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Author Topic: What to call the "sensors" officer?  (Read 865 times)

Alan Grant

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What to call the "sensors" officer?
« on: 07 December 2022, 07:19:40 »
On a dropship/jumpship/warship I'm trying to think of a good official title or term for the officers/crew/department in charge of sensors. Radar, neutrino scanners, passive and active scanners of all kinds, thermal imaging, even optical telescopes pop up on some spacecraft. If it helps to be more specific this would be aboard a warship, so big department with all the fancy toys.

For some reason I hate the term "sensors" and I'm not sure I've ever seen it used in BT as a title or department. If that turns out to be legit by canon source I'll accept it, but until then to me it's a little too sci-fi generic.

Thoughts? Suggestions?

Dragon Cat

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Re: What to call the "sensors" officer?
« Reply #1 on: 07 December 2022, 07:47:26 »
Operations Watch? Could also cover small craft launching etc although you'd think that would be Air Boss or something similar

Space Monitoring? Maybe too intelligency

Tactical Operations? On a WarShip would make sense
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Re: What to call the "sensors" officer?
« Reply #2 on: 07 December 2022, 10:13:43 »
IRL warship sensor operators are just referred to as that - sensor operators  :P  Though I believe some of them might have specific descriptors, like sonar operator or radar operator.  Perhaps on a BattleTech warship you might have a K-F emergence scanner operator in addition to a radar operator.  I'm not familiar with useful space-based sensors so there are probably others you might be able to use.
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monbvol

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Re: What to call the "sensors" officer?
« Reply #3 on: 07 December 2022, 11:57:42 »
Other possible titles are EWO(Electronics Warfare Officer) and now I'm blanking on what Cannonshop's RTO stands for but I'd imagine in a black water navy either of those could suffice.

smdvogrin

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Re: What to call the "sensors" officer?
« Reply #4 on: 07 December 2022, 13:59:19 »
On a dropship/jumpship/warship I'm trying to think of a good official title or term for the officers/crew/department in charge of sensors. Radar, neutrino scanners, passive and active scanners of all kinds, thermal imaging, even optical telescopes pop up on some spacecraft. If it helps to be more specific this would be aboard a warship, so big department with all the fancy toys.

For some reason I hate the term "sensors" and I'm not sure I've ever seen it used in BT as a title or department. If that turns out to be legit by canon source I'll accept it, but until then to me it's a little too sci-fi generic.

Thoughts? Suggestions?

I'd call them a Tracking officer/department/team.

Cannonshop

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Re: What to call the "sensors" officer?
« Reply #5 on: 07 December 2022, 14:25:33 »
On a dropship/jumpship/warship I'm trying to think of a good official title or term for the officers/crew/department in charge of sensors. Radar, neutrino scanners, passive and active scanners of all kinds, thermal imaging, even optical telescopes pop up on some spacecraft. If it helps to be more specific this would be aboard a warship, so big department with all the fancy toys.

For some reason I hate the term "sensors" and I'm not sure I've ever seen it used in BT as a title or department. If that turns out to be legit by canon source I'll accept it, but until then to me it's a little too sci-fi generic.

Thoughts? Suggestions?

Generally, the guy overseeing the various operators would be your "Operations Officer" on a larger vessel (jumpships, large dropship, or warship), because those roles can either be compressed into a single guy on a small ship, or spread out over a whole department on something like, say, a McKenna.

why do I say that? because those roles also have secondary duties-or serve as secondary duties to other roles.  For example, a Gunnery officer would need to know where the enemy is to direct weapons fire (range, position, velocity, course) while a Navigation officer needs to know if there's a big rock in the way, or other traffic at the jump point (and where that traffic is in relation to his own vessel, how fast, what vector...)

A Comms operator can triangulate a signal to determine where someone they're listening to is...

and so on.

The guy whose job is to tie all that together and give the Captain a complete picture to make decisions with? is your Operations officer (or equivalent).

Remember, the Captain's job, is to make decisions, his staff officers are there to give him as accurate a picture as possible in order to make those decisions.

(his other job, and one might argue most important job, is to look and sound confident like he knows what he's doing...especially when he doesn't.)
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Alan Grant

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Re: What to call the "sensors" officer?
« Reply #6 on: 07 December 2022, 14:29:23 »
IRL warship sensor operators are just referred to as that - sensor operators  :P  Though I believe some of them might have specific descriptors, like sonar operator or radar operator.  Perhaps on a BattleTech warship you might have a K-F emergence scanner operator in addition to a radar operator.  I'm not familiar with useful space-based sensors so there are probably others you might be able to use.

Really? I didn't know that.

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Re: What to call the "sensors" officer?
« Reply #7 on: 07 December 2022, 17:07:09 »
My guess is that you'd have a single Sensors officer in charge of everything, then below that person your have folks on radar, telescopes, IR, K-F pulses, and lidar. Those sensors that are closely tied to gunnery may functionally be part of that department, and it wouldn't surprise me if K-F and telescopes are one group, as they represent your very long range sensors.
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Daryk

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Re: What to call the "sensors" officer?
« Reply #8 on: 07 December 2022, 20:10:52 »
Sorry I'm late!

For the radars and such, the current Department Head title is "Combat Systems Officer (CSO)", at least for big enouigh ships.

On smaller ships, my community's DIVOs are called "SIGWO" for "Signals Warfare Officer".

Radar and other pure sensors are generally lumped into the Operations Department.

Ultimately it's up to the CO how they organize their ship.  Navies over the centuries always default to that...  ^-^

Cannonshop

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Re: What to call the "sensors" officer?
« Reply #9 on: 07 December 2022, 22:02:41 »
Sorry I'm late!

For the radars and such, the current Department Head title is "Combat Systems Officer (CSO)", at least for big enouigh ships.

On smaller ships, my community's DIVOs are called "SIGWO" for "Signals Warfare Officer".

Radar and other pure sensors are generally lumped into the Operations Department.

Ultimately it's up to the CO how they organize their ship.  Navies over the centuries always default to that...  ^-^

I stand corrected sir.
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Daryk

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Re: What to call the "sensors" officer?
« Reply #10 on: 07 December 2022, 22:11:15 »
And there are ALWAYS exceptions, so no worries good sir!  :thumbsup:

Alan Grant

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Re: What to call the "sensors" officer?
« Reply #11 on: 08 December 2022, 06:48:07 »
Interesting, thanks. :)

Colt Ward

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Re: What to call the "sensors" officer?
« Reply #12 on: 08 December 2022, 11:40:51 »
I think the key thing is to know how large the ship is . . .

FREX, a dropship might only have one crewman operating sensors with a lot of computer support . . . a Star League McKenna?  It might have a radar section, lidar section, someone monitoring neutrinos, IR, or other types of sensors.  On larger ships, humans are going to be able to directly monitor and oversee the returns while on that dropship the single person is going to be relying on pattern recognition or other software to draw their attention to anomalies. 

Think of Red October where the USS Dallas sonar operators are in their own compartment watching the screens, listening to the returns, and in the story's case picking up a pattern the computer is not programmed to analyze.  Or other movies where a radar operator is calling off bearings, returns & behaviors for radar contacts.

Now, to what I think was your original question?  Who is going to be the one on the bridge reporting?  It is going to be someone who is handling the tactical aspect of ship operations . . . it could be Daryk's CSO or just 'Tactical' like some franchises use.  Navigation or engineering might use the data, but they will not be the ones reporting it usually- FREX, either Navigation is told to set a course and they use sensor data along with charts/maps, or they would answer a question- 'Can you plot a course through this planetary ring debris?'
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grimlock1

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Re: What to call the "sensors" officer?
« Reply #13 on: 08 December 2022, 12:55:08 »
My guess is that you'd have a single Sensors officer in charge of everything, then below that person your have folks on radar, telescopes, IR, K-F pulses, and lidar. Those sensors that are closely tied to gunnery may functionally be part of that department, and it wouldn't surprise me if K-F and telescopes are one group, as they represent your very long range sensors.

Don't modern warships have multiple radar sets?  Fire control radar is under the weapons group, nav radar belongs to they navigation group, etc?

While I imagine its possible to aim the guns of a warship using the astronavigation telescope, or the docking radar,  the guns would probably go into local control first.
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Daryk

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Re: What to call the "sensors" officer?
« Reply #14 on: 08 December 2022, 18:53:46 »
grimlock1, you are correct!   :thumbsup:

Sensors are assigned to the function that uses them.  This varies by type of ship, of course.

I've served on attack submarines and aircraft carriers, perhaps the absolute extremes of that curve.  It all comes down to manpower.  You can only fit so many people on a ship of a given size, and the organization will follow from that.

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Re: What to call the "sensors" officer?
« Reply #15 on: 08 December 2022, 19:05:34 »
I don't care if its 3060, everyone shall be known as RADAR & that's that.

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grimlock1

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Re: What to call the "sensors" officer?
« Reply #16 on: 09 December 2022, 13:10:53 »
grimlock1, you are correct!   :thumbsup:

Sensors are assigned to the function that uses them.  This varies by type of ship, of course.

I've served on attack submarines and aircraft carriers, perhaps the absolute extremes of that curve.  It all comes down to manpower.  You can only fit so many people on a ship of a given size, and the organization will follow from that.
But care and feeding of that hardware is probably centralized right?  WO Phil might spend all of Tuesday fixing Fire Control Radar #3, then on Wednesday he's working on Nav Radar #1?

And in a modern SF setting, any sensor can be monitored from an iPad in the Captain's head.
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Daryk

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Re: What to call the "sensors" officer?
« Reply #17 on: 09 December 2022, 18:10:25 »
That depends entirely on the size of the ship.  On a small ship, WO Phil could very well do what yo outlined.  On a large one, another section would work on the other radar.

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Re: What to call the "sensors" officer?
« Reply #18 on: 09 December 2022, 20:00:16 »
Sorry I'm late!

For the radars and such, the current Department Head title is "Combat Systems Officer (CSO)", at least for big enouigh ships.

On smaller ships, my community's DIVOs are called "SIGWO" for "Signals Warfare Officer".

Radar and other pure sensors are generally lumped into the Operations Department.

Ultimately it's up to the CO how they organize their ship.  Navies over the centuries always default to that...  ^-^
On a submarine (10 years ago), sonar was under the Sonar Officer in the Weapons Department.

The navigation radar and ESM (passive radar) were under the Navigator/Operations Officer. Navigation Division had the radar as a tertiary duty, and ESM was under the Communications Division.
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Cannonshop

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Re: What to call the "sensors" officer?
« Reply #19 on: 09 December 2022, 20:10:18 »
On a submarine (10 years ago), sonar was under the Sonar Officer in the Weapons Department.

The navigation radar and ESM (passive radar) were under the Navigator/Operations Officer. Navigation Division had the radar as a tertiary duty, and ESM was under the Communications Division.

Y'know what makes me feel old? Some of the guys commenting as Vets now, were announcing their enlistments on a prior iteration of these boards and I was already out of the service...and now they're cropping up as veterans having completed careers. 

It reminds me that I'm "one of those old guys".

sorry for the digression there.
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Daryk

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Re: What to call the "sensors" officer?
« Reply #20 on: 09 December 2022, 21:09:00 »
Heh... I'm at 29 and still going... I'm looking into Retire/Retain status.  The last thing I want is to get comfortably retired, and then get called back.

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Re: What to call the "sensors" officer?
« Reply #21 on: 15 December 2022, 22:40:21 »
Y'know what makes me feel old? Some of the guys commenting as Vets now, were announcing their enlistments on a prior iteration of these boards and I was already out of the service...and now they're cropping up as veterans having completed careers. 

It reminds me that I'm "one of those old guys".

sorry for the digression there.
I know, I know. I'm just over 16 total active and reserve now, and the time has passed quite quickly.

Back On Topic...

For search sensors, those on surface ships are generally operated by Operations Specialists under the Combat Information Center Officer, who reports to the OPS (in theory). Weapons directors are operated by Fire Controlmen under the Fire Control Officer (if that's how the ship is organized), or Weapons Officer. Sonar on targets skimmers ends up as it's own division under the Combat Systems officer.
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glitterboy2098

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Re: What to call the "sensors" officer?
« Reply #22 on: 16 December 2022, 19:47:19 »
don't get too bogged down in naval traditions, don't forget that space operations can draw as much from military aviation traditions as naval ones, so some degree of mixing might occur. the sensor systems of a warship or dropship for example have as much in common with a real world AWACS as they do wet navy vessels. probably even more like an AWACS given the three dimensional nature.

an AWACS mission team looks roughly liek this: https://awacs.nato.int/operations/mission-crew

Daryk

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Re: What to call the "sensors" officer?
« Reply #23 on: 16 December 2022, 20:00:03 »
Don't forget that BattleTech space traditions leaned Naval from a very early date...  8)

 

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