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Silent Hunter
2008-12-14, 12:17 PM
Now, I have this idea for a Biggles meets Top Gun meets Raptor: Call of the Shadows freeform RP.

The basic concept is of a mega corporation aircraft carrier that goes around the world, doing missions to help the weak and downtrodden- as well as battling other corporations.

However, I have some things I'd like some advice on:

Background
How the world ended up in the mega corporation state. I don't want nuclear war as a cause for it.

I'd also need a good length of time in the future I could set it. I don't want to go too far into the future.

Ship Design

Overall appearance, weaponry size and number of aircraft, basically.

Nuclear power will be a given.

Now, as a student of these sorts of things, I know that most RL aircraft carriers have limited weaponry of their own, usually short-range SAMs and point-defence weaponry. I also know that while the Admiral Kuznetsov-class is heavily armed, it is limited in its air wing quite badly. A vessel that could viably do both would have to be super-tanker size, with all the attendant manoeuvring problems of that.

What do I need to include in my design?

Any good free design software out there?

What are your thoughts?

Air Wing

What should I have on the vessel?

Should I have a standard type of fighter, multiple types (i.e. interceptor-fighters and strike fighters) or allow players to bring their own types along (i.e. any carrier-based aircraft actually in service or seriously mooted bar a few exceptions)?

What proportion of aircraft should there be?

Abbott
2008-12-14, 12:42 PM
I'm not a rocket scientist, so I'll leave the technological issues to others. However, I'd imagine that such a world could come to be fairly easily. Just imagine environmental catastrophes. Governments were unable to act because the people wouldn't allow them as they didn't want to believe it, but a few super-corporation saw this as a way to gain power. When disaster struck and the governments finally got their act together, after facing massive protests and a new overall lack of legitimacy, these corporations had already got everything sorted out and also managed to impose their own infrastructure where the corporations were essential. They quickly managed to outmaneuvre the governments, causing them to be symbols much as monarchy is in most countries today. In the end, these symbols quickly vanished as various competing enterprises just absorbed them.

However, we're still talking massive, power-hungry corporations. Whether they want power to enjoy life or actually make a difference doesn't matter when it comes to levels of ambition. They want a monopoly and no one is around to try and stop them from using any means possible.

DracoDei
2008-12-14, 02:52 PM
For a mega-corp that considers itself above the law (or at least to a large extent) but DOES have scruples (so NOT "by any means necessary") see the one in the "Dream Park" series by Larry Niven... for some of the history of that world see "Fallen Angels", which predates the rise of that corporation.

Mercenary Pen
2008-12-14, 03:01 PM
I'd recommend no carrier smaller than a Nimitz-class, simply because anything smaller would compromise use by bigger aircraft (and therefore compromise the provision of capacities like airborne radar).

You'll also want to consider the attendant support ships for your carrier.

Silent Hunter
2008-12-14, 03:07 PM
Yeah, I'm thinking:

A cruiser for anti-surface support
Two anti-air destroyers
Two frigates for anti-sub stuff
Two attack subs
A couple of supply vessels with some small weaponry on

ninja_penguin
2008-12-14, 03:09 PM
I don't know anything military or boatwise, but I've got a couple of suggestions:

1. a small support fleet is a good idea, it gives some extra flavor, and some backup. if it was just the carrier, one lucky submarine could sink the whole thing. (maybe? somebody more military wise can support or refute this.) Think about Battlestar Galactica (current series), with it's civilian fleet that it needs for supplies and whatnot, except that they're actually armed or something.

2. For corporations taking over everything, you need some sort of disaster that affects governments, but doesn't affect the economical side of things. Maybe corporations were already multi-national, something happened that governments couldn't handle, and only the self-sufficient corporations were able to restore order, and pretty much took over control as the governments either faded into irrelevancy or collapsed.

Mercenary Pen
2008-12-14, 04:42 PM
Given your corporate slant on everything, there should be a focus on this question:

What is the most cost-effective means of combating threat x?

This won't always correspond to the same equipment that a conventional navy would use to combat that threat.


I would recommend finding books on the subject such as Lions, Donkeys and Dinosaurs (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Lions-Donkeys-Dinosaurs-Lewis-Page/dp/0434013897) by Lewis Page which examine the issue of military force in terms of genuinely necessary capacities, cost effectiveness, and how these niches can best be achieved...


A couple of basic questions for you:

1- Will your Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) component be better provided by Frigates/Destroyers or by ASW helicopters that don't need to worry in the slightest about torpedoes and can be deployed to anything with a helipad?

2- Should your surface vessels be mounting a high radar, considering that without airborne radar they still won't notice low-flying enemy aircraft more than a minute's flight out from them?

3- Should you be using as big a target as a Cruiser for anti-surface warfare, considering the potential prevalence of such things as inexpensive missile boats, or speedboat suicide bombs (http://www.theestimate.com/public/110300.html) in modern surface warfare?

WychWeird
2008-12-14, 06:14 PM
I'd argue that using the current economic situation as the starting point is an interesting idea - imagine governments/countries and companies going bankrupt leaving mega-corps and mergers of smaller companies taking over running of areas as they have the power base (money). Mega-corps could fight each other for control of resources and countries (although that's stepping into cyberpunk areas).

As for carriers - would they require auxillary vessels to dock or manouevre otherwise you'll need steerable podded propulsors and bow thrusters.

As was suggested by ninja_penguin, you'll need support vessels as stores need to be brought aboard - are aircraft going to be nuclear or conventional powered? Dependant on your sortie rate you're going to use a lot of fuel (and weapons!)

I wouldn't worry about suicide boats - if things have gone that bad then there's no reason why you can't use terminal point defence on first warning - ident and target acquisition system can lock on, interrogate and issue warnings automatically and open fire when a vehicle is within a defined threat range. That'd make for interesting approach patterns!

Mercenary Pen
2008-12-14, 06:24 PM
I wouldn't worry about suicide boats - if things have gone that bad then there's no reason why you can't use terminal point defence on first warning - ident and target acquisition system can lock on, interrogate and issue warnings automatically and open fire when a vehicle is within a defined threat range. That'd make for interesting approach patterns!

So, you'd use that approach in the middle of a busy commercial port with a thriving leisure boating industry?

Suicide boats aren't going to be hitting you out on the high seas with nothing to get in the way, they're likely to operate out of a busy port or under the cover of other shipping.

Either way, I suggest getting a good understanding of current naval technology (particularly the limitations of radar and sonar) even if you decide to increase the tech-level significantly.

WychWeird
2008-12-16, 02:10 PM
So, you'd use that approach in the middle of a busy commercial port with a thriving leisure boating industry?
No, hence the "if things have gone that bad then there's no reason why you can't use terminal point defence on first warning" - I'd assume that a carrier plus attendant support fleet would only dock in 'friendly'/corporation owned ports and therefore the mega-corp would provide the security.


Suicide boats aren't going to be hitting you out on the high seas with nothing to get in the way, they're likely to operate out of a busy port or under the cover of other shipping.
I agree. The USS Cole report you linked pointed out you couldn't open fire in a commercial or foreign national port - that is an area of weakness in the security of the vessel.


Either way, I suggest getting a good understanding of current naval technology (particularly the limitations of radar and sonar) even if you decide to increase the tech-level significantly.
I have sufficient knowledge in those areas, thanks! Anyhow, torpedo nets could be employed to prevent small boats butting against a hull (WWII technology) and the phalanx (http://www.fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/ship/weaps/mk-15.htm) or goalkeeper (http://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/server/show/nav.2219) systems could be employed.

imp_fireball
2008-12-16, 02:17 PM
Now, I have this idea for a Biggles meets Top Gun meets Raptor: Call of the Shadows freeform RP.

The basic concept is of a mega corporation aircraft carrier that goes around the world, doing missions to help the weak and downtrodden- as well as battling other corporations.


Blasphemy! Corporations don't help the weak and downtrodden, and especially not megacorporations!

Why not make them a rebel group of cyberpunk pirates?

Also a suicide boat would more likely lead to a suicide crew member, since people actually care more about boats then humans.

-----------

How it came to be? Realistically, it'd have to be at least one hundred years in the future. I wrote something on this at one point.

I mean, right now machines depend on really low yield things like oil (which are chief energy suppliers, ridiculous!), and follow through with the 1, 2, 3, boom, concept (where boom is what the machine has accomplished). Even computers kinda follow up with this basis.

In the future, machines would not be 1, 2, 3, boom. Rather they'd be more complex: It's hard to describe, but maybe think of things like self-sustaining, multi-purpose, etc.

Really, with the energy age (22nd century's my prediction), machines would become a lot more powerful since new energy is discovered in the form of electrolytic compounds and fusion reactors.

Also think about it: the only way to actually make money is to invest, otherwise inflation will catch up with you. This is could also lead to the big dramatic power shift which will never happen right away.

But don't forget that a corporation that becomes a government is quite likely to behave like a government (though some systems such as law and even constitution may change dramatically considering it's a new institution).

A corporation that eliminates the government it lies within has no one to compete within it's own nation (except consumers). It must expropriate the military of that nation, and then export. If it fails at making significant growth exporting, it has proven that it is worse at functioning then the government that initially occupied that nation (of course only now it still has a military under its arms... except that standard of living is driven down to an extent).

Eventually, another cold war develops between the main fresh power blocs.

Realistically the only 'mega-corporations' that could exist will thus exist in space, which is new territory, which is still at least 100 years away; not to mention the 250 some odd years it may take from now to actually begin colonizing any of these bought out regions. Even then, enterprise must find it feasible and have the money to invest in it (say for mining or whatever).

And EVEN THEN, even if government happens to be stripped of all function, there will still be officials representing said government in the UN.

That's my theory.

Silent Hunter
2008-12-16, 04:09 PM
Blasphemy! Corporations don't help the weak and downtrodden, and especially not megacorporations!

Why not make them a rebel group of cyberpunk pirates?


How about a team of ex-employees who mutinied?

Yakk
2008-12-16, 05:10 PM
Economics 2.0 kicks in.

Money is a very efficient way of allocating resources. But it ... isn't the most efficient way. Someone invents a new theory of economics that is, well, better.

Governments where not part of economics 2.0, but Corporations where.

The effects are quite hugely negative for those who refuse to adopt it, as resources (even in economics 1.0) get relocated away from it.

...

To avoid a nuclear war, you could simply have "nuclear dampers". A side effect of this is that those with nuclear dampers can attack, while those without it cannot.

Their development (in an ex-3rd world economics 2.0 nation) and their spread removes the trump card of the previous generation of nation states. Conventional war kicks off, in which the economics 2.0 nations out produce, out fight, and overwealm the 1.0 nations.

The downside to all of this was that humans where not all that often the ideal way to allocate resources. An initial surge in living standards among the 2.0 nations and a collapse in the war-losing 1.0 nations was followed by a period of recovery, and then efficiencies kicked in.

Humanity was in a pretty bad place for the next while. We don't know how long this was, as many wierd things happened, between creches and large-scale psychological experimentation. We know that the population fell -- reports that the human population topped 1 billion are astonishing, considering that current estimates put the human population at around 10 million world-wide. Technology continued to speed up, and things where good in certain ways, but really sucked in other ways. Entire human populations where reduced to pre-technology living, and others became post-humans.

About 50 years ago the beings who where running the world economy apparently left. You don't know why -- maybe they figured out economics 3.0.

Human technologists existed, as did barbarian human tribes. The technological base of Earth was far beyond the current levels, but much of it was also beyond the understanding of Humanity.

The technologist humans left behind remembered their corporate allegiance -- these tribe-like units where left behind as the world economy continued to morph in ways that humanity could not understand, and the remaining human technologists where mostly from the "winners" of the last war (the losers being nationalists).

With the economic overlords gone, economics 2.0 started breaking down. Some technologists pulled out the backup plans -- the old corporate charter -- and started running things using a primitive version of economics -- 1.0 through 1.5. They expanded and thrived.

Today, there are a handful of recovering corporations, waking themselves up from the mixture of dream and nightmare. Many have met and clashed. Others are attempting to explore the savage lands of the former nation-states, or the areas where humanity was fully optimized out of use, and trying to rebuild a full technological civilization.

The land is still a dangerous place. There are lots of automated recycling devices that view the cobbled together technology of this generation of humanity. So much of corporate expansion is on the seas. Space is also seems to be off limits, but many signals come from space that humanity has found a use for. There are even ways you can get signals to relay if you pull off the right mojo.

How is that for a sketch of a back story?

You have nearly arbitrary technology, much of it not understood. Humans are learning how to cobble together technological things. Much of the world is terra incognita. Exploration is both dangerous and important. Many corporations exist in a state of cautious peace.

The economic benefits of helping out poor, backwards areas are large, as gaining new converts or sympathetic humans to your corporation is valued.

Prometheus
2008-12-16, 08:23 PM
Extreme Libertarianism or Pacifism. Take your pick. In either case, governments decide it is not a good idea to provide security as a public good, and rather than leading to world peace or isolationism, people outsource to private-security companies or to gangs for protection. "Sovereignty" is now trans-national and no stable company can exist without developing its own security wing or fusing with another security corporation. Since people need both jobs and security, they affiliate with a corporation for their livelihood and serve it because they have every reason to. In this environment, any nonparticipating governments have had their national borders infiltrated by potential enemies, and therefore they lose whatever incentive they had to have fixed borders as well - thus transforming into a corporation or organization.

As for nuclear weapons, you could say that there is some sort of technological fix to the problem as previously mentioned. You could say that governments destroyed their nuclear weapons (that would be in the pacifism route), maybe with an organization that operates for the sole purpose of suppressing that knowledge, and it would be a major plot device to prevent the new race for the bomb. Or finally you could say that since everything is owned by corporations and corporations are international there are few spots on the map where one could target only one corporation and would therefore incur the wrath of the world for using nuclear weapons or attempting to obtain them (since you are going to use them on everyone but yourself).

Alternatively, if you aren't married to the idea of an aircraft carrier, make it a space ship and the events take place in the future. Then it is very plausible that corporations have control, that sovereignty and loyalty are hard to extend, and that nuclear weapons (as we currently understand them) are largely obsolete.

Lert, A.
2008-12-17, 01:36 AM
How the world ended up in the mega corporation state. I don't want nuclear war as a cause for it.

You can kind of see the start right now actually. Private Military Companies are being used a lot more worldwide. It would be easy to suppose that the start of a Mega-Corp could be from these sources. They are already multinational, and have significant training and high end materiel.

Consider: new technologies are delayed and budgets overspent, then the programs are cut. Meanwhile, countries are spending money on brush wars and spending billions on homeland programs to keep citizens content (at least paying the bills).

In time, finances become tight. One government after another, looking to save money to pay for their pet programs, contract these private corporations to oversee R&D, handle the building of weapons and fight their small scale battles for them. After all, companies can be expected to make their business profitable. Expanding on the military applications of researched technologies these companies become frontrunners in the global market, buying up hundreds of smaller companies that are falling on hard times from government financial mismanagement.

In time, almost all of the combat forces are in corporate hands. Then a single nation seeks to go to a full-scale war. Governments pay exorbitant prices to the corporations to build larger militaries, to stomp out this upstart. Eventually the cost of war becomes too high. The Mega-Corps say "no more." and a defacto peace between the companies is made, although there is tension and more than a little bad blood between them.

The governments are lost. Even if they could build an army for themselve, they no longer have the ability to equip troops properly. Nuclear weapons had been dismantled by nations since the cooler heads of businessmen had taken over the military world scene. Governments were still in power in name, but in actuality the corporations were looking after their nations more than they were. In a short period of time they are no longer able to enforce their will on the people, unable to collect taxes, since the people had protectors. Their employers (or the corp that their employers were paying for security).

The time of nations has ended, but man still looks to dominate man, whether by force or by using the power of money. The Mega-Corps know this and seek to keep their intellectual property safe, keep their military assets safe, and look for ways to become the greatest and most powerful.



I'd also need a good length of time in the future I could set it. I don't want to go too far into the future.

100+ years will be ideal, considering that the corporations would either have bought existing carriers - which makes new vessel design a moot point - or development of a new navy. Carriers would have to be part of a battle group, which would obviously consist of different vessel types. Time line could be moved up if the corporations instead have purchased existing drydock facilities and are building existing/near future designs.



What do I need to include in my design?

Obvious inclusion is CIWS. Multiple miniguns and perhaps a single - or double if you just want it to feel more awesome - light cannon. Depending on how much of a support force you are planning, this may be all you want on your carrier, since the rest can be handled more effectively by the air wing. Of course, who doesn't want missile bays and torpedo tubes on their carrier? Maybe a small boat dock, if the carrier is taking over the assault vessel role as well.



What are your thoughts?

I like pie.



Air Wing
What should I have on the vessel?

Should I have a standard type of fighter, multiple types (i.e. interceptor-fighters and strike fighters) or allow players to bring their own types along (i.e. any carrier-based aircraft actually in service or seriously mooted bar a few exceptions)?

What proportion of aircraft should there be?[/quote]

Depends on the size of the carrier that you're looking for. Multiple types are pretty much a given, with helicopters for personnel and troop deployment, and your own suggestions. Interceptors, fighter-bombers (possibly stealth), UCAVs, at least one AWAC, transport helos, anti-submarine helos, and if you want to have fun, a heavy bomber. Total combat wing should top out at 80 for a large carrier + 20-30 in support vessels. Unless you are going for a super-heavy design.

imp_fireball
2008-12-17, 02:11 AM
Economics 2.0 kicks in.

Money is a very efficient way of allocating resources. But it ... isn't the most efficient way. Someone invents a new theory of economics that is, well, better.

Governments where not part of economics 2.0, but Corporations where.

The effects are quite hugely negative for those who refuse to adopt it, as resources (even in economics 1.0) get relocated away from it.


And suddenly the entire world is willing to accept this methodology? Corporations relished in economics 1.0, how could most of them function in 2.0 (since a corporation is really the essence of capitalism)? And if this methodology somehow became commonplace, wouldn't government, with their military, still hold sway?

Also, not necessarily a carrier spaceship (when I think space I always think robot drones and humans with neural relays), but maybe an aerial aircraft carrier? Like in Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow?

Only not as old fashioned. As in: It can travel many times beyond the speed of sound, has a fusion reactor, rail guns, and plasma force dispersion (if you don't know what the latter is, it helps with travelling beyond the speed of sound); a lot of its functions would be automated with drones in place (maybe it even has inner factory), however human pilots are still needed to keep order every now and then.

Silent Hunter
2008-12-17, 03:31 PM
The aircraft question was more specifically: Should I use one type of multi-role fighter (i.e. the F/A-18) or have separate types of dedicated interceptors and strike fighters?

I plan to have an internal boat dock on the carrier.

Lert, A.
2008-12-17, 03:47 PM
The aircraft question was more specifically: Should I use one type of multi-role fighter (i.e. the F/A-18) or have separate types of dedicated interceptors and strike fighters?

I plan to have an internal boat dock on the carrier.

Hard to say. A Mega-Corp would be concerned about making the highest quality product with the most features if it can then be called upon reliably to take on another high-end fighter or several weaker targets, without loss. This may indicate an all-in-one package, but a fighter like this would likely not have stealth capabilities because of the expense.

I would use a multi-purpose fighter, and have stealth attacks be carried out by UCAVs. This can also cut down on the number of fighters on board and somewhat reduce the size of the carrier.

imp_fireball
2008-12-18, 03:39 AM
Or perhaps a mega-corp focuses on making calculations so damningly precise that they always find cost effective ways to do away with their enemies. If that means needlessly wasting the lives of people on their side, then they'll do it.

So they might not include the highest quality product. Because the highest quality product might mean selling off their entire networth (in which case, they may be denied the ability to spend the money, since the people who can build it are taken away, perhaps...).

Also, who's to say stealth would cost all that much. Unless they need to tune down electronics or whatever.

Yakk
2008-12-18, 05:19 PM
And suddenly the entire world is willing to accept this methodology? Corporations relished in economics 1.0, how could most of them function in 2.0 (since a corporation is really the essence of capitalism)? And if this methodology somehow became commonplace, wouldn't government, with their military, still hold sway?
Economics 2.0, whatever it is, ends up being wierd. You don't use money, nor does the economy work like it does today.

Government, with it's military, would only hold sway so long as it has a power advantage. Imagine if quite quickly a nation in the middle of africa had it's standards of living skyrocket. It then spread across africa. It doesn't rely on external sources of money. It does trade with the world, but in a strange way. There are people who claim to be governments, but ... they don't seem to have much power.

Attacks seem to be put down quite effectively. The industrial output of the area rises, as does the nations that immediately trade with it. Estimates of GDP growth rate is in the 50%+ per year rate, and then ... speeds up.

Then it kicks in in another failed state. North Korea stops importing food, and the government is very blustery about it. Then a civil war breaks out in North Korea, and the government is beheaded. Some people flee -- but the nation isn't starving any more.

Trade barriers start shooting up against these new economic tigers. Some nations don't engage in trade barriers -- and their economy keeps skyrocketing, even as their governments become less and less relevant. Technological drift changes from inward to outward. Population drift .. is inward, towards these strange not-nation beasts.

At least one conventional military is sent at these regions, and repelled.

North Korea by this point is richer than South Korea. China has a huge barrier against travel from NK. Some South Koreans ... start becoming North Korean, economically.

Experiments are engaged in to harness this economic pattern. Organizations that half-implement it tend to fail massively. Organizations that fully implement it ... drift away from their parent organizations (be they corporatoins or governments). An island in Japan leaves Japan this way (de facto, if not by law).

Vermont converts over to Economics 2.0. This screws up the entire US tax system, as productive capacity shifts to Vermont, and after a few years taxes from Vermont vary from year to year by more than the entire US government budget.

The Green Mountain war kicks off, as US authorities attempt to shut down the Economics 2.0 experiment in Vermont. It seems to go well initially, then 75% of US military technology stops working for unknown reasons, US command and C&C breaks down, the US economy goes into a tailspin, and the President is impeached. 8 US states declair independance in a shocking move, and US military forces within Vermont ... go silent. The US satallite network stops responding to US military signals.

The war ends with the US nuking Vermont ... and the nukes don't work. A good number of neighboring states go dark.

Nations adjacent to the African Miracle report communications disruptions, then go dark. In a panic, the economics 1.0 nations muster their armies.

Economics 2.0 still only controls about 10% of the surface of the Earth. A world war breaks out -- but it doesn't go well for the 90% of the world that is running what was an inefficient capitalist economy, and becomes an inefficient command economy under war measures.

Internal security breaches are common. The front lines prove to be extremely deep. Parts of the economics 1.0 nations suddnely go dark, and usually attempts to attack them fail. Chaos ensues. Huge war machines come out of the economics 2.0 nations, as do small robot soldiers, aircraft in every shape and size. The technology used is astonishing to the 1.0 nations -- they knew that 2.0 had outpaced them, but the distance in the military applications seems ridiculous.

The 1.0 nations seek to reverse engineer, and they have much success -- but they keep on losing ground. Neutral nations ... start to stop being neutral.

The most built up and advanced 1.0 nations end up taking the brunt of the war. They have the industrial and military capacity to fight for every block, and thy do -- entire nations are reduced to blasted scraps, as the war front moves onward.

Strangely, life in the 2.0 nations doesn't seem to be seriously effected. The "front line" seems to be something defined by where the 1.0 nations concentrate forces and plan attacks. The fighters in the 2.0 side, when captured, report being volunteers who think that a real war would be really fun and enjoyable to fight in, and think that the 1.0 nations are a bunch of paranoid idiots.

Eventually the war winds down. Not everything is 2.0, but a huge percentage of the world is. 1.0 nations surrendered -- well, just stopped fighting and 2.0 stopped attacking. Some neutral nations remain neutral. Trade restarts -- this time, trade barriers are ignored if they are put up.

1.0 nations continue to become more impoverished, while 2.0 get stranger.



---

Note I'm just trying to give a possible backstory that does not involve any nuclear wars. It also provides for technology that does what the plot needs.

...

For the coolness factor, I'd go with a few plane designs.

1> A support plane. It isn't as fast. It has great sensors and range, and some serious ability to interdict the area.

2> A general purpose plane. These can be loaded down with strike, interceptor, or other loads.

3> A specialized troop carrier.

PCs should fly the general purpose plane, with load-outs based on what their mission profile is. The support plane is their "base away from the base" -- being near it makes them more effective, and they can use LOS communications with it to get orders from the command chain.

...

Fusion Reactor. Aircraft carrier has foils that allow it to move pretty fast if needed. Close-in direct-contact drones provide point defense for the carrier, but beyond close-range, commincation can be hijacked (they use quantum encryption for the line-of-sight connection).

Ship has a fabber. Fabbers cannot be reproduced by current technology.

...

Pilots have skills in various parts of flying an aircraft -- ie, they specialize.

The aircraft themselves can be specialized around the pilot's skills, or for the mission.

This allows for both differentiation and participation. It should make sense for accurate characters to load out with more guns, agile to load out with more speed, etc.

Lert, A.
2008-12-18, 06:44 PM
Or perhaps a mega-corp focuses on making calculations so damningly precise that they always find cost effective ways to do away with their enemies. If that means needlessly wasting the lives of people on their side, then they'll do it.

Then it wouldn't be a needless waste. :smalltongue:

At least not for the guys in charge.


So they might not include the highest quality product. Because the highest quality product might mean selling off their entire networth (in which case, they may be denied the ability to spend the money, since the people who can build it are taken away, perhaps...).

I respectfully disagree.

First, a shrewd corporation would sell off lower quality product to the masses of private owners and keep the best for themselves. If the buyer tries to take over a market, their inferior product will be easily overcome.

Second, it has been proven that a generation x+1 product will be more effective than a generation x product. Being able to destroy larger numbers of the enemies forces without corresponding losses makes the corporation more effective. There is also the though of scale. While it may be feasible to send 100 untrained soldiers overland against an enemy in some cases, by land or air it requires a larger expenditure since you then have to make more carriers and transports, which requires more aircraft and escorts. Which means several orders more of maintenance of all this equipment. Overall costs will skyrocket.

Third, the area of training. An adequate pilot/tanker/soldier/whatever requires time and effort to train. Even if this is magically handwaved away by virtual reality machines there is the need for physical training. Even if this is handwaved away by chemicals or such, there is muscle memory to deal with. As shown by modern militaries, higher quality of training can effectively take on many more enemies of inferior training. While this is not universal - the case of AI piloting and such - it makes more sense for cost-effective corporate militaries to do so.



Also, who's to say stealth would cost all that much. Unless they need to tune down electronics or whatever.

In the future this may be handled differently, and the OP is free to do so. In the present, however, stealth is very costly because electronics have to be shielded to have low emissions, mechanical components have to be tuned to create less noise and heat, radar absorbent materials are costly, design considerations to create less contrail require different types of more expensive materials to maintain integrity.

As well, all missiles, bombs, and fuel tanks would have to be stored internally - not on hardpoints - because of the way that they distort the craft's shape and create radar returns. This requires more miniaturization of internal components so that a stealth craft does not become so massive that stealth is compromized.

Yakk
2008-12-19, 12:31 AM
The standard in modern militaries is that it takes x^2 money per troop to defeat x times as many troops.

This means it is uneconomical to go high-cost units.

Lert, A.
2008-12-19, 01:13 AM
The standard in modern militaries is that it takes x^2 money per troop to defeat x times as many troops.

This means it is uneconomical to go high-cost units.

The issue in this case comes to force projection. If units are traveling overland, transportation may be easily obtained. Numbers of bodies is important, equipment not as much.

If being part of a carrier or assault group, costs include that of transportation. Better trained troops mean you need less troopers. Less troopers mean fewer transports and landing craft. The cost of extra - or larger - transports far outweigh that of the troopers themselves.

Multinational corporations would also - likely - like to limit the number of persons with military training and technology. Soldiers are working more for an economic incentive than a nationalistic one, and it becomes more likely - or to those in charge, more conceivable - that a soldier would use his training to hasten his advance his way up the corporate ladder. Fewer troops mean that an uprising has less bodies to throw into the mix.

EDIT: This is obviously a subjective opinion. I am not implying that mine is the only way things can work.

I am not an economist. I have spent time around SF personnel, however, and find them to be worth far more than the cost values assigned may imply. I also am making my comments on the understanding that the OPs forces are to be a sort of "strike team," and that they would be a well supplied part of a dedicated force.

And let's face it, if they are building and maintaining even one carrier, costs of the organic craft and personnel are not going to be fairly trivial. At least in comparison to having to replace a carrier because your interceptors couldn't cut it. That's why only the big boys with craptons of money to throw around have even one of these things.

Silent Hunter
2008-12-19, 04:23 PM
Thanks for your input.

I already have an idea for a design for the general-purpose plane, namely based on the navalised concept of the Eurofighter.

How big would a mega-corp have to be (in terms of turnover) to afford a carrier or two?

imp_fireball
2008-12-19, 05:16 PM
Then it wouldn't be a needless waste. :smalltongue:

At least not for the guys in charge.


Yes, but cramming 'all purpose' into something else isn't too cost-effective. Even if it is the future, another more cost effective means will be designed to overcome the all purpose and then even more money will be needed to make the all-purpose that much better of a super weapon.



I respectfully disagree.

First, a shrewd corporation would sell off lower quality product to the masses of private owners and keep the best for themselves. If the buyer tries to take over a market, their inferior product will be easily overcome.


Depends on how much money the buyer has. And if the corporation can overcome the buyer, then they'll overcome them. Unless the buyer was bigger then the corporation to begin with.



Second, it has been proven that a generation x+1 product will be more effective than a generation x product. Being able to destroy larger numbers of the enemies forces without corresponding losses makes the corporation more effective. There is also the though of scale. While it may be feasible to send 100 untrained soldiers overland against an enemy in some cases, by land or air it requires a larger expenditure since you then have to make more carriers and transports, which requires more aircraft and escorts. Which means several orders more of maintenance of all this equipment. Overall costs will skyrocket.


Cost effectiveness requires some pretty precise calculations, yep. Your point?



Third, the area of training. An adequate pilot/tanker/soldier/whatever requires time and effort to train. Even if this is magically handwaved away by virtual reality machines there is the need for physical training. Even if this is handwaved away by chemicals or such, there is muscle memory to deal with. As shown by modern militaries, higher quality of training can effectively take on many more enemies of inferior training. While this is not universal - the case of AI piloting and such - it makes more sense for cost-effective corporate militaries to do so.

Yeah but if its the future, then they could probably find a way of rewiring muscle memory through means of AI. AI could be created from importing a full map of a human's brain onto an already very heavy supercomputer.

Virtual reality doesn't control time, unless you are referring to the ability to upload knowledge at light speed.

Training falls into cost effectiveness. I'm not saying a man who knows how to stab with a knife and wield a fully automatic pistol simultaneously cannot overcome a man who does not know how to stab with a knife nor is equipped with a knife and yet has a dozen fat 13 year olds who know only how to wield fudgesicles and wear messy t-shirts to be his acting wing men.



In the future this may be handled differently, and the OP is free to do so. In the present, however, stealth is very costly because electronics have to be shielded to have low emissions, mechanical components have to be tuned to create less noise and heat, radar absorbent materials are costly, design considerations to create less contrail require different types of more expensive materials to maintain integrity.

As well, all missiles, bombs, and fuel tanks would have to be stored internally - not on hardpoints - because of the way that they distort the craft's shape and create radar returns. This requires more miniaturization of internal components so that a stealth craft does not become so massive that stealth is compromized.

Uh... huh. So there are things that are necessary in the budget, but that's usually where the CEO advises expenditure margins. Cost effectiveness still applies.

DevilDan
2008-12-19, 05:25 PM
I would think that a rogue bioweapon that kills off a good percentage of the people would be a systemic (pandemic?) disaster of the sort that could lead to corporations, who provided cures, taking a more prominent role.

Heck, with piracy ramping up in recent years, I'm sure at least some companies have contemplated the legal and logistic aspects of arming their ships. I know that Blackwater was planning to start its own armed fleet...

Maybe we could combine those two ideas... mercenaries that have become so powerful that the governments now depend on them for many of their military needs. For example, there are over a hundred thousand military contractors in Iraq.

Lert, A.
2008-12-19, 06:59 PM
I already have an idea for a design for the general-purpose plane, namely based on the navalised concept of the Eurofighter.

A good design. Flexible, yet not overburdened with excess systems that would limit the tactical profile.


How big would a mega-corp have to be (in terms of turnover) to afford a carrier or two?

Unless I am mistaken, the smallest country to possess a CV is Italy, with a GDP of almost $1,800 trillion. Corporations would need far less because of not having to handle national welfare, health care and other social services. At least, not without a cost attached. Edit: Italy has only a single small carrier at the moment, with another due to enter service next year. Maintenance costs on large carriers are approximately $1 billion, I don't know how much for these smaller classes.

EDIT:
Yes, but cramming 'all purpose' into something else isn't too cost-effective. Even if it is the future, another more cost effective means will be designed to overcome the all purpose and then even more money will be needed to make the all-purpose that much better of a super weapon.

I believe my original statement was taken out of context. The fighters can be multi-role and able to handle interdiction, fire support and bombing missions. I did not intend to imply that other, more specialized, mission profiles would be handled by the same craft.


Depends on how much money the buyer has. And if the corporation can overcome the buyer, then they'll overcome them. Unless the buyer was bigger then the corporation to begin with.

Yet it stands to reason that if the buyer is such a threat, then the corporation would not just sell him the tools he need to overthrow them. Especially if the tools are superior to those of their own security forces.


Cost effectiveness requires some pretty precise calculations, yep. Your point?

Only that it has been stated repeatedly that the corp would rather give inferior equipment to their troops for the sake of cost effectiveness. It is true that no soldier is going to have every new gadget that they could ever hope to carry, but it is reasonable to assume that if they are going to be placing limited numbers of troops into a hostile situation that those same troops would be provided with the tools that they need.


Uh... huh. So there are things that are necessary in the budget, but that's usually where the CEO advises expenditure margins. Cost effectiveness still applies.

But here you have turned completely around on your previous statements. First you say that it is not cost effective to add extra equipment to an aircraft, then you say that it shouldn't be a problem to add even more expensive features to the same craft, even though it will limit its flexibility. I wonder where you really stand on this. Could you explain?

Silent Hunter
2008-12-20, 09:15 AM
I would think that a rogue bioweapon that kills off a good percentage of the people would be a systemic (pandemic?) disaster of the sort that could lead to corporations, who provided cures, taking a more prominent role.

Heck, with piracy ramping up in recent years, I'm sure at least some companies have contemplated the legal and logistic aspects of arming their ships. I know that Blackwater was planning to start its own armed fleet...

Maybe we could combine those two ideas... mercenaries that have become so powerful that the governments now depend on them for many of their military needs. For example, there are over a hundred thousand military contractors in Iraq.

That's a good concept. I might well do something like this. What percentage of population should be killed off? 90%?

WychWeird
2008-12-20, 08:08 PM
Unless I am mistaken, the smallest country to possess a CV is Italy, with a GDP of almost $1,800 trillion. Corporations would need far less because of not having to handle national welfare, health care and other social services. At least, not without a cost attached. Edit: Italy has only a single small carrier at the moment, with another due to enter service next year. Maintenance costs on large carriers are approximately $1 billion, I don't know how much for these smaller classes.
The British government is building two carriers of approximately 60,000 tons (2/3rds the size of Nimitz class?) - they will cost approx 3 billion for the two with another 6 billion in total for 25 years of support.

Any aircraft launched from a CV is likely to be an optimised aircraft as navalisation reduces payload - IIRC the carrier variant of the Joint Strike Fighter is less capable than the conventional variant (the STOVL is the worst of the 3.) Thus the Eurofighter/Typhoon as a naval version isn't going to be so capable.

Silent Hunter
2008-12-21, 03:11 PM
OK, here's a rough draft side-on design of my carrier, not to scale or anything.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v237/silenthunter64/Draftcarrierdesign-Copy-1.jpg

I'm calling it Krepost, which is Russian for Fortress. Those three triangle things are set off the side of vessel and contain integrated anti-air defence systems (missiles, CIWS etc.)

The bottom is the boat dock, which has heavy steel doors that open and close to allow attack boats (the size of an "Osa" class missile boat with about the same capability) to enter and leave. Six are carried on board.

Length would be about 350 metres long, height about 100.

imp_fireball
2008-12-21, 09:23 PM
I would think that a rogue bioweapon that kills off a good percentage of the people would be a systemic (pandemic?) disaster of the sort that could lead to corporations, who provided cures, taking a more prominent role.

Heck, with piracy ramping up in recent years, I'm sure at least some companies have contemplated the legal and logistic aspects of arming their ships. I know that Blackwater was planning to start its own armed fleet...

Maybe we could combine those two ideas... mercenaries that have become so powerful that the governments now depend on them for many of their military needs. For example, there are over a hundred thousand military contractors in Iraq.

Bioterrorism? Isn't that already part of a Tom Clancy novel?

imp_fireball
2008-12-21, 09:45 PM
A good design. Flexible, yet not overburdened with excess systems that would limit the tactical profile.



Unless I am mistaken, the smallest country to possess a CV is Italy, with a GDP of almost $1,800 trillion. Corporations would need far less because of not having to handle national welfare, health care and other social services. At least, not without a cost attached. Edit: Italy has only a single small carrier at the moment, with another due to enter service next year. Maintenance costs on large carriers are approximately $1 billion, I don't know how much for these smaller classes.


Except if a corporation owned a nation, then they'd have to have a driving political system wherein they'd still need to have a social security budget for workers. If they didn't then they could still drive down the value of currency, standard of living and all that. Especially if they were the government.



EDIT:

I believe my original statement was taken out of context. The fighters can be multi-role and able to handle interdiction, fire support and bombing missions. I did not intend to imply that other, more specialized, mission profiles would be handled by the same craft.


'Kay.



Yet it stands to reason that if the buyer is such a threat, then the corporation would not just sell him the tools he need to overthrow them. Especially if the tools are superior to those of their own security forces.


Corporations would still have to compete with other corporations unless they presided over one territory. In which case I refer to my previous point of affecting exchange rates, driving down standard of living due to methodology (and being forced to maintain all the same incentives of the previous government such as social security, etc.).

Unless of course the world becomes nationalised under one system of currency. Everything would change in that situation.



Only that it has been stated repeatedly that the corp would rather give inferior equipment to their troops for the sake of cost effectiveness. It is true that no soldier is going to have every new gadget that they could ever hope to carry, but it is reasonable to assume that if they are going to be placing limited numbers of troops into a hostile situation that those same troops would be provided with the tools that they need.


If the mission is critical to the greater good, then the limited number of soldiers would definitely be well trained for that mission. They would be provided the best in fully tested equipment from that megacorp, but likely it would all be kept undercover (including the nature of the products themselves, with anti-tampering, etc.). The corporation would have some sort of methodology of trust employees would have to abide by before they were to join specialist units such as these.

Other employees would all be cost-effective grunts, possibly never hearing of the exact nature of specialist units. If a corporation owned operations in multiple locations offworld there may be plenty of special units.

Of course, there's also the bread and butter of the corporation (such as mining most likely, since that's ground-up and relies on the untouchable nature of the megacorp), which would also be provided with the latest in equipment (especially offworld mining would be more undetectable).



But here you have turned completely around on your previous statements. First you say that it is not cost effective to add extra equipment to an aircraft, then you say that it shouldn't be a problem to add even more expensive features to the same craft, even though it will limit its flexibility. I wonder where you really stand on this. Could you explain?

There's limits that everyone abides by. That's like saying, "You said that a company wants to spend as little money as possible. Period." Does that mean that a company that makes shoes doesn't want to buy shoe material (whatever shoes are made of) because it costs money? Shoe material is essential to make shoes and actually compete with other companies in the market. The idea though, is that if you have a very overhead resource of available expenditure (and perhaps if shoes are a small area of profit that is not bread and butter to the entire company) then you could probably either buy out most other companies making shoes (which wouldn't work, since annexing employees may be faster through posting classified ads and more cost effective) or create a product that is of borderline quality better then all other shoes on the market (which is the most cost effective method of making profit... I stress effective with the word 'cost' associated).

If the only goal of the company was to spend as little money as possible, why spend any money at all? Well because it is integral to the company's survival to spend money to make money (or you could always get hired by some other company, in which case you'd cease to exist... though maybe as a subsidiary).

Lets look at war now. Even in war, you can't put all your eggs in one basket. Why? Because the enemy will always find a way around it. Corporations locking horns is hot and competitive, even in war. There is constant unsolicited violence without law (probably in sub-orbit or space).

The main idea I was getting at was that in war, corporations would be competing with other corporations. All are attempting to be cost effective. All are huge. All are paranoid of one another. Who knows if all have nuclear arms and if all have stealth technology? Ultimately, that's where expenditure margins fall in in association with war. So even on cost effective modules (focus on the margin of essential ingredients to make an aircraft), they'll likely have stealth technology.

Even specialist aircraft are cost effective to a degree, though if they're expected to get a lot more done then a lot more money will be spent. If there's a secret weapon, then maybe a whole ton of money will flow into that. Although 'secret' is intended to surprise, and it is taxing.

Surprise expects an algorithm of greater result.

Ultimately, it comes down to being a team player so you don't get fired. ;)

Silent Hunter
2009-01-10, 02:22 PM
I've had an idea of how to make the whole idea viable in a plague environment:

Even c.50 years after the plague, much of humanity would still be living in small communities, existing on a largely subsistence basis. To provide some form of protection for these communities, these sort of corporations could exist.

They'd provide assistance- at a price.

PinkysBrain
2009-01-10, 03:00 PM
This is a very common theme in anime ... but in anime they usually go for submarines or submarine/carrier hybrids. Realistically a carrier can not work alone whereas a submarine can.

Silent Hunter
2009-01-10, 03:02 PM
This is a very common theme in anime ... but in anime they usually go for submarines or submarine/carrier hybrids. Realistically a carrier can not work alone whereas a submarine can.

Hence the carrier group.