Author Topic: Nest Carrier  (Read 490 times)

Lagrange

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Nest Carrier
« on: 09 April 2024, 19:50:05 »
Q: What goes twice as fast as a Leopard CV and has twice the payload at the same cost?
A: The Nest Carrier. 

The Nest is designed primarily as an intrasystem carrier in a defensive role. If enemy forces jump into a system and are discovered a Nest loaded with heavy ASF can plot an intercept course launching fighters for either a high speed engagement or dogfight, use it's exceptionally powerful engine to avoid combat, and recover fighters after the engagement.   Notably, the Nest can launch virtually everything in one minute, a trait shared with the Leopard CV and unavailable to larger carriers which are limited by doors.  All of this functions in a package that could even be a dropshuttle instead of a dropship.

The exact loadout can launch 12 fighters and a smallcraft in a single round.  The smallcraft can flexibly be used to impose an ECM to-hit modifier on opposing fighters, in combat against enemy large craft, in boarding operations, in a detached patrol, or in search and rescue missions.  A 13th fighter bay is typically kept in reserve for defensive use in lieu of on board weapons since it's able to rapidly dispose of fast but lightly armored interceptors capable of closing with the Nest.  Compared to a Leopard, the Nest also manages to mount 30% more armor with an unusual focus towards the rear on the theory that in any combat the Nest should run away.

Many cost-cutting measures are employed.  60 days of supplies takes 110 of 115.5 tons between food and maintenance.  Users are advised to create caches of supplies around the system they are defending.  The central fuel tank is capable of refueling all carried craft about once while traveling at an average of 1g over 60 days.  Weapons are limited to point defense and one AC/2 bay discouraging lightly armored fast interceptors at long range.  Quarters are spartan with only officers benefitting from non-steerage quarters.  Even a basic unit of marines for boarding actions was avoided---a smallcraft can handle that mission.

Comparing with other 3025 era carriers:
  • Leopard CV: 1.9k tons, 4/6, 6 ASF, 48 days endurance[air], 168M C-bills, 28M/ASF.
  • Union CV: 3.6k tons, 3/5, 12 ASF, 116 days endurance[fuel], 214M C-bills, 18M/ASF.
  • Nest: 5k tons, 7/11, 13 ASF+1 Small Craft, 62 days endurance[air], 167M C-bills, 12M/ASF.
  • Vengeance: 11.4k tons, 4/6, 40 ASF+3 Small Craft, 40 days endurance[air], 383M C-bills.  9M/ASF.
The Union CV stands out for endurance while the Nest stands out for speed and the Vengeance for ASF cost efficiency.

Code: [Select]
Nest Carrier
Type: Military Spheriod
Mass: 5,000 tons
Technology Base: Inner Sphere (Standard)
Introduced: 3025
Mass: 5,000
Battle Value: 2,156
Tech Rating/Availability: D/X-E-D-D
Cost: 166,566,400 C-bills

Fuel: 180 tons (5,400)
Safe Thrust: 7
Maximum Thrust: 11
Heat Sinks: 124
Structural Integrity: 11

Armor
    Nose: 161
    Sides: 162/162
    Aft: 191

Cargo
    Bay 1:  Fighter (5)             2 Doors   
    Bay 2:  Fighter (4)             2 Doors   
    Bay 3:  Small Craft (1)         1 Door   
    Bay 4:  Cargo (115.5 tons)      1 Door   
    Bay 5:  Fighter (4)             2 Doors   

Ammunition:
    180 rounds of AC/2 ammunition (4 tons)

Escape Pods: 1
Life Boats: 0
Crew:  2 officers, 3 enlisted/non-rated, 4 gunners, 31 bay personnel

Notes: Mounts 39.5 tons of standard aerospace armor.

Weapons:                   Capital Attack Values (Standard)
Arc (Heat)             Heat  SRV     MRV     LRV     ERV   Class       
Nose (2 Heat)
2 Small Laser           2    1(6)    0(0)    0(0)    0(0)  Point Defense
RS/LS Fwd (2 Heat)
2 Small Laser           2    1(6)    0(0)    0(0)    0(0)  Point Defense
RS/LS Aft (4 Heat)
2 Small Laser           2    1(6)    0(0)    0(0)    0(0)  Point Defense
2 Small Laser           2    1(6)    0(0)    0(0)    0(0)  Point Defense
Aft (9 Heat)
3 AC/2                  3    1(6)    1(6)    1(6)    0(0)  AC         
    AC/2 Ammo (180 shots)
2 Small Laser           2    1(6)    0(0)    0(0)    0(0)  Point Defense
2 Small Laser           2    1(6)    0(0)    0(0)    0(0)  Point Defense
2 Small Laser           2    1(6)    0(0)    0(0)    0(0)  Point Defense

Design tradeoffs and alternatives:
  • Speed(and lack of weapons).  A 7/11 carrier is unusual---that's typically an assault dropship speed.  A more standard alternative is to have more weapons instead.  Given the role of a carrier, using it in direct combat intentionally seems quite risky.  In a defensive situation given the choice between "run away" and "fight", it seems that the cost of the engines necessary to run away are typically cheaper than the weapons necessary to convincingly fight.
  • Size.  The 'startup cost' of a reasonable dropship seems to be about 80M C-bills, so a cost in the neighborhood of twice that allows you to amortize the startup cost effectively.  That puts you in the neighborhood of 5K tons, which seems like a nice round number that also fits in a dropshuttle bay should that ever be relevant.  At the same time 12 fighters is a pretty potent force, able (for example) to very plausibly take out an invading Overlord for a small fraction of a loaded Overlord's price.
  • Endurance.  Sacrificing an ASF bay, a smallcraft bay, or both, could greatly increase the amount of cargo and hence the endurance available.  However, that doesn't seem to fit the defensive mission profile well since providing caches of materials in-system is entirely reasonable.  Obviously, the design could be used offensively in quickie raid like the Leopard.  However, I'm skeptical that reducing to just 12 ASF for the cargo to support longer invasion scenarios makes sense---if you are doing an invasion you should probably be working with a larger carrier which is more drop-collar efficient.
  • Small Craft.  You can make a case for using small craft like the Interdictor instead as an alternative since a fully loaded cost is equivalent to ~18 Interdictors.  The typical disadvantage of small craft vs. ASF need not come into play since the Small Craft could just target invading dropships, bypassing ASFs.  It's a good strategy, limited by the fuel range (~10 burn-days) and limited sensor range of a small craft (1/10th a large craft or nonexistent).  A Nest+ASF strategy is slightly more expensive for the force, but with much more endurance and better sensors.

Daryk

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Re: Nest Carrier
« Reply #1 on: 10 April 2024, 03:29:57 »
Reaping the cost savings of switching to Spheroid, I see... :)

Lagrange

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Re: Nest Carrier
« Reply #2 on: 10 April 2024, 07:22:18 »
Reaping the cost savings of switching to Spheroid, I see... :)
It's partly this.  Breaking things down stepwise (order matters)
  • Leopard CV Aerodyne->Spheriod: 22M/ASF (-6M)
  • Leopard CV Spheroid ->14 bays: 11M/ASF (-11M)
  • guns->engine: 12M/ASF(+1M)
So, right-sizing is about twice as important as spheroiding and engine-instead-of-guns is cost neutral.

Daryk

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Re: Nest Carrier
« Reply #3 on: 10 April 2024, 18:17:33 »
Right-sizing is properly the most important factor, but spheroid vice aerodyne is still on the board! :)

Vehrec

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Re: Nest Carrier
« Reply #4 on: 11 April 2024, 08:19:00 »
Not the weirdest in-system carrier I've ever seen-I once made a smallcraft I called 'the barn' for obvious reasons as it was mostly just a 1/2 engine attacked to a fighter hanger.  No capacity for resuply, very small fuel tanks, but as a range-extender for long range patrols of about a week or two, not bad.

This thing though...I wouldn't load it with strike fighters, nothing that can't catch up in a full retreat.
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Lagrange

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Re: Nest Carrier
« Reply #5 on: 11 April 2024, 08:33:40 »
This thing though...I wouldn't load it with strike fighters, nothing that can't catch up in a full retreat.
The operating theory is that the dropship can choose whether or not to engage.  If it chooses to engage and is correct in doing so, there is no need to retreat.  If it chooses to engage and was wrong in doing so, you lose the ASF.  That's definitely a loss, but much better than what happens when the dropship is slower than the ASF in the bad judgement case.  It also virtually eliminates forced engagement cases.

Daryk

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Re: Nest Carrier
« Reply #6 on: 11 April 2024, 18:23:39 »
Vehrec: You don't happen to have a link to that do you? :)

Vehrec

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Re: Nest Carrier
« Reply #7 on: 11 April 2024, 22:17:25 »
Vehrec: You don't happen to have a link to that do you? :)
The Barn is...well, it's so bare bones you don't really need a link.  10 tons of fuel.  5 tons cargo.  15 tons steerage quarters. 13 tons engines, 3 tons SI. 150 tons of ASF bay. 1 ton armor. 1 heat sink.
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Daryk

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Re: Nest Carrier
« Reply #8 on: 12 April 2024, 03:22:11 »
Hmmm... 1.5 tons of controls, and a half ton of consumables?