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Old 10-05-2017, 03:25 PM   #41
mlangsdorf
 
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Default Re: [Ultra-Tech] What would naval warfare at TL10 look like?

Hey Crystalline_Entity, did you ever decide the environment your naval task was going to operate in and how the force itself was composed?
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Old 10-05-2017, 11:42 PM   #42
Crystalline_Entity
 
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Default Re: [Ultra-Tech] What would naval warfare at TL10 look like?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mlangsdorf View Post
Hey Crystalline_Entity, did you ever decide the environment your naval task was going to operate in and how the force itself was composed?
To be honest, I'm a bit overwhelmed by the options!

I take the point someone made upthread that all of this is going to be expensive - military hardware is very costly, and capital ships (in whatever form they take) will probably be considered irreplaceable by the countries which own them.

I think the two most contentious points are just how easy it is to defend from orbital bombardment, and how effective stealth is and consequently whether surface warships will still exist or everything will be submersible.

Someone made a good point that non-volitional AI would mean you can replace a good number of human crew (if I remember correctly, Transhuman Space has many human officers while enlisted personnel tend to be AIs?), which might make warships smaller.

I hadn't considered jamming (something mlangsdorf mentioned in his first post) as a threat (current TL8 drones don't seem susceptible to this, though I suspect that's a relative-tech-level issue); I like the idea of each ship having an accompanying drones for scouting, extending the radar horizon, etc, but I guess they'd be considered expendable if they were easily lost, so they'd be inexpensive and not filled with the latest toys.

I was assuming this was on Earth, and that there'd been no significant political changes such as a world government or widespread anarchy, so there was still a role for the navy. There was a good point made, what exactly is the navy for at TL10? My thoughts (rather early in the morning here so they might not be coherent):
  • Protecting civilian ships against unfriendly forces
  • Hunting and killing any platforms capable of destroying the host country (e.g. nuclear missile-armed submarines)
  • Showing the flag and influencing neutral and friendly nations
  • Protecting territory
  • Power projection - ability to strike enemies where there are no land bases in the region
  • Disaster relief, rescue, etc

I don't think this is really very different from a TL8 blue-water navy, so maybe I'm missing something, I'm not sure how the role of a navy would change between TL8-10 (apart from possibly operating on other planets) - even if there were some sort of world government there'd still need to be protection from smugglers, pirates, and some sort of disaster relief provision, but my list sounds rather uninspired.

I do have a few images in my mind, if that helps explain the sort of things I'm envisaging:
  • A stealth hovercraft delivering small numbers of troops and robots amongst icyislands
  • A fleet of railgun-equipped battleships in the open ocean escorting an aircraft carrier
  • A submarine cruising the depths of the ocean looking for illegal undersea settlements
  • An admiral disembarking from a vertol/tilt-rotor on the flight deck of a ship
  • An orbital space station scanning the ocean trying to find... something
Though they might all be impracticle!

Sorry, I don't think I've actually managed to answer your question, but I've got to get ready for work!

Last edited by Crystalline_Entity; 10-05-2017 at 11:57 PM. Reason: A few more thoughts as I drink my morning tea
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Old 10-06-2017, 06:51 AM   #43
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Default Re: [Ultra-Tech] What would naval warfare at TL10 look like?

I think you need to make some decisions. The point at which I usually start is either (a) what kind of story do I want to tell, or (b) what technology base is available. But these are dependent on each other to some extent.

What's the energy source for your tech base? How scarce is it?
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Old 10-06-2017, 08:56 AM   #44
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Default Re: [Ultra-Tech] What would naval warfare at TL10 look like?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Crystalline_Entity View Post
I hadn't considered jamming (something mlangsdorf mentioned in his first post) as a threat (current TL8 drones don't seem susceptible to this, though I suspect that's a relative-tech-level issue);
It is very difficult to jam highly directional signals (light tight-beam microwave communications). One method I've seen discussed was to have a chain of drones, each with line-of-sight to the next, to relay communications back to HQ. They can also be semi-autonomous - give them a mission ("destroy this target", "blow up any anti-air defenses") and off they go to do their thing without communication. You can even do reconnaissance without long range communication - the drone just has to get back to within line-of-sight of a friendly base or ship.

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Old 10-06-2017, 11:12 AM   #45
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Default Re: [Ultra-Tech] What would naval warfare at TL10 look like?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Crystalline_Entity View Post
I do have a few images in my mind, if that helps explain the sort of things I'm envisaging:
  • A stealth hovercraft delivering small numbers of troops and robots amongst icyislands
  • A fleet of railgun-equipped battleships in the open ocean escorting an aircraft carrier
  • A submarine cruising the depths of the ocean looking for illegal undersea settlements
  • An admiral disembarking from a vertol/tilt-rotor on the flight deck of a ship
  • An orbital space station scanning the ocean trying to find... something
It sounds like you have the general outline of the relevant technologies:
* Stealth works, but isn't absolute. It's probably at the "price of admission" level: if you don't have stealth, you lose, but stealthed forces can still be detected. Deep diving submarines are more stealthy than surface ships, but some combination of increased price / reduced effectiveness per unit means that surface ships are still viable.
* Armor works enough for it to be worthwhile. Hordes of cheap disposable drones may be able to overwhelm PD, but not carry enough of a destructive load to damage a well armored ship.
* Utility aircraft still exist, though strike and interceptor aircraft may have been replaced by drones. Large aircraft that need long runways are still viable.
* Orbital facilities can roughly locate surface fleets and subs near the surface, but without enough precision to destroy them.
* Orbital bombardment is ineffective against moving targets, targets with stealth, or targets with adequate PD.

I think you may have to work on more reasons why subs aren't the dominate force and surface forces still exist. Quick math against GURPS Vehicle 2nd edition suggests that a sub that carries the same payload and armor as a surface ship has about 4-6% more weight devoted to armor and internal structure, and is slightly more expensive. The sub is going to be 80% as fast with the same power plant as the surface ship. Is that enough to make a difference? I'm not sure.
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Last edited by mlangsdorf; 10-06-2017 at 11:33 AM. Reason: Math is hard
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Old 10-06-2017, 11:45 AM   #46
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Default Re: [Ultra-Tech] What would naval warfare at TL10 look like?

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Originally Posted by mlangsdorf View Post
* Armor works enough for it to be worthwhile. Hordes of cheap disposable drones may be able to overwhelm PD, but not carry enough of a destructive load to damage a well armored ship.
.
.....unless the drone carries a nuclear warhead.

A list of "Reasons why no one commonly uses nukes." is probably prominent on your to do list.
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Old 10-06-2017, 11:51 AM   #47
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Default Re: [Ultra-Tech] What would naval warfare at TL10 look like?

Hmm, the bit I'm actually hanging up on is the railgun armed battleship escort.

Despite my previous post you could doubtless construct a case for armored warships with railguns as offensive systems (especially if you're willing to sculpt your tech setup around that).

But aircraft carriers don't need to be escorted by heavy surface-to-surface armaments. Carrier escorts in the modern world are there to provide extra missile defense and anti-sub defense. The carrier has so much standoff superiority it's fairly unimaginable that any hostile surface unit could ever get into gun range of one.

You could, of course, weaken the carrier's strike capability (with some of the same tech choices that prop up the railgun battleship existing at all), but then we have the question of why the carrier is there. Recon and defense against ground-based aircraft are also important parts of the justification for carriers, going back to before the pacific war demonstrated their strike power. But for recon, the battleships could probably host sufficient drones just fine, and it's hard to see why ground-based air power would be effective if carrier-based isn't (now that carriers and carrier aviation are more mature concepts and much bigger than the earliest ones).

Honestly the best I'm coming up with is that the carrier is primarily a floating spaceport...
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Old 10-06-2017, 12:03 PM   #48
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Default Re: [Ultra-Tech] What would naval warfare at TL10 look like?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ulzgoroth View Post
Honestly the best I'm coming up with is that the carrier is primarily a floating spaceport...
There's an argument that carriers could be obsolete by TL10. To an approximation, they serve two functions:

a) Refuelling base for relatively short-range strike aircraft
b) Launch pad for strike aircraft to reach a target in a timely manner

But TL10 aircraft could easily have global range on a single fuel tank, and enough speed to reach anywhere in the world within an hour or so, so they'd just fly strike missions directly from ground bases in their home country.

A carrier's role might then evolve to the above-mentioned drone dispenser, but I wouldn't call that a carrier anymore.
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Old 10-06-2017, 12:33 PM   #49
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Default Re: [Ultra-Tech] What would naval warfare at TL10 look like?

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Originally Posted by Daigoro View Post
There's an argument that carriers could be obsolete by TL10. To an approximation, they serve two functions:

a) Refuelling base for relatively short-range strike aircraft
b) Launch pad for strike aircraft to reach a target in a timely manner

.
You missed one. Long range air defense. Carrier-launched interceptors can reach a long way over the horizon and other surface ships are highly vulnerable to sea skimming attacks when limited to their own sea level air defenses.
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Old 10-06-2017, 12:47 PM   #50
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Default Re: [Ultra-Tech] What would naval warfare at TL10 look like?

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Originally Posted by Daigoro View Post
But TL10 aircraft could easily have global range on a single fuel tank, and enough speed to reach anywhere in the world within an hour or so, so they'd just fly strike missions directly from ground bases in their home country.
Possible, but quite possibly not. It depends on the tech assumptions. And without some pretty drastic switches flipped, they won't have those ranges and speeds.

The other concern would be that everywhere is "somewhere". If the ocean is intensively farmed and entities are established on it, you may have those airstrips, even in the middle of the ocean.

To me it sounds like the OP wants the trappings of modern earth, but souped up to be ultra tech.
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