Author Topic: A question on dedicated Sensor Vessels accompanying combat fleets  (Read 1708 times)

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Offline misora

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So, I am currently wondering has anyone ever tried to have one or two dedicated sensor boats in a fleet. I could see this either working or failing horribly depending on how the NPRs pick their targets and the fact that only a few ships would be generating on active sensor sweep, which might make them think it is heavily armed with missiles while the others are beams.

Offline Gyrfalcon

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Overall, it's a common tactic in my fleets, as during the early tech stages an active sensor with enough range to find an enemy half-way across the solar system is a 2000+ ton construction (that also has an absurdly high RP cost, too.) They tend to end up heavily armored, as being the active sensor the enemy can see, they do become missile magnet #1.

Offline Vandermeer

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This is in fact a very useful planning strategy. Whenever you build sensors that are smaller than the maximum of 2.5kt, you are kind of wasting your nation's current tech potential. If you already have a moderately sized fleet of combat vessels, it makes sense to start to delegate senor jobs to specialized ships. A 7kt destroyer could barely handle such a maximized sensor herein, so having one for missiles, one for ships and one for thermal maybe can be really fortunate in a fleet. However, you will have to find out a ratio of combat vessels vs. sensor supplement that makes sense (I guess somewhere between 6:1 and 10:1), because escorting for example mere 3 combat ships with full 3 sensor specialists is wasteful.

Aside from the obvious range advantage, some more Pro's and Contra's of this strategy:

+ With the sensor jobs taking care of elsewhere, you are now free to designate the full mission tonnage of any real combatant towards weapon systems only. This is a real advantage to missile ships in particular, who live of on getting sufficient salvo densities. Generally, higher specialization seems to be an advantage in any case too, which is the reason why huge capital ships normally stand little chance against equally sized but more specialized destroyer fleets. So further forwarding this can only be good.
+ Reduced need for a third active sensor. Facs get deployed by different opponents and usually dodge the regular ship sensors to a good degree - ..good enough to sneak under your maximum missile range. With an active ship sensor of this magnitude however, even the reduced ranges can be good enough to spot them at the tip of the spear. (still depends on tech level though)

- Without sensor redundancy you can quickly get blinded by some lucky random targeting. This might fade as your fleet grows larger and you can add more of every type of sensor ship, or you might have a fallback.
- Sensor research can be quite expensive itself, so "unleashing current tech potential" will actually take away from growing your potential further to the next generation. It is not too much in my opinion, but I can see why some people prefer a middle ground, especially early on where tech tends to grow rather quickly. - Nonsense to go big here and throw it away just 3 years later.
- Having a single huge component results in having a high chance of extreme maintenance need, so these specialized sensor ships will likely need extra care and supply (at least when kept at destroyer size). If you play with tanker fleets anyway though, it should not be an issue to grant some MSP supply ship to that, so the life time difference between the sensor ships and the regular ones can be evened out.

Instead of complete specialization, most people seem to go a middle way though, where they have either a destroyer leader (actual hull classification in the designer window btw.), or even a bigger cruiser sized ship as a command vessel that mainly consists of flag bridge and large sensors. In this case they seem to combine all the different sensors into one vessel, which however again leads to not realizing full potential, but at least the real combatants can still unleash their full mission tonnage towards weaponry.
playing Aurora as swarm fleet: Zen Nomadic Hive Fantasy

Offline Barkhorn

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To be honest, I never really even considered not having a dedicated sensor vessel.  I've never really done it to its full potential, because I like small vessels, but I could see having a single vessel have max size actives of ship, FAC, and missile resolution, and max size passives could be really effective.  It's very efficient as far as mission-critical tonnage goes; you don't have to waste space on your combatants with sensors.  Of course, this also makes your fleet less flexible.  You're limited in how many task groups you can operate by the number of sensor vessels you have.  If you're waging multiple wars, you can't really split TG's up to deal with multiple situations, since your combatants are basically tied to the sensor vessels.

Offline TT

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In my battle fleet, I tend to develop a specialized Command Cruiser at my max cruiser size (starting at about 30,000k and getting bigger as the game progresses). I usually give the cruiser a size 20 R100 sensor, a size 20 R1 sensor, plenty of armor and then as many guass turrets as possible. By making the ship big and visible, it usually gets the lion's share of asm attacks which is good because it is usually the ship best prepared to defend itself.  I can rarely out range a size 20 sensor with my asm missles so the Command ship can do the job of supporting the active sensor needs of the fleet.  If I need to get intelligence farther out than that, I bring a carrier with some  recon elements.  They are expendable and alot more stealthy.

A size 50 sensor is an expensive investment and it is hard to see the utility of having active sensor coverage that out ranges your asm missile's effective range.  You'll know where the bad guys are but at the cost of revealing your own position. A bunch of cheap scout fighters with thermal sensors is a better approach in my book.

Offline Iranon

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Larger warships tend to have a single 1HS sensor, to let them fight the threats they are designed to handle without outside assistance.
Situation awareness is the job of specialised ships. Large actives on command ships, medium-sized passives on recon vessels.

Offline Jorgen_CAB

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Large and powerful sensor ships can be a double edged weapon and it depend entirely on your campaign and what type of game you play.

Some consideration have to be made in term of what these ships are suppose to do that you can't do more efficiently with a smaller ship which is cheaper to build, maintain, develop and upgrade. From a cost perspective these sensor boats are really expensive ships, but if you have the time and resources they can be a good asset to your fleet and that goes for both passive and active sensor ships.

In my current campaign ships of this type are more or less not an option, at least not the extreme versions. The research alone is a major factor why they are so impractical. I have a campaign where there are about a dozen none AI nations competing for space exploration and domination in various alliances and with widely economic differences.
In serious space conflict the single most important thing is almost always information. The side that can detect the other side first without themselves being detected will have a major advantage, this lead to large active scanner being a huge vulnerability and smaller sensor ships taking over that role, especially when you consider the amount of research you need to invest in the plethora of sensors you need to develop in a complex environment (especially in an environment where you are up against non AI ship designs).
There is also the fact of urgency, most nations or factions need their recon and scout ships now rather than later, this also put a large focus on each navy receiving ships that are good enough rather than the perfect fit.

If you have more or less unlimited resources, time and/or your enemy are inferior to you then producing hyper specialist ships of all kinds may be possible, how resource efficient they are in the long run when you factor in cost, development, maintenance etc can be questioned forever I presume...  ;)
« Last Edit: May 27, 2015, 12:36:18 AM by Jorgen_CAB »


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