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Airforces of the human sphere

Discussion in 'Off-Topic English' started by R-z, Dec 27, 2017.

  1. R-z

    R-z Active Member

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    As the title states what kind of airplanes (atmospheric or otherwise) would the air force of the various factions of the human sphere use.
     
    #1 R-z, Dec 27, 2017
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2017
  2. Section9

    Section9 Well-Known Member

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    Probably mostly drones, since it's obvious that by Infinity's time it's not a big deal to have a human mostly out of the shooting decision loop. They could also be Remote Presence like the top-class TAGs, with a constant pilot somewhere close by, just not in the bird. This lets the planes fly to the limits of the airframe, 16+gee turns in a dogfight. Or way more, since some missiles can pull more than 50 gees today.

    Troop-carriers are most likely still manned-pilots, since the cargo can't take the g-loads, anyway.

    As to whether the combat airplanes are strictly air or aerospace, I'd actually suspect that most of them are strictly air. Aerospace is great, but a single pinhole will compromise your thermal protection and then you're screwed (Columbia disaster screwed). Can't go super-fast (whether to climb out or drop in) till it's fixed. Strictly air is much more tolerant of non-catastrophic damage. There will be a few aerospace for the ultimate fast-mover response, of course. Nothing like being able to deliver warheads on foreheads on the opposite side of the planet in 30 minutes or less and the next one is free. But those aerospace craft are also extremely obvious, which is not good for deniable Infinity ops.

    They're probably all pretty stealthy for weapons-tracking systems, but fly more like modern Helicopter or A10 pilots. Down in the weeds, terrain masking as much as possible. Duck under power lines, dodge left or right around that house. only pull up to go over a car/truck on a wooded track. You don't need to be supersonic that close to the ground, heck, you don't WANT to be supersonic that low.
     
  3. saint

    saint Charming, but irrational

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    I don't have my books handy right now for citation but it is mentioned with the description Acheron blockade that in space at least its a mixture of manned and drone/AI craft with drone ships being more numerous and cheaper. so i imagine that it would be similar planetside as well, though dependent upon faction as well.
     
  4. xagroth

    xagroth Mournful Echo

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    While some sort of landing craft is needed (there are no teleportation here!!) to deploy and transport troops to and from "hot zones", the spacecraft is a little more difficult to define: in essence, if we go full hard Sci-Fi, we are talking about unmanned fighters (If any are used, instead of very long range weapons), and if we go soft sci-Fi, anything goes.

    For atmospheric stuff, we might be talking combos of Remote Presence, agile interceptors akin to modern drones with a bunch of missiles and an internal charge (useful for kamikaze attacks, self destruction, etc...), and manned fighters for a very limited amount of operations, or in places that are either like Ariadna with small technological base, either like Svalarheima with extreme weather that might mess with the reception, either like Paradiso where you might be more interested into flying "offline": remember, if you cross a section with little to no comms activity, no matter how good is your stealth tech the enemy might intercept your remote-control signal (and lasers are good in space, on atmospheric enviroments you run the risk of a cloud dispersing it, so no satellite tight beams).

    So, for artillery we have orbital attacks, mortars and missile launchers of different kinds.
    For armored troops we have TAGs (but the Maghariba is the most realistical of them).
    For infantry we have the S2 troops (biological, Lhosts and remotes).
    for support we have the different remotes of S3-4.
     
  5. Section9

    Section9 Well-Known Member

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    Orbital strikes have a couple major down-sides:
    1. you need a certain minimum size "rod from God" to actually avoid burning up on the way down. IIRC, the minimum size is about 5kg, which means that it hits with enough force to compare to 155mm artillery, 200m minimum safety distance to the impact point!
    2. due to the distance from the shooter to the target, there is usually a long delay from call to fire to impact, 5+ minutes at a minimum and closer to 30min depending on orbital mechanics. Conventional guns or missiles can have rounds landing in less than 2 minutes.

    I'm not sure that there are a lot of mortars still in service. I mean, the Smart Missile Launcher is basically filling the role of mortar and antitank missile launcher, and there are at least 1 SML per platoon. Expensive per-shot, but when it only takes one shot to do the job instead of 1000 you don't care that the guided round is 100x more expensive, it's still 1/10 the cost of what you would have spent.

    Other missile launchers are generally lighter and cheaper than a gun (it's why we don't see WW2-style antitank guns anymore, just missiles), and if you're talking about aircraft missiles, highly flexible in the ability to change loadouts. Expecting lots of trouble on the way to the bombing zone? Load up a couple extra antiair missiles. Enemy has no air defenses? take more ground-attack weapons. You can sorta see this in the Canadian MMEV, which took the ADATS hypervelocity missile launcher and replaced half the ADATS rounds with a pair of IRIS-T SAMs and a pair of 7-shot rocket pods loaded with 70mm laser-guided rockets. Gave a single vehicle the ability to engage aircraft with either the IRIS-T or ADATS, tanks with the ADATS, and infantry or light armor with the rockets. Use only the amount of force you need to, rather than hitting a single grunt with an antitank missile!


    I think there are still big tanks in addition to TAGs, but TAGs have advantages in deployment speed. Something the mass of a car can be transported around the globe pretty easily and covertly (how many DHL/FedEx/UPS delivery trucks do you see on the road in a day? Imagine ONE of them is carrying a TAG instead of packages), while something the mass of even a Leopard or T80 ('only' 40-something tons) requires strategic airlifters for speed or several months in a ship.

    The S3 and S4 REMs seem to be the basic infantry support weapons. I mean, the TR HMG is your tripod-mounted MG, just on a mobile tripod. The Smart Missile Launcher is the replacement for the infantry mortar and the heavy antitank missile. The combirifle/FO is a dedicated point machine, which is honestly the best place for a machine to be (out front and in the most danger). The baggagebots are pretty self-explanatory.
     
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  6. R-z

    R-z Active Member

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    So what kind of aircraft the various factions have?
    I can see pan-o having a X-02 Wyvern style super jet while Ariadna adheres to "ancient" designs such as the A-10 Warthog
     
  7. xagroth

    xagroth Mournful Echo

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    It depends on what kind of artillery strike do you want to use, if it's an alpha strike or pounding a target, then the orbital option is quite comfortable.
    For the same thing, I can envision mortars still in use. Yeah, the SML is a more efficient way (povided you have a marked target), but if you want to make an alpha attack, some portable mortars for each trooper for a single way of saturation before the main attack can be interesting. It all depends on the mission, after all, and we still see ingame the disposable "rocket launchers" of today (panzerfaust, DEP...).
    Considering how the game is shown, however, I doubt we will see any kind of "pregame bombardment" unless as part of Paradiso N3.

    I wouldn't look at actual designs when considering future ones, after all we would have to accept that the CA & Tohaa will have alien stuff, the Nomads will use space-atmo vehicles, and Ariadna will use choppers and the like.
     
  8. Errhile

    Errhile A traveller on the Silk Road

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    I agree with @Section9 on that: if there is no need for an aircraft to be manned, it is not manned.

    Personally I believe there are both REM drones (who are partially autonomous, so a single drone operator can handle a whole flight of them) and Remote Presence-operated aircraft (equivalent to TAGs).

    The advantage of these over manned aircraft has been already metnioned, but let me repeat this: an unmanned combat aircraft doesn't have to account for pilot's comfort, especially when maeuvering. They can pull turns so tight a human pilot wouldn't be able to survive such a G-stress. This gives them an incredible edge over manned aircraft in a dogfight (and while several experts were prophecizing the end of the dogfight due to guided missile becoming a thing, it hasn't proven so). In fact, in RL pilot's endurance is the major barrier in a maneuver combat.
    Also, there's the pilot's life thing. A fully trained jet pilot costs a big pile of taxpayer money to train. Well okay, a drone pilot might be not much cheaper (if trained to comparable standards), but there's little chance he (beign the big taxpayer money pile to train he is) would get injured during mission (unless he spills a mug of hot coffee onto his lap in excitement ;)), or even worse killed in a line of duty. And that's not mentioning him bailing out over enemy territory and needing t be sarched for and rescued.

    If a REM aircraft gets shot down and crashed in enemy territory, you don't scramble a Combat Search & Rescue mission with several aircraft to get the pilot out. You calmly order the operator to his quarters so he'd change into clean pants (i.e. without a large stoain of coffee)and be back in 5 minutes, while oyu call the chief mechanic to prep another drone for a mission.


    Now, as for the roles between "REM" ad "TAG" equivalents in air force role, I assume that small drones are generally cheaper and lighter - they are thus less capable in terms of equipment carried, lesser weapon payload, but also smaller electronic footprint to mask, smaller size (so a bit more difficult to hit) and - since they operate in groups - a whole swarm is more difficult to stop than a single big machine: you might drop 3 drones of the flight, but the 4th will be still making it through and destroying the target.

    A "REM" would be, therefore, an equivalent to a light support aircraft of today - things like Super Tucano, capable of providing close air suport to the troops on the ground, performing reconaissance, airdropping supplies, and fighting equivalent aircraft on the other side (and big mean ones too, an air-to-air missile is just as deadly regardles of what platform carries it - tohugh of course they aren't mean to do it, and need a dose of luck to survive an encounter with a dedicated fighter craft).
    Of course, small analogs to fighters are also a possibility.
    There are more advantages, too - such a craft can be designed to operate from a very rudimentary airfield, which in turn can be located close to the area of ooperations (which in turn means: get there quickly, stay loitering over the area for a long time, thus being available on-call to the ground forces, get home quickly, rearm & refule, back into the fray).

    A "TAG" equivalent would be, in turn, a big, expensive, well-equipped machine - a long-range bomber, scout or a dedicated air superiority fighter. Since it needs to be big (to carry all the fuel) it can as well carry a lot of equipment, including superior defensive measures and extensive weapons payload. It gets a dedicated operator that (remotely) pilots only this one craft, perhaps even a whole crew to operate a single craft (pilot, sensor operator and weapon systems officer).

    Manned aircraft? Only where you can't do otherwise, or where it makes no difference. Transport aircraft are a possiblity here (still, a remotely piloted transport won't be any worse!).
     
  9. Leto

    Leto New Member

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    Personally, i think that several of the fighter might be manned to some degrees. Drones are great and cheap on paper, but in practice they need alot of logictics and support coming for them that might made them much more expensive in the end. Satelites, AWACs, radio networks on land, even manned craft and infanties, all of it was a requirement for drones networks, feeding them with constantly changing information from time to time. Such grand expense for a total dronified arm forces can only be bought by a nation with a propper holding, economy and consistent network between forces, such as Pan O or Yu Jing. But for smaller nations such as Nomads and Haqq, that was mostly relies on unconventional warfare and doesn't really have a steady communication between forces? Will be unreliable for them most of the time. Thats why manned craft are still a thing.

    Also drones, thanks to the absent of independent judgement and sense of the field, are prone to false alarm and manipulation of infos that proven to be fatal from time to time. Even a small dent in surveillance can lead to civilian casualties and even friendly fire, or can be easily exploited by enemies. Thanks to the intensity of infowar that was happened in HS, this can be increased into 10 folds. So its not that easy as most people think.

    Maghariba aren't more realistic than the others TAGs except for her looks (i cannot includes "clank" as a realistic factor). She was also entirely different than other TAGs that was more in league with exoskeletal infantries (they were landmates on steroids after all). She was, thanks to her overall design, behaviour, size and weight class, more in league with IFVs like Scorpion or Marder. So i class her differently than the other TAGs, can't be comparable.
     
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  10. xagroth

    xagroth Mournful Echo

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    I disagree there, simply because if the "tail" gets removed and attached to a turret then you have what is, effectively, a tank with legs. A bipedal 3-5 meter battlearmor is fun and all, but the amount of trouble it brings (starting with physics, and finishing with "practical design for combat") is inmense: we are talking about how all the mass rests on two points (hint: a plane is defined by 3 points), then deposits all the stress in the hips, while the torso fulfills no real function (so you can "store" other critical stuff there... like the pilot), we are talking about some silly thing called "profile" (you know, since its inception the battle tank has been trying to have the least possible height, to use the surroundings and find cover easily. Heck, in WW2 the german tankhunters had no turret, mounting the main gun directly on the chassis to minimize the profile!), etc etc.
    Fun fact: Infinity's TAGs are based on Masamune Shirow's Landmates, and he upgraded them to oversized armors even before AppleSeed's manga reached 50%!

    Sure thing, the Maghariba should be improved if we want to accept it as viable in a "Hard" Sci-Fi scenario, but if you remove the tail it's closer to that than any other Infinity TAG.
    The real question is why PanO doesn't make less humanoid TAGs, really.
     
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  11. Leto

    Leto New Member

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    The problem is that those bipedal TAGs are small enought to even have smaller overal profile than maghariba, those spider tanks are really wide for god sake, the only advantages she has is a lower profile IF we remove the tail, even that wasn't really advantageus if you account where this machines are actually operating in, the area that would throw the much wider, longer, and heavier Maggie troubles on bypast even a simple alley. And seriously, even the biggest biped TAGs doesn't even reach 3.5 meters (like Ex machina's Guges), and something like Geckos can be 2.5 meters or lower (manga Guges are striding in this size) and that doesn't acount on the fact that they can actually prone and adapt their body into any situation, thanks to Master-Slave systems and unrigidness of their body, compare to Maggies that was just a solid box with legs attached.

    Because TAGs was originally intended to operate alongside the infantry, so you need something that works with the flexibility of the infantry, not the opposite. So in this purpose, they don't need to build a non-humanoid TAGs, they made it smaller instead to adress your profile problems. They just give the non-humanoid design to REMs instead. And bloody hell, TAGs wasn't a tank for god sake, i can't understand why people always bring up tanks when we talking about them.
     
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  12. devil.advocates

    devil.advocates Well-Known Member

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    Honestly, this talks about "realism" in sci fi are probably the most stupidest discussion on sci fi related board. People talking about how something from 200 years later is more "realistic" than other stuff come from 200 years later, its like hearing bunch of caveman triying to argue on which more realistic between jetplanes or hellicopters in modern world using their knowledge of spearmaking, basically a bunch of dolts without any idea on what they're talking about.
     
    #12 devil.advocates, Jan 2, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2018
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  13. xagroth

    xagroth Mournful Echo

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    Please, grab 2 Silhouette of size 2 and place them on top of one another, then grab one of S6, S7 and S8. Please notice how the S7 is more or less twice the height of a S2 trooper, while the S8 has the same height S7 has. And I already mentioned that the Maggie would need a redesign, where the "scorpion's tail" would go in favour of a low, long turret (with the active ECM system that is the missiles mounted vertically instead of in diagonal on an exposed turret...).
    In this case, profile is how much does the vehicle measures from the ground, and the lower the profile the better to find effective cover and be less visible while operating in the wilderness (in the city, silence is a harder to reach commodity).

    Now take into consideration that, for urban warfare, unless the TAG has climbing plus wheels or caterpillars are superior to legs, while legs are better (coupled with hands) in very rough terrain, in the wilderness. As for "hey, snipers, heights, etc...", you would use drones and infantry to provide cover to those vehicles, but Infinity does not want to add flying stuff that would complicate too much the game.

    That's why I said "hard sci-fi", which is a subset that tries to look at how the physics work, and physically speaking a S5 robotic bipedal platform would either need to be made of very lightweight materials or suffer near inefficiency due to weight: the taller it is, the harder the pressure on certain "bones" (structural components), forcing you to reinforce them, thus increasing the weight even further...
    And while I agree that predictions can be tricky, some can be made with some certainty, while others depend on something called "internal consistency" (meaning you cannot say "there are Jedi suddenly in Infinity", or "Hiperspace is doscovered and the black hole travel is just a shortcut", or "they discover a new, superlight and superstrong alloy of Tesseum and CA bioarmor").
    Take into account past human history: until WW1 the progress was more or less lineal, and suddenly in the past century we went bonkers, but most of what we are seeing atm are refinements and mass productions, rather than true groundbreaking discoveries in new fields.
     
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  14. leigen_zero

    leigen_zero Morat Pacifist

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    Odd little tidbit from the books (can't remember which) but the Nomads use genetically modified (and I would guess partially uplifted) dolphins as pilots for spacecraft. On the grounds that they are one of the best intelligent mammals that are incredibly well adapted and talented at moving in fairly loose formations in a 3-dimensional space. Could be interesting to see if they carried this on to their smaller aircraft, could imagine a school of fighters or something with dolphin pilots.
     
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  15. xagroth

    xagroth Mournful Echo

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    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uplift_Universe#Neo-Dolphins (it's a saga written in the eighties, so... :P). and then there are several other instances of "doplhin-like lifeforms in space", I think the Sword of the Stars PC game had some XD.

    In any case, yeah, using genetically engineered dolphins as pilots (remote or otherwise) for the combat ships is quite logical in the Nomad Nation, with the Black labs of Praxis and how very little they really care about the Concillium restrictions (and yeah, ALL factions ignore the Concilium limitations in warfare when fielding black ops... specially Aleph with the "everything and their dog has nanopulsers here").
    And by that same token, avian-based pilots for atmospheric combat. Oh, dear... How would it be the splicing of human genes with an octopus for a multiarmed space engineer? In Eclipse Phase they are quite common (and quite broken as player characters) XD
     
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  16. Wildgit

    Wildgit Member

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    But S5 robotic stuff are indeed lighweight, well, except for Blackjacks, but that thing is bloody stone age.

    Also, interesting note that on how that TAGs can be this buffed up like our S7 fellas right there, is because there's actually major technological breakthrought happens, that was nanotechnology. It was massively miniaturize and lighten all the actuator tech and skelletal materials, it makes the "towering" S7s more lighter than the stout but short S8 Maghariba, that was came a bit before this major breakthrought. So there's reasons why TAG can be that "massive" (althought i still don't get on why they don't stay in S6 "massive HI, doesn't count" teritory rather than riding into S7 "we dangerously touching bigass mech line here", but at least PanO do the right thing by making Stingray 3s mini TAG series :P)
     
    #16 Wildgit, Jan 2, 2018
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  17. xagroth

    xagroth Mournful Echo

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    The main problem is not the actuators. Heck, I can even accept a massive "discount" in weight from the batteries! The problem is, simply put, armor. Sure thing, there is the Teseum (AKA Adamatium...), but why carry 500kg of armor in a bipedal TAG when you can carry 1000kg in an hexapedal one? Not to mention that more contact surface with the ground == more recoil compensation (meaning you can mount bigger guns, or less complicated ones) and more contact surface == less weight on the same spot of the ground (so you can cross over more fragile surfaces without collapsing them), etc...

    Bottom line, a multipedal TAG offers better stability, more weight distribution, better armor (realistically speaking, most tanks are better armored on the front, even if it's by a small margin, but Infinity does not cover that) and less height (meaning they need cover that is not as high as a bipedal unit might). the only advantage (aside from the rule of cool) a bipedal TAG offers is instinctive control for the pilots.
    Oh, and the Maghariba's turret can be explained, in a way: expose only that instead of the whole tag, and if blowed, the TAG can still get out. Overcomplicated for Infinity, logical to a point in "real life".

    The Blackjack I frankly can't really accept in any way, we are talking about a lot of artistic licenses to make what, in the end, is nothing but a glorified bipod for a sniper rifle... Sure, it has the same armor value than an Asura, but... I just can't dig it, sorry (and the Asura goes more the way of "combo of resistance to enemy fire and ingoring the holes that got punched on her" route, as far as I'm concerned).

    As for why go higher... If we were talking about posturing, then going from S5 to S7 has a certain logic to it: we can, you cannot, our tech is better. But to be really sincere with you, I'd make "toned down" Ayax-like Lhosts rather than TAGs, which is kinda the way the Combined Army has gone (I refrained to include CA or Tohaa here for that reason: aliens, much more resources, biotech... in those fields I agree wholeheartedly with you in the "we can't predict" argument), but looking at the S3 remotes one has to wonder why not go that way... unless they are saving that idea for a new Caskuda.
     
  18. Wildgit

    Wildgit Member

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    Seriously, i don't want to put out much dude. I'm not really agreeing with you here, but since this is a game forum, i don't want to rant out on how much "superior" our favourite machines here and throw out technical readout everywhere. I just say this: this machines, believe it or not, have specific use and purpose that might be cannot be crossed by one another. Hey, Maggies can be low, thats cool, i might use them for a more open ended areas. But since i need my machines onto thigh corridor, i'll grab Geckos instead. Since even though its a bit taller (i remember that Maggie are only a bit taller than S2, without tail) if we discount the Scorpion's turret, its slimmer, much-much slimmer and overall, much more smaller and lighter than those Maggie, consume much less space while can tow a more or less similiar weapons, so i can slip them throught corridors. Also, hands might get handy if i want to removes obstacles, and lastly, i can hitch them into Hellies Ivan borrow's me yesterday, without even scratching his brand new internal paint jobs. Hey, those quadrepedal REMs might be cool also, but they dont have a same strength and toughtness as TAGs, so why i should bring them to do a TAG job?

    Its like comparing Bradley with Abrams, fact that Bradley has a higher profile with them 3 meters higher than Abrams 2.5 meters profile. But hey, Bradley was slimmer than those clank box, so even they we're as durable as toilet paper, i can slip them easier in the alleyways rather than Abrams nearly 4 meters wide body, and they can bring their own support too. Also with them being lightweight, means i don't damage road to much and i can tow them into tactical transport planes much easier than 60 tons short box, while i have enought firepower to get jobs done.

    I don't care how much theoretically their ballance or stress distribution was, i don't like such geek talk to much. What i care that how my machines can fit inside their operation zone and get the jobs done. So Maggie and Geckos are equal in my eye in term of "practicalness".
     
    #18 Wildgit, Jan 2, 2018
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  19. xagroth

    xagroth Mournful Echo

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    Ok, let's go operational there: why geckos instead of remotes? (and I mean S3 remotes, maybe a little longer for the heavier weapon loadouts). In that regard, the Druze incorporation of a missile launcher platform is not that bad of an idea, and a linked total reaction would be better (not only in game terms, mind you). The same can be said about the Szalamander and the other manned TAGs, we are not only talking about how much resources does it takes to replace casualties, but efficiency... and mounting a standard weapon on top of a standard chassis is quite efficient... and if you want more resilience, then an armored front shield not only will extend the half-life of the unit, it will also provide cover to the organic troops that support the remote (and avoid it is being surrounded, or the like).
    Frankly, I wouldn't be surprised if Tunguska present us with a Haris of an engineer, a remote, and another S2 troop (hacker, for example), even if it's a HI remote.
     
  20. Wildgit

    Wildgit Member

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    Do you also account how fast their pace is when lunging around in such heavy armor? How long do it takes for them to reach their objectives? How much will cost you if you lost 4 hard earned veterans+1 salvageable machines compared to 1 veterans and 1 salvageable machines? How much stress do this guys have running along with such heavy armor without significant support from exos? Will the stress will affect overall team performance? How long would they set up their heavy weapons? How strong their deterrance when faced with possible supression fire? How much Lhost will cost you for each salvageable veterans? Did you able to receive a propper Lhost that won't reduce future performance? How long would it takes to replace them if they wasn't salvageable? Can the replacements can provide the same level of performance compared to their predecessors? Can they overcome possible hurdles without any heavy duty machines? Can they do it faster without relying on explosives if there's possible danger on using it? Did their armor can handle a much heavier calibers? How much weight those chassis can handle when given an extra armor? Did it will hamper its overall treking capabilities? Or it might prolapse their internal motor faster? Are they able to cross hazardous zones? Will possible jams will affect the remote's peformance?