Author Topic: A series of raiders (~120-240k tech)  (Read 361 times)

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Offline Polestar (OP)

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A series of raiders (~120-240k tech)
« on: June 09, 2021, 03:10:40 PM »
Welcome to the latest in an occasional series of ship designs, this time covering raiders.

Situation:
We desire to conduct a guerre de course against a hostile AI power, leveraging limited resources into disproportionate hurt and hinderance.
We have engine tech 9 (Internal Confinement Fusion [1.13] / Solid Core Antimatter [1.14+]), 0.30 power usage.  Armour tech at level 8 (Crystalline Composite, 150k), shield techs up to 120k, beam weapon and missile techs up to 125k, sensors up to 125k except for EM sensors at 250k, cloaking tech up to 60k, and everything else used in ship design up to either 60k or 120k.

Our enemy has a well-developed gateway network, and roughly equals our technology.


We begin with a fairly bare-bones blueprint.

Fangwolf class Raider      10,800 tons       310 Crew       3,598.7 BP       TCS 216    TH 2,074    EM 3,300
9600 km/s      Armour 5-43       Shields 110-366       HTK 95      Sensors 0/0/0/0      DCR 36      PPV 48
Maint Life 3.05 Years     MSP 2,244    AFR 156%    IFR 2.2%    1YR 362    5YR 5,435    Max Repair 466.5600 MSP
Magazine 120   
Commander    Control Rating 2   BRG   AUX   
Intended Deployment Time: 12 months    Morale Check Required   

Galactinus INCF 36 (2)    Power 2073.6    Fuel Use 12.15%    Signature 1036.80    Explosion 9%
Fuel Capacity 1,134,000 Litres    Range 155.6 billion km (187 days at full power)
Tyrian Shield 110 (1)     Recharge Time 366 seconds (0.3 per second)

Spitfire 24 (4)    Range 200,000km     TS: 10,000 km/s     Power 24-8     RM 50,000 km    ROF 15        24 24 24 24 24 20 17 15 13 12
Spitfire BFC 10-200 (1)     Max Range: 200,000 km   TS: 10,000 km/s     95 90 85 80 75 70 65 60 55 50
Power INCF 40 (1)     Total Power Output 40.3    Exp 5%

Rapidfire Launcher 1 (8 )     Missile Size: 1    Rate of Fire 5
AMM Fire Control (50@31m, missile@2.8m) (1)     Range 31.3m km    Resolution 1
Harbinger AMM (120)    Speed: 92,200 km/s    End: 0.7m     Range: 3.8m km    WH: 1    Size: 1.0000    TH: 2182/1309/654

Eagle's Eye 50 (27.6m/2.48m) (1)     GPS 60     Range 27.6m km    MCR 2.5m km    Resolution 1
Eagle's Keen Eye 400 (123m) (1)     GPS 2400     Range 123.6m km    Resolution 8
Eagle's Keen Eye 10000 (361m) (1)     GPS 60000     Range 361.4m km    Resolution 200
Compact ECCM-5 (1)

     There are some ... issues with the Fangwolf. It can be seen, it can be caught, and it can be killed. But only if the enemy actually has a sensor network and defensive force nearby, which is likely to cost a fair bit more than the very reasonable asking price of ~4050 for ship and missiles combined.

     Where they don't (or if they have low enough tech) the Fangwolf can live up to its name. With abundant supplies on tap, the Spitfire lasers and fire control permit the option of medium or short-range beam fire on an almost endless series of soft targets.
     Light shielding and light armour mean this ship does actually have a limited ability to fight it out against any weapon type, the AMMs whittle away small missile salvos - ASMs are deadly for the Fangwolf - and all this is backed up by decent internal HTK and excellent repair capacities.
     A size-1 res-50 sensor lights up incoming missiles just in time to be swatted, and size-5 res-400 and res-10000 sensors detect enemy smallcraft - which the Fangwolf very much wants to avoid - and medium or larger enemy vessels - which might be avoided or hunted, depending on type. A problem with the res-10000 sensor is that it is a veritable beacon, allowing this ship to be detected at long range with EM.  An ECM sensor is missing from all designs in this series, as our enemies have ECCM tech at least equal to our own ECM.
     Because this design cannot dodge tactically, it must dodge strategically, both choosing undefended systems and soft targets, and therefore boasts extended range and spacekeeping ability. The space allocated to fuel comes close to being one-third that of the engines, and the Spitfires can break dozens of times without jeopardizing mission sustainment.

     A particularity - even, a peculiarity - of all of these designs is the lack of jump drives. We don't need them to traverse jumps our enemy has stabilized, but jump drives would drastically improve survivability against gate-guarding fortresses and fleets. However, we do not intend to send any raider into any system so well-protected, have very capable scouts making sure of this, and therefore feel able to omit the jump drives.
« Last Edit: June 09, 2021, 04:45:49 PM by Polestar »
 
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Offline Polestar (OP)

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Re: A series of raiders (~120-240k tech)
« Reply #1 on: June 09, 2021, 03:12:44 PM »
If we swap out the beam weapons for a set of small ship-killing missiles, and redesign around them, we get something that looks like:

Firewolf class Raider      10,800 tons       267 Crew       2,933.1 BP       TCS 216    TH 2,074    EM 5,880
9600 km/s      Armour 4-43       Shields 196-445       HTK 75      Sensors 0/0/0/0      DCR 4      PPV 36
Maint Life 1.56 Years     MSP 1,175    AFR 233%    IFR 3.2%    1YR 555    5YR 8,328    Max Repair 466.5600 MSP
Magazine 600   
Commander    Control Rating 2   BRG   AUX   
Intended Deployment Time: 9 months    Morale Check Required   

Galactinus INCF 36 (2)    Power 2073.6    Fuel Use 12.15%    Signature 1036.80    Explosion 9%
Fuel Capacity 835,000 Litres    Range 114.5 billion km (138 days at full power)
Omicron S196 / R445 Shields (1)     Recharge Time 445 seconds (0.4 per second)

Rapidfire Launcher 4 (9)     Missile Size: 4.0    Rate of Fire 10
AMM Fire Control (50@31m, missile@2.8m) (2)     Range 31.3m km    Resolution 1
Harmstrong ASM 4 (126)    Speed: 81,600 km/s    End: 1.3m     Range: 6.3m km    WH: 19    Size: 4.00    TH: 816/489/244
Harbinger AMM (96)    Speed: 92,200 km/s    End: 0.7m     Range: 3.8m km    WH: 1    Size: 1.0000    TH: 2182/1309/654

Eagle's Keen Eye 20000 (455m) (1)     GPS 120000     Range 455.4m km    Resolution 400
Eagle's Keen Eye 3000 (242m) (1)     GPS 18000     Range 242m km    Resolution 60
Eagle's Eye 50 (27.6m/2.48m) (1)     GPS 60     Range 27.6m km    MCR 2.5m km    Resolution 1
Compact ECCM-5 (1)

     Tactically, and even strategically, the Firewolf is a rather different animal. Designed to win short-range missile fights beyond beam weapon range, it has improved battle range - which delivers several important advantages - and greater damage potential per second in exchange for a very much lower ability to deal total damage over the course of a mission, and also somewhat greater cost - ~4800 for ship and missile loadout. The Firewolf is therefore a better combatant, and a worse commerce-raider.

     The nine quickfiring size-4 missile launchers deliver both small ASMs to kill ships and smallcraft and size-1 AMMs to attrite incoming.
     Armour and repair ability have both been sacrificed for a more powerful shield, making this the primary layer of defence, as we want to maximize ability to soak up something more than just the smallest incoming missile salvo and are willing to sacrifice almost everything else to do this.
     The sensor suite is now optimized away from detecting fighters - which the Firewolf fears less than does the Fangwolf due to greater combat range and better anti-missile defences - and towards warships (still deadly dangerous) and large, hopefully civilian craft.
     Because missiles run out quickly (and also don't use supplies) this design needs substantially lower range and spacekeeping. Park a missile depot nearby for target-rich environments.

Yet we still have the basic problem of survivability. Neither the Fangwolf nor the Firewolf can reliably choose its fights ... and that means death in the face of a prepared enemy. If we ask for a design that uses cloaking to enable an ambush predator role, we get something along the lines of:

Ghost Wolf class Raider      10,800 tons       264 Crew       4,285.5 BP       TCS 15    TH 498    EM 0
9600 km/s      Armour 3-43       Shields 0-0       HTK 61      Sensors 960/0/0/0      DCR 7      PPV 9
Maint Life 2.19 Years     MSP 2,353    AFR 124%    IFR 1.7%    1YR 660    5YR 9,900    Max Repair 960 MSP
Magazine 631   
Commander    Control Rating 1   BRG   
Intended Deployment Time: 12 months    Morale Check Required   

Inertial Fusion Drive (25%)  EP1036.80 (2)    Power 2073.6    Fuel Use 12.15%    Signature 248.8320    Explosion 9%
Fuel Capacity 534,000 Litres    Range 73.3 billion km (88 days at full power)

Size 6.00 Missile Launcher (30.0% Reduction) (5)     Missile Size: 6.00    Rate of Fire 1225
ASM/ACM Fire Control (850@50m) (1)     Range 100.5m km    Resolution 17
Wrathwind ASM 6 (105)    Speed: 72,000 km/s    End: 6.6m     Range: 28.5m km    WH: 30    Size: 6.0    TH: 360/216/108

Eagle's Keen Eye 3000 (242m) (1)     GPS 18000     Range 242m km    Resolution 60
Eagle's Eye 50 (27.6m/2.48m) (1)     GPS 60     Range 27.6m km    MCR 2.5m km    Resolution 1
Bloodhound 960 (1)     Sensitivity 960     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  244.9m km
Cloaking Device: Class cross-section reduced to 7.00% of normal
Compact ECCM-5 (1)

     Unlike the Fangwolf, this is a very focused design: it does one thing, and only one thing. If captain of the Ghostwolf, we picket one of several positions each about 1 AU away from the nearest traffic route, with both sensors off. Cloaked, and with the low-emission engines idling, we're undetectable by anything short of a heavily-resourced, broad-area sensor sweep. When the size-30 Bloodhound thermal sensor picks up a promising signal at a suitable range (about 150-240m), we ping the res-3000 active ... and then immediately switch sensors off again. If nothing except a clearly civilian vessel is detected, we sneak closer, perform a second ping, and hopefully see our way clear to launch salvos of missiles every ~20 minutes, doing so while staying at range. Battle over, or if things don't look promising at any stage, we retreat - first away, then circling to one flank, and finally whisperdrive to another lurk position.
     Only careful tactics such as these allow the Ghost Wolf to survive its many weaknesses: It's slow, it's weakly armed, and it has almost no protection - and, at ~6150 for ship and missiles, it's not cheap to build either. However, if it can pick its fights, a Ghost Wolf well-piloted will make Donitz proud.
« Last Edit: June 09, 2021, 08:27:42 PM by Polestar »
 
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Offline Polestar (OP)

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Re: A series of raiders (~120-240k tech)
« Reply #2 on: June 09, 2021, 03:14:25 PM »
Now, let's take a diametrically opposing course, and choose instead the way of the tiger. If we're prepared to spend enough resources, we can design a heavy raider that alleviates some of our more pressing concerns about the above layouts, starting with speed. We proceed by choosing a profile of raw killing power per mission, insist on a blueprint capable of fighting anything weaker than a cruiser, and therefore scale up the first design:

Direwolf class Raider      17,646 tons       543 Crew       6,694 BP (~7150 w/missiles)      TCS 353    TH 4,800    EM 14,400
13600 km/s      Armour 7-60       Shields 480-600       HTK 136      Sensors 0/0/0/0      DCR 45      PPV 68
Maint Life 2.59 Years     MSP 4,556    AFR 166%    IFR 2.3%    1YR 953    5YR 14,292    Max Repair 1200.00 MSP
Magazine 120   
Commander    Control Rating 2   BRG   AUX   
Intended Deployment Time: 6 months    Morale Check Required   

Inertial Fusion Drive  EP2400.00 (2)    Power 4800.0    Fuel Use 21.40%    Signature 2400.00    Explosion 12%
Fuel Capacity 1,747,000 Litres    Range 83.3 billion km (70 days at full power)
Tyrian Shield 480 (1)     Recharge Time 600 seconds (0.8 per second)

Spitfire 24 (6)    Range 200,000km     TS: 13,600 km/s     Power 24-8     RM 50,000 km    ROF 15        24 24 24 24 24 20 17 15 13 12
Spitfire BFC 10-200 (1)     Max Range: 200,000 km   TS: 10,000 km/s     95 90 85 80 75 70 65 60 55 50
Power SCA 50 (1)     Total Power Output 50.4    Exp 5%

Rapidfire Launcher 1 (8 )     Missile Size: 1    Rate of Fire 5
AMM Fire Control (50@31m, missile@2.8m) (1)     Range 31.3m km    Resolution 1
Harbinger AMM (120)    Speed: 92,200 km/s    End: 0.7m     Range: 3.8m km    WH: 1    Size: 1.0000    TH: 2182/1309/654

Eagle's Glittering Eye 10000 (511m) (1)     GPS 120000     Range 511.1m km    Resolution 200
Eagle's Keen Eye 400 (123m) (1)     GPS 2400     Range 123.6m km    Resolution 8
Eagle's Eye 50 (27.6m/2.48m) (1)     GPS 60     Range 27.6m km    MCR 2.5m km    Resolution 1

ECCM-6 (1)

     The Direwolf can, like the Fangwolf, be used in targeted strikes against carefully chosen targets. However, if the enemy is unprepared, this more powerful vessel is capable of a far more devastating tactic: The chevauchée along enemy shipping routes or within a system, destroying or dodging anything it meets, in a brutal sword-stroke at the enemy's lines of communication.

     The Direwolf kills at short or medium beam weapon range, and has a moderate ability to attrite, shield, armour, or withstand incoming beam or missile fire. As in the Fangwolf, defences are multi-layered, include excellent internal repair, and take up a substantial fraction of the total vessel cost and size. The most important advantage here of the larger hull is the ability to mount a strength-480 shield, an important aid to survivability.
     The sensor suite is optimized primarily for the detection of civilian ships and of warships likely to be capable of killing the Direwolf at great range, allowing for pursuit or retreat at need. A secondary sensor detects fighters at medium range, essential to safeguarding what would otherwise be a raider rather vulnerable to smallcraft. A tertiary sensor picks up missiles at sufficient range to be countered ... if AMMs remain to fire.
     As with all these designs, trade-offs are made, and the Direwolf remains vulnerable to many enemy cruisers in the whole trifecta of battle - speed, killing power, and protection. It must rely on excellent vision and bold, yet prudent, captains to make up the difference.


For nations prepared to throw down the price of a battleship on a single raider (oh, how Mahan would glare!) a final design becomes possible. In exchange for losing the ability to wreck havoc at many places, it is feasible to approach the happy condition of being able to outfight anything you can't outrun, and to outrun anything you can't outfight.

Dreadwolf class Raider      36,000 tons       1,315 Crew       19,060.2 BP       TCS 720    TH 13,824    EM 20,130
19200 km/s      Armour 6-97       Shields 671-671       HTK 263      Sensors 0/0/0/0      DCR 72      PPV 152
Maint Life 2.47 Years     MSP 16,390    AFR 247%    IFR 3.4%    1YR 3,713    5YR 55,697    Max Repair 3456.00 MSP
Magazine 732    Tractor Beam     
Captain    Control Rating 3   BRG   AUX   CIC   
Intended Deployment Time: 10 months    Morale Check Required   

Inertial Fusion Drive  EP6912.00 (2)    Power 13824.0    Fuel Use 37.65%    Signature 6912.00    Explosion 18%
Fuel Capacity 1,589,000 Litres    Range 21.1 billion km (12 days at full power)
Tyrian Shield 671 (1)     Recharge Time 671 seconds (1 per second)

Coruscation 32 (4)    Range 640,000km     TS: 19,200 km/s     Power 100-10    ROF 50        32 32 32 32 32 32 32 32 32 32
CIWS-400 (4x10)    Range 1000 km     TS: 40,000 km/s     ROF 5       Base 50% to hit
Coruscation FC 20k (1)     Max Range: 800,000 km   TS: 19,200 km/s     99 98 96 95 94 92 91 90 89 88
Power SCA 40 (1)     Total Power Output 40.3    Exp 5%

Rapidfire Launcher 4 (14)     Missile Size: 4.0    Rate of Fire 10
AMM Fire Control (50@31m, missile@2.8m) (2)     Range 31.3m km    Resolution 1
Harmstrong ASM 4 (126)    Speed: 81,600 km/s    End: 1.3m     Range: 6.3m km    WH: 19    Size: 4.00    TH: 816/489/244
Harbinger AMM (228)    Speed: 92,200 km/s    End: 0.7m     Range: 3.8m km    WH: 1    Size: 1.0000    TH: 2182/1309/654

Eagle's Bright Eye 50 (39m/3.5m) (1)     GPS 120     Range 39.1m km    MCR 3.5m km    Resolution 1
Eagle's Glittering Eye 250 (149.5m) (1)     GPS 3000     Range 149.5m km    Resolution 5
Eagle's Glittering Eye 10000 (511m) (1)     GPS 120000     Range 511.1m km    Resolution 200

ECCM-6 (1)

     The Dreadwolf has a high purchase price (~21,750 with missiles), driven both by its souped up engines and by its primary armament. This major beam (+missile) combatant is intended to face down, or at least successfully flee from, most engagements, and therefore must:
  a) weather heavy long and medium-range missile fire using a combination of AMMs, CIWS, and shields, before
  b) killing fast incoming attack craft at short missile range, or at long beam range, before
  c) killing soft or beam combatants at long or very long beam range, depending on target.
     In all of these tasks, speed is extremely valuable, allowing the Dreadwolf to reduce smallcraft and missile closing speed, evade most major enemy warships, and run down many possible targets.
     The four particle lances are poor at sustained damage per-second, so the Direwolf is very much not a brawler - unless it can kite - and will find heavily shielded ships to be a real nuisance. Preferred fights are, instead, against anything that is either unarmoured or only has armour, even if quite thick. If the penetration doesn't kill, the shock damage (91% chance of 0-32 internal damage, per hit, per weapon) just might. The small ship-killing missiles both give the Dreadwolf another way to choose its range, and greatly improve both damage per second and shield-dropping punch in a fight that might otherwise be lost.
     Hostiles which the Dreadwolf itself dreads include: heavy missile salvos, flocks of FACs (even ones with quite small weapons, given the thinness of the armour), gate-guarding fortresses with high alpha strike, and flotillas of fast cruisers.
     Fuel endurance is a major weakness for the Dreadwolf, so much so that it must suck on a nearby fuel depot. For a raider operating in hostile space, this is a bit of a problem. Therefore, each Dreadwolf is capable of towing a refueling station into each system it operates in. An 8000-ton design can be hidden in the depths of a solar system and contain enough go-go juice for five complete refuelings.
     The sensor suite is optimized against small fighters (the ones with box launchers) and large ships, the first because they are dangerous, the second because they might be juicy ... or merely even more dangerous! You will notice a weakness against escort-sized missile-lobbers. In turn, this vessel is the most visible of all raiders. Yet, for any but the best prepared of enemies, seeing the Dreadwolf coming might do no good whatsoever.
 
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Offline nuclearslurpee

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Re: A series of raiders (~120-240k tech)
« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2021, 03:43:17 PM »
The design concepts are certainly interesting, certainly there are a wide range of possibilities for raiding ships. As a thought exercise if nothing else it is intriguing.

However, I don't agree with the premise that we don't really need jump drives. At least in my experience NPRs will do their best to defend the frontier of their jump network against a hostile power, to say nothing of far more capable player races, so to get anywhere worth raiding it is necessary to have some capacity to jump our forces into the system beyond the reach of the defense fleet and escape beyond sensor/missile range. If the enemy lacks the capability to place such defenses they have probably been defeated anyways and no special doctrine is needed at this stage.

The best way I can think of to accomplish this is to accompany a squadron of raiders with a jump ship, as putting a jump drive on every raider is just not practical. This allows performance of a squadron jump placing the squadron hopefully a few million km away from the enemy fleet. With sufficient use of cloaking + ECM (why ECCM? For raiding lightly-defended targets it should not be needed) it may be feasible to evade the enemy and not get blown apart by missiles. If the enemy fleet chooses to pursue then this opens their jump point up to being taken by your main fleet waiting on the other side.

This leads to the second challenge about the jump points...you can't get back anytime soon, until either your main fleet has forced the jump point or the raiders have forced the defenders to leave their position to play whack-a-mole. Thus the mission profile is going to be a fairly long stay in enemy territory, potentially even multiple years. To provide the necessary range, commercial engines would be helpful and this would also make the jump drive cheaper to develop and build, but escaping from the enemy fleet after jumping would be a challenge (more so escaping from their missiles, since if they give pursuit you can force the JP easily). Otherwise unboosted military engines with good fuel efficiency can at least be sufficient to enable raiding the enemy supply lines to weaken their jump defense fleet (though this is less effective against NPRs) for a long period of time. A guerre de course spanning the entire NPR empire is less practical I think, fuel range is simply not going to be good enough for such things over a significant period of time.

Therefore in order to select a good raider design we really need an understanding of how they are going to be used operationally, as part of the overall fleet deployed against the enemy and as part of the strategy to win the war. The idea of lone wolf raiders rampaging behind enemy lines is intriguing as a concept but I'm afraid a pipe dream rather than being feasible.
 
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Offline Agraelgrimm

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Re: A series of raiders (~120-240k tech)
« Reply #4 on: June 14, 2021, 01:57:24 AM »
Well, i have a simple suggestion that may or may not work, however here it comes:
You could use packwolf tactics to increase the damage you can make and use the beams and point defense of the ships to increase survibility against ASMs making the an early detection somewhat less dangerous.

In the same note you could make a bigger jump ship, lets say a 42kt ship that is there to not only give jump capabilities and allow tactical retreats but to carry some missiles and fuel to the fight. The MSPs would be good for repairs as well. Make the intended deployment for 3 years just to be in case and it could support lets say one wolfpack of 4 of those beauties, make it one smaller dedicated tanker and with the support ship is a 6 ship Squadron that can make a killing. Make a Type B variant of the wolfpack with a flag bridge for commander bonus and then just go for the killing.

So even if you dont use them trough tactical realocation much often and just go for soft targets in undefended systems, you do gain the option to be more agressive, especially if you concentrate 2 or 3 of those wolfpacks. Then you have some raiding forces that can do some damage and soften the enemy for a attack or decisive combat with the main fleet. Those guys can support ground invasions as well, just by raiding any incoming ships that try to break the siege or bring in new troops as well. The possibilities for Strategic use are drastic increased.
 

 

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