Goddard's Lemons- Ships that should've never got off the ground.

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Goddard's Lemons- Ships that should've never got off the ground.

Postby RiflemanIII » Thu May 18, 2017 12:29 am

This is just thought exercise from my various homebrew settings. Really, just a bit of fun.

Lockheed-Sukhoi Apex-class destroyer.

While it isn't often that an interstellar nation has to throw its entire space combat doctrine into the furnace, this was precisely the situation that Earth found itself in by the end of the 40th century. Earth's various territorial battles had largely been sieges on a grand scale that were often resolved in the same method: Earth would send in a carrier group, the escorts would defeat any planetary or orbital missile batteries, the carrier would send down fighter craft to destroy any terrestrial fortified positions, and the ships would then force a surrender from space. There was no reason to change a thing which had worked for centuries, until Earth ended up picking a fight with their closest galactic neighbor, the Balthorian empire. While the Terran Unity had acquired its territory in a piecemeal fashion through acquiring the allegiance of various human-colonized worlds, the Balthorians had acquired theirs through the conquest of other interstellar powers.

The first battles, in light of this, went as any outsider might predict. The Balthorians used their superior expertise in warp warfare to jump their heavily-armed and protected dreadnoughts directly into gun range of Earth's crucial but vulnerable fleet ships, brush aside the fire of the smaller defenders, and then annihilate the carrier vessel with a blistering array of powerful weaponry. After seeing that close combat would likely dominate future battles, Earth furiously sought a solution, and began work on their first large vessel built entirely for combat with other large space vessels, and there was enormous pressure to do something- and they did something, all right. Presented with an impossible set of specifications, the only company willing to take the contract for the Destroyer Program was Lockheed-Sukhoi, which had some goodwill due to their development of Earth's still-high performance assault fighter craft.

While L-S was able to deliver the requested mobility profile, the gigantic engines required to make this possible made every other aspect of the design suffer. The ship's defensive arrays fell short of those possessed by the Imperial capital vessels it was meant to engage, largely because the types of reactors required for a ship of this type had to be invented in an impossibly short time frame, and carriers did not require nearly as much power as the proposed Destroyer due to the fact that their weaponry was either defensive or missile-based. the result was that the Apex was powered by clusters of smaller reactors which resulted in fiddly power grids that required constant supervision, and even when running smoothly they caused certain irregularities in the ship's weapon compliment which was compounded by other difficulties. To try to salvage the defensive requirements, the designers reinforced the hull as much as the structure could bear.

The ship's main energy armament was the LX-220 Battle Laser. While the weapon could produce impressive firepower, it was an energy hog that was bolted onto an already underdesigned power grid, which meant that the first attempt to fire it at its on-paper fire rate caused a capacitor explosion which blew the weapon right out of its turret ring. The woes faced by its secondary armament, the PG-60 Defense laser, while not spectacular, were still unpredictable and troubling, as sudden power surges and brownouts would result in vast deficiencies or surpluses in volume of fire. While the dangers of the first were obvious, the nuisance of the second became known when the defense guns had to have extensive repairs done on them after any use that might be described as sustained. The only weapons system that didn't suffer from regular or capricious malfunctions was the MM-140 "Thresher" missile launcher, but that was a low-power system which was largely a tune-up of a system already in extensive use, redesigned to accommodate the very dangerous so-called "Grand slam" warhead. As part of the contract, Lockheed-Sukhoi was allowed to introduce a small hangar bay as well, for three squadrons of fighters.

Fortunately for Lockheed-Sukhoi, the appropriations department was as desperate as they were disappointed, so several of this ships were completed and sent into action with mixed results, with successes attributed mainly to the element of surprise that Earth was fielding such a ship, but later discoveries showed that the vast majority of the Empire's large combatants were "tribute ships", which had their own shortcomings in both crew and design, and presented a less imposing challenge than the sleek, monstrous warships which spearheaded the first few months of the war. Still, it would be years until Earth had a ship capable of contending with the Empire's best.

Earth Apex-class Destroyer (860)

Hull: 18-17-16-15-14-13-12-11-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1
Engines: 4-4-4-3-3-2-2-1-1
Weapons: 15-14-12-10-9-7-5-4-2
Shields: 4-4-4-3-3-2-2-1-1

LX-220 Battle laser (5-10-15) 1×4+/4/2 (Pr1; Slw)
ABCD ☐☐☐ // (2)

MM-140 heavy missile launcher (MA 12) 2×4+/2/2 (Cts; Dsr)
ACE ☐| BDF ☐ // (1)

PG-60 Defense Laser (2-4-6) *×4+/1/1 (Vlt)
AC ☐☐| BD ☐☐| DE ☐☐| EF ☐☐ // (4)

Equipment: Hyperdrive ☐| Overthrusters ☐ // (1)
Traits: Carrier (3); Ionized Hull
Marines : 5-4-3-2-1

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Re: Goddard's Lemons- Ships that should've never got off the ground.

Postby mj12games » Thu May 18, 2017 8:16 pm

I love this idea. ;)
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Re: Goddard's Lemons- Ships that should've never got off the ground.

Postby RiflemanIII » Fri May 19, 2017 5:25 pm

Balthorian Empire T-Class "Tribute Battleship"

One of the misconceptions that people often have about empires is that they are monolithic power structures ruled by a single autocrat who is obeyed as though they are a god. In the same way that there hasn't ever been a truly absolute monarchy, this reflects a somewhat limited understanding of the structure of certain types of authoritarian states. The Balthorian Empire is much like the historical empires of Earth's past, being a combination of a powerful central authority grafted onto a collection of subject peoples, client states, and puppet allies which feign autonomy but generally bend to the interests of the Imperial Ministry when the call goes out from Balthorias. One of the consequences of this is that the actual core Imperial Military makes up a minority of the forces available to the Empire, though a very powerful one, and the majority of the ships that fly the imperial banner are what Terran command has designated as "Tribute ships"- vessels provided for the security of the Empire that free up the frontline combat units for battle against the Empire's external enemies.

While this situation had served the Empire well for a long time, there were thoughts about expanding the program. A bloc within the Imperial War Ministry eventually prevailed upon the Emperor to consider allowing them to expand the Tribute program to also include the construction of large, front-line combatant warships. The various sub-units of the Empire had already proven themselves capable at building security ships and long-range patrol vessels, and an expansion of the program to allow their vassals to contribute heavy warships to the navy would mean that the core Imperial Navy wouldn't have to bear most of the losses incurred in fighting the Empire's more dangerous enemies. The War Ministry leaked these plans to the Kyraxians, who practically salivated at the prospect at being allowed to fight in the Empire's major conflicts with more than medium or lighter ships. Eventually, the Emperor agreed to a limited expansion of the Tribute program, allowing the Kyraxians to construct large battlecraft.

While the performance of the ships that the Kyraxians contributed exceeded the expectations of the War Ministry, they made a critical error in assuming that this case would apply to all of the client peoples of the Empire, as this particular ally was a bit of a unique case- The Kyraxians were fanatically loyal warriors who had willingly sworn their total and undying allegiance to the Empire after they had been liberated from a powerful slaver league that had once dominated their region of space. Moreover, there were many Kyraxian soldiers who had served in the Imperial Navy, and so had the frontline combat experience necessary to inform the design of large combat ships for use in space warfare. Eventually, it was decided that the expansion of the tribute program would apply to those client peoples deemed sufficiently loyal by the Imperial Intelligence Ministry, which resulted in two problems- political and tactical.

The political difficulties with the expansion of the tribute program made their appearance almost immediately. While the various client peoples of the Empire were willing to go along with a program that allowed them some autonomy in protecting their own territory without having to constantly ask permission from Balthorias, they were somewhat less enthusiastic about providing vessels whose primary purpose was aiding in the expansion of the Empire. While it was impossible to disobey the Imperial edict, the crews of these vessels were somewhat less than motivated, so ships that performed acceptably in weapon trials would exhibit certain deficiencies in accuracy in offensive warfare. A somewhat less common but more dangerous problem was the fact that while the client states involved in the program were deemed sufficiently loyal, it didn't account for lingering separatist sentiment in Imperial territories which led to sabotage during the construction process- one high-ranking naval minister was killed when one tribute ship presented for inspection suddenly exploded during the course of the visit due to a feeder bomb ingeniously disguised as part of the primary reactor cluster, which was set to explode when all weapons were brought to full power.

The tactical deficiencies were not immediately apparent until the ships were forced to act on their own- during combined operations, their difficulties were masked by the fact that they were often acting in support of Imperial Navy ships, but during the war with Earth, several frontline units were recalled to put down a rebellion, leaving the Tribute Ships to continue the fight, but it was then that the flaws in the program became clear. The requests sent to the various participating governors lacked many crucial specifics, and so many of the tribute ships were what the client peoples' concept of what a space battleship looked like based on what Imperial dreadnoughts were famous for doing and being- so the ships themselves tended to be gun-heavy, sluggish vessels which were woefully undefended against anything that could stay out of their range, making them easy prey for the kind of stand-off tactics that Earth favored, and the crews of tribute vessels lacked the expertise and skill to engage in the warp warfare that the Balthorians were famous for. there was also the fact that client peoples had to start building large combat vessels from first principles, resulting in varied an numerous design inefficiencies. Compounding this was the fact that some large Earth carriers had been converted to Arsenal Ships in order to give them Earth fleets more available immediate firepower to defend themselves against ambushes meant that the tribute battleships found themselves outmatched by the standoff tactics that the Terrans previously favored.

In the end, the cost of supplying these underperforming vessels on the front lines far outweighed any dubious benefits, and the Tribute Battleship program was scrapped, with the exception of the expansion allowed to the Kyraxians. The remaining tribute battleships were reassigned to problem sectors as deterrence against unrest, as it was considered impossible for even the unenthusiastic crews of these vessels to miss hitting a continent on a planet from low orbit, and some ended up being commanded by some of the proponents of the Empire-wide expansion of the program.

As there were many peoples involved in the program, multiple examples are required.

Alghaav BOULDER-class Tribute Battleship (360)
-Tech: Engines -1; Weapons -1

Hull: 14-13-12-11-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1
Engines: 3-3-3-2-2-1-1
Weapons: 13-12-10-8-6-4-2
Shields: 4-4-3-3-2-2-1

Heavy plasma repeater (5-10-*) 1×5+/3/2 (Crn; Rpt)
AC ☐☐| BD ☐☐| CE ☐☐| DF ☐☐ // (4)

Mass rifle (3-6-9) 1×5+/1/4 (Pr1)
ABCD2 ☐☐| CDEF2 ☐☐ // (2)

Equipment: Hyperdrive ☐ // (1)
Marines : 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1

Satarba TRI-KNIFE-class Tribute Battleship (435)
-Tech: Shields -2

Hull: 15-14-13-12-11-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1
Engines: 4-4-3-3-2-2-1-1
Weapons: 14-13-11-9-7-6-4-2
Shields: 4-4-3-3-2-2-1-1

Sunshell cannon (*-8-12) 1×5+/2/3 (Bls; Prx)
AB ☐☐| ACE ☐| BDF ☐ // (2)

Particle projector (3-6-9) 1×5+/*/2 (Dsr; Sct)
AB ☐☐☐| AC ☐☐☐| BD ☐☐☐ // (5)

Equipment: Hyperdrive ☐ // (1)
Marines : 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1
Mines : 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1


Skraeva PERNICIOUS-class Tribute Battleship (390)
-Tech: Engines -2

Hull: 16-15-14-13-12-11-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1
Engines: 3-3-3-2-2-2-1-1
Weapons: 7-7-6-5-4-3-2-1
Shields: 4-4-3-3-2-2-1-1

Tri-rail cannon (5-10-*) 1×5+/1/5 (Crn; Knt)
ABCD ☐☐ // (1)

Bore torpedo (4-8-12) 1×5+/1/2 (Cts; Rpt)
AC3 ☐☐| BD3 ☐☐ // (2)

Equipment: Hyperdrive ☐ // (1)
Traits: Ionized Hull

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