Re: Transports and MS

Mark Simmons (
Wed, 13 Jan 1999 10:17:38 -0800

Shane writes,

>There doesn't seem to be any disadvantage to me of using modified transports
>to act as, at least short-term MS carriers. If you think about it, what are
>the requirements for an MS to launch in zero-G conditions ? Unlike an aircraft
>carrier, an MS in space doesn't require a runway. Assuming a largish cargo bay
>open to space, the MS could literally just step out of the door before firing
>its thrusters.

  Right. Again, the amphibious landing craft analogy. Think of mobile suits
as space infantry, and the practice makes sense.

>As far as refuelling and re-landing is concerned, if the pilot could maneuver
>the MS into the cargo bay, there isn't anything to stop the transport from
>having some refuelling trucks or vehicles on board, and at least provide some
>sort of refuelling capacity that way.

  True enough. Mid-battle resupply would be dangerous, though; you'd think
the defenseless transports would want to hang well back from the fray, so
it would be a long trip for mobile suits to return for propellant and
ammunition. Given the length of time involved, you'd assume they'd have to,
though. If the GM's beam spray gun somehow runs off internally-generated
mega particles rather than an E-cap, it shouldn't have the severe shot
limit of a beam rifle (less than 20 shots), but they'd still run out of
fuel several times over in the course of an hours-long battle.

  Perhaps, in this case, you'd have a second rank of transports that are
specifically outfitted as supply depots rather than carriers; the GM-laden
transports would fall back like a rank of musketeers, and the supply ships
would pull forward to service returning mobile suits. No evidence for this
in teh animation, but it's kinda neat to think about. :-)

>Certainly, you wouldn't be able to carry out any long term maintenance on MSs
>in the way that a dedicated carrier could, but as a short term measure (such
>as ferrying MSs into battle at A Bao A Qu on Columbus-class transports), it
>shouldn't be a major disadvantage ?

  Not that I can see. Requiring all mobile suits to be hosted by
Pegasus-type carriers, or having to overhaul your capital ships to carry
mobile suits a la the Zeon fleet, would put a major limit on your mobile
suit capacity. If the Federation fields about 100 cruisers and 20
battleships for an attack like that on Solomon, and every one of 'em has
undergone a lengthy and expensive refit to add a mobile suit hangar, that
still limits you to 500 mobile suits - less than half what you could cram
into an equivalent number of cheapo transport ships.

And, in reference to catapults,

>Well, assuming an acceleration of round about 1G, it would take the MS roughly
>30 seconds to reach Mach 1. I suppose it depends how far behind - if the
>transports were 50 km behind the line, that would mean 100 seconds for an MS
>to reach battle, arriving at roughly Mach 3, which is probably about right -
>and another 100 seconds to slow down enough to actually fight something :)

  Your speed and acceleration-time estimates nicely match those implied by
the novels and animation. It seems that the typical encounter ranges for
ships are much longer - on the order of 1000 to 5000 kilometers, if you
believe 0083 - so mobile suits would presumably accelerate for a couple
minutes, cruise at that speed for tens of minutes, then slow down to a
manageable combat speed.

  How much of a boost could you derive from a catapult deck? As it turns
out, not much...

  If you work the math, you'll note that the length of the catapult deck is
the limiting factor here. A 200-meter catapult - a generous estimate, since
most can't be more than half that - gives you a value of 400 meters for
acceleration x time squared. Let's say our catapult acceleration is ten
gees - again, a gross overestimate. That gives us a catapult time of two
seconds, for a total acceleration of just 200 meters/second, a fraction of
the typical cruising speed of a mobile suit. A 100-meter catapult with a
more modest five gees of acceleration, meanwhile, delivers just 100
meters/second of kickstart.

  All in all, the modest bootstrap effect of such a catapult probably
serves more to get the mobile suits well clear of the ship than to
contribute substantially to their cruising speed.

-- Mark
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Mark Simmons <>
MacAddict: the magazine! <>
Gundam: the Project! <>

Collecting is for butterflies and stamps.
And at least butterfly collectors take 'em out of the jar.

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