my mind, making changes to take full advantage of the CMs capabilities you already have (improving long range control of the CMs you can already control; and adding enough additional control links to control all the CMs you can physically launch) would be a focus before looking at way to brute force more CMs per salvo.


CM salvo density can quickly reach the point of diminishing returns. With their oversized wedges, fratricide is an ever present danger. The threat is coming in on the general vector and plane, to intercept, the CM's are going to be on a reciprocal heading. There can't be a whole lot of spread since CM's are fast in a straight line and the combined closing velocity is too high for a lot of time for maneuvering.

Extending the 'missile column' so all of the CM's don't arrive at the interception point at the exact same time isn't workable since wedge interference is a major issue for direct control as well. The back of the pack interferes with the control links of the leaders. In single ship or small unit engagements, that's going to be an issue since the vessels aren't spread out wide enough to 'hand off' parts of a launch that you can't control from your angle due to wedge interference.

I think that the way to improve CM intercept probabilities is to improve the onboard capabilities of the missile seekers themselves- increasing the probability of an uncontrolled missile hitting- and keep pushing the intercept envelope further out. That gives a higher hit probability per missile and the opportunity to take more shots.
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Re: Roland II's as "Forward Missile Controllers"?
Post by Brigade XO   » Fri May 21, 2021 10:24 pm

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Your looking at a variation that instead of using anti-missile LACs out "close but off to the side of" the missile stream, doing it with drones and possibly CM pods or some other sub-munitions despiser
At the moment, if you can put LACs into interception vectors for your opponent's anti-ship missiles, then the stealthy LACs can keep pumping follies of CMs into the streams of incomming shipkillers untill their magazines are dry and -if equipped with grazers and are within range- can take incoming/passing and even receding shots. One solution is to try and wrap your LACs around the edge of the volley such that they are engaging at different times and so not double targeting missiles. The problem is relative locations of both your own fleet and the opponents with the ongoing changes of attack vector of the ship-killers and how many LACs can engage over time and at what point will they get too close to a given volley of missiles so they attract them instead of just killing them.
Some sort of subvention projectile (vs Pods) with the muntions linked to a given controller (which switched to a differnt set of subventions once the 1st batch was cut to onboard seekers) would potentially improve hit ratios and keep LACs out of the line of fire.
How that could be achieved is the challange.
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Re: Roland II's as "Forward Missile Controllers"?
Post by Brigade XO   » Fri May 21, 2021 10:24 pm

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Your looking at a variation that instead of using anti-missile LACs out "close but off to the side of" the missile stream, doing it with drones and possibly CM pods or some other sub-munitions despiser
At the moment, if you can put LACs into interception vectors for your opponent's anti-ship missiles, then the stealthy LACs can keep pumping follies of CMs into the streams of incomming shipkillers untill their magazines are dry and -if equipped with grazers and are within range- can take incoming/passing and even receding shots. One solution is to try and wrap your LACs around the edge of the volley such that they are engaging at different times and so not double targeting missiles. The problem is relative locations of both your own fleet and the opponents with the ongoing changes of attack vector of the ship-killers and how many LACs can engage over time and at what point will they get too close to a given volley of missiles so they attract them instead of just killing them.
Some sort of subvention projectile (vs Pods) with the muntions linked to a given controller (which switched to a differnt set of subventions once the 1st batch was cut to onboard seekers) would potentially improve hit ratios and keep LACs out of the line of fire.
How that could be achieved is the challange.
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