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timerover51 August 5th, 2016 02:34 AM

Comment on Central Supply Catalogue
I am not a fan of most Traveller Design Sequences, mainly because most of them seem to be quite poorly researched when it comes to dealing with earlier Tech Levels, where some actual equipment exists to work from. I will not beat the horse to death for the Nth time, but the following sort of jumped out at me while looking at the Vehicle Design Sequence.

Tech Level 4 and earlier aircraft propulsion units, so presumably this would include World War One, have the following costs and size.

Cost is 0.380 Million Credits, or 380 Thousand Credits per cubic meter of volume. The output is set at 1 MegaWatt per 4.6 cubic meters. One MegaWatt is 1,000 Kilowatts, which equates to 1,341 Horsepower.

The following data comparison comes from The U.S. Air Service in World War 1, volume 4, published in 1979, well prior to the writing of Traveller 4.

The U. S. Army Air Service was using the French-built Breguet 14 B2 aircraft for Day Bombing, and the volume has a very detailed cost estimate as to the cost of purchasing and operating one Day Bombing Group for one year.

The Breguet 14 B2 aircraft used a 300 Horsepower Renault Engine. The cost for the aircraft, less the 5% commission to the French Government, was 55,000 Francs, with a replacement engine costing 24,000 Francs. The Franc was value at 5.45 Francs to the U.S. Dollar. The aircraft then cost in U.S. Dollars about $10,091, with the engine costing about $4,403. Now, that would have been 1918 U.S. Dollars. I have not gotten out my reprint of the Jane's All the World's Aircraft for 1919, which gives a lot of data on the aircraft engines used in World War 1, including the Renault, so the following is an estimate.

Eyeballing the aircraft and engine installations, I would say that the engine occupies more than one 1.5 meter cube, or more than 3.375 cubic meters. Now, the Design Sequence has the cost per cubic meter of power plant being 380 thousand credits, to based on this, the cost should be a minimum of 1, 282,500 Credits. Approaching it from the horsepower standpoint, 300 horsepower equates to just over 1 cubic meter based on the 4.6 cubic meters per Megawatt of output, so that would be a cost of 380,000 Credits.

Compare the cost of the aircraft and engine in the 1918 estimate to the Traveller 4 Design Sequence Cost. Then I would suggest, if you are interested, to take a look at some of the costs of World War 2 aircraft given in The Army Air Forces in World War II, Volume 6: Men and Planes, published in 1955. Look at the various aircraft and their power plants. I hesitate to calculate the cost of the 8800 horsepower power plant using 4 engines of the B-29.

Then there is the very odd situation for Water Power Plants. A Tech Level 4-, presumably meaning earlier than Tech Level 4, has 1 Megawatt being produced per 0.7 cubic meters, far smaller than the volume required for an aircraft propulsion plant. That is quite strange, to say the least. I have quite a bit of data, including engine room sizes for vessels of the pre-1900 period, which I assume includes Tech Level 4 and earlier. Now, the HMS Warrior, the first ironclad battleship build of iron throughout, which I have been on in Portsmouth, England, required about 5500 horsepower. Figuring 1 MegaWatt at 1341 Horsepower, then the Warrior power plant should occupy a volume of 0.7 cubic meters X 4.1 (5500 horsepower divided by 1341 horsepower per Megawatt), for a total internal volume of 2.87 Cubic Meters. That is considerably less than the volume of one of HMS Warrior's boilers. The water propulsion plants just get worse from there.

For those interested, you can download the volumes covering the Air Service and Army Air Force at the following website.

As for nautical power plants, I would suggest taking a look at some of the early Brassey's Naval Annuals, some of which can be found online, or go to the U.S. Naval War College website and check out some of the Information from Abroad reports for the 1880s and 1890s.[]=%28naval+war+college%29+AND+mediatype%3A%28texts% 29&sort=&page=2

Or download the 1896 Brassey's Naval Annual here and take a look at the French Battleship Jaureguiberry on page 436, for an idea on what the power plants of circa 1900 looked like.

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