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Author Topic: Ancile class Point Defense Craft: Pretend it was there the whole time  (Read 1473 times)

Liam's Ghost

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The periphery states never really had much of a chance of standing up to the full might of the newly formed Star League when the Pollux Proclamation was issued. Even the vaunted Taurian Navy would be badly outmatched, with even victory leaving them with losses they could not replace against an enemy with a tremendous lead in WarShips and support vessels. For the Magistracy, the Outworlds, and the Rim Worlds, the balance of power was skewed to the point where even the thought of a standup naval engagement was insanity. Every periphery state hoped to boost the odds through the use of privateers and disguised merchant cruisers to raid supply lines and ambush isolated forces of Star League ships, and one of the best weapons they had for these operations was probably the humble capital missile. These weapons were cheap, easy to make, small enough to be used by dropships or jumpships alike, and, when equipped with even low yield nuclear warheads, a potential existential threat (though use of nuclear warheads by privateers was all but unheard of, as even the periphery states were unwilling to casually hand out weapons of mass destruction to civilian auxiliaries). Most important of all, they could be launched well beyond the range of typical capital weapon systems (often times relying on targeting data provided by spotters closer in) or deployed as clouds of sleeper munitions well in advance of the enemy's arrival. This allowed the auxiliaries to engage even capital ships without risking their own often fragile converted merchant vessels to enemy fire. 

Though in practical use these auxilliaries had little affect on the course of the war, several notable successes against convoys and even some of the League's most powerful capital assets led to development of counters to the naval missile threat. However, all of these proved to be of relatively limited utility, able to engage and repel only a handful of naval missiles at a time due to the limitations of targeting and threat identification technology at the time. A wing of fighters on dedicated point defense or an escort retrofitted with small lasers and machine guns might be able to fend off attacks from a single converted merchantman, but massed missile attacks like those seen during the Hyades campaign could quickly overwhelm these defenses, leading to heavy losses that the SLDF was simply forced to ride out.

It wasn't until 2613, over a decade after the Reunification War had ended, that the League managed to develop a solution to the problem, leveraging improvements in computing technology to develop an advanced autonomous targeting and tracking computer mated to a highly accurate autofiring gun, the first example of the now familiar anti-missile system. Though better known for their use in ground combat, this system was originally developed purely for ship defense, and by 2614 was already being mated to a small craft hull, creating the Ancile Point Defense Craft.

The Ancile is fairly basic for its type, designed specifically to encourage proliferation by being easy to build and small enough to be transported even in a fighter bay, allowing even the smallest of the League's warships the ability to carry at least a few as needed. The Ancile has no offensive weaponry, only moderate armor protection, and just enough maneuverability to keep up with the warships and transports it would be shielding. The rest is allocated entirely to the point defense arrays, which are more modest than designers originally hoped for, but still allowed as few as two Anciles to provide effective protection against dozens of naval missiles by overlapping their fields of fire and re-positioning themselves as their point defense bays exhausted their ammo supplies. These craft proved so successful in this role, in fact, that the idea of mounting dedicated point defense systems on larger ships was seen as basically unnecessary, and likewise may have led to the death of the "missile ship" as a concept among Star League Era navies.

The Terran Hegemony widely exported the Ancile, as well as licensing production of the design (though not the anti-missile system, which had to be imported from Hegemony manufacturers). By taking away each house's nuclear silver bullet, this action may have helped smooth over some of the rough spots in inter-house relations, with none of the states willing to risk their modest fleets in direct naval confrontations during the Star League's golden age. This didn't last, however, and once the Star League fell and the Succession Wars began, the Ancile was on the front line (though rarely noticed in popular press). Unfortunately, combat losses, and the declining technology and lack of materials to make more soon stripped the fleets of the Inner Sphere of their shields, accelerating the already rapid collapse of the Inner Sphere's fleets. By the twenty ninth century, the Ancile was extinct, along with most of the spacecraft it once protected.

Though the Inner Sphere had begun to rebuild its fleets during the 3050s, there was little to no interest in reviving the Ancile concept until the mid 3070s, with the Word of Blake demonstrating just how effective nuclear missiles could be against unprotected craft. The Ancile re-entered limited production each of the great houses (and the Free Worlds League's successor states) by 3076, though production largely stopped once the Jihad had formally ended. The clans, despite fielding fleets of primarily Star League era WarShips with little to no integral point defense, have largely turned their noses up at reviving the Ancile. As a purely defensive vessel with no way to win glory through combat, but at the same time expected to follow combat ships into harm's way, the Clans simply aren't sure what to do with it.


Ancile class Point Defense Craft
Type: Military Spheriod
Mass: 100 tons
Technology Base: Inner Sphere (Standard)
Introduced: 2750
Mass: 100
Battle Value: 1,340
Tech Rating/Availability: E/E-F(F*)-D-D
Cost: 9,014,508 C-bills

Fuel: 9 tons (720)
Safe Thrust: 3
Maximum Thrust: 5
Heat Sinks: 20
Structural Integrity: 6

Armor
    Nose: 70
    Sides: 70/70
    Aft: 70

Cargo
    None

Ammunition:
    180 rounds of Anti-Missile System [IS] ammunition (15 tons)

Escape Pods: 0
Life Boats: 0
Crew:  2 enlisted/non-rated      

Notes: Mounts 16 tons of standard aerospace armor.

Weapons
and Ammo                 Location   Tonnage  Heat   SRV  MRV  LRV  ERV    
5 Anti-Missile Systems    Fwd R      2.5      1      3    0    0    0 
5 Anti-Missile Systems    Fwd L      2.5      1      3    0    0    0 
5 Anti-Missile Systems     Aft       2.5      1      3    0    0    0 
Good news is the lab boys say the symptoms of asbestos poisoning show an immediate latency of 44.6 years. So if you're thirty or over you're laughing. Worst case scenario you miss out on a few rounds of canasta, plus you've forwarded the cause of science by three centuries. I punch those numbers into my calculator, it makes a happy face.

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Dragon Cat

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I'd hate to crew that thing defend the WarShip fine but nothing to defend itself when enemies get close or if the WarShip falls
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Liam's Ghost

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I'd hate to crew that thing defend the WarShip fine but nothing to defend itself when enemies get close or if the WarShip falls

Unfortunately, it's the nature of the beast. There might be some room for actual weapons if you reduce the AMS to a single battery (technically you only need one hex of coverage to protect another craft as long as that craft is in that hex). Switching to double heat sinks would also free up some mass.

But there's only so much you can do with a hull that small, so any actual guns would only be a token warload that's going to require at least one gunner. And a larger hull would lose the ability to launch from a fighter bay. Not necessarily a deal breaker, but you'd lose some flexibility with how you can employ it.
Good news is the lab boys say the symptoms of asbestos poisoning show an immediate latency of 44.6 years. So if you're thirty or over you're laughing. Worst case scenario you miss out on a few rounds of canasta, plus you've forwarded the cause of science by three centuries. I punch those numbers into my calculator, it makes a happy face.

(indirect accessory to the) Slayer of Monitors!

Daryk

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How did you come up with a crew of two?  The Illegal quirk?  ???

Told you I'd read this thread...  8)

Liam's Ghost

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How did you come up with a crew of two?  The Illegal quirk?  ???

Told you I'd read this thread...  8)

Glitch in the readout. It isn't listing the one officer for some reason and I missed that when editing in the appropriate heat sinks. The ship has a crew of three in steerage quarters.

(note to self, when I finally manage to download the new version of MML, make another list of bugs)
Good news is the lab boys say the symptoms of asbestos poisoning show an immediate latency of 44.6 years. So if you're thirty or over you're laughing. Worst case scenario you miss out on a few rounds of canasta, plus you've forwarded the cause of science by three centuries. I punch those numbers into my calculator, it makes a happy face.

(indirect accessory to the) Slayer of Monitors!

Daryk

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Don't AMS count toward the "gunner" requirement?  ???

Andras

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Anyway to make that drone controlled? Seems like a good fit for a drone. Maintain station X km off the ship, blast missiles.


Liam's Ghost

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Don't AMS count toward the "gunner" requirement?  ???

Nope, just fire control. That's part of the reason it would be a pain to add defensive weapons.
Good news is the lab boys say the symptoms of asbestos poisoning show an immediate latency of 44.6 years. So if you're thirty or over you're laughing. Worst case scenario you miss out on a few rounds of canasta, plus you've forwarded the cause of science by three centuries. I punch those numbers into my calculator, it makes a happy face.

(indirect accessory to the) Slayer of Monitors!

Liam's Ghost

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Anyway to make that drone controlled? Seems like a good fit for a drone. Maintain station X km off the ship, blast missiles.

I haven't crunched the numbers, but switching to ten double heat sinks might give you the extra mass for drone controls without losing any other capabilities. In fact, depending on the type you might actually gain tonnage back. A remote controlled drone doesn't need crew quarters I think, though you'd need control systems on the parent ship. A smart robotic drone would need equivalent tonnage to crew quarters.
Good news is the lab boys say the symptoms of asbestos poisoning show an immediate latency of 44.6 years. So if you're thirty or over you're laughing. Worst case scenario you miss out on a few rounds of canasta, plus you've forwarded the cause of science by three centuries. I punch those numbers into my calculator, it makes a happy face.

(indirect accessory to the) Slayer of Monitors!

Daryk

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Nope, just fire control. That's part of the reason it would be a pain to add defensive weapons.
Cool!  :thumbsup:

idea weenie

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Re: Ancile class Point Defense Craft: Pretend it was there the whole time
« Reply #10 on: 09 November 2019, 14:40:12 »
I'd hate to crew that thing defend the WarShip fine but nothing to defend itself when enemies get close or if the WarShip falls

Or just ignore it during the battle, since it cannot hurt anyone.  After battle, call on them to surrender since you have another Small craft that can do 4/6 and has laser armament.

Daryk

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Re: Ancile class Point Defense Craft: Pretend it was there the whole time
« Reply #11 on: 09 November 2019, 14:48:02 »
Point defense only ships will be a priority target for Fighters and smaller DropShips.  They faster they're killed, the faster the nukes can be effective and everyone can go home.

Maingunnery

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Re: Ancile class Point Defense Craft: Pretend it was there the whole time
« Reply #12 on: 09 November 2019, 16:31:21 »
Point defense only ships will be a priority target for Fighters and smaller DropShips.  They faster they're killed, the faster the nukes can be effective and everyone can go home.
That is true, but the enemy also to contend with the ASFs and DropShips from the PD craft.
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Dragon Cat

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I haven't crunched the numbers, but switching to ten double heat sinks might give you the extra mass for drone controls without losing any other capabilities. In fact, depending on the type you might actually gain tonnage back. A remote controlled drone doesn't need crew quarters I think, though you'd need control systems on the parent ship. A smart robotic drone would need equivalent tonnage to crew quarters.

If a drone version worked I could see it being used most SLDF WarShips have plenty of space to support it you could even use the robotic landing bays to cut down on additional WarShip crew not that it's the most useful system
The below link leads to a wiki page created by Wrangler.  It has links to the various pages of my AU.

https://battletechfanon.fandom.com/wiki/Alternate_Timeline_with_Thanks

marcussmythe

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i like this a lot.  Especially with robotic controls, I picture these little suckers hanging, pod like, off the sides of the ship and being deployed as needed when combat is immanent.  I might be tempted to do a version with anti-fighter weaponry, as well - the greater fuel endurance of small craft gives you opportunities in the defensive escort role that just arent there for fighters...

 

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