Author Topic: Dedicated carriers vs integrated  (Read 1152 times)

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Offline Michael Sandy

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Dedicated carriers vs integrated
« on: December 20, 2016, 09:49:20 PM »
A while ago I asked about how fleets transition from missile or beam fleets to dedicated carriers.  I see a lot of designs for carriers that are nothing but hangar, and not much beyond that, on the theory that the fighters are both offense and defense.

But historically, planes were first used as spotters for ships, not as a means of directly attacking them.  And the earliest plane vs plane fights were about scouting and denying scouting information.

There are a lot of uses for having a 1000 ton hangar on most capital ships.  Scouts, boarding pods, life boats (if a ship is exploring by itself, and comes under missile attack, RP-wise it is a lot easier to order them to scuttle the ship if they have life boats that are so small that they are unlikely to be targeted, at least if the exploring ship was killed by missiles)

Hangars can carry fast beam armed fighters for cheaply running down merchant ships, and you would not need many to be able to carry out that mission, warp point probes are a lot easier and cheaper if you have the capacity to carry them on any ship likely to want to probe a warp point.

Early on, before the technologies for fighters are fully developed, you can still get use out of factories producing them making survey craft or Siberia class warp point monitor stations.

You could even have fighter sized tankers or colliers, on the theory that they would be too small to easily detect, and therefore not require much division of force to escort them.  Well, before the latest changes to refueling and rearming, anyway.

Dedicated carriers do have some big advantages, of course.  It is a lot easier for a fighter group to train as a unit if they are all based on the same platform with the same officers. It is easier to alter the ratio of fighter to other fleet elements if there are dedicated carrier designs.

What advantages and drawbacks are there to each approach?
 

Offline MarcAFK

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Re: Dedicated carriers vs integrated
« Reply #1 on: December 20, 2016, 09:53:55 PM »
Small craft have an advantage as scouts because they're stealthy, but they can't mount very sensitive equipment. I use them to check systems before sending a fleet, also to check out potentially hostile planets.
" Why is this godforsaken hellhole worth dying for? "
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Offline Iranon

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Re: Dedicated carriers vs integrated
« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2016, 02:29:40 AM »
My main reasons for using dedicated carriers are convenience (less to keep track of) and the ability to house full-size craft.

While I like scout and missile fighters for their small sensor footprint, I see no reason to have them carrier-based. Performance sacrifices to give them sufficient mission life without a mothership (possibly years) are usually acceptable to me.

For carrier-based beam attackers that can't get a long mission life without compromising performance, I usually prefer full-sized warships over fighters: 500t isn't enough to have both speed and weapon range.
 

Offline ryuga81

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Re: Dedicated carriers vs integrated
« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2016, 10:42:08 AM »
Biggest advantage to dedicated carriers is that they are easier to manage. Having a few fighter/probes on every ship out there could quickly become a logistics nightmare when you need to manage (i.e. replace) them all.

Maybe in C# Aurora the interface will allow for easier management of hangars, but in current version it gets hard to track and automate this kind of stuff :/

It would be great if we had a "load fighters" command that worked as "load ordnance" (replacing current ordnance with whatever is specified via class design), but it is not as easy to implement, probably, unless fighters can be somehow "stockpiled".
« Last Edit: December 21, 2016, 10:45:05 AM by ryuga81 »
 

Offline TheDeadlyShoe

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Re: Dedicated carriers vs integrated
« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2016, 11:20:11 AM »
The biggest issue really is the workload on the player. Dedicated carriers are much easier to manage than boat bay ships.  I'll note that fighters generally arn't both offensive and defensive tools;  beam fighters are defensive, but have a tough time mounting distant strikes; missile fighters excel at strikes, but can do little to defend task groups.  You can build dedicated interceptor missile fighters but they sacrifice a lot of the fighters advantages offensively.

A viable mixed strategy is 'Battlestar doctrine' - Large tough battlecarriers designed for beam engagements, carrying beam fighters to improve their missile soaking and to act as detachable beam mounts once you reach targets.  Despite being beam warships, these vessels do not need to be fast; they rely on their fighters to dictate engagements at beam range.  They do need very thick defenses though. 
« Last Edit: December 21, 2016, 12:10:42 PM by TheDeadlyShoe »
 

Offline Michael Sandy

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Re: Dedicated carriers vs integrated
« Reply #5 on: December 21, 2016, 02:22:28 PM »
I like that battlestar idea.  Have enough point defense (and shields) so that an opponent who tries long range missile attacks is just going through ordnance for minimal effect.  And fighters to run them down when they run short on missiles.

So you would have maybe 25% engines and fuel instead of about 50%, with much cheaper weapons than the magazine piggies that long range missile ships are, so you field a lot more tonnage of ships for the build cost.

Plus you can have boarding pods designed for point blank launch, build them with the max boost, minimal fuel, to cross the maximum distance in 5 second.  Ie, long range beam range, where your battlecruisers have theoretically reduced the target's speed enough for safe boarding.
 

Offline Jorgen_CAB

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Re: Dedicated carriers vs integrated
« Reply #6 on: January 01, 2017, 05:00:55 PM »
I add hangars to pretty much every ship so they can be equipped with scout craft of different types. If you stand the extra logistical work they are very much worth it. Being able to only risk smaller craft to detect the enemy is clearly a huge advantage.

Once your technology for engines and all other necessary component for advanced missile fighters are done they are tactically and strategically superior to missile ships. They can deliver their payload at much farther distances and without risking the capital ships.

Fighters should be king at distance warfare until advanced stealth technology is developed.

Scout craft also act as spotters for my long range missile cruisers so they never have to reveal their position when firing missiles.

A capital ship TF would usually have smaller scout corvettes or destroyers screening them carrying their own scout craft. Their job is to find the enemy and intercept smaller strike craft.

A good mission is one where no escort or capital ship ever have to switch on their active sensors.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2017, 05:08:38 AM by Jorgen_CAB »
 

Offline Michael Sandy

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Re: Dedicated carriers vs integrated
« Reply #7 on: January 01, 2017, 07:09:01 PM »
One of the big advantages of fighters currently seems to be that they can run with boosted engines without worrying about the increased explosion chance.  Or rather, it is a moot point.

I have read SO many Aurora campaign stories where one power or another comes up short on scouting ships, and it would be so much easier for them if they had hangars everywhere, so they could just pop in the appropriate type scouting fighter.  Need a fast scout which can efficiently target 10,000 ton ships for the fighter missiles?  Do that.  Need a long endurance tracker with passive sensors to track an invader?  No need to refit or retool, just build a new fighter.  Might be worth having a few extra designs of fighter craft around.

Need a warp point probe to zip in an out?  Or do you need something to picket the far side stealthily for a long time before returning?

So many times I have seen "But the xyz navy didn't have something to run down freighters" when having a relatively long endurance beam fighter would be great for that.  A hangar just adds so much flexibility to a ship, and allows even obsolete ships some utility, as it is easier to upgrade their fighter complement than to upgrade the whole ship.
 

Offline Jorgen_CAB

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Re: Dedicated carriers vs integrated
« Reply #8 on: January 01, 2017, 07:49:51 PM »
Yes... and hangar space can also be used for strike fighters if the ship carries some magazines. This way you can scramble scout frigates and destroyers as light carriers if you really need it or just to carry extra fighters for your real carriers.

Hangars simply make your ships flexible.

In general my ships only carry missiles meant to target smaller ships once I have the technology for good fighters. Not all fighters need to be super fast either but usually you want them to be quite fast.
 

Online Bremen

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Re: Dedicated carriers vs integrated
« Reply #9 on: January 13, 2017, 11:17:46 AM »
In theory I put small hangars on my command ships for small scout ships. I say in theory because while it's part of my design doctrine I usually don't bother.

The main point would be to have a ship that could scout for jump gate ambushes, and also be able to work as a scout/early warning ship in normal space. However, in practice it seldom seems to come up; the AI rarely guards jump points, and my usual tactical doctrine is "gather fleet in ball, send towards enemy."
 

Offline Michael Sandy

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Re: Dedicated carriers vs integrated
« Reply #10 on: January 13, 2017, 02:18:16 PM »
I would do the scouting with small craft for the RP reason that my race believes there is a small chance that any given warp point is actually a black hole.  ;)
 

 

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