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Old 06-13-2019, 11:59 AM   #51
Anthony
 
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Default Re: Approaching TL9?

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Originally Posted by Rupert View Post
Telescoped plastic cased rounds are entering service. Caseless rounds work perfectly well, but never came into service for political and economic reasons.
No, caseless rounds still have significant practical issues, though it's true that there simply isn't a lot of interest in improvements to small arms; what we have does the job and the real benefits of most proposed changes are fairly modest.
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Old 06-13-2019, 12:34 PM   #52
NineDaysDead
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Default Re: Approaching TL9?

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How do we know that we could see the difference between late TL8 and early TL9 even if it was right in front of us?
We may not be able to mark the point where TL9 started until a decade or two after it starts.
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Old 06-13-2019, 12:44 PM   #53
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We may not be able to mark the point where TL9 started until a decade or two after it starts.
Or ever. There's no especially dramatic tech change in 1980, which is where the TL 7/8 divide is set (you can pick personal computers I suppose, but that not more dramatic than a lot of other developments in computer science and consumer electronics).
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Old 06-13-2019, 12:51 PM   #54
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Default Re: Approaching TL9?

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TrThe P-51 Mustang's engine for example was an Allison V-1710 which dated from 1930 (though it had seen improvements since then).
Incorrect. The Allison engine went in the A-36 Apache. That was the orignal version of the aircraft the Army waned to use as a low-level dive bomber.

It was not until the RAF transfored the plane by installing the Rolls-Royce Merlin (which was followed by the ;license built Packard) that the "Mustang" designation was used and it became a high-altitude fighter with the P-51 number.

While the Merlin also dates _originally_ to a c. 1930 airplane by the time it got to the P-51 development had seen a 60% increase in power. That's easily 10x or more than was seen in WWI aircraft. I've never liked lumping the WWI and II aircraft (or the tanks or even the most modern WWII ships) together.
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Old 06-13-2019, 12:53 PM   #55
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Default Re: Approaching TL9?

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Unless there is a truly spectacular development, like cheap high-temperature superconductors or cheap durable quantum computing, we might not be able to see a Tech Level change. The transition from TL4 to TL5 makes good sense, there were many changes coming together in the Early 18th century. But someone living in the Cotswolds might be excused for not noticing the changes. Heck, there would be perfectly clear headed people in London, Paris, and Amsterdam, that would have missed the transition.

How do we know that we could see the difference between late TL8 and early TL9 even if it was right in front of us?

The way we know when tech levels have transitioned is the grandparent test. When a large number of grandparents are baffled by what is now perfectly standard technology then you know you've switched tech levels.
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Old 06-13-2019, 01:04 PM   #56
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Default Re: Approaching TL9?

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Originally Posted by Astromancer View Post
Unless there is a truly spectacular development, like cheap high-temperature superconductors or cheap durable quantum computing, we might not be able to see a Tech Level change. The transition from TL4 to TL5 makes good sense, there were many changes coming together in the Early 18th century. But someone living in the Cotswolds might be excused for not noticing the changes. Heck, there would be perfectly clear headed people in London, Paris, and Amsterdam, that would have missed the transition.

How do we know that we could see the difference between late TL8 and early TL9 even if it was right in front of us?
It also depends on what parts of a TL you are talking about. For example, just because you have continental railways (1869-1880s) doesn't mean you have airplanes (1903).
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Old 06-13-2019, 01:48 PM   #57
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Default Re: Approaching TL9?

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Originally Posted by Rupert View Post
Telescoped plastic cased rounds are entering service. Caseless rounds work perfectly well, but never came into service for political and economic reasons.
Caseless rounds do not work "perfectly well." Cased ammunition provides actual advantages - obturation, heat dissipation, environmental protection, etc. - that caseless needs to work around. The only advantages caseless has are lower round weight and that the weapon is easier to seal against the elements.

And don't discount economic and political reasons as being somehow invalid. Throwing money at a problem doesn't always result in a solution, and politics cuts both ways. West Germany adopted the G11 as a political measure, to have a scary space rifle to intimidate the Soviet Bloc. When the latter fell apart, there was no longer any need to waste the money on that concept.

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The biggest limitation on adopting caseless designs is the several million guns the various militaries already have, plus the several billion rounds in warehouses.
That is a consideration, but not the biggest. The biggest consideration is that caseless simply does not provide any real advantage over cased ammunition.

My point with all this is that we should not consider one of the hallmarks of TL9 to be caseless ammunition. I stand by my assessment that the signature technology will have to be power cells.
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Old 06-13-2019, 02:01 PM   #58
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It also depends on what parts of a TL you are talking about. For example, just because you have continental railways (1869-1880s) doesn't mean you have airplanes (1903).
Then again just because you can just barely get off the ground when the wind conditions are just right doesn't mean you have airplanes either. For TL purposes you don't measure from the first sort of successful prototypes but from when general implementation happens. In the case of airplanes, that's basically World War I. And it's TL 6 where the railroads were TL 5.
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Old 06-13-2019, 02:06 PM   #59
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I stand by my assessment that the signature technology will have to be power cells.
Power cells are a clear signature technology of TL9 as GURPS Ultratech has it, and as much of SF imagines it.

I think it's distinctly possible that anything that really matches the behavior of power cells will actually appear much later than other hallmarks of TL9, and might even be delayed into higher tech levels. Power cells are not so much hard futurism as they are a convenient simplification.

You might still be able to get many of the high-energy technologies to work by doing things like combining supercapacitors with microturbines or fuel cells or highly advanced batteries, without having access to a device that is simultaneously the leading form of energy storage and capable of nearly unlimited peak power.
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Old 06-13-2019, 02:29 PM   #60
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That is a consideration, but not the biggest. The biggest consideration is that caseless simply does not provide any real advantage over cased ammunition.
Well, it does have some advantages. It just also has corresponding drawbacks. Tank rounds are essentially caseless (technically combustible case; the case does provide propellant effect but it's not as good at it as the main propellant).
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