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Author Topic: Is there a role for small craft Tankers in ASF operations?  (Read 4936 times)

Colt Ward

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Re: Is there a role for small craft Tankers in ASF operations?
« Reply #30 on: 30 June 2021, 15:07:49 »
Perhaps the life support lasts longer, for it is not entirely impossible to add the air refresher for one person consider the function of the life boat/escape pod. But anyway, I don't think that the pilots are really a good shape enough to keep on the mission if they had more than 16 hours confined in the cockpit. It would be possible for the craft with three or more person and at least the small quarter to rest, but not for the fighters that the only place for the pilot is the cockpit.

B-2 flew subsonic out of Whitehead in Missouri . . . flew around the world and blew up places in Iraq and flew back to base w/o setting down.  Quick search tells me, just as a flight time reference, a jetliner takes over 16h from DFW to Doha in Qatar . . . and that is best course with open permissions very likely at a faster speed of travel.

I want to say in the late 60s or early 70s they had a B-52 fly around the world using mid-air refueling to demonstrate the concept.  Now that, like the C-130 & successors, is not a appropriate comparison since they have room to get up and actually have a latrine (or sorts) so it is closer to the Small Craft as you mentioned.

For space travel, life support endurance and not fuel is the primary navigation concern.  Even using BTU's fantastic engines, a ASF could leave Earth and reach Pluto with no problems . . . except the pilot will not survive the journey because their life support will run out since the effective course to take due to limited fuel leaves the ASF drifting through space for a long time before turn over.
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Daryk

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Re: Is there a role for small craft Tankers in ASF operations?
« Reply #31 on: 30 June 2021, 17:52:52 »
The "refuel in combat" aspects of the discussion remind me of the first rule of combat life-saving (aka "first aid"): SHOOT BACK!

Kovax

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Re: Is there a role for small craft Tankers in ASF operations?
« Reply #32 on: 01 July 2021, 10:24:47 »
Midpoint refueling would have to be done using a craft that originated at the same end of the trip as the fighters.  You could send a refueling ship out with the fighters, and refuel while coasting at tens of thousands of km/hour.  Normally, it is far more practical to use a dropship for this, because the fighters could dock and the pilots could rest.  However, if the early detection of an approaching dropship would be a problem, a small craft escort could allow the attacking group to get a lot closer than a dropship before the planetary garrison was alerted, although pilot fatigue would become a serious issue.  The fighters could launch a surprise attack on satellites and orbital assets, hours or days before the arrival of the invasion group, and before defending ASFs could be scrambled to intercept.  Thanks to the refueling small craft, the fighters would arrive with nearly full tanks, and be able to burn out of orbit and well away before the defenders arrived.

Getting a small craft, fighter, or dropship to come from the other side, stop somewhere past its own midpoint, and then burn hard to reach sufficient speed in the opposite direction to match the approaching fighters, would be extremely inefficient, if it's even remotely practical.  Chasing down damaged-and-drifting or out-of-fuel ASFs would probably be worth such an expenditure.

Where I see the tanker as most practical is for operating a group of ground-based ASFs at some distance from the dropships, either because the dropships have landed elsewhere or because they've had to flee back to the jump point.  Basically, it would become the center of a makeshift airfield, able to take off and move operations elsewhere if threatened by opposing ground forces.

glitterboy2098

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Re: Is there a role for small craft Tankers in ASF operations?
« Reply #33 on: 01 July 2021, 16:38:33 »
Well, isn't it possible to refuel by return to the dropship?
what if you don't have a dropship handy though? like it is busy somewhere else in the immediate system and you can't reach it on the Delta-V in your remaining fuel?
or it is in the middle of combat it can't disengage from?
or is in atmosphere and you can't land back on it?

lots of common scenarios where having a tanker smallcraft would be useful.

Hellraiser

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Re: Is there a role for small craft Tankers in ASF operations?
« Reply #34 on: 01 July 2021, 20:14:25 »
Where I see the tanker as most practical is for operating a group of ground-based ASFs at some distance from the dropships, either because the dropships have landed elsewhere or because they've had to flee back to the jump point.  Basically, it would become the center of a makeshift airfield, able to take off and move operations elsewhere if threatened by opposing ground forces.

That is where I was sort of coming from with my Escort idea.

If 6 Fighters & 1 Tanker/Small Craft take off from a planet (Or space station) then the Tanker can refuel them part way to destination as well as after the strike.

Burn 80% Fuel getting to max velocity - Coast - Refuel while coasting.

Slow down burn, strike mission, several passes, etc etc,  head out bound towards the Tanker that "stopped" early out of combat range.

Burn all but 5% getting on a heading back out,  then coast.   Tanker meets up & refuels.   Then burn up 40% getting back to travel speeds towards planet.

Flip again, slow down, & land on planet.

With the escort idea I had there is no "strike mission" but it still lets the fighters escort further & refuel before heading back.

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PuppyLikesLaserPointers

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Re: Is there a role for small craft Tankers in ASF operations?
« Reply #35 on: 01 July 2021, 23:28:31 »
So, I finally checked SO.

On atmosphere operations, typical ASFs(with 5 tons of fuel - 400 fuel points) can fly only up to a hour in the low atmosphere - it needs to keep using at least 1 thrust point to at least maintain the safe thrust, and 1 thrust point uses 1 fuel points. A non-space turn is 10 seconds, so it may burn all of them in 66 minutes, barring the fuel for the takeoff, or gliding.

But this is Aerospace fighter, NOT conventional. It seems that it can reach to the space hex within 5 minutes, and a space turn is 1 minute. While travel 1,000 kilometer in the ground row(the lower atmosphere) requires 32.9 minutes, on atmosphere row 1 it only costs 23.5 minute. And it takes only 10 minutes on suborbital and orbital flights. Orbital flights also dramatically reduce the fuel consumption as well.

So, usually consider in-air refuel seems moot. If you really need for a refuel due to the ongoing fight, consider the armor in battletech universe you need to dock, rearm and change the armors as well as refuel in order to ready to combat. And it is unlikely that you didn't have enough fuel to return either.

In space? Your pilot is got exhausted FAR faster than your fuel tank.

Perhaps there is some place for the emergency rescue vessle, but no, no tactical refuelling craft.
« Last Edit: 01 July 2021, 23:32:10 by PuppyLikesLaserPointers »

cray

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Re: Is there a role for small craft Tankers in ASF operations?
« Reply #36 on: 02 July 2021, 08:08:39 »
That's exactly why I think that the tanker small craft is no in use for ASF. If the ASFs are really need for the refuel, it means that it must be the time to return to the mothership anyways for they already spent too much time and the pilots are must rest.

A counterpoint:

Some DropShips operate large quantities of fighters, and there are carrier WarShips that operate very large quantities of fighters. Such DropShips and WarShips are bloody expensive.

If you have one carrier but a bunch of fighters then having everyone constantly return to the carrier is impractical, particularly if the fighters aren't going to the same destination.

However, those carriers usually also have smallcraft bays. That is a situation for smallcraft tankers. They can get out and support a couple of squadrons. They've got the strategic fuel efficiency to loiter or intercept squadrons.
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Alan Grant

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Re: Is there a role for small craft Tankers in ASF operations?
« Reply #37 on: 02 July 2021, 09:06:44 »
On this topic I differently feel like there has become three branches of argument.

Branch 1. The people talking about all the things you can use dropships or jumpships or warships for to fill this need. If there's a need for small craft refuelers it becomes a bit more debatable based on the circumstances (e.g. the availability of small craft bays, found on some carriers but not all).

Branch 2. The people talking about the potential usefulness of small craft refuelers for situations when dropships/jumpships/warships just aren't available. For example a ground-based ASF unit with zero dropships/jumpship/warship support.

Branch 3. The people saying ASFs have plenty of fuel, flight endurance (the need to give that pilot out of the cockpit and give them a rest) is the bigger problem.

I think all three branches have valid points, I don't see these as mutually exclusive concepts. 1 and 3 go hand-in-hand, the idea that the carrier is the preferred solution to keep ASFs flying. While 2 is more keyed to a particular sub-set of circumstances and concerns where dropships/jumpships/warships just aren't available and a small craft refueler becomes a potentially useful alternative for some situations.
« Last Edit: 02 July 2021, 09:09:31 by Alan Grant »

Colt Ward

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Re: Is there a role for small craft Tankers in ASF operations?
« Reply #38 on: 02 July 2021, 09:33:22 »
Branch 3. The people saying ASFs have plenty of fuel, flight endurance (the need to give that pilot out of the cockpit and give them a rest) is the bigger problem.

They have plenty of fuel . . . as long as you do not care when you arrive.  They do not have a transit drive so they are not as efficient going long distances which means you will coast for a long time when you go long distances.  Bluntly, PLLP's insistence on the pilot getting exhausted is head scratching because it has already been demonstrated that current pilots are in the cockpit for 30+ hours on a single mission and unlike Earth-bound pilots are sitting strapped in for zero-g.  So . . . autopilot on the coast in, snooze . . . autopilot on the coast out . . . snooze.

I think #1 & #2 can also be combined . . . just like WWII (which is the AT meta mixed with Age of Sail gunnery), there is a reason carriers launched their strikes and then avoided contact or being found.  Just because your Carrier can get into tactical range of a target does not mean it should- your carriers survive longer if they are not being shot at by enemy ships.

Cray's point also extends further under the current paradigm.  Just look at the recent Hour of the Wolf . . . they had missile/ASF platforms at each jump point.  While their fighters took losses once those platforms were wrecked, they did not have enough berths for the remaining fighters IIRC b/c the platforms had such large compliments.  If I was going to be involved in a prolonged naval battle where it might possibly be fought in waves (or firing passes), I would definitely go after the carriers for the simple reason I am going to degrade the enemy fleet's performance if they are having to hot berth the fighters.  Forcing them to drastically alter course or engage in a long burn will either cause the fighters that cannot berth to be left behind or arrive at the engagement low on fuel.
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Re: Is there a role for small craft Tankers in ASF operations?
« Reply #39 on: 02 July 2021, 09:51:48 »
Branch 1. The people talking about all the things you can use dropships or jumpships or warships for to fill this need. If there's a need for small craft refuelers it becomes a bit more debatable based on the circumstances (e.g. the availability of small craft bays, found on some carriers but not all).

Branch 3. The people saying ASFs have plenty of fuel, flight endurance (the need to give that pilot out of the cockpit and give them a rest) is the bigger problem.

In the case of #1,  interesting point,  something like the Leo-CV doesn't have those Small Craft bays, but then again, the Leo-CV is a solid choice for acting as your own resupply ship as its only small amount of Fighters all going on a single mission.  Ditto the fighters attached to Mech Carriers since they are there to protect the Droppers.

Something like a Titan even is still in the same boat as the Leo-CV only at a Larger scale, it screams 1 full wing of attack craft.

Meanwhile the Vengeance or a York (or other large contingent of ASF equipped Warship) is packing multiple units that likely WILL be conducting different missions as Cray mentioned above.
In that case, Refueling craft would be useful.


I think the case of #3 and deep space & the "they can coast" argument is that people are missing the differences in time between 1G thrust the whole way & "coasting".

As Puppy pointed out you are have empty tanks after an hour of thrust.
If something is 6 hours away under 1G of thrust,  how long does the trip come if you only thrust for 15 minutes due to the need to conserve fuel for maneuvering during the battle & then getting back home?

How long is it just to go from Terra to the Moon at 1G thrust?   (I don't know but for some reason I have 90 minutes in my head)

I'd be curious to know just how far you can go in a fighter before life support runs out for things like pirate point patrol.

IIRC there is a Pirate point on the "Dark side" of the Moon, I forget the L# for that point, but, what I'm wondering is, can a squadron of ASF launched from Earth head out, patrol around to the other side of the moon & then get back home again, before either Lifesupport &/or Fuel runs out? 
And can it be done in the time of a single "work shift" with under 6 hours "flight" time?
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Charistoph

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Re: Is there a role for small craft Tankers in ASF operations?
« Reply #40 on: 02 July 2021, 14:56:14 »
Then there are comparisons as to why we have in-flight tankers in the modern wet navy.

Wet-navy carriers are restricted in the territories they operate in due to lack of "personal" firepower given up to support numerous squadrons on board (CVN-65 Enterprise carried about 124 aircraft all told).  In addition, a lot of those craft just don't have the legs to cross the Pacific NE to SW.  Then there are the AWACS systems they tend to keep up in hostile times, who need constant refreshing.  Then there is the general efficiency of our turbine engines who gobble up a LOT of fuel weight for little movement (relatively speaking).

Meanwhile, the void carriers of Battletech are usually rather well armed and armored.  Meaning that they can actually be in the midst of combat.  Nor do they need to have sensors helping them keep an eye over the horizon.  ASF also have a huge range when compared our jet planes, though no where near as much as your average Dropship or Warship

So, I would put BTech small craft tanks on a lower scale of need when compared to our current wet navy needs.  Not a bad idea, but as for a regular appearance for the average carrier, not so much.
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Daryk

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Re: Is there a role for small craft Tankers in ASF operations?
« Reply #41 on: 02 July 2021, 15:04:39 »
I think cray has it right with regard to size of the carriers.  Small carriers (which are the vast majority) have no need for a small craft tanker, but large ones might.

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Re: Is there a role for small craft Tankers in ASF operations?
« Reply #42 on: 03 July 2021, 18:46:54 »
A counterpoint:

Some DropShips operate large quantities of fighters, and there are carrier WarShips that operate very large quantities of fighters. Such DropShips and WarShips are bloody expensive.

If you have one carrier but a bunch of fighters then having everyone constantly return to the carrier is impractical, particularly if the fighters aren't going to the same destination.

However, those carriers usually also have smallcraft bays. That is a situation for smallcraft tankers. They can get out and support a couple of squadrons. They've got the strategic fuel efficiency to loiter or intercept squadrons.

I would still suggest any "interception" would be problematic given long range strikes using ASFs aren't really viable. ASFs are too limited by both fuel and life support and the fuel you don't use up while drifting to a target is still going to get used up in battle. You also still need to devote a ship to act as a carrier regardless of whether launching and recovery is an i convenience.

ASFs as Starfighters don't really make much sense in the BT universe. If you wanted a long range strike option, then you're essentially looking at a  2-3 crew DropShip built as a fighter but massing up to 1500 Tons, depending on role and capability.

Long range strike ops really needs DropShip support. Even if refuelling were an option, most small craft don't have overly large cargo capacities and any small craft given over to a tanker role is one less available for more routine operations. Large numbers of fighters awaiting recovery might be impractical but once they match course and velocity with the carrier, they are safe. They can wait their turn to land...life support is the limit, not fuel.

There uses for tanker craft within BT, but refuelling ASFs aren't one of them.
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Charistoph

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Re: Is there a role for small craft Tankers in ASF operations?
« Reply #43 on: 03 July 2021, 21:50:05 »
I would still suggest any "interception" would be problematic given long range strikes using ASFs aren't really viable. ASFs are too limited by both fuel and life support and the fuel you don't use up while drifting to a target is still going to get used up in battle. You also still need to devote a ship to act as a carrier regardless of whether launching and recovery is an i convenience.

ASFs as Starfighters don't really make much sense in the BT universe. If you wanted a long range strike option, then you're essentially looking at a  2-3 crew DropShip built as a fighter but massing up to 1500 Tons, depending on role and capability.

Long range strike ops really needs DropShip support. Even if refuelling were an option, most small craft don't have overly large cargo capacities and any small craft given over to a tanker role is one less available for more routine operations. Large numbers of fighters awaiting recovery might be impractical but once they match course and velocity with the carrier, they are safe. They can wait their turn to land...life support is the limit, not fuel.

There uses for tanker craft within BT, but refuelling ASFs aren't one of them.

Long range is a relative thing.  Long range for a 20th century fighter is quite doable with BT ASF.  They can also comfortably be capable of an intralunar strike, which is quite long range for us here in the 21st century at present.

If by long range you mean conducting a strike from a standard jump point, or even many different "pirate points", then you would be correct.  Having a carrier dropship deliver them to a closer strike point would be the word of the day.

That doesn't make ASF inviable as starfighers, though.  Their ability to outmaneuver any dropship and hit in concentrated points that much larger vessels have no prayer of hitting effectively.  On the aerospace scene, ASF are closer to Battle Armor with dropships and warships being the Combat Vehicles and Mechs of the void.  With the exception that these little guys can usually outrun and outmaneuver the big boys instead of being able to hide behind anything.
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Daryk

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Re: Is there a role for small craft Tankers in ASF operations?
« Reply #44 on: 04 July 2021, 04:55:14 »
Ships like the Achilles and Avenger (and Pentagon in an earlier era) are what you need for long range strike, really.

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Re: Is there a role for small craft Tankers in ASF operations?
« Reply #45 on: 04 July 2021, 08:58:47 »
I would still suggest any "interception" would be problematic given long range strikes using ASFs aren't really viable.

Define "long range strikes." You can readily use a standard aerospace fighter with no drop tanks to operate around a planet and its moons. 5 tons is enough to launch from a planet (like Terra) and reach moons (like Luna) or the L1 jump point. It is likewise adequate to operate from a carrier to cover such a volume, which is on the scale of tens of thousands of hexes. Some coasting would be required, but it's feasible.

Bringing along a smallcraft tanker would enable such fighters to add some fuel prior to or following combat but doesn't require duplicating an entire, giant carrier. Tankers enable that one big carrier to effectively be in multiple places at once.

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Daryk

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Re: Is there a role for small craft Tankers in ASF operations?
« Reply #46 on: 04 July 2021, 09:07:16 »
For that kind of tanking, I think an ASF version would work.  it would be a bit cheaper than a Small Craft.

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Re: Is there a role for small craft Tankers in ASF operations?
« Reply #47 on: 04 July 2021, 21:18:39 »
Long range is a relative thing.  Long range for a 20th century fighter is quite doable with BT ASF.

Yes, but I'm thinking relatively. An ASF can easily burn several tons of fuel in a space battle even sticking close to its mothership in a fleet defence role and that is one of the limiting factors. An ASF can drift for days...life support allowing...but it's going to burn the fuel in battle no matter where the battle takes place.

As for long range strike...given the context, I would suggest a similar mission profile to modern carrier operations. As in several times "gun range" where the carrier itself remains safe and out of range, and even detection.

But if you are expecting a battle at one end of a transit, you need fuel to get there, you need fuel for the battle and you need fuel to get back and you need a reserve. The standard five tons of fuel doesn't last long.

Such strikes are impractical against most military targets where a long range approach is likely to be spotted and unnecessary against civilian targets. A suicide strike wouldn't need refuelling tankers and most ASFs don't have the life support to allow a week long drift.

And external fuel tanks would be more useful and cheaper.

Quote
That doesn't make ASF inviable as starfighers, though.  Their ability to outmaneuver any dropship

That's a problem right there. Nine times out of ten, any DropShip should be able to easily evade any ASF. That ASFs are able to do so in function is a courtesy and should really only occur if the DropShip is already damaged or in a MUST DEFEND status preventing it from using its superior mobility.

Because thrust the issue, nor even acceleration. Its endurance...DropShips usually have fuel to burn, ASFs don't. Same with WarShips. They can burn long enough that they can outrun and outmaneuvre the fastest ASF.

So, long range ASF only strikes aren't practical.

ASFs CANNOT outrun a War/DropShip, or escape it. A typical 5/8 ASF has enough fuel for less than 8 minutes of full thrust after which he's a dutchman.

The best use for ASFs is orbital superiority and ground support missions. Fleet defence is a distant third given the limitations, and long range strikes independent of heavy support assets such as DropShips aren't really viable.




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Talen5000

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Re: Is there a role for small craft Tankers in ASF operations?
« Reply #48 on: 04 July 2021, 21:21:20 »
Bringing along a smallcraft tanker would enable such fighters to add some fuel prior to or following combat but doesn't require duplicating an entire, giant carrier. Tankers enable that one big carrier to effectively be in multiple places at once.

External fuel tanks largely do the same job without requiring a small craft bay.
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Charistoph

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Re: Is there a role for small craft Tankers in ASF operations?
« Reply #49 on: 05 July 2021, 16:47:29 »
Yes, but I'm thinking relatively. An ASF can easily burn several tons of fuel in a space battle even sticking close to its mothership in a fleet defence role and that is one of the limiting factors. An ASF can drift for days...life support allowing...but it's going to burn the fuel in battle no matter where the battle takes place.

As for long range strike...given the context, I would suggest a similar mission profile to modern carrier operations. As in several times "gun range" where the carrier itself remains safe and out of range, and even detection.

But if you are expecting a battle at one end of a transit, you need fuel to get there, you need fuel for the battle and you need fuel to get back and you need a reserve. The standard five tons of fuel doesn't last long.

Such strikes are impractical against most military targets where a long range approach is likely to be spotted and unnecessary against civilian targets. A suicide strike wouldn't need refuelling tankers and most ASFs don't have the life support to allow a week long drift.

And external fuel tanks would be more useful and cheaper.

You never explained how much "relatively" you're talking about, though.  I gave several different examples of what could be termed as "long range" that wouldn't work for ASF, but some that could, but you did not.  I noticed you cut that out of your quote of what I said, too.

Most ASF are capable of conducting a strike against something else on the other side of the planet, or even out in lunar orbits.  In fact, ASF bases are often placed on lunar stations to be in place to pounce incoming dropships, even though they may not be in the best position to do so.

Interplanetary travel, though, is not the point of ASF, nor was it ever intended to be.  It is to provide manueverable weapon platforms that can out-maneuver the ships and platforms of the larger ships.

And while external fuel tanks are better at extending range independent of support craft, support craft work even better for that process as they can be carrying a full load of fuel.  And if creatively managed, the use of both can extend that range even further.

That's a problem right there. Nine times out of ten, any DropShip should be able to easily evade any ASF. That ASFs are able to do so in function is a courtesy and should really only occur if the DropShip is already damaged or in a MUST DEFEND status preventing it from using its superior mobility.

Because thrust the issue, nor even acceleration. Its endurance...DropShips usually have fuel to burn, ASFs don't. Same with WarShips. They can burn long enough that they can outrun and outmaneuvre the fastest ASF.

So, long range ASF only strikes aren't practical.

ASFs CANNOT outrun a War/DropShip, or escape it. A typical 5/8 ASF has enough fuel for less than 8 minutes of full thrust after which he's a dutchman.

The best use for ASFs is orbital superiority and ground support missions. Fleet defence is a distant third given the limitations, and long range strikes independent of heavy support assets such as DropShips aren't really viable.

Yet they can outmanuever them up close and personal on the tactical stage.  Where most Warships and Dropships are reaching their maximum thrust, ASF are still capable of using their Safe Thrust.  True, if said Dropship or Warship is heading to another planet, it will leave the ASF behind, eventually (and will burn a much larger portion of fuel to do so).  But until it reaches that point it is will within the point of the far more maneuverable ASF's sword.

Also keep in mind that the ASF's strengths are at points were those Dropships and Warships either are trying to reach (i.e. planet) or had no choice in being (Jump Points) where their velocities MUST be slow and cannot out-run these small ships without leaving the theater all together.  In the meanwhile, those ASF could get a lucky shot on ammo, fuel stores, or even the bridge, reducing or eliminating the ship as a threat.

For a long-range pursuit (i.e. from planet to a jump point outside the planet's system), a carrier would be required as support craft wouldn't have the stores to help the ASF keep up.  And that carrier would need to be faster than those trying to escape to give the ASF a chance.
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Colt Ward

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Re: Is there a role for small craft Tankers in ASF operations?
« Reply #50 on: 06 July 2021, 11:53:07 »
External fuel tanks largely do the same job without requiring a small craft bay.

External tanks for a long range strike are fine- but the reason a Small Craft works better is it has the more efficient drive AND the crew set up for longer flights (aka, loiter time for mission)- it comes back around that fuel is not the most severe problem but LIFE SUPPORT.

In Atmo a flying craft needs fuel to keep airborne . . . in space, once you have established velocity you just need the fuel to slow down or re-direct.  It is life support that determines if your crew is still functioning by the time your established velocity gets you to your destination.
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RifleMech

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Re: Is there a role for small craft Tankers in ASF operations?
« Reply #51 on: 07 July 2021, 04:33:37 »
For those concerned about life support, there are External Consumables Pods which adds another 96 hours to the crafts endurance. (TM page 185). More crew members would cut that time down. Fighters can carry 1 external consumables pod for every 25 tons of fighter weight. So a 100 ton fighter with 4 external consumables pods would extend it's operational time to 480 hours? I think that would cover a good many types of missions.

Long range patrol, SAR, long range ferry missions are all good for tankers. Especially, with a large number of fighters involved. The bigger the tanker the better but even if it's just using large fighters as tankers would be better than running out of fuel.

Reading this thread had me thinking of the Cylons ambushing the colonial fleet in the original BSG. They launched fighters with some dropship tankers to hit the fleet while the Base Stars hit the planet. So I can totally see long range strike, or defense missions carried out this way. Send the fighters out and have them attack from a different direction from the rest of the force.

I can also see maximizing invasion forces. Take ground forces up and transfer them to the jumpship. Then load fighters. Jump. Launch fighters and then transfer the ground units back into the dropship. Launch the invasion with more fighters and ground units you'd normally be able to take. If heavy AS resistance is expected, carry more fighters than ground forces. More cubicles like those on the Confederate would make this easier but it could be done without. Launch fighters, transfer more from cargo and launch them while the first out just wait. That way, the number of forces brought to the planet are more than would be expected for the number of dropships and jumpship fighter bays. So there's a numerical advantage as well as surprised and confusion. The defenders are going to be wondering where they all came from and where the other jumpships and dropships are and keep forces in reserve for when they pop up. Which of course makes things more difficult for the defenders fighting.

Another use for Tankers would be to help LAMs. They don't have the fuel ASF do. They also can't use drop tanks unless they have bomb bays. Having a tanker to refuel them would be a big help to any mission using LAMs.

Wolf72

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Re: Is there a role for small craft Tankers in ASF operations?
« Reply #52 on: 08 July 2021, 19:19:28 »
somewhere I thought that different types of CF/ASF/SV fighters used different types of fuel?  Maybe it was just Support vehicle tech levels using different types of 'jet' fuel.  Any clarification?

LAMs: if they remain in fighter mode can they use drop tanks until used up?  I like the idea of a LAM unit having a tanker or two available for refueling given how anemic their fuel tanks usually are.
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Re: Is there a role for small craft Tankers in ASF operations?
« Reply #53 on: 09 July 2021, 10:38:21 »
somewhere I thought that different types of CF/ASF/SV fighters used different types of fuel?  Maybe it was just Support vehicle tech levels using different types of 'jet' fuel.  Any clarification?

LAMs: if they remain in fighter mode can they use drop tanks until used up?  I like the idea of a LAM unit having a tanker or two available for refueling given how anemic their fuel tanks usually are.

Not that I know of. The only difference is how much fuel they have per ton.

They can if they have bomb bays. If not, it's whatever internal fuel tanks they have. Usually, just the 1 ton of fuel. If they don't have to spend a lot of time in Fighter mode, it's enough. For missions with more time spent in Fighter mode I can see a tanker going with them or meeting them.

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Re: Is there a role for small craft Tankers in ASF operations?
« Reply #54 on: 09 July 2021, 10:57:51 »
There is at least one canon example of a LAM with a bomb bay, the Wasp LAM Mk I WSP-100 (TRO:3085).
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Wolf72

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Re: Is there a role for small craft Tankers in ASF operations?
« Reply #55 on: 09 July 2021, 14:12:18 »
Fuel: I may be conflating ASF/CF with SV ... i.e. a Tech B ICE propeller driven aircraft can not use a Tech C ICE prop driven's fuel.  Or I could totally have justified/made that up in my head.
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RifleMech

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Re: Is there a role for small craft Tankers in ASF operations?
« Reply #56 on: 10 July 2021, 00:15:02 »
There is at least one canon example of a LAM with a bomb bay, the Wasp LAM Mk I WSP-100 (TRO:3085).

Which is why I think a tanker could be of help to them on some missions.



Fuel: I may be conflating ASF/CF with SV ... i.e. a Tech B ICE propeller driven aircraft can not use a Tech C ICE prop driven's fuel.  Or I could totally have justified/made that up in my head.

I don't remember any rule like that. I know certain fuels weight more so you get less mileage. Using a more advanced fuel? I'm too tired to see it but I don't remember any rule that says no. It'd just mean that that unit gets increased mileage.

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Re: Is there a role for small craft Tankers in ASF operations?
« Reply #57 on: 13 July 2021, 14:57:31 »
For those concerned about life support, there are External Consumables Pods which adds another 96 hours to the crafts endurance. (TM page 185). More crew members would cut that time down. Fighters can carry 1 external consumables pod for every 25 tons of fighter weight. So a 100 ton fighter with 4 external consumables pods would extend it's operational time to 480 hours? I think that would cover a good many types of missions.

480 hours = 20 days, in the cockpit of an ASF

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RifleMech

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Re: Is there a role for small craft Tankers in ASF operations?
« Reply #58 on: 13 July 2021, 16:43:00 »
480 hours = 20 days, in the cockpit of an ASF

I think I just found a new punishment method

Buzz the tower, go on a really long flight?

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Re: Is there a role for small craft Tankers in ASF operations?
« Reply #59 on: 17 July 2021, 05:50:07 »
So to buck the trend a little bit... Small craft are ideal tankers for a very important reason no one mentioned--docking collar cost.  A fleet of small craft can supply a jumpship/warship, or ferry from jump point to planets, without costing an arm and a leg.  Operational disadvantages of small craft pale in comparison to the cost difference.  So if you are setting up picket forces of asf, a jumpship can carry 1 large dropship, and that one dropship can launch dozens of fighters and carry a detachment of small craft to go to planets, go to figher combat air patrol waypoints, go back to the jumpship, ECT.  This allows you to save your very limited number of dropship slots for mission critical roles.

Put another way--a small craft does a meh job as tanker.  A dropship does a better job as tanker.  A warship is the best possible tanker.  You have 0 warships.  You have 0 free dropships.  So you use lots of small craft tankers.

As for asf, in interstellar conflict outside of picket duties and very important planetary insertion air cover, asf are great for closing engagements as you can launch them and break away with the carrier.  In deep space, closing engagements are the only real engagements presuming you are not ambushed the second you jump in or the second you reach a planet.  Small craft Tankers would let you recover those fighter you flung away from your dropship burning retrograde.