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Author Topic: ASF launches from grounded DropShips?  (Read 1243 times)

Middcore

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ASF launches from grounded DropShips?
« on: 01 April 2021, 12:31:59 »
I believe I basically understand the reasoning of AeroSpace Fighter launches from a DropShip in space or in atmosphere is that the ASF basically just "falls out" of the DropShip and then thrusts.

Is it possible to launch/recover an ASF from a DropShip that's already landed? I would assume the answer is yes, since I know ASF's can do a vertical takeoff Harrier-style using pivoting/vectoring thrust nozzles... so it seems like it's a matter of just kind of "hovering" your way out of the DropShip launch bay. Not a maneuver you'd want to do under fire, of course, since the ASF is so vulnerable during the process.

Anybody want to confirm for me or add any other thoughts?

AlphaMirage

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Re: ASF launches from grounded DropShips?
« Reply #1 on: 01 April 2021, 12:45:22 »
I believe they are unable to do so, TW pg 90 (mounting and dismounting units) states that aerospace fighters and small craft cannot mount or dismount a grounded dropship under their own power. They need to use the dropship's loading cranes

Hellraiser

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Re: ASF launches from grounded DropShips?
« Reply #2 on: 01 April 2021, 13:26:38 »
Pretty sure they can launch catapult style but its risky, at least I seem to recall that in fiction from the 4th SW.

Not much different than a carrier launch on water if you think about it.

Recovery would strictly be taxi up a ramp or be lifted by a crane.
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Middcore

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Re: ASF launches from grounded DropShips?
« Reply #3 on: 01 April 2021, 13:30:14 »
I believe they are unable to do so, TW pg 90 (mounting and dismounting units) states that aerospace fighters and small craft cannot mount a dropship under their own power they need to use the dropships loading cranes

So they can launch but can't be recovered under their own power?

So let's say you've got an Overlord making an assault on a hostile world, and you deploy your squadron of ASF's to escort the ship on its way down. The ASF's have to find their own landing zone then? Hope friendly ground forces secure some place to set down before they run out of fuel?

The whole idea of carrying integrated ASF's on ground unit carriers (and a pair of ASF's per company of 'Mechs was supposedly standard SLDF doctrine, thus the configuration of the Union) seems weird to me if the fighter jocks are very possibly making a one way trip every time they launch. It almost feels like the CAM ships escorting WW2 convoys which would launch a Hawker Hurricane with no way to recover it so the pilot knows he has to bail out or ditch.

If you could secure a suitably large and flat area of terrain, could you land the dropper and then have the ASF's make a vertical landing nearby to be recovered for refuel/rearm with cranes?
« Last Edit: 01 April 2021, 13:34:03 by Middcore »

AlphaMirage

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Re: ASF launches from grounded DropShips?
« Reply #4 on: 01 April 2021, 16:27:51 »
So they can launch but can't be recovered under their own power?

If you could secure a suitably large and flat area of terrain, could you land the dropper and then have the ASF's make a vertical landing nearby to be recovered for refuel/rearm with cranes?

They cannot launch under their own power from a grounded dropship

My head canon is that the ASF will launch in space to cover the final approach of the dropship, once it is on the ground some will provide some close air cover to the strike force while the others land nearby and probably load up on bombs. Upon bingoing on fuel the active CAP returns to the dropship and the reserve CAP takes off to cover the main strike force.

If you intend to stay for a little while a small tech team will refuel and rearm the returning planes for later use. Once the strike force is exfiling all ASFs will take off, provide close support, and escort the dropship back to space where they will return to their bays.

Middcore

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Re: ASF launches from grounded DropShips?
« Reply #5 on: 01 April 2021, 16:46:26 »
My head canon is that the ASF will launch in space to cover the final approach of the dropship, once it is on the ground some will provide some close air cover to the strike force while the others land nearby and probably load up on bombs. Upon bingoing on fuel the active CAP returns to the dropship and the reserve CAP takes off to cover the main strike force.

If you intend to stay for a little while a small tech team will refuel and rearm the returning planes for later use. Once the strike force is exfiling all ASFs will take off, provide close support, and escort the dropship back to space where they will return to their bays.

This is all assuming they're landing and taking off near the DropShip Harrier-style, right? Not relying on captured prepared fields?

AlphaMirage

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Re: ASF launches from grounded DropShips?
« Reply #6 on: 01 April 2021, 16:58:19 »
This is all assuming they're landing and taking off near the DropShip Harrier-style, right? Not relying on captured prepared fields?

Yes, I figure that airfields are likely guarded. Would prefer to look for a highway, rail easement, or similar long flat stretch that could be used with some proximity to the target area particularly if you are supporting them (or loading up the booty) with trucks.

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Re: ASF launches from grounded DropShips?
« Reply #7 on: 01 April 2021, 17:13:39 »
Yes, I figure that airfields are likely guarded.

Agreed. Since all three of the most common IS 'Mech-haulers also have ASF bays, I'm just trying to reason out how they would actually be put to effective use. Escorting the DropShip while it's still in space is one thing of course, although taking time to recover them might be troublesome. My issue is when the DropShip does enter atmosphere.

If the ASF's are still inside the DropShip when it enters, they're functionally useless until and unless there's space and time on the ground to unload them.

On the other hand, if the ASF's are deployed when the parent DropShip enters, their options when they bingo on fuel are:

A. Return to space to be recovered by another, empty, DropShip, which is a waste - you may as well just put all your fighters in the CV to begin with and not put any in the 'Mech-carriers
B. Find a usable landing zone planetside controlled by friendly forces, which seems like a crapshoot





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Re: ASF launches from grounded DropShips?
« Reply #8 on: 01 April 2021, 17:39:25 »
Most ASF have the VSTOL ability. That.makes them able to land and take off in very short runways so it should be easy to find a location for them.
Or they could remain in the atmosphere and come down calling if needed during a raid that lasts a few hours. No need to land.

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Re: ASF launches from grounded DropShips?
« Reply #9 on: 01 April 2021, 18:23:01 »
All ASF can land and take off vertically (at a significant penalty in atmosphere).  I believe ASF can be launched in atmosphere, but recovery is a whole other ball of snakes...

R.Tempest

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Re: ASF launches from grounded DropShips?
« Reply #10 on: 01 April 2021, 23:56:04 »
 I would think that you could launch from a grounded Union or Overlord via catapult. It would be risky but possible (IIRC this happens in the 2nd Grey Death Legion novel).
 Much more difficult from a Leopard though.
 On the other hand it would be easier to get back aboard a Leopard on the ground. We know that the Leopard's fighter bays can be converted to carry vehicles. This implies that there is some sort of loading/unloading ramp for each bay. An ASF could probably drive up the ramp.

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Re: ASF launches from grounded DropShips?
« Reply #11 on: 02 April 2021, 00:07:03 »
I would think that you could launch from a grounded Union or Overlord via catapult. It would be risky but possible (IIRC this happens in the 2nd Grey Death Legion novel).

Are you sure that is the novel?
I thought it was the 4th SW novels, one of the Davion invading Liao planets.   
Corsairs were taking off from an Overlord that was barely taller than the buildings in the area & not all of them made it, IIRC.
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R.Tempest

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Re: ASF launches from grounded DropShips?
« Reply #12 on: 02 April 2021, 01:21:04 »
 No, I'm not sure. It's been years (maybe decades) since I read that particular novel, and all of my books are currently in boxes following a move.
 Slightly off of topic though, I do remember being amused at Grayson's Shadowhawk running out of SRM2 ammo during a battle.

Kibutsu

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Re: ASF launches from grounded DropShips?
« Reply #13 on: 02 April 2021, 08:11:32 »
I would say they cannot launch from a grounded ship. You might get away with launching from a grounded spheroid in an absolute dire emergency but it would be risky, both to the aerospace pilot and the DropShip/crew. Those superheated exhaust gasses have to go somewhere. Recovery would require not only a landing surface, but said surface would need to be close and secure enough to the DropShip landing zone that the attending support vehicles could reach it without getting blown up by enemy countermeasures. Capturing airfields, spaceports and/or decent landing zones early is critically important for an invading force, even for something relatively quick, like an objective raid.

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Re: ASF launches from grounded DropShips?
« Reply #14 on: 07 April 2021, 13:59:40 »
I am in the "Launch, but not recover" camp on this one, but I think a ship could be built with the specific capacity to permit either as well. Or not, in other cases
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Middcore

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Re: ASF launches from grounded DropShips?
« Reply #15 on: 10 April 2021, 15:41:13 »
No, I'm not sure. It's been years (maybe decades) since I read that particular novel, and all of my books are currently in boxes following a move.
 Slightly off of topic though, I do remember being amused at Grayson's Shadowhawk running out of SRM2 ammo during a battle.

The early Gray Death novels at least seem to treat missile launchers as firing one warhead at a time, much more abstracted from the true-to-tabletop salvos reloaded from hundred-warhead bins, so slightly more understandable.

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Re: ASF launches from grounded DropShips?
« Reply #16 on: 10 April 2021, 16:27:03 »
Everything being "Thunderbolt" ammo would simplify things a bit, but that's not how things work at the moment...

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Re: ASF launches from grounded DropShips?
« Reply #17 on: 10 April 2021, 19:58:38 »
The early Gray Death novels at least seem to treat missile launchers as firing one warhead at a time, much more abstracted from the true-to-tabletop salvos reloaded from hundred-warhead bins, so slightly more understandable.

Takes a while before it's clear, but Ideal War does the same thing.

However; so did the old Crescent Hawk's Inception game. 12pt hits from the Commando's SRM-6, as an example.
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Middcore

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Re: ASF launches from grounded DropShips?
« Reply #18 on: 10 April 2021, 20:05:26 »
Takes a while before it's clear, but Ideal War does the same thing.

I have to admit I don't know that I ever even tried to read Ideal War. Does it really? The early GDL books are kind of understandable but Ideal War was published in... 1993? Geez, that's sort of late to be getting stuff like that "wrong."

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Re: ASF launches from grounded DropShips?
« Reply #19 on: 11 April 2021, 15:34:23 »
Are you sure that is the novel?
I thought it was the 4th SW novels, one of the Davion invading Liao planets.   
Corsairs were taking off from an Overlord that was barely taller than the buildings in the area & not all of them made it, IIRC.

I remember reading it.  I haven't read any of the 4SW books, but I have read the GDL books.  I understand that it was still considered A Bad Idea, especially if there was a lot of things to hit on launch like hills and trees.

Obviously having VTOL capabilities would make things a lot easier on both launch and recovery.  The issues mainly being able to maintain a flight posture on launch for positive flight, and a slow enough speed on recovery.
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Re: ASF launches from grounded DropShips?
« Reply #20 on: 11 April 2021, 21:08:50 »
Why in the world would you want to risk landing when you can deploy via either Combat drop in space, or Hovering.

Launching means you can from space, atmosphere ( either hovering or or flying ). Grounded you can't do ether, meaning only Recovering ( as in loading and re-arming / refueling ) or Storage them. You'll need a dedicated surface, flat and straight, preferred paved to act as a runway. Your Dropshp can act as the Tower, but as long as your " taxiway " is unobscured, you should be able to launch / recover off it.

Which it was wise to capture forward airbases to allow your units to land and recover during the Successor Wars.

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Re: ASF launches from grounded DropShips?
« Reply #21 on: 12 April 2021, 23:59:24 »
 Disclaimer: I am way behind on product (rulebooks & sourcebooks) so, if there are answers to the following already in print, then I can only plead honest ignorance.
 That being said.....
 I suppose it depends on how ASF's are VTOL capable. The idea that thrusters capable of maneuvering a fighter in space are capable of allowing VTOL operations makes sense to me. My question is how these thrusters work (or maybe, what they are)? Are they some sort of reaction unit, like the attitude thrusters on current spacecraft? Or are they vectored thrust from the drive system (I don't even want to start to think about the engineering craziness involved in this)? Or can ASFs function as air breathing engines while in a suitable atmosphere and the thrusters are analogous to the exhausts on a Harrier.
 In the last case I think you could possibly, manage to hover and fly into a bay on a spheroid dropship. You might even be able to launch the same way.
 In the first case again maybe you could hover and maneuver into a bay. Launching might be trickier.
 For both launching would easier in conjunction with a catapult system.
 In the second case, where the thrust is effectively the same as the drive plasma, I would say no to both.
 It does lead to another question though - There are rules for drive plume damage from Dropships, are there also rules for damage the drive plumes of ASF's or Small Craft?
« Last Edit: 13 April 2021, 21:17:37 by R.Tempest »

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Re: ASF launches from grounded DropShips?
« Reply #22 on: 13 April 2021, 18:11:21 »
ASFs never damaged themselves doing VTOL operations.  Small Craft used to, but TPTB finally saw the light (my personal years-long campaign on that issue may or may not have influenced their decision... the mandatory damage was at the capital scale, meaning that pretty much any Small Craft that tried the maneuver automatically destroyed themselves).

Emcha

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Re: ASF launches from grounded DropShips?
« Reply #23 on: 16 May 2021, 22:58:14 »
I suppose it depends on how ASF's are VTOL capable. The idea that thrusters capable of maneuvering a fighter in space are capable of allowing VTOL operations makes sense to me.

all ASFs are VSTOL, that is Vertical/standard takeoff and landing. and since they all have the thrust to do single stage to orbit launching from a grounded dropship should be fairly simple, if incredibly messy for everything in the fighter cubicle.

Quote
My question is how these thrusters work (or maybe, what they are)? Are they some sort of reaction unit, like the attitude thrusters on current spacecraft? Or are they vectored thrust from the drive system (I don't even want to start to think about the engineering craziness involved in this)? Or can ASFs function as air breathing engines while in a suitable atmosphere and the thrusters are analogous to the exhausts on a Harrier.

asf engines work the exact same way as mech jump jets, just optimized to run continuously. as such they can use air as reaction mass but carry "fuel" reserves for use in space and also to make up for inconsistent atmospheric compositions. and since the technology of making small jets to allow stompy robots to hop around is so well understood it's not hard to arrange it so the attitude thrusters you need for maneuvering in vacuum can double as landing/hover jets.


Quote
In the last case I think you could possibly, manage to hover and fly into a bay on a spheroid dropship. You might even be able to launch the same way.

doing so would def be the mark of a real hot shit pilot, that's for sure. it's probably one of those things you would only do once just to prove you could before getting your entire ass chewed off by literally everyone from the chief Aerotek to your CO to the dropship captain.
« Last Edit: 16 May 2021, 23:08:42 by Emcha »

Hellraiser

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Re: ASF launches from grounded DropShips?
« Reply #24 on: 18 May 2021, 00:11:50 »
all ASFs are VSTOL, that is Vertical/standard takeoff and landing.

Minor Correction, but,  VSTOL stands for Vertical/Short Takeoff & Landing
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Re: ASF launches from grounded DropShips?
« Reply #25 on: 19 May 2021, 18:41:23 »
Has anyone checked the Total Warfare and Strategic Operations' landing/takeoff rules? I think aerial and grounded launches from DropShips are covered ("don't").
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Re: ASF launches from grounded DropShips?
« Reply #26 on: 19 May 2021, 19:12:58 »
To my memory, they don't cover "from a cubicle"...  ???

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Re: ASF launches from grounded DropShips?
« Reply #27 on: 19 May 2021, 19:44:13 »
They do. If the DropShip is landed, it's not launching or landing any kind of aircraft, period.
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Re: ASF launches from grounded DropShips?
« Reply #28 on: 19 May 2021, 19:54:01 »
Well, there you go then...  8)

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Re: ASF launches from grounded DropShips?
« Reply #29 on: 20 May 2021, 17:35:39 »
If you want to be fancy, adjust the Dropship exhaust damage rules for the ASF's lower mass, and apply all damage directly to the Dropship's SI

 

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