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Author Topic: Stone Age's Civilian Conversion dropships  (Read 1142 times)

Colt Ward

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Stone Age's Civilian Conversion dropships
« on: 27 January 2021, 12:43:26 »
NOT ASKING FOR SPECIFIC DESIGNS, link them from the proper place if you want
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With that out of the way . . . in the 2nd MWDA novel we get the description of a 'new' type of dropship- the Civilian Conversions.  As part of Stone's swords-to-plowshares mentality and general de-militarization, military dropships were converted to civilian applications  While not given specifics, some weapons and cubicles were removed to give more cargo space carrying capacity . . . and perhaps some armor depending on the ship.  The only two classes specifically mentioned in the MWDA fiction were for a Okinawa and a Overlord though the implication was the program was carried out across the 'fleet' of dropships.

But what would they lose?  What other changes might occur?

Let's look at the Okinawa over all . . . they had a design shift that increased the armor to the nose . . . probably easy to remove that 'extra' armor that was placed on the nose.  But what about the interior?  The design originally carries 18 fighters- and the CC adaptation did not rebuild the ship in such a way they could not go back to carrying fighters.  The known example was effectively a Steel Wolf Q-ship, traffic control still thought it was a Okinawa CC . . . right up until it started launching fighters.  So the hull & decks were not altered in such a way to remove any future use as a carrier.  I would suggest that both flight decks had all the ASF cubicles removed and perhaps 1 or 2 small craft cubicles put in place per deck.  This converts something like 18 fighter cubicles to 2300t of cargo.

Which is a start, but it is still a 'combat' DS . . . and by the CC description the weapons were reduced.  With 13 large energy weapons (ERLL, ERPPC, LPL) and mixed missile racks it is a lighter armament than some but I do not know that it compares to other 'civilian' DS of equipped weapons.  Closest pure civilian DS I can find is the Bucaneer, which has 1 LL, 1 LRM5 and 6 ML though its aerodyne and 1kt lighter- also 13 tons armor vs the Okinawa's 43.  So to convert IMO the Okinawa would go to at best go to 3 large energy weapons with the other mounts getting MLs or ending up vacant.  The missiles would lose their Artemis IV with the 20s being removed while the 10s stay.  The SRM6s totally removed . . . and the Streaks stay as a 'cheap' addition?  The energy weapons would give up about 50 tons, over 40 tons for missile launchers . . . and the bigger savings would be pulling the extra DHS- 87 would no longer be needed.

I would suggest that officer, crew, and gunner quarters no longer needed would become passenger quarters- basically the rooms were just repurposed.  Granted it is not really a great merchant ship, but with a post-war (lots of wars) loss in shipping- especially when the Jihad would target freighters compared to the Clan invasion- it gets some freight moving instead of having to wait years for new freighters.  Of course the Overlord would end up moving more freight when converted.

So what do you think would be involved in a Civilian Conversion of military transport DS?  Keep in mind both of the two known examples were re-militarized without much difficulty- mostly just time and sourcing weapons.
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glitterboy2098

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Re: Stone Age's Civilian Conversion dropships
« Reply #1 on: 27 January 2021, 14:30:12 »
a lot of mech carriers could easily just have the excess guns and the mechbay facilities pulled out and cargo handling gear installed.. they tend to just be a few large holds anyway, replacing the mechbay stuff with tie downs for cargo containers wouldn't be much work.
« Last Edit: 27 January 2021, 14:31:43 by glitterboy2098 »

Colt Ward

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Re: Stone Age's Civilian Conversion dropships
« Reply #2 on: 27 January 2021, 14:36:56 »
True, but we get that already with canon stories.  The 'CC' were a bit different- not a lot but a bit.  The MWDA book where Aaron Sandoval turns the Overlord CC Tyranos Rex into his flagship had them spending time in port taking it back to closer to the original set up but he had some additional modifications put in.
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Re: Stone Age's Civilian Conversion dropships
« Reply #3 on: 27 January 2021, 20:05:47 »
Civilian conversions would be ripping the material out, while converting them back to military would be removing whatever is in their place, reinstalling the equipment, and reconnecting power/cooling/targeting systems.  For the Command conversion, I could see a shipping container or complete Mobile HQ vehicle driven into the Dropship and secured in place.  To make this work properly you would need to link the Mobile HQ with the Dropship's communication systems, which could involve a bit of time in a port to make sure the connections are all good.

For weapons removal, you just pull out the weapons themselves and weld the weapon covers closed.  The five tons freed up from removing a Large Laser is now used for five tons of spare parts and other maintenance equipment/supplies (ask anyone who has served on a ship, any open space can be used to carry equipment, officially or otherwise).  Or it could be used for a single Steerage Quarters, where the life support gear is shoved into any cranny that will work.  The nicer looking freed up Steerage Quarters is repurposed into passenger transport.

Ammunition removal allows the Dropship to carry relatively dangerous equipment in sturdy containers, extra heat sinks allow a Passenger Vessel to have a winter wonderland special evening with plenty of ice and snow, and additional thrusters allow for redundancy when hauling cargo in the Periphery regions (if a Dropship only needs 3/5 thrust and it has 8/12, that means it can shut down half of its engines and still be safe to lift off).

RifleMech

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Re: Stone Age's Civilian Conversion dropships
« Reply #4 on: 28 January 2021, 05:48:59 »
My guess would be 1/2 to 2/3s of the weapon systems and cubicles, for those operating mostly in the Republic. Maybe. I don't think armor would be removed. It'd be an asset for marketing purposes. The more armor the more protected the cargo and passengers are. The weapons would be too but I'm not sure how many Stone would allow. If they operated exclusively in the Republic then I'd say very few but dropships traveling out of the Republic might need more weapons.

I don't know if all the cubicles would need to be removed either. They could easily be repurposed for civilian uses. IndustrialMechs, cargo and passenger shuttles, work exoskeletons, civilian vehicles.
Even infantry bays could be used for cattle car class passengers. Keeping the cubicles would make loading and unloading of these cargo types a lot faster. Even just keeping some of the cubicles and using these units on the dropship would make loading and unloading faster. Some of the bays could also be swapped out different bays. Four Mech bays could be replaced with four light and four heavy vehicle bays, or just four vehicle bays and 200-400 tons of cargo. It wouldn't be a "threatening" but could still move units pretty quickly. And since time is money, I can see companies hiring "demilitarized" dropships to move their cargo faster. They could even charge more for express delivery. 

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Re: Stone Age's Civilian Conversion dropships
« Reply #5 on: 28 January 2021, 09:50:34 »
Armor would also be part of the structure, and not easily removed, I think.

Upon reentry, poorly performed modifications to the armor could fail catastrophically. I'd go with
-Removing Mech and fighter cubicles
-Adding some passenger space
-Possibly refitting a fighter cube or two into a small craft bay(s)
-Remove electronics (more a maintenance idea)
-Reduction in weapons fit. Removing ammo based weapons, and any recovered technology.
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Colt Ward

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Re: Stone Age's Civilian Conversion dropships
« Reply #6 on: 28 January 2021, 10:24:10 »
I agree removing armor is not as big a deal- it is defensive after all- but IIRC the Overlord had its armor reduced and replacing it was problematic or the ship owner was warning his ship could not take as much damage as the 'standard' military Overlord until they hit a shipyard.

Removing ammo-based weapons would make sense, but from what I can find among the 'civilian' DS that does not seem to be a standard thing, just smaller numbers of non-energy weapon than military ships.  I do not think there is a 'maritime' law in BTU about the standard weapons that can be mounted on the dropships, have to sort of extrapolate the 'standard' by using Bucaneer, Mule, Jumbo, Mammoth & Behemoth load out.
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Colt Ward

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Re: Stone Age's Civilian Conversion dropships
« Reply #7 on: 23 March 2021, 09:27:10 »
Almost forgot one of the first ones we saw in fiction but picked it up now that A Call to War is digital.  Tassa Kay's Ryoken II mod showed up on Archernar on a Union CC from Dieron.  The dropship retained two mech cubicles for transport but they were able to fill the mech cubicles with crates, secured by straps and charged myomer restraints.  No indication of weapons stripped off but it would make sense as part of the MMRP as I stated earlier.
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Colt Ward

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Re: Stone Age's Civilian Conversion dropships
« Reply #8 on: 24 March 2021, 15:47:50 »
Further mention at the space port- a Kuan Ti CC.  Given as 'limited in firepower after its military decommissioning' it was still said to have assault class ACs and a heavy missile battery.  Which would seem to indicate all the energy weapons were removed along with the Gauss Rifles as part of the decommissioning.
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Re: Stone Age's Civilian Conversion dropships
« Reply #9 on: 26 March 2021, 08:28:30 »
True, but we get that already with canon stories.  The 'CC' were a bit different- not a lot but a bit.  The MWDA book where Aaron Sandoval turns the Overlord CC Tyranos Rex into his flagship had them spending time in port taking it back to closer to the original set up but he had some additional modifications put in.

The 'Tyranos Rex' bit was a annoying as hell. I mean Sandoval literally wanted to cut a massive hole into a dropship. One he didn't even own personally!
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Re: Stone Age's Civilian Conversion dropships
« Reply #10 on: 07 April 2021, 15:08:22 »
Regardless of what you pull out for cargo. The important bonus is the military drop ship fuel economy. 

Would increease production of the Rose class drop ship as I figure a lot of Overlords and such was would have been lost during the Jihad . Just would not replace all the losses . I like the idea of removing ammo using weapons and adding things like double heat sinks and laser AMS .

I am of the opinion  absolute numbers of military units would be reduced for real and on paper but the demobbed units XL Fusion Engines of all types would replace ICE engines and regular fusion engines in tanks and put in commercial ships and barges to maximize peace time militia defense and supply and distribution infrastructure.   

Taking the existance for real and on paper conventional vehicles of all kinds making factory level Field Refit kits to make combat vehicles for militia far more capable than the stock unit would also happen  . Some demobbed troops move to militia units . Transfering better ammo types to them while former Veterans train new recruits how to use . While aggregate military gets expectedly smaller the units that remain get far more lean mean capable. 

Every Arms restriction treaty ever made since before WW I has been bent by the letter to kill the spirit before actual conflict gets it put into the Ash heap of history. 
« Last Edit: 07 April 2021, 15:10:08 by Col Toda »

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Re: Stone Age's Civilian Conversion dropships
« Reply #11 on: 07 April 2021, 15:35:12 »
 . . . mechs and tanks were straight up confiscated.

What this topic was about, and why it was in Aerospace, was theoretical discussions of types of changes to de-mil military transports.  Different points in history have had laws/regulations laying out allowances for civilian ships to be armed for deferring pirates.  Some fictional universes did the same sort of thing.  AFAIK there is nothing in BT that has any sort of stipulations except perhaps back during the Star League when the size of House militaries were limited which would not get into civilian shipping laws.

Further . . . as far as I know there is no difference on the intersystem drive between a Overlord and a Mule besides variations in mass to reach X thrust.
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glitterboy2098

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Re: Stone Age's Civilian Conversion dropships
« Reply #12 on: 13 April 2021, 20:11:26 »
Regardless of what you pull out for cargo. The important bonus is the military drop ship fuel economy. 

Would increase production of the Rose class drop ship as I figure a lot of Overlords and such was would have been lost during the Jihad . Just would not replace all the losses . I like the idea of removing ammo using weapons and adding things like double heat sinks and laser AMS .
actually i could see the demilitarized ships being left with SHS, as a way to deter them from being re-armed. i especially suspect they'd strip out any SHS not integral to the engines. limited heat dissipation ability would limit the kinds and types of weapons you can mount on a dropship, and they could easily keep watch for mass purchases of heatsinks or the systems to convert dropships to DHS as a way to find people attempting to rearm ships.

remember part of the danger isn't just converting dropships back to mech carriers, but also to watch for the creation of Q-ships and other pocket warships.

Col Toda

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Re: Stone Age's Civilian Conversion dropships
« Reply #13 on: 28 April 2021, 00:52:24 »
I would not think Pocket Warships would be included in Stone's disarmament plan . They are very poor means to project power and are a good system  monitor like defense against the dropships that carry  mechs and combat vehicles.  As a CV they are sad with the Overlord still carrying only 6 . If anything using them as customs inspection and Bastion recharge station defense would hedge against a nation blatantly doing things counter to Stone's disarmament  plan . Still think converting mech and combat vehicle bays to cargo and  changing to an all energy weapons load particularly laser AMS would make sense . Aerospace fighter bays might remain or get replaces for smallcraft bays . I do disagree that going single Heat sinks would be a way to go . No point Laser AMS is a very high heat system.  The whole point of disarmament treaties is to restrict the participants ability to project power . Stone's  plan does that . I am just saying that the obvious consequence is far more able and effective militia units would rise and means to boot strap rearmament would be put in place so when it gets tossed out your faction is first out of the gate .

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Re: Stone Age's Civilian Conversion dropships
« Reply #14 on: 28 April 2021, 06:40:30 »
For the record, Aaron Sandoval's Tryannis Rex is Excalibur Class Dropship.

Additionally there was confusion about what it was in it's military service.

It was a FedSuns ship, but at the time the Jihad Era books were coming out and Pocket Warship concept was developed. The Hot Spot book featuring it hinted as did the novel the ship from the novel and one modified to be Pocket Warship variant was one in same ship.

Unfortunately, it was never cleared up if ship was or not due to a typo in the ship's name.

I asked the question in the old forums. The essential popped possiblity of the two ships being someone.
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Colt Ward

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Re: Stone Age's Civilian Conversion dropships
« Reply #15 on: 28 April 2021, 09:11:30 »
I thought it was actually hinting at being the same type of Excalibur as the one wrecked by the Avalon over Kathil before it's hulk was thrown back at the warship?

MWDA novels were mostly done before CGL ever started up Jihad books IIRC.
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Re: Stone Age's Civilian Conversion dropships
« Reply #16 on: 28 April 2021, 14:14:38 »
I would not think Pocket Warships would be included in Stone's disarmament plan . They are very poor means to project power and are a good system  monitor like defense against the dropships that carry  mechs and combat vehicles.  As a CV they are sad with the Overlord still carrying only 6 . If anything using them as customs inspection and Bastion recharge station defense would hedge against a nation blatantly doing things counter to Stone's disarmament  plan . Still think converting mech and combat vehicle bays to cargo and  changing to an all energy weapons load particularly laser AMS would make sense . Aerospace fighter bays might remain or get replaces for smallcraft bays . I do disagree that going single Heat sinks would be a way to go . No point Laser AMS is a very high heat system.  The whole point of disarmament treaties is to restrict the participants ability to project power . Stone's  plan does that . I am just saying that the obvious consequence is far more able and effective militia units would rise and means to boot strap rearmament would be put in place so when it gets tossed out your faction is first out of the gate .

Pocket Warships (aka large & heavily armed Dropships) can be a very rapid defensive unit and project power too.  A Dropship can get a ride on any Jumpship heading in the right direction, meaning that if it can only get a connection 1/day, that is about 200 ly it can travel in a week.  So if the Pocket Warships were stationed at Sol, they could get to almost anywhere in the Republic within a week.

This is useful not just for defense (imagine a few Castrum Dropships showing up among your Jumpships), but also for offense.  Send the Li-Fu-equipped Star Lord Jumpship with 3 Castrums in first.  If the Castrums can defeat the observed local forces, release them and the Jumpship uses its Li-Fu battery to return.  If the Castrums can't win, the whole Jumpship (with Castrums) returns.  The Castrums can then be attached to another Jumpship, and they are used to check out the other Jump point.


Your idea about changing to an all-energy loadout does make sense, and that could have been part of Stone's plans.  An energy loadout allows for long-duration operations (since the only fuel/ammo needed is hydrogen), while a ballistic and missile armament means that the supporting nation has to build the necessary factories to produce the ammunition to keep their forces ready.  So instead of a sudden and massive draw-down, the first part of the treaty would be reducing the percentage of energy weapons on Mechs and vehicles.  If Stone had the most energy-armed Mechs, the other House Lords would be more likely to agree.

After that, use legislation/taxes to encourage the reduction of Mech Bays (over a certain amount per ton of Dropship), ASF (similar limitation), Heavy Vehicle Bays, etc, so Dropships can still fight in space, have their income supplemented by a House budget, or stay away from Republic inspectors.  The fun part is the Houses will then turn their military power outward, towards the various pirate groups.  They don't need as much military power towards the center of the Inner Sphere, so those troops get sent on pirate hunting missions.

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Re: Stone Age's Civilian Conversion dropships
« Reply #17 on: 02 May 2021, 10:50:15 »
The Excalibur that was featured in the MWDA Novel, Tyrannos Rex was a civilian converted variant. Which not stated right now, the novel mentions that the ship had upgraded engines (maybe captain was being prideful, but hard to say.) Which were not on your average Excalibur.  It only had couple Mech bays, one just for CargoHauler Mech (supposedly this was unique custom/prototype), one for transport.  Not sure if it ever had guns before it was converted into the flying palace, but it was able to launch at least lance of Mechs when it was used to relieve the besieged Swordsworn whom were fighting losing battle against the Capellans.
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