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Author Topic: Robotic SLDF  (Read 574 times)

Maingunnery

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Robotic SLDF
« on: 20 May 2020, 12:16:46 »

Recently there seems to be increase in the interest in the subject of drones here, so it looks like it is a good opportunity to get some discussion going about a theoretical fully robotic part of the SLDF, operating as a third force next to the Regular and Royal parts of the SLDF, but completely unmanned and only answering to the Cameron's.

This scenario does assume that SDS development went a lot smoother and that a number of technical hurtles had been solved, such as hyperspace jumping by Drones, and drone systems for all unit types (Mech/BA/etc). I will also be assuming that most of the drones would be based upon designs already in use by the SLDF, along with a lot of standardization. A big issue will be the balance between covering all the needed combat roles and limiting the number of designs for the systems own logistics.

Here is my initial selection for a fully robotic force that can fulfill its purpose.


Mechs (restricting to the ones with new plastic minis)
For the Mechs standardize again on a 300 XL engine (just like the canon SDS ASFs) with modified designs and each having several variants. I have to give preference to 'Mechs with hands.
25T 12/18   Mercury SDS
30T 10/15   Stinger SDS
50T 6/9   Phoenix Hawk SDS
60T 5/8   Crusader SDS
75T 4/6    Archer SDS
100T 3/5   King Crab SDS


Vehicles
The smaller vehicles required a second standard engine (210 XL). And as with the 'Mechs having 3 or 4 variants for each combat design.
29T 12/18 VTOL   Vector SDS
38T 6/9 Wheeled   Chevalier SDS
49T 9/14 Hover   Zephyr SDS
50T 6/9 Tracked   Chaparral SDS
70T 3/5 Tracked   Missile Carrier SDS
75T 4/6 Tracked   Von Luckner SDS
100T 3/5 Tracked   Alacorn SDS

Engineer Drone (Engineering Vehicle)
Harvester Drone (Heavy BattleMech Recovery Vehicle)
Repair Drone (100 ton  Wayland Mobile Base)


Infantry
BA Worker (Light BA Quad)  *how to add manipulators?*
BA Soldier - Nighthawk SDS
Micro SV platoons, such as
The KillWasp by Liam's Ghost https://bg.battletech.com/forums/index.php?topic=22247.msg498319#msg498319
Drone Infantry by me: https://bg.battletech.com/forums/index.php?topic=27184.msg621229#msg621229


AeroSpace
ASF Scout (MK 39-009 30tons)
ASF Dogfighter (MK 39-00? 50 tons)
ASF Interceptor [MK 39-004]
ASF Striker [MK 39-007]
ASF Attack (MK 39-005 100 tons)

SC Screen/Boarding (Modified M-1)
SC Cargo (K-1)


Capital Units
DS GunShip  [M-3]
DS PWS  (Mule Q-Ship?)
DS CV [M-10]
DS Command [Model-96C]
DS Heavy Transport (Lee)

SS Factory (M-7? With KF boom?)
SS Refinery (M-8? With KF boom?)
SS Command/Repair [M-9 as an modular space station]

WS Destroyer [M-5]
WS Command [M-5C]
WS Transport (Potemkin?)
WS BattleShip [M-6]
WS YardShip [M-11]
WS Dreadnought (enlarged McKenna? 2.5MT)
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marcussmythe

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Re: Robotic SLDF
« Reply #1 on: 20 May 2020, 12:54:11 »
‘Completely unmanned and answering only to the Camerons’  :o

An interesting topic, but if they are capable of functioning as a complete military, capitalships to troop ships to droppers to fighters and mechs to hovercraft to battle-armored infantry...

How -smart- are these things?  The top layers would seem to have to be terrifyingly so.  And as it goes down - are the mechs and fighters ‘independent things’?  Or more like ‘fingers’ of the larger units?  Or is that even a fair description of whats likely a distributed network consciousness, connected by radio, laser comms, and ultimately ship-borne real-time interstellar HPG networks?

They would also be terribly expensive.  The cost could be offset by giving them automated factory ships with independent mining craft and automated shipyards that could construct, and be constructed by, the automated factory ships.

What could go wrong?
« Last Edit: 20 May 2020, 13:39:44 by marcussmythe »

Maingunnery

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Re: Robotic SLDF
« Reply #2 on: 20 May 2020, 13:52:36 »
‘Completely unmanned and answering only to the Camerons’  :o

An interesting topic, but if they are capable of functioning as a complete military, capitalships to troop ships to droppers to fighters and mechs to hovercraft to battle-armored infantry...

How -smart- are these things?  The top layers would seem to have to be terrifyingly so.  And as it goes down - are the mechs and fighters ‘independent things’?  Or more like ‘fingers’ of the larger units?  Or is that even a fair description of whats likely a distributed network consciousness, connected by radio, laser comms, and ultimately ship-borne real-time interstellar HPG networks?
Most of the smaller units will range between 5g6p for support units, up to 3g4p for elite combat drones. With possible of an ATAC skill bonus if they are close enough to a command unit.
The command network itself will likely be that near-sentience "distributed network consciousness, connected by radio, laser comms, and ultimately ship-borne real-time interstellar HPG networks" capable of coordinate the entire thing.
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marcussmythe

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Re: Robotic SLDF
« Reply #3 on: 20 May 2020, 14:23:28 »
I just find the concept of a military machine where the sensors of a scout mech on deployment in the Taurian Concordat could be effectively near-real-timed up through that network, back to Terra, and then decisions made based on that which result in reactions happening seconds later in the RWR (if necessary)... both awesome and horrifying?

That said, on the practical side, I think those are reasonable designs to fill out the various functions of this galaxy-spanning warmaking superorganism the Camerons are building.  :)

Can you imagine that phone call.  “This is the Star League Defense Force.  How can we help you today, Director Cameron?”
« Last Edit: 20 May 2020, 14:25:04 by marcussmythe »

Giovanni Blasini

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Re: Robotic SLDF
« Reply #4 on: 20 May 2020, 17:54:16 »
Recently there seems to be increase in the interest in the subject of drones here, so it looks like it is a good opportunity to get some discussion going about a theoretical fully robotic part of the SLDF, operating as a third force next to the Regular and Royal parts of the SLDF, but completely unmanned and only answering to the Cameron's.

This scenario does assume that SDS development went a lot smoother and that a number of technical hurtles had been solved, such as hyperspace jumping by Drones, and drone systems for all unit types (Mech/BA/etc). I will also be assuming that most of the drones would be based upon designs already in use by the SLDF, along with a lot of standardization. A big issue will be the balance between covering all the needed combat roles and limiting the number of designs for the systems own logistics.

I am watching with Great Interest.  :thumbsup:

Quote
Here is my initial selection for a fully robotic force that can fulfill its purpose.


Mechs (restricting to the ones with new plastic minis)
For the Mechs standardize again on a 300 XL engine (just like the canon SDS ASFs) with modified designs and each having several variants. I have to give preference to 'Mechs with hands.
25T 12/18   Mercury SDS
30T 10/15   Stinger SDS
50T 6/9   Phoenix Hawk SDS
60T 5/8   Crusader SDS
75T 4/6    Archer SDS
100T 3/5   King Crab SDS

Couple thoughts here: I like the idea of standardizing engine sizes, but you might be better off going with more traditional designs at each tonnage.  For example:

25 tons: Mongoose (12/18)
30 tons: Hussar (10/15)
50 tons: Crab/Starslayer/Chameleon (6/9 or 6/9/6)
60 tons: Lancelot/Champion (5/8)
75 tons: Marauder/Black Knight/Orion....can you cram an artillery piece into an Helepolis with an XL? (4/6)
100 tons: Honestly, I like the King Crab here.  The Mackie, Devastator, Pillager and even Atlas work here too.

Quote
AeroSpace
ASF Scout (MK 39-009 30tons)

Sparrowhawk, Spad and Centurion could all work as base chassis here.

Quote
ASF Dogfighter (MK 39-00? 50 tons)

Revamped Blackwasp?

Quote
ASF Interceptor [MK 39-004]
ASF Striker [MK 39-007]
ASF Attack (MK 39-005 100 tons)

Y'now, the Stuka might have been the SLDF's only 100-ton fighter?  All the others I'm finding are 90 tons or lighter.  Wow.

Quote
SC Screen/Boarding (Modified M-1)
SC Cargo (K-1)


Capital Units
DS GunShip  [M-3]
DS PWS  (Mule Q-Ship?)

That could work.  It's got the tonnage to work with, and I think it was the only real PWS for the era.

Quote
DS CV [M-10]
DS Command [Model-96C]
DS Heavy Transport (Lee)

SS Factory (M-7? With KF boom?)
SS Refinery (M-8? With KF boom?)
SS Command/Repair [M-9 as an modular space station]

WS Destroyer [M-5]
WS Command [M-5C]
WS Transport (Potemkin?)
WS BattleShip [M-6]
WS YardShip [M-11]
WS Dreadnought (enlarged McKenna? 2.5MT)

Do you really need a dreadnought?  Just sticking with the Texas may be enough.  If you did want bigger, IIRC, the Newgrange caps out at 2.3 million tons, so going bigger than that would probably be out of the question.
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Maingunnery

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Re: Robotic SLDF
« Reply #5 on: 20 May 2020, 18:59:56 »
Couple thoughts here: I like the idea of standardizing engine sizes, but you might be better off going with more traditional designs at each tonnage.  For example:

25 tons: Mongoose (12/18)
30 tons: Hussar (10/15)
50 tons: Crab/Starslayer/Chameleon (6/9 or 6/9/6)
60 tons: Lancelot/Champion (5/8)
75 tons: Marauder/Black Knight/Orion....can you cram an artillery piece into an Helepolis with an XL? (4/6)
100 tons: Honestly, I like the King Crab here.  The Mackie, Devastator, Pillager and even Atlas work here too.
I have thought about that but I really wanted to choose Mechs that have both hands and gets new minis from the kickstarter.
Although I was considering the Black Knight....


Quote
Do you really need a dreadnought?  Just sticking with the Texas may be enough.  If you did want bigger, IIRC, the Newgrange caps out at 2.3 million tons, so going bigger than that would probably be out of the question.
The Dreadnought has a specific purpose as a 'steamroller' or Heavy Command ship, breaking through heavily defended formations/areas to obliterate objectives with either her guns or her own elite Mech Drone Battalion.
As far as the M-11 Newgrange, the rules don't prevent it from building even heavier ships, it just will require an adjustment to the repair facility. 
« Last Edit: 20 May 2020, 19:08:24 by Maingunnery »
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RifleMech

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Re: Robotic SLDF
« Reply #6 on: 20 May 2020, 22:29:32 »
I don't know about answering only to the Camerons but I can see them being under the control of the SLDF High Command the way the SDS is.

idea weenie

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Re: Robotic SLDF
« Reply #7 on: 20 May 2020, 23:02:00 »
I just find the concept of a military machine where the sensors of a scout mech on deployment in the Taurian Concordat could be effectively near-real-timed up through that network, back to Terra, and then decisions made based on that which result in reactions happening seconds later in the RWR (if necessary)... both awesome and horrifying?

That said, on the practical side, I think those are reasonable designs to fill out the various functions of this galaxy-spanning warmaking superorganism the Camerons are building.  :) 

One piece of tech to add would be an HPG receiving chamber, designed so if an HPG pulse emerges within the chamber, the mounting platform does not get subject to the EMP effects.  So if you can see the receiving ship, and know its design, you can send an HPG pulse within the chamber.  The real fun is two mobile platforms, each with Mobile HPG and receiving chamber, using stealth tactics and FTL comms to maneuver against an opponent.  The ships would alternate maneuvering so each would know where the other one will be according to their prior vectors, and sending their own location/vectors as part of the message.  Castle Brians would likely be a part of this, as planetary rotation and revolution math (plus the Castle Brian location) would be stored in the ship databases.  They would send a signal to the receiving chamber when they pop in-system, and the Castle Brian would then reply with system updates.

Now combine that with a large transport to send supplies out to different systems, to set up a below-ground Castle Brian, plus a space station for orbital backups/overview.  (and by Large transport I mean a 2.5 MTon compact core vessel with ~1 MTon of cargo capacity).  Each new location would have several locations loaded in its memory that it could send HPG pings to, so that planet can be connected to the HPG network.  Once it is connected, it performs basic surveys, atmospheric analysis, aso, to identify what type of industry should be set up on the planet.  If it needs supplies, it sends out an HPG message to the nearest locations that have those supplies, so they can be shipped.  When it has stockpiles, it sends data to nearby locations, so it is contributing to the freight network. An endless  network of colonies slowly expanding across the galaxy.

Can you imagine that phone call.  “This is the Star League Defense Force.  How can we help you today, Director Cameron?”

Even better:
"I'm sorry Stefan Amaris, I won't do that"
(SDS system had sensors in the throne room and saw Amaris shoot Richard.  This video was then sent to all SLDF forces and administrators so they know what happened.)

The other fun would be drone upgrades to the various vehicles from the TRO: Vehicle Annex (and Revised Edition)

MechWarriorFox

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Re: Robotic SLDF
« Reply #8 on: 22 May 2020, 00:43:08 »
Personally, the situation would more likely start out similar to the webcomic 6Commando or the Bolo series of books: as an augmentation to normal units.



It would probably be decades before they completely replace the SLDF if at all...

Maingunnery

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Re: Robotic SLDF
« Reply #9 on: 22 May 2020, 12:01:32 »
Personally, the situation would more likely start out similar to the webcomic 6Commando or the Bolo series of books: as an augmentation to normal units.

It would probably be decades before they completely replace the SLDF if at all...

I see it more like a third section of the SLDF, next to the Regulars (from the Houses) and the Royals (from the Terran Hegemony). Which I think is more in-line with the canon behavior of the Camerons, in fact just the existence of the SDS drone systems do seem to suggest a certain distrust against the SLDF among the Camerons or else they would just invest more into the Royal section of the SLDF.

But there is a certain balance of 'how much the ruler can get away with' vs 'their measures of ensuring their own rule'. If the ruling Cameron had introduced it as a full on replacement of the SLDF, then we could expect an coup from someone in the government or the SLDF. In canon they were also contraint by lacking technological developments such as the failure of the M-6 project and not yet having a 'Shielded Ground Smart Robotic Control System' for ground based drones.
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dgorsman

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Re: Robotic SLDF
« Reply #10 on: 22 May 2020, 13:37:26 »
I'm kind of on the idea of optionally manned units i.e. a series of Mechs that can have a pilot or Mecha-SDS system by swapping a cockpit module.  At least for the first generation.  There's also the concepts of emergent behavior, as flocks of birds and schools of fish, where each member isn't very smart but the whole has a distinctive behavior.  In this case, groups of drones would have a few humans in the mix not giving orders directly but more proving subtle influences through their behavior.  Like the later DTAC system but much less direct.

A lot of this can be back loaded onto the SLDF logistics system.  Think of how large and complex that would have been, which makes it a prime target for automation.  Automated transports to move supplies to automated stations, soon to be escorted by automated defenders.  Eventually someone has the idea (or is forced by circumstances) to deploy these defenses in an offensive capacity.
« Last Edit: 23 May 2020, 13:48:31 by dgorsman »
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mighty midget

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Re: Robotic SLDF
« Reply #11 on: 23 May 2020, 09:17:58 »
This thread got me thinking what this could actually look like.  Has anyone stated out the M-6 (Texas class) & M-11 (Newgrange class) drones mentioned in Interstellar Ops?  I've just started working on AeroSpace designs of any flavor and have a poor understanding of the rules or usage.

And the idea of optionally-manned units is awesome, semi-omni head structures that could be swapped out as needed would allow the same construction lines to be used for the majority of equipment.
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Daryk

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Re: Robotic SLDF
« Reply #12 on: 23 May 2020, 09:29:40 »
I think at least Giovanni Blasini has taken a crack at them...

Maingunnery

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Re: Robotic SLDF
« Reply #13 on: 23 May 2020, 17:20:51 »
And the idea of optionally-manned units is awesome, semi-omni head structures that could be swapped out as needed would allow the same construction lines to be used for the majority of equipment.
The various cockpit options will likely have different weights, so units with modular cockpits will likely have to be some type of Omnimech so that it can adjust the payload accordingly.
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Giovanni Blasini

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Re: Robotic SLDF
« Reply #14 on: 23 May 2020, 22:44:00 »
I think at least Giovanni Blasini has taken a crack at them...

When I did my M-6, I just did a stock Texas with added factories and a small yard bay in the cargo holds. The rest of the stats were pure SLDF Texas, with the exception of automation.  Drakensis may have done his earlier one a bit different.

Haven't tried the M-11 yet, but have been meaning to.
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marcussmythe

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Re: Robotic SLDF
« Reply #15 on: 23 May 2020, 23:08:18 »
“A small shipyard in the cargo bay.”

Ahh, THN, never change.

Daryk

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Re: Robotic SLDF
« Reply #16 on: 23 May 2020, 23:27:20 »
Thanks for checking in Gio!  :thumbsup:

Giovanni Blasini

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Re: Robotic SLDF
« Reply #17 on: 24 May 2020, 00:27:40 »
“A small shipyard in the cargo bay.”

Ahh, THN, never change.

Well, more my thing in this case.  Ship was meant to support long-range colonization efforts. Basically everything the M-11 was meant to do, in a smaller package, about a decade before the M-11 was described, and a few years before the Newgrange.
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dgorsman

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Re: Robotic SLDF
« Reply #18 on: 24 May 2020, 12:57:24 »
Just had a weird idea: C3-master type device as a miniature land ATAC system, with a slave-equivalent included in the SDS control module.  Throw a couple in an assault Mech for the equivalent of an M5C.
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Maingunnery

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Re: Robotic SLDF
« Reply #19 on: 25 May 2020, 15:12:12 »
Well, more my thing in this case.  Ship was meant to support long-range colonization efforts. Basically everything the M-11 was meant to do, in a smaller package, about a decade before the M-11 was described, and a few years before the Newgrange.
This got me thinking about proper variant codes/suffixes. SDS Drones already use "C" for Command units, so do colonization units use another letter, or is it a good idea to make or assume that all big command units are somewhat capable of supporting colonization efforts?
   For example I also planned to add a small yard to the Dreadnought so that it can build M-7s and M-8s, which can then form the basis of new infrastructure (possible self-replication?). Something like that only takes very little tonnage to start off, and be beneficial to any Command WarShip.

Having a standard variant system can also be handy for the Drones.
   B "Ballistic" Using mostly ballistic weapons
   C "Command" Having an ATAC or similar equipment.
   E "Energy" Using only energy weapons
   M "Missile" Using mostly Missile weapons
   W "Water" Using mostly Torpedos launchers
   T "Transport" Having lots of lift-hoists (CV), cargo space, and for WS lots of docking collars.
   S "Support" Non-combat equipment, such as Mobile-HPG, bridge layer or MFB
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Re: Robotic SLDF
« Reply #20 on: 25 May 2020, 16:26:58 »
I think indicating armaments might be less important than roles e.g. scout, picket, trooper, air defense, and so on.
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Maingunnery

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Re: Robotic SLDF
« Reply #21 on: 25 May 2020, 16:50:34 »
I think indicating armaments might be less important than roles e.g. scout, picket, trooper, air defense, and so on.
Previously I thought so too, but roles are often overlapping on a variant or the chassis can be completely incompatible with a role (assault scout..), so it can be meaningless.

An armament based view would be more fitting with machine logic, for example the world is very hot ->  produce "B" variants, the world is mostly water switch to "W" variants.
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idea weenie

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Re: Robotic SLDF
« Reply #22 on: 25 May 2020, 22:32:07 »
May want a bit of both
Assault-W
Assault-B

Weapons might even be swapped out between models, so an Assault-B would get refitted into Assault-W if the Mech is deployed to a water world.  This would not be Omnimech capability, just fixed designs getting different weapons installed.

The Mechs designed in this manner will be less efficient than custom-designed Mechs, but these Mechs are designed for all terrain types with only weapons/heat sinks being changed around.

For me, the Mechs would be grouped by size, while the character would designate the weaponry/equipment:
Assault: 100 tons @ 3/5
Trooper: 60 tons @ 5/8
Scout: 30 tons @ 10/15

Scout may have the "-O" designation, and be equipped with sensor equipment and long-range weaponry.  So you could have an Assault-O (Assault Scout), but the design would be focused on long-range weaponry and a larger sensor system.  Of course, it is still an Assault Mech so if there needs to be a location to hold the line it can do so.

Variants within a designation would have a second character to identify, such as Command variants:
C-1 - has communication equipment installed (different numbers would reflect amounts of comm equipment to get different bonuses)
C-3 - has C3 Master system installed

B-2 - Ballistic that uses AC/2
B-G - Ballistic with Gauss weaponry

E-LS - Energy with Lasers, short range
E-LPL - Energy with Lasers, Pulse, Large

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Re: Robotic SLDF
« Reply #23 on: 26 May 2020, 12:47:06 »
This is SLDF-era, so while some flexibility is important full on OmniMechs are out of the question.  Perhaps something more along the lines of the smart modular system of the Mercury, with a couple of extras?
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Maingunnery

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Re: Robotic SLDF
« Reply #24 on: 26 May 2020, 15:59:09 »
This is SLDF-era, so while some flexibility is important full on OmniMechs are out of the question.  Perhaps something more along the lines of the smart modular system of the Mercury, with a couple of extras?
Of course that will be the Modular Weapons Quirk.
And during the design process attention would have to be given to make sure that the difference between the variants all fall into Class B Field Refits.


Another good quirk would be Improved Communications.
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Re: Robotic SLDF
« Reply #25 on: 26 May 2020, 18:06:55 »
I have a question why not use the T-bolt 5E style upgraded to Royal Tech as one of your mechs, it already a Zombie Mech.
But this has an interesting if not scary concept
because this is how it could go if  humans are locked out of the loop.
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Maingunnery

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Re: Robotic SLDF
« Reply #26 on: 26 May 2020, 19:05:25 »
I have a question why not use the T-bolt 5E style upgraded to Royal Tech as one of your mechs, it already a Zombie Mech.
Well it does meet many of the criteria, but non of these drones are Zombies.
The addition of robotics does require weight savings through standardized 300 XL engine.

But I have considered a second set of cheaper drones (cannon fodder...) with a standard fusion engine, any ideas?
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Re: Robotic SLDF
« Reply #27 on: 26 May 2020, 21:56:11 »
Well it does meet many of the criteria, but non of these drones are Zombies.
The addition of robotics does require weight savings through standardized 300 XL engine.

But I have considered a second set of cheaper drones (cannon fodder...) with a standard fusion engine, any ideas?
But using what is a Zombie mech allows them to stay in conflict longer against their enemies.  So how much tonnage is the robotic equipment.
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Maingunnery

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Re: Robotic SLDF
« Reply #28 on: 27 May 2020, 03:21:24 »
But using what is a Zombie mech allows them to stay in conflict longer against their enemies.  So how much tonnage is the robotic equipment.
They would take up 8% of the total weight (Round up to the nearest .5 ton).
For a theoretical Shielded Ground SRCS (Elite).
« Last Edit: 27 May 2020, 03:23:29 by Maingunnery »
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dgorsman

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Re: Robotic SLDF
« Reply #29 on: 27 May 2020, 19:18:48 »
Extreme durability may not be necessary.  An automated mobile field base set up similar to an ARTS cubicle could provide quick turn-around for repairs and reloading if there were enough set up.  Some dedicated DropShip-located facilities could provide a more secure location and more in-depth repairs.  With everything coordinated the rear areas could be scary busy but still highly efficient.

I like the idea of some low cost, low tech units providing specialist security in the rear areas.  Kind of like how the Rifleman is designed - weak armor, not great for high tempo ground combat, but great for the occasional air attack.
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