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Offline bankshot

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Ion tech cruisers
« on: June 10, 2019, 10:13:21 PM »
I've made three designs using the same basic template - 18K tonnage and 5K speed.  The first is my PD Escort Cruise.  It is almost exclusively a gauss PD ship but has a couple of lasers for finishing off cripples: 

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Achilles class Escort Cruiser    18,000 tons     474 Crew     3160 BP      TCS 360  TH 1800  EM 900
5000 km/s     Armour 7-61     Shields 30-300     Sensors 8/1/0/0     Damage Control Rating 8     PPV 131.36
Maint Life 1.25 Years     MSP 878    AFR 324%    IFR 4.5%    1YR 585    5YR 8769    Max Repair 450 MSP
Intended Deployment Time: 16 months    Spare Berths 2   

900 EP 1.5x Ion Drive (2)    Power 900    Fuel Use 82.67%    Signature 900    Exp 15%
Fuel Capacity 1,250,000 Litres    Range 15.1 billion km   (35 days at full power)
Delta R300/360 Shields (12)   Total Fuel Cost  180 Litres per hour  (4,320 per day)

25cm C4 Spinal UV Laser (1)    Range 256,000km     TS: 5000 km/s     Power 16-4     RM 4    ROF 20        16 16 16 16 12 10 9 8 7 6
20cm C4 UV Laser (1)    Range 256,000km     TS: 5000 km/s     Power 10-4     RM 4    ROF 15        10 10 10 10 8 6 5 5 4 4
Twin Gauss 16K R3-85 Turret (9x6)    Range 30,000km     TS: 16000 km/s     Power 0-0     RM 3    ROF 5        1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Laser Fire Control S02.5 128-5000 (1)    Max Range: 256,000 km   TS: 5000 km/s     96 92 88 84 80 77 73 69 65 61
PD Fire Control S03 48-16000 (3)    Max Range: 96,000 km   TS: 16000 km/s     90 79 69 58 48 38 27 17 6 0
Gas-Cooled 1HS PB-1 (2)     Total Power Output 9    Armour 0    Exp 5%

Active Search MR1/191K R1 (1)     GPS 16     Range 1.8m km    MCR 192k km    Resolution 1
Thermal Sensor TH1-8 (1)     Sensitivity 8     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  8m km

This design is classed as a Military Vessel for maintenance purposes

Next up is my AMM cruiser.  I'm not sure AMM is all that effective at my tech level, but they should at least be able to thin down the volleys a bit.  11x  11HS/7% explosion/5 HTK magazines

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Patroclus class Anti--Missile Cruiser    18,000 tons     380 Crew     2715.6 BP      TCS 360  TH 1800  EM 900
5000 km/s     Armour 5-61     Shields 30-300     Sensors 8/1/0/0     Damage Control Rating 8     PPV 37.5
Maint Life 1.29 Years     MSP 754    AFR 324%    IFR 4.5%    1YR 476    5YR 7146    Max Repair 450 MSP
Intended Deployment Time: 16 months    Spare Berths 0   
Magazine 2030   

900 EP 1.5x Ion Drive (2)    Power 900    Fuel Use 82.67%    Signature 900    Exp 15%
Fuel Capacity 1,250,000 Litres    Range 15.1 billion km   (35 days at full power)
Delta R300/360 Shields (12)   Total Fuel Cost  180 Litres per hour  (4,320 per day)

Size 1 Missile Launcher (75% Reduction) R3 (50)    Missile Size 1    Rate of Fire 20
Missile PD Fire Control FC10-R1 (2)     Range 10.6m km    Resolution 1

Active Search Sensor MR6-R100 (1)     GPS 1000     Range 6.0m km    Resolution 100
Thermal Sensor TH1-8 (1)     Sensitivity 8     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  8m km

This design is classed as a Military Vessel for maintenance purposes


And finally my ASM cruiser, with 9x  11HS/7% explosion/5 HTK magazines:
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Ajax class Missile Cruiser    18,000 tons     320 Crew     2811.2 BP      TCS 360  TH 1800  EM 840
5000 km/s     Armour 5-61     Shields 28-300     Sensors 8/1/0/0     Damage Control Rating 8     PPV 59.4
Maint Life 1.22 Years     MSP 781    AFR 324%    IFR 4.5%    1YR 542    5YR 8124    Max Repair 450 MSP
Intended Deployment Time: 16 months    Spare Berths 1   
Magazine 1800   

900 EP 1.5x Ion Drive (2)    Power 900    Fuel Use 82.67%    Signature 900    Exp 15%
Fuel Capacity 1,250,000 Litres    Range 15.1 billion km   (35 days at full power)
Delta R300/360 Shields (11)   Total Fuel Cost  165 Litres per hour  (3,960 per day)

Size 4 Missile Launcher (33% 600s) (45)    Missile Size 4    Rate of Fire 600
Missile Fire Control FC118-R100 (1)     Range 118.8m km    Resolution 100

Active Search Sensor MR123-R100 (1)     GPS 11200     Range 123.2m km    Resolution 100
Thermal Sensor TH1-8 (1)     Sensitivity 8     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  8m km

This design is classed as a Military Vessel for maintenance purposes

As these ships carry limited fuel I'll also need to have a dedicated fleet tanker.  I have yet to encounter any alien civilizations, so I have no data on what sort of NPR ships I will be facing. 

Questions:

Would I be better served by turreting the lasers so they can engage higher speed targets?
is my sensor and fire control coverage adequate?
Would I need another ship type to support these in battle?  In particular I think I may need a dedicated sensor/scouting ship, or perhaps a carrier for fighter scouts.
Have I achieved a reasonable balance between speed, firepower, defense, and consumables storage?
While 5K is technically possible using commercial ion engines it will require a ship that is mostly engine.  Should fleet tankers and colliers be able to match the fleet's combat speed?  Should I consider adding a "disposable" collier design to my fleet to provide in-combat reloads?
 

Offline Cavgunner

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Re: Ion tech cruisers
« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2019, 11:24:45 PM »
That... is a lot of AMMs and a lot of launchers.  What do your magazines look like?  Would also be curious about the profile of the missile you're using.

Compared to the gauss cannon, I find that 10cm and 12cm railguns are superior at low and mid tech-levels as anti-warhead and general-purpose weapons.  Just preference.  I also think that your active sensor missile detection ranges are just a little short.  You have a lot of launchers, but the reload time is long.  Time and distance are your friends.  For that, you need detection.  Understandably, this is a bigger problem at low tech levels.

In my opinion 5000 km/sec is WAY too fast for Ion tech, especially with that 1.5x engine power multiplier thrown in.  As Iranon here on the forms once told me, if you devote 40% tonnage or less to engines while keeping the power mod at around x.8, that's a much more efficient setup, generally speaking.  Yes, your ships will be slower as a result, and fighting Precursors will therefore be tricky.  But once you start salvaging those delicious Precursor wrecks, your engine tech will start getting to where you really want it to be.

To give you an example, in my current game my first Magneto-Plasma powered ships, just one tech level above you, made a speed of around 4600 km/sec.  They also used a x.8 engine power multiplier.  I suspect that my ships probably devoted more tonnage to engines than yours (mine are about 36% weight devoted to engines), but they also had over four times the range despite having considerably lighter fuel loads (mine devote about 5% tonnage to fuel). 

That is not to say that your designs wouldn't be effective in combat.  I'm sure they'd get the job done.  But if you started off with the default 500 million population, the sheer fuel consumption for operating a whole group of such vessels would have to be a severe hard limit upon their actual operation.  Edit:  To clarify, I don't just mean that your ships, or even your tankers would easily run out of fuel.  I mean that your Empire would run out of fuel.  :)
« Last Edit: June 10, 2019, 11:35:07 PM by Cavgunner »
 
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Offline Garfunkel

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Re: Ion tech cruisers
« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2019, 11:33:19 AM »
OTOH, as SerBerdian always says, speed is life. Having superior speed allows you to dictate how an encounter plays out and gives you more operational options. Having said that, I agree with Cavgunner that your ships are a bit too fast for Ion era and devoting less tonnage to engines would give you more tonnage for payload. Your ships will also guzzle fuel like crazy, which isn't a problem for one operation - but if you have twenty-thirty ships and have to commit to a longer campaign, your fuel production might be hard pressed to keep up.

You have a lot of armour and lot of shields for ships that are not intended to get into a brawling distance. Since you have both AMM and PD ships, you could safely reduce your shields to something that is enough to handle the occasional leaker - like 10 points - as well as drop your armour to 4 or even 3. That would give you space for more engineering, as while 1.2 years of maintenance life isn't bad, extended deployments are quite common and you're not carrying many MSPs for damage control either - a rule of thumb is that you should have twice the amount of MSP as your Max Repair value is. Remember that DC uses double MSP in comparison to routine maintenance failures.

No need to turret the lasers if they are intended to just take out the occasional straggler/incapacitated ship. In fact, you could take out the spinal laser and free up quite a bit of space. The Gauss turrets and BFC are fine.

Now, you have 50 AMM launchers but only 2 MFCs for them. Remember that a single MFC can only target one salvo at a time. Now that's great if you think that you need to use 5 AMMs for every Vampire cruising your way but you might be in trouble if there are loads and loads of small salvos, which is more common than few massive salvos. It's not a massive issue because you have so much range with your AMM-sensor and AMM-MFC so you can start shooting from such a long distance. But going for 5 MFCs with 25 launchers still leaves you 5 launchers for each MFC every 20 seconds and that's a more economical method of thinning out salvos via 3-to-1, 2-to-1 or even 1-to-1 ratio of AMM versus ASM.

Finally, your ASM are only size 4. That restricts their capabilities quite a bit. Your ASM-AS and your ASM-MFC both have over hundred million klicks of range, but trying to cram enough fuel, a high performance engine and a powerful warhead into a size 4 missile that can reach over 100 million km is pretty darn tough. I'd say it cannot be done unless you take the Mirv/Bus route. But again, at size 4, that's basically one fast and powerful missile inside each bus. OTOH, that's not that much of a concern since you have 45 launchers  :o Which means that, combined with the amount of AMMs you will probably throw out, you better have massive missile stockpiles and a resupply ship nearby.
 
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Offline Jovus

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Re: Ion tech cruisers
« Reply #3 on: June 11, 2019, 12:50:50 PM »
I've included quotes from the post above precisely because I disagree with some of what's said, and I'd like to give context as to why and how and what I'm thinking in doing so. That said, I want to stress that this is ultimately just different preferences in ship design and naval doctrine. One of the great things about Aurora's design granularity is that it does allow and accomodate deep differences like this.

That... is a lot of AMMs and a lot of launchers.  What do your magazines look like?  Would also be curious about the profile of the missile you're using.

I tend to agree, but that might not be a bad thing. At ion, with some basic parity assumptions, your S4 missiles should be going about 14-18kkm/s. This means that with the same assumed tech, your AMMs should get about 20% hit chance on them. Similarly with enemy missiles at the same tech. This means you need 5 AMMs per missile in the enemy salvo if you rely solely on AMMs for missile defense. Put another way, with 50 AMM launchers you can expect to kill 10 missiles per enemy salvo, assuming salvos are large enough. Given your magazine depth, you can expect to do this 41 (actually 40.6) times.

In other words, in your theoretical combat tour, you think you may need to intercept 206 enemy missiles with your AMMs per AMM cruiser you field. Whether that's true or not depends on your particular game of Aurora. (How the enemies have developed their offensive doctrines, how long this cruiser spends in active warfronts between resupplies, whether this is intended to be your primary anti-missile defense or not, etc.)

Compared to the gauss cannon, I find that 10cm and 12cm railguns are superior at low and mid tech-levels as anti-warhead and general-purpose weapons.  Just preference.

Railguns are fairly clearly superior to gauss in a PD role at this tech level. Your escort cruiser is moving at 5kkm/s; with parity assumptions (reactor tech, etc.) and max crew grade bonus, against missiles moving 20kkm/s your expected shootdowns/HS is 0.32 (or 1.34 per gun, counting crew and reactor space).

With gauss at rough parity (ion-level), your expected shootdowns/HS is 0.4592, or 144% of a railgun. Better, right? Yes, but getting gauss turrets to parity in research takes 29k RP, whereas you can build these railguns straight from a transNewtonian start. Imagine what you could do with an extra 29k RP. Here's one: have magneto-plasma engines already. (I'm not counting component research time, either, since it's basically negligible. But that, too, is more expensive for gauss turrets.) On top of that, these gauss turrets are more than 144% of the BP cost of a railgun, much more. (I don't have exact numbers on that because I don't have Aurora with me and the wiki is unhelpful in this regard.)


I also think that your active sensor missile detection ranges are just a little short.  You have a lot of launchers, but the reload time is long.  Time and distance are your friends.  For that, you need detection.  Understandably, this is a bigger problem at low tech levels.

Putting numbers on this, with a detection range of 1.8mkm, enemy missiles travelling 20kkm/s will be detected for 90 seconds. This gives you time for 1 initial and 4 follow-up salvos, which funnily enough is exactly the ratio you probably want with your AMMs being ion. So that's probably fine.

Except that's the PD sensor on your escort cruiser; the AMM sensor on your AMM escort goes to 10mkm. I doubt you have any AMMs capable of that range, and if you do you probably shouldn't, for the reasons just mentioned. (You could instead invest in speed and agility to improve hit chance.) Again with simple parity assumptions, an AMM with 10mkm range has a 20.2% chance to hit, and you'd better hope it moves first because it's actually slower than the target missile. At 5mkm you get 21.4%, and at 2mkm you get 21.8%. 0.4% might not seem like much, but it will save you a lot of gallicite in the long run. Plus, a smaller AMM range means a smaller PD sensor means savings on an expensive component and more HS to dedicate to something else, like engines (see below).

In my opinion 5000 km/sec is WAY too fast for Ion tech, especially with that 1.5x engine power multiplier thrown in.  As Iranon here on the forms once told me, if you devote 40% tonnage or less to engines while keeping the power mod at around x.8, that's a much more efficient setup, generally speaking.  Yes, your ships will be slower as a result, and fighting Precursors will therefore be tricky.  But once you start salvaging those delicious Precursor wrecks, your engine tech will start getting to where you really want it to be.

This is the bit with which I disagree the most. In my opinion, 5kkm/s is about right at ion tech, maybe slightly fast for missile ships. But for beam combatants, you want that higher - 6kkm/s at least. After all, you want to close with the enemy, and closing time is all about the delta in your speeds. Smaller delta, even if you're faster, and the enemy gets more time to shoot you in which you can't respond.

Further, and even more important (for all ships), having the speed advantage allows you to dictate the engagement. Don't want to fight? You don't have to if you can run away. Want to fight but he doesn't? Too bad; you get to decide.

Even further, speed acts as armour. If you're faster, the enemy has a linearly proportional decrease in his ability to hit you with any weapon. If you're much faster, you're also much harder to hit.

Even further than that, for beamships, speed acts as weapons (up to your BFC tracking speed). If you're too slow, you take a penalty to hit even if the enemy decides to close with you.

Finally, for PD, more spent on the engine means your railgun PD (which you're using, right?) is more effective. It all hangs together. So how do we get those numbers up?

Right now you have 2 S50 engines and 25 HS of fuel. In passing, I note you also have almost 35% of your ship devoted to propulsion. Your fuel:engine ratio is a nice simple 0.25, and you've sprung for 0.6 fuel conservation tech.

Moving up to a 0.4 propulsion ratio with 0.4 fuel:engine, you can get 3 S34 engines (biggest that fit evenly in the provided space) which would send your ships along at a nice 5610km/s with the same range, or (as I would prefer) 5100km/s with nearly 20bkm range. Alternatively, with the same propulsion budget but dropping your fuel:engine ratio to 0.2, you get 5400km/s at your chosen range, along with a significantly more fuel-friendly 3 S40 engines with 1.35 power modifier. (This would use 66.4% of the fuel.) All for a modest 19 more HS.

Where can you save the HS in your designs? It's up to you, but I'd:
  • Strip some armour from your Achilles. Down to 5 is probably fine; I like to make missile and PD ships thin-skinned at ion, so I'd settle on 3. Can't kill what they can't catch.
  • Too, drop the turreted laser. This is a PD ship with lasers to finish off cripples; you're dedicating too much to your secondary mission. That spinal will be fine, especially with the extra speed.
  • Consider losing one of your PD BFCs; you're not going to effectively engage 3 salvos anyway.
  • For Patroclus, drop the active sensor and restrict your MFC down to the range of the active sensor on the Achilles. They never go anywhere separately anyway, for fear of the former being killed by the dreaded Hector class.
  • Ajax can lose some magazine depth. With 45 launchers, you have 10 full salvos. (Good job on the even number; that can be a pain.) Maybe go down to 8, and if you need staying power with such a short deployment time, include a collier in your tail.

That is not to say that your designs wouldn't be effective in combat.  I'm sure they'd get the job done.  But if you started off with the default 500 million population, the sheer fuel consumption for operating a whole group of such vessels would have to be a severe hard limit upon their actual operation.  Edit:  To clarify, I don't just mean that your ships, or even your tankers would easily run out of fuel.  I mean that your Empire would run out of fuel.  :)

It's true that military ships being too fuel-hungry is a big problem, especially if you play like I do where speed is king. But hopefully I've shown how to tighten that up a little, here. Too, population isn't your only source of fuel. Unless you're under serious pressure from outside, you have no real business getting a fully-fledged military up and running before you have harvesters chewing away at the local gas giants.
 
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Offline Cavgunner

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Re: Ion tech cruisers
« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2019, 02:24:02 PM »

It's true that military ships being too fuel-hungry is a big problem, especially if you play like I do where speed is king. But hopefully I've shown how to tighten that up a little, here. Too, population isn't your only source of fuel. Unless you're under serious pressure from outside, you have no real business getting a fully-fledged military up and running before you have harvesters chewing away at the local gas giants.


Well, I was assuming that fuel harvesters are a part of the overall fuel supply equation.  But you still have to make them. 

Let's say that you have a young empire, Ion tech level, with a fuel production capacity of about 24 million liters per year between planetary and gas giant sources.  That's probably an overly generous figure for early tech and production capacity, but for the sake of argument we'll roll with it.  Now let's that say your core fleet consists of half a dozen of the ships outlined above (because if you're going to go through the expense at low tech of developing the shipyard capacity to make these things, you'll probably want to build at least two of each of them).

Now let's say that you've found a system with a 0-colony-cost world that you need to clear Precursors out of.  The number of jumps doesn't really matter, but let's say that this world is 32 billion kilometers away from your main naval base.  To get there and back, each of the ships in the task force will have to refuel approximately 4 times.  6 ships x 4 refuels x 1,250,000 liters per refuel = approximately 30 million liters of fuel expended, round trip. 

In other words, to have a modest task force of six of these ships take to the field once, you've just expended more than a year's worth of fuel production.  Heck, even if I cut the distance to target in half, you're still expending the lion's share of a year's worth of fuel production.  And that was just to move six ships.  Six.

I fully agree with your point that tactically, high speed ships are preferable in every way.  What I'm saying is that strategically, such high fuel consumption is simply not feasible for a young empire with a typical starting pop and industrial base.  This should be the ultimate consideration.  Yes the alternative builds you propose alleviate the problem somewhat, but they don't solve it, in my opinion.  The ships are too thirsty and too short-legged.

I wouldn't even try matching Precursor ship speeds at Ion.  Wait until engine tech, fuel efficiency technology, and your infrastructure matures.
« Last Edit: June 11, 2019, 02:46:34 PM by Cavgunner »
 
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Offline bankshot

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Re: Ion tech cruisers
« Reply #5 on: June 11, 2019, 09:49:25 PM »
I was using SerBeardian's Fleet Doctrine https://imgur.com/a/yxqmw as one of my guides, which advocates for 7,000 km/sec at ion level.  I just couldn't put together what I considered a decent design at that speed so I settled on 5,000.  I decided on the 18K size as my current shipyard limit is 20K and I wanted to use HS 50 engines to maximize fuel efficiency, with two engines to keep the ship from being paralyzed by one hit. 

I see your point regarding railguns since they can hit 4 targets/shot but since my gauss cannons can fire 3 shots each I thought that plus the extra tracking speed from turret mounting would make them a better choice.  My twin gauss turrets are 13HS each, firing 6 shots.  3x 10cm railguns plus 2x power plants would be 11HS, so I could replace my 9x twin gauss turrets with 30x railguns.  I would get 120 shots at 5,000 km/sec tracking speed (assuming I kept the same engines) instead of 54 shots at 16,000 km/sec speed. I'm using 5HS gauss cannons, so their 85% accuracy gives about 46 effective shots.  My anti-ship missiles clock in at 17,000 km/sec so railguns should be only about 30% accurate, for 36 effective shots. 

Jovus:  I think this pretty much concurs with your more rigorous analysis, but please let me know if I missed something.   

On the other hand railguns would be much more effective against fighters, especially if I went with 12cm guns.  It would probably be worthwhile to add some railguns even if I do decide to keep most gauss. I also had not considered the BP expense disparity, making railguns that much more attractive.

Garfunkel: I had not considered the damage control aspect, thanks for pointing that out.   

Any extended operations will certainly cause a massive drain on my fuel reserves. As of year 2052 I've got around 100M liters of fuel on Earth and Luna, with some smaller caches elsewhere.  I'm producing around 25M fuel/year, mostly from sorium harvesters.  After exploring 2 links in every direction from earth I explored my first system 3 links away which contained ruins and a wreck.  At that point I halted exploration.  I've been building a fleet of terraformers to work on the 20 cost 2-3 worlds, a fleet of sorium harvesters to set up fuel caches, and have redirected 60% of my industry to producing automated mines for widespread distribution so I can keep ahead of mineral depletions on Earth.

These ships will be tasked with engaging any hostile aliens I encounter when I resume explorations.  I intend to deploy them using tanker/tugs as I really could not afford to have them criscross my empire under their own power. Unfortunately this will mean I'll need a dedicated tug for every ship in the fleet, plus a military jump tender.   

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Popeye class Tug    44,950 tons     320 Crew     1404 BP      TCS 899  TH 3600  EM 0
4004 km/s     Armour 1-112     Shields 0-0     Sensors 1/1/0/0     Damage Control Rating 1     PPV 0
MSP 20    Max Repair 100 MSP
Intended Deployment Time: 60 months    Spare Berths 0   
Tractor Beam     

Mizer 240 EP Commercial Ion Drive (15)    Power 240    Fuel Use 3.04%    Signature 240    Exp 4%
Fuel Capacity 5,000,000 Litres    Range 658.6 billion km   (1903 days at full power)

This design is classed as a Commercial Vessel for maintenance purposes


I have a ruin which gives +80% to missile and kinetic tech so I've been moving research labs there as they are produced - currently 9 out of my 44 labs are there catching up my missile and kinetic techs.  I don't have any logistics or power/propulsion specialists among my scientists so while acquiring stellerator and magneto-plasma is a priority overall research in those fields has lagged. 

I don't have any official missile designs yet as I'm still researching the last missile techs - I thought I'd have more delay in retooling the ships than building missiles.  But using http://romalarapps.elasticbeanstalk.com/aurora/AuroraMissileDesign.aspx I expect my missile stats as follows:

ASM:  9 damage, 17,300 km/sec, 120M range.  55% chance to hit a 5,000 km/sec target
AMM: 1 damage, 21,000 km/sec, 5.5M range.  31% chance to hit 17,500 km/sec target

If I upgraded to size 6 missiles I'd get 16 damage at 16K speed with 48% chance to hit.  But I'd have to use .5 size launchers with 225s reload since .33 size with 900s reload would be too long.  So that would give me 20 launchers with 16 reloads in the same space, or 24 launchers with 12 reloads.  Since point defense should stop roughly the same number of either volley I would think I'm likely to get significantly more than double the number of hits using size 4 launchers.  The chance to hit for size 1 AMM with less than 5M range was only about 0.5% better.   

Regarding AMM fire controls - for small salvos I assumed I could split my launchers and launch 16 missiles against 2 salvos every 5 seconds.  Would that involve too much micromanagement to be worthwhile?  I haven't fought a battle yet so don't know much about how combat works.  I am using older launcher tech, so I also need to update the design to 15s reload.

The FC10-R1 PD missile fire control has 10.5M range against 50 ton objects, but only 1.2M range against size 6 missiles, which I considered the minimum to allow follow-up shots. The active PD sensor on the Achilles can see size 6 missiles out to 191K, slightly less than the range on its lasers. I put the wrong PD active search sensor on the the AMM ship, so I also need to fix that.   

The Hector class is still under development as I haven't researched the requisite railgun tech, the 50HS 1.75 engine and 6000km/sec fire control, but here's the work in progress.  It would of course quite easily dispatch the the Patroclus: 

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Hector class Cruiser    17,300 tons     492 Crew     3207 BP      TCS 346  TH 2100  EM 900
6069 km/s     Armour 7-59     Shields 30-300     Sensors 8/1/0/0     Damage Control Rating 8     PPV 89
Maint Life 4.17 Years     MSP 927    AFR 299%    IFR 4.2%    1YR 86    5YR 1283    Max Repair 112 MSP
Intended Deployment Time: 16 months    Spare Berths 0   

1.75 tester 21 EP Ion Drive (100)    Power 21    Fuel Use 240.65%    Signature 21    Exp 17%
Fuel Capacity 2,000,000 Litres    Range 8.6 billion km   (16 days at full power)
Delta R300/360 Shields (12)   Total Fuel Cost  180 Litres per hour  (4,320 per day)

20cm C4 UV Laser (9)    Range 256,000km     TS: 6069 km/s     Power 10-4     RM 4    ROF 15        10 10 10 10 8 6 5 5 4 4
25cm C4 Spinal UV Laser (1)    Range 256,000km     TS: 6069 km/s     Power 16-4     RM 4    ROF 20        16 16 16 16 12 10 9 8 7 6
10cm Railgun V2/C3 (9x4)    Range 20,000km     TS: 6069 km/s     Power 3-3     RM 2    ROF 5        1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Laser Fire Control S02.5 128-5000 (2)    Max Range: 256,000 km   TS: 5000 km/s     96 92 88 84 80 77 73 69 65 61
Gas-Cooled 1HS PB-1 (15)     Total Power Output 67.5    Armour 0    Exp 5%

Active Search MR1/191K R1 (1)     GPS 16     Range 1.8m km    MCR 192k km    Resolution 1
Active Search Sensor MR123-R100 (1)     GPS 11200     Range 123.2m km    Resolution 100
Thermal Sensor TH1-8 (1)     Sensitivity 8     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  8m km

This design is classed as a Military Vessel for maintenance purposes

Finally: thanks for all of the replies.  While these designs make tactical sense I really need to consider what I can afford to produce and maintain in addition to what is combat effective.  I'm 27 years in to my first playthrogh, and with around 1B population and 1K  construction factories a fleet of these ships could potentially bankrupt my empire. 
« Last Edit: June 11, 2019, 10:05:48 PM by bankshot »
 

Offline Michael Sandy

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Re: Ion tech cruisers
« Reply #6 on: June 11, 2019, 10:48:03 PM »
I have found cruisers to be very problematic at Ion tech, at least with a conventional start.  If you are talking about a TN start that is somewhat different.

The problem is that the build time and worse the retool time is so long at a period where you are likely developing at least one important new tech every year.

In my experience, AMMs are profoundly uneconomical at Ion tech as AMMs.  However, size 1 missiles are very effective for sandblasting fighters and gunboats.  Probably the most effective point defense at Ion tech is railgun fighters.  Getting 8000 km/s fighters with +75% boost is pretty straightforward at Ion.  20 railgun fighters, with 12% crew grade bonus and 20% average fighter bonus officers can shoot down 40 missiles at 20,000 km/s.  Approximately.  With a bit of a wide spread, so you are likely to get some leakers.

A good set up at Ion is enough point defense so that only AMM spam or box launchers are likely to have enough missile density to penetrate your defenses, and lots of short ranged anti-ship size 1 missiles for sandblasting any enemy beam ship that closes.  Your railgun fighters are your light cav, not capable of standing up to enemy beam capital ships, but quite capable of efficient wiping up fleeing empty missile ships.

So IF you have to have capital ships in the Ion era, having a couple hangars for your PD fighters and heavy magazines for your size 1 launchers is an effective combo.  And you can always refit them with anti-missile fire controls when you get decent missiles for them.  Or just use them as colliers.
 

Offline Michael Sandy

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Re: Ion tech cruisers
« Reply #7 on: June 11, 2019, 10:59:42 PM »
Regarding the operational range of first generation Ion warships, I have yet to have a game where my first combat was further away than 10 billion km.  For one thing, I wouldn't be able to effectively exploit systems that were much further out.  Also, I build up my civilian economy and research Sorium Harvesters, so civilian produced harvesters, (which you can absorb into your own fleet, might be an exploit though), can produce a LOT of fuel essentially for free.  Well, wealth, but again, strong civilian economy.

I had +75% boosted engines on my fleet, and yeah, I had to press my survey fleet into tanker duty (I put extra fuel tankerage on my geosurvey ships for this eventuality) to hit a target 10 billion km away, but I had a performance edge when I got there.
 

Online Iranon

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Re: Ion tech cruisers
« Reply #8 on: June 12, 2019, 02:38:42 AM »
Everyone has different preferences.
I think 5000km/s is perfectly fine for Ion tech, but I would prefer more efficent and less individually capable ships. 3 default-power engines would be a good start, slightly reducing ship size so you can go below 1.0 power may be even better because of how costs scale.
You will need more tonnage in warships for the same capability, but total costs (and build time) should be no higher, probably lower once you factor in the logistics train. Long-range missions will cause much fewer headaches.

Agree that Gauss cannons are generally not worth the tech investment early. Even when I have the tech, I often prefer 10cm railguns. On slow ships, being tonnage-inefficient is no problem, and the cost-efficiency of low-tech railguns is attractive. On fast ships, you get more than base tracking speed without turrets.
Assuming balanced tech, 2 railguns + power weigh about the same as a full-size Gauss cannon in a 4x-tracking quad turret.  8 shots at 5000km/s isn't much worse than 3 shots at 16000km/s and much better in a knife fight.
The RP for the Gauss tech could have gone towards Magneto-Plasma drives. 6000km/s makes railguns about equal to Gauss per ton, and your engines could be less stressed for better efficiency. Alternatively, you could have gone for 5000km/s BFC tracking so you can have the same anti-missile performance on any ship regardless how slow it is, and build 3 times as many bottom-of-the-barrel ships.

AMMs need quite a bit of tech to be worth the logistics burden over railguns imo, unless you intend to use them offensively.
 

Offline Jovus

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Re: Ion tech cruisers
« Reply #9 on: June 12, 2019, 07:33:01 AM »
Well, I was assuming that fuel harvesters are a part of the overall fuel supply equation.  But you still have to make them. 

Let's say that you have a young empire, Ion tech level, with a fuel production capacity of about 24 million liters per year between planetary and gas giant sources.  That's probably an overly generous figure for early tech and production capacity, but for the sake of argument we'll roll with it.  Now let's that say your core fleet consists of half a dozen of the ships outlined above (because if you're going to go through the expense at low tech of developing the shipyard capacity to make these things, you'll probably want to build at least two of each of them).

24 million per year isn't a bad number. I intentionally push hard to get giant fuel harvesting platforms on my gas giants as early as possible, however. It's been a while since I played Aurora, and it won't run on my computer at the moment, but methinks last time I played a transNewtonian start I had something closer to 35 million within ten years of start. But the point stands anyway, because in order to expand fuel infrastructure so heavily I obviously sacrificed expansion in other aspects.

Now let's say that you've found a system with a 0-colony-cost world that you need to clear Precursors out of.  The number of jumps doesn't really matter, but let's say that this world is 32 billion kilometers away from your main naval base.  To get there and back, each of the ships in the task force will have to refuel approximately 4 times.  6 ships x 4 refuels x 1,250,000 liters per refuel = approximately 30 million liters of fuel expended, round trip. 

In other words, to have a modest task force of six of these ships take to the field once, you've just expended more than a year's worth of fuel production.  Heck, even if I cut the distance to target in half, you're still expending the lion's share of a year's worth of fuel production.  And that was just to move six ships.  Six.

I fully agree with your point that tactically, high speed ships are preferable in every way.  What I'm saying is that strategically, such high fuel consumption is simply not feasible for a young empire with a typical starting pop and industrial base.  This should be the ultimate consideration.  Yes the alternative builds you propose alleviate the problem somewhat, but they don't solve it, in my opinion.  The ships are too thirsty and too short-legged.

For clarity, the above ships aren't ones I would field. My designs tend toward larger, more fuel-efficient engines without sacrificing speed; instead I sacrifice firepower and defenses to prioritize speed as both. I'm desperately uncomfortable fielding ships without 20bkm range and 2 years of maintenance life. But that's all burying the lede, because...

I wouldn't even try matching Precursor ship speeds at Ion.  Wait until engine tech, fuel efficiency technology, and your infrastructure matures.

My favourite ion fleet is a set of 'big', fat, slow carriers using commercial engines and stuffed with fighters. You get fuel efficiency, range, speed, force projection, and firepower without slamming your shipyards (fighter factories are an alternate production chain), all for the cost of some organization and micromanagement and a point of coverable vulnerability in your logistics chain (my carriers are basically undefended by themselves).

What usually happens, so far as there is a usual, is I build a decent-sized carrier fleet (50-100 fighters) at ion, along with some FACs for homeworld defense, then fast reaction railgun barges with decent maintenance life to sit at relevant JPs. None of these use much fuel, because the carriers sip, while the FACs and the barges mostly sit in place. This is one of those 'everything hangs together' doctrines.

All that said, I definitely do quietly agree that I'm overdoing things. The AI isn't smart enough that such a speed advantage pays off either tactically or strategically, so better play, in a sense, would be to recognize that and downgrade the performance of my ships to increase my strategic capabilities.
 

Offline bankshot

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Re: Ion tech cruisers
« Reply #10 on: June 12, 2019, 08:09:52 AM »
Quote
My favourite ion fleet is a set of 'big', fat, slow carriers using commercial engines and stuffed with fighters.

Would you mind posting some of your ion fighter/FAC designs, and perhaps one of your carriers as well?  Carriers with commercial engines should solve peacetime fuel drain as I'd only be using fuel-guzzling engines when enemies have been detected.  My harvester fleet has 21x 1st generation harvesters with 20 modules each, and 3 2nd generation with 30 harvesters.  I get less than their rated 25M/year from them as they aren't all at availability 1 sites.  I've moved most of my refineries to Luna and shut them down as I'm harvesting enough from gas giants to meet consumption, and I've  slowed harvester construction to conserve duranium until I get enough mines built for other sites.  Earth's duranium production is dwindling but I want to keep most of the existing mines on Earth for a few more years to finish stripping the other minerals. 

My research progress is rather uneven as I don't have any Logistics or Power/Propulsion scientists and I mostly ignored Kinetic/Missile research until I uncovered ruins granting a +80% bonus.   So I'm catching up there but
 

Offline Jovus

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Re: Ion tech cruisers
« Reply #11 on: June 12, 2019, 12:02:43 PM »
Quote
My favourite ion fleet is a set of 'big', fat, slow carriers using commercial engines and stuffed with fighters.

Would you mind posting some of your ion fighter/FAC designs, and perhaps one of your carriers as well?

Unfortunately I can't post exact designs because my database got corrupted a while ago, but from memory, the basics for the carrier are:

2 S50 x0.50 (commercial) engines
(I think) 20 HS of fuel, enough for around 200bkm range

2 hangars
3 armour layers
one big fat anti-ship sensor, because I like big fat sensors. Smart play would be to put this on a fighter instead, but eh.
Enough engineering spaces and crew space to last for 5 years
All comes in at an even 12kt. Maybe more, or less, depending on your armour tech and the like.

(This particular example was a refit of a survey carrier design; for strict carrier ops I'd sacrifice duration down to 2 years and lower range to fit more hangars.)

Moves about at a sluggardly 2.5kkm/s, but like I said above, not intended for rapid reaction. These are what you send in to root out those pesky precursors who're guarding mineral-rich worlds, and then they hang about while you move in your extraction infrastructure.

The fighters themselves were bog-standard ion-level railgun and meson fighters in roughly even mix to provide strike, PD, and air superiority capability. Plus a few sensor fighters because you never want to fly blind. Often I'll go straight railgun, because lots of small shots will still chew armor to pieces plenty fast and you get better anti-missile coverage that way. Skip missiles and bombers at ion, especially when you're trying to have a lighter logistical footprint.

Throw five carriers together and you have 40 fighters to do your dirty work. Spring for ten and you have a basically-undefeatable 80-strong fighterball. Include another carrier or two to bring sensor platforms and fighter-tankers for long-range strikes.

Ten carriers may seem like a heavy investment, and you're not wrong, but remember you never ever need to refit these. When your tech moves on, relegate these carriers to training divisions to train up your replacement fighters and slow down your other ships to conserve fuel.
 
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Offline Garfunkel

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Re: Ion tech cruisers
« Reply #12 on: June 12, 2019, 01:04:36 PM »
Your tug strategy will not work. Your combat ships will still use fuel even when being tugged if I remember correctly.
 
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Offline bankshot

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Re: Ion tech cruisers
« Reply #13 on: June 12, 2019, 01:35:55 PM »
I considered that possibility, which is why the tugs carry 5M fuel.  So I can tow unfueled warships into position then refuel them 2-3 times while still on-station.  But that means even more micromanagement and probably low fuel alert spam, so it is something I'd prefer to avoid.  If do I go that route I'd also add a few magazines and some extra maintenance supplies as well to make them full-service support ships. 

I may put off setting up the fleet for another 3-4 years to give me time to research magneto-plasma and maybe upgrade from .6 fuel efficiency to .5, which should make things a bit easier.  I'm still building out construction/extraction infrastructure and terraforming 2.0 cost colonies so I don't have any pressing need for further expansion. 
 

Offline Garfunkel

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Re: Ion tech cruisers
« Reply #14 on: June 12, 2019, 01:43:57 PM »
Quote
Regarding AMM fire controls - for small salvos I assumed I could split my launchers and launch 16 missiles against 2 salvos every 5 seconds.  Would that involve too much micromanagement to be worthwhile?
It is doable but it's a PITA and few people are willing to do it more than once.

Quote
But that means even more micromanagement and probably low fuel alert spam, so it is something I'd prefer to avoid.
Yeah absolutely. Instead of the tug route, just build tankers to extend the ships range or wait for updated/more fuel economical versions as you said.

All in all, the ships are not bad. As Jovus said, once you get the basics of ship/fleet design down, Aurora does accommodate many different play styles. Whether you RP multiple human factions or play solo against only NPRs or have all spoilers on or some combination, can and does affect how you design your ships and fleets.
 
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