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Author Topic: DropShip of the Week: Arondight  (Read 6018 times)

Jellico

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DropShip of the Week: Arondight
« on: 11 January 2014, 15:27:21 »

Arondight Assault DropShip, TRO3085, JHS3076


Well, it looks like the Mariks have competition in the Arthurian references stakes. While the Eagles were named for knights of the Round Table, the Davions have firstly refitted a class of DropShips called Excaliburs, renamed an ex-FWLN Zechetinu II Excalibur, and have now named a class of DropShips after Lancelot’s favoured blade. Given Battletech’s overuse of Canine themes and the ever increasing war between the Lyrans and RasDom over Germanic/Norse/Cold themes I suppose another rivalry won’t hurt.

The origins of the Arondight are pretty self explanatory. WarShips are expensive and naval yards are rare and vulnerable. DropShips are cheap and can be built without the extra infrastructure needed by a jump core. Indeed three yards have geared up to produce the design and will build a squadron each in less than a year. Yay for the Davies.
Early versions went to war over New Avalon in 3074 where they suffered some problems with their targeting systems. Just what they achieved I have no idea. My understanding of the end of the Word of Blake operation on New Avalon was that the Wobbies packed up and left one night when the Davions were not looking. The next morning Yvonne rocked up, claimed a victory and handed free WarShips to everyone. I could be wrong. The key point is whatever happened there was very little for the Arondights to do, even if they were effective at doing it.

So what did the Federated Suns get with their new ship? Well they got a fairly standard 12,000 ton hull with over 1,200 points of ferro aluminium armour with a 5/8 thrust rating. It sits somewhere between an Overlord A3 and an Excalibur PWS in terms of style.
Actually it reminds me a lot of the Excalibur. The Excalibur is extremely overloaded with all sorts of weapons and the Arondight isn’t far off from that itself. Basically it comes down to the capital missiles. Indulge me a bit here.
There are a lot of ways you can load up on capital missiles. Going to extremes usually helps. On one hand you have ships like the Nekohono’o, three Krakens, it earns its keep by using those missiles to punch though large craft armour. Then there are ships like the Mule PWS. Ranks of dual purpose missiles equally at home against large craft or as a very formidable anti Aerospace Fighter defence. Then you have the Federated Suns Navy. The Overlord has some excuse as a first generation ship, mixing AR10s and Krakens and getting minimal benefit from either. The Excalibur does a good impersonation of a Mule and fills the role of fire support well, except someone thought it would be fun to mount a pair of Krakens. An extra AR10 on each flank would have been more inline with the Excalibur’s combat role and low thrust rating. This brings us back to the Arondight.
The Arondight makes use of an impressive thirteen capital and sub capital missiles. The bulk of this is broadside mounted Piranha missiles. Nice, compact, highly effective AAA missiles able to take a bite out of a large craft. And then some bright spark backed them up with AR10s. Now, I like AR10s on a DropShip if you can afford the weight and have no other options. The existence of the Piranhas shows there are other options. That’s 2000 tons of missile launcher and ammunition sitting there in the AR10s that could be devoted to sub-capitals for better effect. To top it off, the Arondight mounts a dinky single Kraken in the bow. That’s going to inspire fear.
The rest of the load out is similar to the Excalibur. Gauss rifles, RACs and ER lasers. Medium range mostly, but that’s not a great loss with all those capital missiles. Smart use is made of the AMS to achieve the minimum damage needed to at a +1 to incoming capital missiles. A lonely Screen Launcher sits in the rear arc. The fluff says it’s to defend against missiles and cover friendlies, however fields of fire suggest this would be difficult.
The Arondight carries no aerospace fighters and I have to say that it doesn’t really need them. The missiles are worth a wing of ASF, and to carry that wing over 3000 tons would have to be found. The Arondight does carry 24 battle armoured marines and a pair of small craft. I would have said they were for picket work, but the fluff says they are there in case of hostile boarding attempts. I am curious as to what would be boarding a DropShip with the firepower of a wing of ASF, but the Federated Suns has never really had any faith in the fighting ability of its navy.

Now some of you would have noticed the problem with the Arondight. While highly effective against aerospace fighters, capital missiles suffer badly when facing batteries of AMS. According to TRO3085 this is exactly what happened at Hean in 3077. So the FSN went back to the drawing board. 11 Sub Capital Cannon later we have a new ship. A triple battery of heavy auto cannon in the bow and quad batteries of light auto cannon in the forequarters give the Arondight genuine bite. Where before the Arondight was nothing more than a target for craft like the Interdictor, now an Arondight can chop these heavily armoured DropShips down with ease. The price was the Krakens and the AR10s. The loss of the latter stings a bit, but it was worth it. The cannon still can hit ASF, if at +3 to-hit, and the Arondight’s flanks are still lined with Piranhas. This is a genuinely exciting improvement, and badly needed when facing the new generation of Pocket WarShips operating after the Jihad. There is also a halfway refit that gives up some cannon for a Kraken but they are rare and I don’t like acknowledging their existence.

So how would I use an Arondight? Sit back at long range, broadside on and fire missiles. Try and get some smaller craft slowing the hostiles down to keep them away from the Arondight. Possibly have an Excalibur sitting back further as command ship launching its longer ranged missiles. An Arondight can dance with ASF if it has to, but it lacks the ability to prevent ASF getting into its weak arcs and equally has trouble breaking free of a dog fight. I would advise keeping Arondights away from WarShips. They lack the armour to play that game for long and unlike the Excalibur, lack the reach to hide behind a battle line. Leave them back as point defence until the WarShips are fully committed, and then bring them up into range.
Arondights are easily defeated by rushing tactics. If you have a wing of ASF, evade them in to short range and force the DropShip into a turning fight. Pick your lines so the Arondight is restricted to single weapon arcs. Other DropShips will have a hard time of it. Assault ships like Achilles and Noruffs will just charge on in and unload full frontal salvos into single arcs. The Clan DropShips should also have a chance. The key is armour. If you can survive the missiles there is a good chance you have the gun power at short ranges. Unfortunately there aren’t too many ships that fall into that category. Arondights just make WarShips annoyed, even with their new auto cannon. Much like the other spheroid hulled PWS the Arondight is essentially a defensive unit. A bunch of them will kill a WarShip fairly cheaply, but writing letters for 69 people at a time is depressing.

   So to summarise, the Arondight is probably the logical development of the spheroid hulled, missile armed, heavy assault DropShip.  It’s basically an Excalibur when freed from having to worry about the antiquated power relays and engines. The Arondight benefits from the introduction of the Piranha missiles but they were not strictly needed to achieve the same effect. As a fighting ship it is probably best suited to AAA escort in a battle line, but is certainly competent as a centre piece and DropShip killer. I would argue that other factions deserve this ship more (specifically the Clans who don’t have access to sub-cap guns so will have to build a missile boat anyway) and there are question marks as to whether the FSN would have been better served by an Interdictor style brawler to draw fire from their existing support ships. So the Arondight is a logically inevitable ship that will do the job, but probably does not solve the FSN’s needs.
The SCC variant is a ship the FSN needs. This variant gives the FSN a brawler that the original Arondight wasn’t. Unfortunately it is not a great brawler, or rather, because it is a refit it lacks the focus needed for a brawler. A key example of this is its inability to bring all of its most powerful weapons on a single enemy at one time like the Conquistador Blockade Runner. Likewise it lacks armour compared to real brawlers like the Interdictor and Taihou. Despite this, it remains the most formidable DropShip in the FSN short of a Vengeance, and in most combat situations will be a dominant force.

UnLimiTeD

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Re: DropShip of the Week: Arondight
« Reply #1 on: 12 January 2014, 13:00:55 »
I find it mildly amusing that after all this time, the Vengeance is still the top dog. :P
Nontheless, this is actually a workable ship from looking at it's stats.
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ANS Kamas P81

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Re: DropShip of the Week: Arondight
« Reply #2 on: 12 January 2014, 13:50:54 »
Well, the Vengeance is a carrier, not a gunship.  Strip her fighters away and make it hot DropShip on DropShip action, and the 'dight wins over...well, darn near anything.

Wrangler

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Re: DropShip of the Week: Arondight
« Reply #3 on: 12 January 2014, 15:32:06 »
Given the focus scope of what FSN has to work with, I like the Arondight SCC the most of their DropShip Fleet.  Escalibur PWS i would thought is a rare bird since they were produced by Galax.   However, given the number of current new designs packing AMS and LAMS and now variants of fighter dedicated to anti-missile picket defense.  I'd say SCC version is your best bet if you can't get less-common Conquistator Blockade Runner into your force.   

The Avengers are light attack bird, I have not seen updated version since TRO 3057 with Star League updates.  It wouldn't be much help. 

Also, i thinking about common deployment of these ships along with the rest of FSN as well. How often does a Assault DropShip get work in a squadron of 4 like-PWS & Assault ships typically?  Usually a regimental LCT or RCT has a some but there not working in concert with each other.

I agree that the original Arondight is good anti-fighter craft if you can land your sub-cap birds on a target that no in Squadron formation taking capital damage verse individual conventional fighter damage.   If knew a missile-packing Arondight or like wise vessel was coming in.  I would get my Regiment's task force to spit out all their fighter and form up squadron to handle this thing and its friends.   
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FedSunsBorn

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Re: DropShip of the Week: Arondight
« Reply #4 on: 13 January 2014, 01:32:28 »
The Arondight reminds me of the AFFS basic strategy on their BA program. Some armor but not a ton, lots of missles, average direct fire.
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Taurevanime

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Re: DropShip of the Week: Arondight
« Reply #5 on: 16 January 2014, 16:38:23 »
Very nice write up. Just a little pedantic nit-pick. AAA stands for Anti-Air Artillery, IE: cannons, not missiles or general anti-air duty. AA is just fine.

Not being one to have played the naval side of things. I always got the impression with the Federated Suns that their ground forces are their premier branch and fighting unit, and their naval assets tended to be based around supporting said units. So warships have lots of dropship collars, dropships tend to carry a lot of ground forces, and overall having a general strategy of getting ground forces on the ground. Am I wrong in this observation?

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Re: DropShip of the Week: Arondight
« Reply #6 on: 17 January 2014, 03:04:03 »
Not being one to have played the naval side of things. I always got the impression with the Federated Suns that their ground forces are their premier branch and fighting unit, and their naval assets tended to be based around supporting said units. So warships have lots of dropship collars, dropships tend to carry a lot of ground forces, and overall having a general strategy of getting ground forces on the ground. Am I wrong in this observation?

My impression was more that the Suns navy was very concerned to ensure that their Warships were at least partially "self-screening", using the docking collars to bring along assault and carrier dropships for self-preservation and as force-multipliers rather than using the Warships as haulers for ground forces.

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sillybrit

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Re: DropShip of the Week: Arondight
« Reply #7 on: 17 January 2014, 03:52:24 »
It's true that the old FM:FS stated that unlike other navies the FSN "is devoted solely to the support of the the AFFC" (p24; obviously, the FM dates from before the Suns armed forces as a whole were renamed back to the AFFS). Even so, the FM goes on to describe the WarShips as being the core of the Naval Assault units, with the collars used to carry assault DropShips, while attached LF-equipped JumpShips carry more. The Avalon-class write-up in the FM (and TRO3067) notes that each WarShip is escorted by a dozen or more assault DropShips, with the WarShip itself obviously only able to carry six of those. While there may be instances where Overlords, etc were carried on Avalons and Foxes, the FM notes that troop transportation is instead the remit of Naval Transport units.

SCC

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Re: DropShip of the Week: Arondight
« Reply #8 on: 17 January 2014, 04:36:35 »
Can JS even have LS?

Jellico

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Re: DropShip of the Week: Arondight
« Reply #9 on: 17 January 2014, 06:09:12 »
LS?

But yes. The Fed Suns does have a reputation for putting the grounds pounder first. Even if they do run assault squadrons. Eg. said squadron would be strongly encouraged to hang around and provide aerospace support even when it is a bad idea to do so from a naval point of view.

sillybrit

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Re: DropShip of the Week: Arondight
« Reply #10 on: 17 January 2014, 14:47:52 »
Can JS even have LS?

I assume you mean LF, in which case the answer is yes.

SCC

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Re: DropShip of the Week: Arondight
« Reply #11 on: 17 January 2014, 19:08:33 »
But yes. The Fed Suns does have a reputation for putting the grounds pounder first. Even if they do run assault squadrons. Eg. said squadron would be strongly encouraged to hang around and provide aerospace support even when it is a bad idea to do so from a naval point of view.
Given the way the universe is moving,n with the whole dropping of WS, it's not a bad idea

Jellico

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Re: DropShip of the Week: Arondight
« Reply #12 on: 17 January 2014, 20:32:06 »
Navies exist to transport armies. That's pretty much the way it has always been. The infantryman remains the basis of any armed force. Navies are expensive luxuries.

That said, compromising operational effectiveness for the sake of the ground pounders is not always a good idea.
Two opposite examples in recent real life.
The RN got smashed off Crete when it chose to get the army out under very disadvantageous conditions.
Conversely the USN initially pulled out of Guadalcanal before the marines were fully supplied because they didn't want to get pinned by the IJN.
You can argue the decisions, but they illustrate the choices navies face when supporting the army. Both were probably correct in these cases.

DoctorMonkey

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Re: DropShip of the Week: Arondight
« Reply #13 on: 18 January 2014, 05:37:17 »
I'd disagree, the Navy has another important role in securing supply lines for trade and other such unglamourous work away from the large battlefields
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Jellico

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Re: DropShip of the Week: Arondight
« Reply #14 on: 18 January 2014, 11:38:30 »
Consider a navy at its most basic. Some guys in a canoe. Such a navy is basically incapable of protecting trade as a navy. It primarily exists to get one infantry force across a body of water to enforce its will on another infantry force.

Consider a navy directed towards trade interdiction rather than any serious attempt at trade protection. Is it any less a navy?

This is why I say that ultimately all navies are about projecting a GROUND force. Any other role requires an increased degree of sophistication. At its most basic level trade doesn't matter (well obviously it does, but you can live a while without it). Wars are won by getting boots on the ground, or at least denying the enemy boots.

DoctorMonkey

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Re: DropShip of the Week: Arondight
« Reply #15 on: 18 January 2014, 12:36:48 »
It's about contesting Sea Lines of Communication (or in this case Space Lines I suppose!)


I'd see the FedSun doctrine as being one of maintaining these whether it is to supply an expeditionary force or supply movements


This would contrast with a doctrine of attacking such SLoC a la U-Boats in the Atlantic
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chanman

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Re: DropShip of the Week: Arondight
« Reply #16 on: 18 January 2014, 14:31:53 »
I'd disagree, the Navy has another important role in securing supply lines for trade and other such unglamourous work away from the large battlefields

That is fundamentally a function to support armies - the Med in WW2 was essentially the British and Italians trying to run supplies to ground forces (I'm including the air forces with that) while interdicting the other side's supplies. Atlantic convoys were about running men, weapons, munitions, fuel and materials to the UK.

DoctorMonkey

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Re: DropShip of the Week: Arondight
« Reply #17 on: 18 January 2014, 14:39:59 »
The Atlantic convoys were also about feeding Britain - not just providing military supplies
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chanman

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Re: DropShip of the Week: Arondight
« Reply #18 on: 18 January 2014, 15:01:01 »
The Atlantic convoys were also about feeding Britain - not just providing military supplies

In a total war situation, I don't really see the difference. 'Feeding Britain' means feeding their army and industrial manpower first and foremost, especially if rationing got tight.