Project Orion

Imperial Department of Military Research.

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Designation: What your completed design will be called. This is not necessarily your project name. (for example, Project "Twin Ion Engine" may produce a design with the designation "TIE Fighter")

Purpose: State the purpose of what you are designing, why it should be designed, why you are designing it.

Application: State how your design is used.

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Visual Description: Simply describe what the prototype looks like. A picture is appreciated but not required (except for vehicles, fighters and capital ships).

Technical Specifications: State all of the properties of your design, for example, if it is a fighter you should include its speed (MGLT), hull rating (RU), shield rating (SBD), weapons, etc. Also, if at all possible, indicate the Star Wars technology used in the prototype and for what purpose.

Weaknesses: Realistically, every design should have some.

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Project Orion

Post by jacenwesiri » 2013-08-11 22:19

I'm including Viktor in this if he wants in. It was based off his idea after all.


Designation: Rapid Construction Plant (RCP for short.)

Purpose: The intention is to be able to rapidly construct starfighters, or perhaps anything up to the size of a small transport or shuttle on demand via several MRP and a high efficiency automated factory, to allow for rapidly creating fighters ready for immediate use.

This would be achieved by borrowing ideas from the world devastators. The droid controlled factories on a world devastator are described as "Useless matter is converted to energy, while valuable materials are used to create hordes of TIE droid fighters in a matter of a few minutes....". So the question would be how long does it take the highly specialized world devastator internal factories to produce a single TIE droid. It is at most a few minutes, with the possibility of being much less than that. Vik's idea is that a pilot could come back with a rather fracked fighter, and that they could push the ruined fighter into an MRP, and get a new fighter out of it. So the question would be, can this be done? I would answer that fundamentally, it should be doable, though making it so that it could provide any desired fighter on such a short notice would probably be the major hindrance as you would lose the advantage of a specialized assembly line that could be optimized just for that.

Application:
Basically, most military MRPs now are used to reduce a ship's required supplies. This would be to engineer a system that introduces a new capability, namely allowing for a small scale production line intended for carriers allowing for them to replace their losses more easily.

Some feedstock would be fed into the MRPs, which would then be tied into an advanced flexible internal factory, that could then churn out fighters, or collaborate on smaller transports or freighters, or anything else needed.
Perhaps like a world devastator, it could modify itself slowly, and perhaps the ship around it if desired, not to mention help the ship to effect repairs on itself.

Schedule: 6 months at least.

Visual Description: variable

Technical Specifications:
A specialized variant of Helios would operate this. The Helios AI would take the requirements for what is desired, then it would direct the MRPs to make the desired components, before rapidly going to an automated factory where it would be rapidly put together, and then shipped to the hanger to be readied for launch.
Some amount of storage space would be requires for feedstock. Ideally this would be small enough to be very quickly converted in the MRP. The parts produced by the MRP would enter into a factory setting overseen by droids, where the fighters could be rapidly assembled. If more delicate parts were kept on hand, like computer systems, I think we could manage a 3 minute turnaround on a fighter passing through, with the capability for several to be produced simultaneously on the same line. By making the line flexible like some of today's state of the art factories, this should be able to handle several different types of fighters.
When not being required to produce fighters, the factory could be rearranged very quickly to produce transports or freighters, however the larger size would limit production output. Additionally, the Helios AI could use the facility for research purposes.
For being able to be used in a carrier, this would effectively require either stardust or an upped power supply. Viktor pointed out that most carriers would be underpowered compared to line fighters, and running something like this would be energy intensive. Stardust would allow for a ship to use it without having to vastly increase the power supply, though it would limit its use to a few minutes every hour. Given that most battles would only be lasting a few minutes, this isn't such a problem. Very important, Stardust couldn't boost the speed, it would allow for the power to be available to let it to operate if that scheme would be used.

Weaknesses:
This would probably be more expensive than standard construction.
If used intensively, it could run through a capital ship's on board supplies much faster than otherwise.

Projected Upgrades: only obvious ones, like improved efficiency and/or speed.
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Re: Project Orion

Post by Kane » 2014-02-09 14:30

Viktor brought this up anew so I'll give my answer to the proposal. Basically, it's totally doable. The point however is that it's not particularly useful.

For it to be any worth, a pilot would have to dock a fighter - or be recovered from one - which is in such a condition that it's not repairable before the battle is over, and that there are no extraneous craft that they can fly instead.

It bears to be noted that all ships carrying fighter have facilities to repair them as well. The Combat Utility Vehicles we employ even have the capacity to repair fighters in mid-flight. It's only when the craft is totalled that you'd need a new one. What's more, any ship which has a Modular Recycling Plant can make up any parts needed on the spot and is technically able to construct new ships and vehicles. Even ships without an MRP has spare parts enough that it could bang together some ships. The difference is that a Devastator has ginormous space dedicated to factories while a regular warship would have to improvise the construction, resulting in a much reduced production rate.

What does all this mean, then? Well, a carrier would be better off storing a few spares instead of adding this proposed construction bay as that would pretty much cover all needs. Even that's not needed since they have the parts to make a few, and there may be craft standing by that the regular pilot wasn't combat ready for. Generally speaking, it's easier to replace the ship than the pilot.

The one exception would be in an extended battle, where logistical replacements would be required. The Imperial Army has construction droids to cover their needs. The Imperial Starfleet would simply ship it in from elsewhere. If you really wanted a construction facility at hand, the best way would be to send in a dedicated factory ship, ie, a World Devastator, (or to a lesser degree, a Modular Taskforce Cruiser with a rescue, hangar, or tender module) to produce replacements. Perhaps it would be some worth to add a factory module to the very largest of carriers, but that's about it.

Or the tl;dr version: specialized > generalized.
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Re: Project Orion

Post by Tavish McFini » 2014-02-09 20:25

I suppose if we had such a system too, the folks at Sienar Fleet Systems would take exception since now we've just reduced their sales of TIEs by a fair margin. Same would hold true for BlasTech if we started producing replacement rifles in significant enough quantities.

Now, granted, I'm sure we have extended contracts with both companies- and indeed any company that is under contract to supply arms, armour, supplies etc. to the NIF with the idea that they produce X quantity per year and the NIF buys it for Y credits. Depending on the terms of the contract, we'd either be paying immense penalties for breaking these contracts or we'd be finding ourselves with a lot of spare equipment lying around which means storage costs. Long term, I suppose this would be good, but then everyone the NIF used to do business with would turn to the NR, criminal groups and others to maintain sales and profits which would mean we'd be shooting ourselves in the foot if we start trying to stop our outsourcing of supplies. Maybe the NR won't use TIEs, but I'm sure Sienar wouldn't mind selling them a bunch either.

Maybe galactic business and politics are more complicated than that and there are finer nuances I'm missing, but I I'd hate for a butthurt TIE manufacturing company to turn around and start building TIE Paladins for the NR as well as us... That would suck. In the extreme.
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Re: Project Orion

Post by jacenwesiri » 2014-02-10 01:59

Finally, a response

Anyways, I thought the idea with this was that this would be specializing it for a specific purpose. You know, for the Specialized > Generalized, though rather than say for construction, it's really specialized compared to doing that with an MRP. Sure, there's the flexible automated factory, but that has it's own basis in reality. Here's the inspiration behind that. That might not be as capable as one specifically dedicated to production of a single platform, but it would be a nice compromise given space requirements on a carrier. I don't mean to suggest that this would be a massive factory, as being automated, I don't think it would have to be much larger than the fighters intended for construction. The space for it could be acquired through increased automation and miniaturization.

The idea also takes inspiration from the idea that is Brooks's Law. For simplification, let's go with the quote
Fred Brooks wrote:Nine women can't make a baby in one month.
Where does this fit in? So if a fighter gets damaged such that it can't be repaired within a few minutes, it would be faster to be able to just shove the fighter aside (possibly into a MRP depending upon the degree of damage), and get a new one out of it without having to wait as long. In other words, we'd be reducing the downtime of the pilot, allowing them to get space born sooner. I'm using the few minutes figure from the world devastator, figuring that the expansive factory facilities weren't able to make single ones so much faster, but rather were able to build hordes of them from having lots running in parallel.

The primary advantages of having it like this is that if a fighter is damaged beyond repair, the carrier wouldn't have to run back to home or require a supply ship to be sent out to replace the loss, and in a much more timely fashion than having to dedicate excessive amounts of the MRP capacity to replacing fracked fighters. There are situational uses for this in combat that goes over a few minutes, like in CMs. You would also have the added advantage of in the event of loosing a pilot in combat that you would be able to replace the fighter with a tie droid for the rest of the encounter.

Having said that, I don't think that using MRPs is a cost efficient way of manufacture, but I think it is a time efficient and space efficient way for manufacturing. So unless in the event of an emergency, like a fighter shortage, I don't really foresee something like this from replacing the more conventional fighter manufacturing from Sienar.
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Re: Project Orion

Post by Kane » 2014-03-10 09:06

I don't see much need for making spare fighters; the argument that a ship could make and launch vehicles and droid fighters like a Devastator is considerably better, especially on larger ships. But the army has its mobile construction droids, and you don't want the troop ship to stick on the ground unless we're talking a mobile base ship like the Domus, which already has this capacity. That basically leaves larger carriers as a net recipient. On more typical frontline ships, I would argue that the room for the construction plant is better used for combat-related equipment.
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Re: Project Orion

Post by Medusa » 2016-02-04 21:39

Most Mk-II+ Capital Ships I see have poor troop complements, if any at all, to give room to über systems. If MRP can make supplies and spares, I guess it is also able to make droids, even Nova Darktrooper droids. If that is the case, then it makes sense not to have a trooper detachment permanently aboard.

MRP may also make mission pallets for the unloved ATR-9 workhorse, the C-2A/ C-27J/ KC-130J of the NIF Navy. Sorry, Tom, but I don't share the same love for the Lector-class (rotating pieces equals lots of maintenance) or the TIE/In Mk-III (how is that not even more expensive than TIE/D?).

[Edit]: To what extent can an MRP equipped vessel self-refit? MRP are hax!

BTW, Tiger Panzer > M-4 Sherman. Having many specialized designs is no better than training in ONE design, servicing ONE design and mass producing ONE design. The Sherman, like the TIE/ln, was not the best. Upgraded Z-95s and lightened Y-Wings were a match or even better, but the TIE was good enough against, more so in numbers. The XG-1 was better than the decades old Y-Wing, somewhat on par with X-Wing AC2 and not fell so far behind B-Wing firepower. The Empire specialized in 'good enough' and then mass produced it. Like the Sherman of yore. Only the Remnant rushed TIE/A, TIE/D or XM-1 prototypes into service. Palpatine felt more at easy taking best technologies for Royal Guard Interceptors.

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Re: Project Orion

Post by jacenwesiri » 2016-02-15 07:28

You're on to something with using an MRP to build combat droids as needed. A combat droid is a lot less complicated than a fighter, assuming that TIE/dr's are built more like American fighters than Russian fighters.

If I'm understanding what you're saying with the ATR-9, you mean to suggest that we have a basic modular design, that we can then quickly fabricate the parts for? I'd imagine that something like that might be useful for something that's only rarely used, perhaps for things like long range scouts for specific purposes that a Tie Scout or probe droid just won't do, or perhaps inserting troops under those conditions in a pinch.

As for self refitting, a MRP is essentially a factory that could make just about any part up to a point. So realistically, any ship could use one to self refit. The only problem is that a lot of parts aren't necessarily in easily accessible locations, or certain things, like the main reactor might be difficult to replace. In those kinds of situations, self refitting would leave the ship vulnerable for an extended period of time. Depending upon the part and all the jury rigged components to make it work, it might be on the order of a few weeks to replace the main power supply with an upgraded one, with the ship out of action and very vulnerable in the meantime. Simply doing something like that at a repair yard should allow it to be done faster. So yeah, I would say practical limits, not necessarily theoretical limits.

And Tom? As in Tom Saint?
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Re: Project Orion

Post by Medusa » 2016-02-15 08:38

jacenwesiri wrote:If I'm understanding what you're saying with the ATR-9, you mean to suggest that we have a basic modular design, that we can then quickly fabricate the parts for?
Not suggesting to build as a kit, as you already stated fighters are not so easy to replicate (licences notwithstanding, although I suppose basic accountability and payments to Sienar, Telgorn or Cygnus for craft built could do). If you have the craft and need to change its mission and interior payloads, MRP are something like 3D printers, so you could turn a present ATR-9 assault shuttle to a gunboat shuttle or heavy bomber.
jacenwesiri wrote:I'd imagine that something like that might be useful for something that's only rarely used, perhaps for things like long range scouts for specific purposes that a Tie Scout or probe droid just won't do, or perhaps inserting troops under those conditions in a pinch.
I noticed ships that have TIE/sr have usually only one. I locally adjusted most ship complements to reduce T4a Shuttles to a maximum of two for protocol, as certainly more pretty than a multifunctional boxy design as an ATR-9. Then added three TIE/cl. On smaller ships with little support craft capability I erased Lambdas entirely and put ATR-9 instead, as such small ships can't afford the luxury.
jacenwesiri wrote:self refitting would leave the ship vulnerable for an extended period of time.
Totally agreed. I noticed the exploit in my own Doomsday-class (formally Pupa-class, that I formally invite you to review). In few words, 'the capability is there in dire need, but please, refrain'.
jacenwesiri wrote:And Tom? As in Tom Saint?
Yup.

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