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The Fleet Ship designs, strategies, and tactics.

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Old November 25th, 2006, 04:28 PM
SGavorsky SGavorsky is offline
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I've got a little side project going of designing a ship construction/space combat system from the ground-up (more as a mental exercise than anything else).

I've recently been thinking about the role of fighters (and other small attack craft) in fleet actions. Using the naval model from good 'ol Earth here, I'm thinking there are basically three reasons fighters are significant against main fleet elements:
  • Speed: Aircraft are significantly faster than ocean-bound ships, thereby adding a crucial advantage to any engagement.</font>
  • Strong Weaponry Compared to Size: With the availability of torpedos and the current generation of ASMs, aircraft can carry a weapon capable of delivering a fatal blow to main fleet elements.</font>
  • Manueverability: Currently, I think this is a distant third in importance, but it does seem to matter that aircraft present a threat in a 540-degree area (360 horizontal + 180 vertical) compared to just a 360-degree area for surface engagements.</font>
In CT, these factors do not work out the same. Speed is less important because the differential is not as great (the relative difference between 1G and 6G, for example, is less than the difference between 30 knots and 287 knots for an example WWII battle). Manueverability is more complicated; all space vessels are operating in a 720-degree environment, but the ability of fighters to turn tighter might actually still help.

The real change, however, seems to be in weapons: CT small craft do not appear capable of delivering a significant "killer blow" to heavy warships because they lack items comparable to torpedoes and Exocet-type missiles. Certainly, later architecture books (FF&S, T20, etc.) made it possible to change this, but it appears the paradigm is fairly heavily set in Traveller circles: fighters are not of much use in major fleet engagements (despite their role in some of the sci-fi literature that inspired CT).

I'm looking for some different thoughts on this matter. Are fighters important against warships in YTU, or are they relegated to recon and small vessel (read: PC-ships) interdiction duties? Why do you choose to cast small craft in these roles?
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