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Unread postPosted: Sat Sep 07, 2019 2:30 pm
  

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Knight

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Seto wrote:
Well... from the RPG's perspective, we could say they have a reconnaissance craft in the VEFR-1 via the UEEF Marines book's insistence that the Expeditionary Forces marines continued to use the VF-1. I know they slightly tweaked the name in the RPG, but it was designated as a multi-role electronic warning and reconnaissance craft originally.

But how many VEFR-1s are there realistically in the UEEF inventory? How many VF-1s are realistically in the UEEF inventory? By 2022 or by 2030 or even by 204x. They aren't producing more, and attrition is going to happen one way or the other (either from combat or lack of spare parts).

Seto wrote:
TBH, I'm not sure I would call what we saw in RTSC "reconnaissance" since they appear to have been flying a BARCAP op instead of actually scouting anything. The Shadow Fighter would make a pretty awful reconnaissance aircraft since most of its sensors are passive and, its main radar field-of-view is typically fighter-esque, and its other sensors are fairly ill-suited to the task.

That's how the pilots see it, I won't argue if it is more properly something else.

The Shadow Fighter could still carry a pod(s) with better sensors to perform the mission (obviously it wasn't used in TSC), one that could be contained in a gunpod casing for ease of use by the battloid (VEFR-1 does this to IINM). Or there could be a variant of the Alpha/Beta with better sensors for the task (while OSM, Imaifiles does have a recon Legoiss variant pg93 M4-07 around this area other bolt-on packages also appear, indicating that OSM-ly a variant was considered during pre-production, though I don't know if I'd go with what is depicted), but this gets into the whole we don't know what they actually use for these Planetary Survey Missions. For a planetary survey (or even recon) mission passive sensors are not a bad thing, its more their resolution I would be concerned with.

Seto wrote:
but it was always supposed to be something that was designed alongside the Alpha.

In the OSM yes all three troublesome designs in the story are that way, however in RT this doesn't appear to be the case. The Alpha is a ~30 year old design, with the oldest known cyclone dates I could find coming it at 1/2 its age and the Beta being added late in the process. Admittedly the Cyclone might have an unknown precursor in the UEEF. Then again the Alpha seems to always be "new" in the comics (2014-ish, 2030-ish, 2038-ish), so maybe they kept changing things requiring changes to the design (ala F-22) and finally someone said "enough".

Seto wrote:
... there doesn't seem to be a separate planetary defense group, and the one time we see one of their surface installations attacked they do such a rubbish job of defending it that it would tend to bear out the idea that they're not equipped for planetary defense.

Not equipped for planetary defense? I would disagree, I think it would be more accurate to say they aren't organized for planetary defense, and there is a difference. You're referring to Edwards escape from Tiresia? Or the ASC's defense of Earth?

Seto wrote:
It doesn't so much point to a change in doctrine, IMO, as it does the uncomfortable realization that ships designed around pre-1st War assumptions about space combat proving to be useless.

If their assumptions are proving useless, then that means they have to shift their doctrine from changing the levels of emphasis on "ship-ship combat" and "planetary assault". It might not be radical doctrine change, but it is doctrine change.

Seto wrote:
Mind you, the Alpha's main problem here isn't a delta-v issue so much as an inability to even reach altitudes where its lacking endurance could become an issue in the first place.

As I've said in the past, this doesn't make sense. The Delta-V determines how far and how fast you can go on pure rocket power. This is also compounded by a lack of useful statistical data that could put this to bed (ex. propellant mass, burn time, etc). You'd almost thing HG is avoiding quantifying things in writing or something ("short legs" in space is relative since we don't know what they conceive of as "short" for example) or doesn't realize that what they state is not necessarily supported by animation (even if we ignore TSC, which clearly shows they weren't paying attention to details).


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Unread postPosted: Sat Sep 07, 2019 5:13 pm
  

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Knight

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ShadowLogan wrote:
But how many VEFR-1s are there realistically in the UEEF inventory? How many VF-1s are realistically in the UEEF inventory? By 2022 or by 2030 or even by 204x. They aren't producing more, and attrition is going to happen one way or the other (either from combat or lack of spare parts).

As many as the GM says?

Really, since VEFR-1's aren't front line combat aircraft their attrition rates should be significantly lower than the regular VF-1 or Alpha. Spare parts shouldn't be too big of an issue, given that the RPG's stance is the UEEF Marines used the VF-1 for decades and most of their parts are common.

Spoiler:
Even in the Macross series, the VEFR-1's Block 6+ successor design (VE-1) remained in service for decades as the rugged, rock-solid, go-to ELINT/AWACS VF until the VE-11 came out in the 2030s.




ShadowLogan wrote:
That's how the pilots see it, I won't argue if it is more properly something else.

If they hadn't gone to ground to avoid the Invid patrol, you could've called it reconnaissance-in-force... it's just one bit of dialog among many in that movie that doesn't really make sense.



ShadowLogan wrote:
The Shadow Fighter could still carry a pod(s) with better sensors to perform the mission (obviously it wasn't used in TSC), one that could be contained in a gunpod casing for ease of use by the battloid (VEFR-1 does this to IINM).

Granted, and there are real-world equivalents to this exact thing... but the Alpha is a pretty unfriendly design to that kind of modular equipment. Normally a TARPS has to be mounted centerline so it has an unobstructed field of view. The Alpha and Shadow Fighter don't have adequate ground clearance for that.

The VEFR-1's gear is straight-up built into the aircraft's arms and isn't removable. The OSM line art doesn't even have hands.



ShadowLogan wrote:
Or there could be a variant of the Alpha/Beta with better sensors for the task (while OSM, Imaifiles does have a recon Legoiss variant pg93 M4-07 around this area other bolt-on packages also appear, indicating that OSM-ly a variant was considered during pre-production, though I don't know if I'd go with what is depicted), but this gets into the whole we don't know what they actually use for these Planetary Survey Missions. For a planetary survey (or even recon) mission passive sensors are not a bad thing, its more their resolution I would be concerned with.

There is that, yeah... though I don't see how this thing could even transform given where that radome and other pods are mounted. :|

You generally don't want to use passive sensors for reconnaissance or survey operations because then you miss a lot of information.



ShadowLogan wrote:
Admittedly the Cyclone might have an unknown precursor in the UEEF. Then again the Alpha seems to always be "new" in the comics (2014-ish, 2030-ish, 2038-ish), so maybe they kept changing things requiring changes to the design (ala F-22) and finally someone said "enough".

Aren't there several such precursors in the UEEF Marines book and Imai Files?



ShadowLogan wrote:
Not equipped for planetary defense? I would disagree, I think it would be more accurate to say they aren't organized for planetary defense, and there is a difference. You're referring to Edwards escape from Tiresia? Or the ASC's defense of Earth?

The former, the latter case wasn't UEEF.



ShadowLogan wrote:
As I've said in the past, this doesn't make sense. The Delta-V determines how far and how fast you can go on pure rocket power.

It actually makes sense... the Alpha doesn't have the propellant or thrust to achieve a ballistic ascent to LEO, and its aerodynamic performance and turbine efficiency isn't good enough to get up there under a less ballistic trajectory. Its engines are very small, and the thrust isn't that high.



ShadowLogan wrote:
This is also compounded by a lack of useful statistical data that could put this to bed (ex. propellant mass, burn time, etc). You'd almost thing HG is avoiding quantifying things in writing or something ("short legs" in space is relative since we don't know what they conceive of as "short" for example) or doesn't realize that what they state is not necessarily supported by animation (even if we ignore TSC, which clearly shows they weren't paying attention to details).

In all fairness, that's not really on them... that's on the OSM. The AFC-01 Legioss wasn't intended to be a space fighter. It wasn't even intended to be a main mecha of the show past a certain point in development, before Gakken stuck their oar in and said they wanted to get a piece of Takatoku's action. It was just supposed to be that plane that Stick would crash in the first episode that would get him and his titular MOSPEADA to Earth to fight the good fight. The only thing the Legioss was ever intended to do in space was launch from the Space Fortress Carriers and blaze a trail for the ships it was escorting during the landing op. The reason it couldn't make it to orbit under its own power was that it wasn't that much better than modern fighters in terms of performance.

The only thing you can really accuse Robotech's writers of doing here is trying to make it into something it's not. That's where the problems came in. They tried to make it into an all-regime VF like the Macross's VF-1.

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Unread postPosted: Sat Sep 07, 2019 7:06 pm
  

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Knight

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Seto wrote:
it's just one bit of dialog among many in that movie that doesn't really make sense.

I think you mean to write: " it's just one bit among many in that movie that doesn't really make sense." ;)

Seto wrote:
The Alpha and Shadow Fighter don't have adequate ground clearance for that.

Only if one is dead set that they have to use F-mode for take-offs and landings you mean.

Seto wrote:
There is that, yeah... though I don't see how this thing could even transform given where that radome and other pods are mounted.

The only part(s) that actually may have to go for transformation IMHO is the leg pods.

The Radome could in theory move with the arm, maybe even a bit of additional movement. I know I've seen art for a F-Mode Alpha with radome (not sure if its fanart, or lineart).

The TLEAD masts on the back might have to go, but they might still be usable depending on how they are mounted. Since its a pre-production they could go.

Seto wrote:
Aren't there several such precursors in the UEEF Marines book and Imai Files?

I thought Marines Cyclones where not intended for "emergency" use like the VR-041/052, that and no dating is given. Other options would require knowing if they could be collapsed to fit in the bay (and be light enough as the bay has a stated weight limit).

Seto wrote:
The former, the latter case wasn't UEEF.

Is it actually fair to count it as such though, I mean how many defense organizations consider a scenario where the enemy is fighting outward from your base? Or a simultaneous mass defection?

Seto wrote:
It actually makes sense... the Alpha doesn't have the propellant or thrust to achieve a ballistic ascent to LEO, and its aerodynamic performance and turbine efficiency isn't good enough to get up there under a less ballistic trajectory. Its engines are very small, and the thrust isn't that high.

We know the Alpha has plenty of thrust to achieve a ballistic trajectory. Propellant capacity possibly, but to make that claim we'd actually have to have hard numbers to determine that (something that is lacking).


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Unread postPosted: Sat Sep 07, 2019 10:42 pm
  

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Knight

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ShadowLogan wrote:
Seto wrote:
it's just one bit of dialog among many in that movie that doesn't really make sense.

I think you mean to write: " it's just one bit among many in that movie that doesn't really make sense." ;)

Yes, I suppose I shouldn't limit it to the dialog.



ShadowLogan wrote:
Seto wrote:
The Alpha and Shadow Fighter don't have adequate ground clearance for that.

Only if one is dead set that they have to use F-mode for take-offs and landings you mean.

Well, neither version of the Ikazuchi-class is going to be all that friendly to the idea... since the launch bays for the TV and "Movie" versions are different but equally cramped.

The point about mode is technically valid though, since they launch in B mode in the series and F in the movie.



ShadowLogan wrote:
The Radome could in theory move with the arm, maybe even a bit of additional movement. I know I've seen art for a F-Mode Alpha with radome (not sure if its fanart, or lineart).

If it's the piece I've seen, it's fanart... an attempt to graft the Aegis Pack used by the RVF-171 and RVF-25 in Macross Frontier onto an Alpha. The same site had a number of other odd things like bad recolors of several Macross mecha claiming to be Shadow versions of various Robotech mecha. (e.g. the Destroid mode of the VB-6 Konig Monster as a "Shadow Monster")



ShadowLogan wrote:
Seto wrote:
Aren't there several such precursors in the UEEF Marines book and Imai Files?

I thought Marines Cyclones where not intended for "emergency" use like the VR-041/052, that and no dating is given. Other options would require knowing if they could be collapsed to fit in the bay (and be light enough as the bay has a stated weight limit).

It was a thought.



ShadowLogan wrote:
Seto wrote:
The former, the latter case wasn't UEEF.

Is it actually fair to count it as such though, I mean how many defense organizations consider a scenario where the enemy is fighting outward from your base? Or a simultaneous mass defection?

If you're holding a bunch of enemy automatons the way the UEEF was at the time?



ShadowLogan wrote:
We know the Alpha has plenty of thrust to achieve a ballistic trajectory. Propellant capacity possibly, but to make that claim we'd actually have to have hard numbers to determine that (something that is lacking).

Not for any considerable distance... it's a blocky little plane with poor aerodynamics, it's not going to get very far in ballistic flight and its turbines just aren't big enough or powerful enough to provide the kind of compression you need to operate in the upper atmosphere. The VF-1 only makes it work by having an entirely separate set of electrically-driven ram-air precompressors driving up the main turbine's compression ratio.

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Zer0 Kay wrote:
Damn you for anticipating my question. I've really got to unfoe you, your information is far more valuable than my sanity when dealing with your blunt callousness. :)


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Unread postPosted: Sun Sep 08, 2019 11:46 am
  

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Seto wrote:
It was a thought.

And a valid one. I think the VR-02x series isn't going to be used (space cyclones?), leaving just the VR-01x series or the Cyclone derived nt-PA. Neither seem suited to use as an emergency vehicle (as Scott calls the VR-052 in Ep61, actually he calls it "new emergency vehicle"). The nt-PA would need to be made to fit the available space, and the VR-01x series doesn't seem to fit either given it's designed for air-drops (rather useless ability to the pilot). The MR-40 is another option potentially (no firm dates either or mention of use of an emergency vehicle so it might not even be able to compress down for the storage bay).

Seto wrote:
If you're holding a bunch of enemy automatons the way the UEEF was at the time?

I don't think this qualifies as "planetary defense" as they really aren't defending the planet/facility from a force approaching from space. Those troops are already there, its more like the Inorganics are like "rioting prisoners" or launching a surprise diversionary attack than an invasion force. It also doesn't help the directing intelligence (Edwards) has the UEEF playbook and could deploy them for maximum effectiveness.

Seto wrote:
Not for any considerable distance... it's a blocky little plane with poor aerodynamics, it's not going to get very far in ballistic flight and its turbines just aren't big enough or powerful enough to provide the kind of compression you need to operate in the upper atmosphere. The VF-1 only makes it work by having an entirely separate set of electrically-driven ram-air precompressors driving up the main turbine's compression ratio.


The problem is you assume the Alpha has to operate like the VF-1 in this respect, the Alpha could switch its propulsion system over to space-mode earlier (since we know the engines can operate in the vacuum of space, meaning they can operate in atmosphere). This approach is obviously more propellant intensive since it can't use the atmosphere as a propellant source, but it removes the engine issue and at 30km (and above) the Alpha's aerodynamics are less of an issue than they are closer to sea level (where it is depicted most of the time in the show) given pressure at that altitude is ~1/100th that of sea level requiring it to stay aloft on pure engine power (which given its T/W of better than 1 it should be able to do as long as the propellant holds out).

Which still brings us back to the need to quantify certain values. At least if we want to make sure the "background" info is consistent with the depictions* (yes I know the Alpha does not technically do an Earth SSTO or sub-orbital) or what can be derived from those depictions. We really don't know how much propellant the Alpha (or Beta or Logan or AGAC) carry, nor do we know their burn-time or how efficient the engine is (any two of these could derive the rest for the Alpha and maybe the Beta, but the ASC units require a bit more data AFAIK). Such information could also tell us how well it would operate at the Moon or Mars (or other large moon or dwarf planet), since technically those bodies don't have the same requirements to get into orbit as Earth, allowing for more story options w/n the Solar System ("space pirates" or Zent/RM holdouts).

*given the changing nature of the Shadow Device between the 85ep animation and TSC, they would have been depicted differently in terms of performance so should be evaluated separately. TSC can actually use the Shadow Device to impact performance (via the ability to hide mass to some degree given N-S warhead scene at the end of Prelude), where the 85ep/GCM depictions could not.


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Unread postPosted: Sun Sep 08, 2019 11:21 pm
  

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ShadowLogan wrote:
The problem is you assume the Alpha has to operate like the VF-1 in this respect, the Alpha could switch its propulsion system over to space-mode earlier (since we know the engines can operate in the vacuum of space, meaning they can operate in atmosphere). This approach is obviously more propellant intensive since it can't use the atmosphere as a propellant source, but it removes the engine issue and at 30km (and above) [...]

At that point, you're just trading one set of problems for another set that's equally severe.

Switching the engines over to space mode earlier will mitigate the problems caused by the comparatively low (read: "closer to real world") compression ratios of the fighter's turbine engines, but you're going to eat through the already limited supply of propellant even faster than you would in space because you're contending with both atmospheric drag and gravity. The atmospheric operating limit of the Alpha's turbines is 18km, from the OSM spec... you'd need to be burning propellant just to get to 30km, never mind above it. The Alpha doesn't have the luxury of the VF-1's superconducting ram air compressors in the intakes and (if you buy Master File's take) the ability to switch to running as an actual ramjet or scramjet at sufficiently high altitudes and speeds.

My guess would be, in-universe, the ability to get hypersonic above 30km and fly all the way to the edge of space over an Earth-type planet unassisted was deemed unnecessary or too expensive for post-1RW designs.



ShadowLogan wrote:
Which still brings us back to the need to quantify certain values. At least if we want to make sure the "background" info is consistent with the depictions*

There's not really any good way to go about it, since there's virtually no reliable data about the mecha of Southern Cross and MOSPEADA's creators neglected to give us anything so handy as an internal tank capacity. From the cutaways, it's questionable where the Legioss would even keep its space-use propellant.

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Zer0 Kay wrote:
Damn you for anticipating my question. I've really got to unfoe you, your information is far more valuable than my sanity when dealing with your blunt callousness. :)


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Unread postPosted: Tue Sep 10, 2019 12:40 pm
  

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Seto wrote:
but you're going to eat through the already limited supply of propellant even faster than you would in space because you're contending with both atmospheric drag and gravity. The atmospheric operating limit of the Alpha's turbines is 18km, from the OSM spec... you'd need to be burning propellant just to get to 30km, never mind above it.

30km is the fighter mode ceiling as described in the Infopedia, AotSC, and 2E RPG. Nothing in these sources indicates how this is being performed (pure jet or rocket power) or other limitations (which using rocket power would require I would think since it would limit operating time).

As for limited propellant, that actually is relative based on the efficiency of the engine. Which we don't have, though we can make certain statements I think that the RT-Alpha is more efficient than its OSM counterpart. (See below)

Drag (air/gravity) yes potentially an issue, but perhaps not as much as one might think (it amounts to 1.5-2kps but that is from a surface launch, given we're talking about switching over at 18 or 30km that value will be less owing to a less dense atmosphere for the rocket portion of the flight).

Seto wrote:
My guess would be, in-universe, the ability to get hypersonic above 30km and fly all the way to the edge of space over an Earth-type planet unassisted was deemed unnecessary or too expensive for post-1RW designs.

While that is possible, what would be their basis for deeming it unnecessary in-universe? The Southern Cross might be able to justify it (we'll use conventional fighter or missiles), but the UEEF is going to have a lot harder time given all the unknowns they have to deal with (do they have planetary data on Tirol, or any other habitable world?).

I don't think we can play the cost card, not when they went with the most "expensive" option to address the issue for solo operations at different points in time (ie Beta).

Seto wrote:
There's not really any good way to go about it, since there's virtually no reliable data about the mecha of Southern Cross and MOSPEADA's creators neglected to give us anything so handy as an internal tank capacity. From the cutaways, it's questionable where the Legioss would even keep its space-use propellant.

Even if we had more fleshed out stats for the later sagas, all three sagas would need to make changes to some of them which will impact some derived figures given HG has changed some things (most notable the fuel source) from the OSM.

Ex. The OSM VF-1 carries ~119.85kg of Slush-H2, for an Isp* of ~75,591sec for a Delta-V of 6.671kps (dry state). Changing NOTHING else (thrust, burn-time, Volume) in the RT-version (per 2E PB RPG) of the VF-1 using SLMH** it would carry 1,198.5kg of SLMH, but end up with an Isp of ~7,559sec with a Delta-V of 6.415kps (dry state). Even though SLMH is more energy dense than Slush-H2, one should be wondering what is going on here since the SLMH should be giving better performance. There are ways to "fix" it, but they all involve changing other values (ex. burn time, trading fuel 1:1 in mass instead of volume, some mix of the two) in order to get them to make some sense. Of course HG can go back to the OSM fuel for TMS (who knows with TRM), but not with NG.

And it gets even worse with Protoculture if we consider that it is more energy dense than an undefined form of nuclear energy. This means that while the OSM Legoiss may have issues getting into orbit, the Alpha's more energy dense fuel source is not going to be as limited from the same mass of propellant. IIRC the Legoiss is powered by H2 Fuel Cells powering electrical rocket engines, the RT-Alpha is powered by something comparable/better than Nuclear Fusion (since PC fueled mecha replaced fusion fueled mecha), so it should have better performance in space-related functions even if we hamstring it to OSM thrust levels.

We know the Alpha has some areas that might work for propellant storage if we use the cutaways, the Beta likely has various places to given its considered a big tank. Alternatively we could treat the PC canisters as holding sole reaction mass, but for the 32cells of the Beta to even attempt the SSTO-Moon trajectory we see in Ep85/TSC would require it's engines to be at-least x14 more efficient than the OSM-VF-1, assuming an Apollo level trip time (reality is the trip time is likely shorter, so need more). Assuming the Alpha's engines are similarly as efficient as the Beta in this scenario, it can do SSTO w/room to spare on pure rocket power (no assist from air breathing engines) using just the 16cells and actually the Beta becomes unnecessary from this position (the stack has less Delta-V than the solo Alpha-H/I in this scenario). This assumes the 2.1kg mass of the canisters I calculated years ago holds (as I doubt HG will want to quantify the mass of the contents of those cells, or provide density of PC fuel, etc), it also dedicates all 2.1kg to use (for ease of use, so actual values here are going to be a bit off). The Alpha's engines can drop to as low as x6-7 and still do SSTO (barely) on 16cells. For OSM compression, even if we assume the Legois/Tlead engine efficiencies are equal to an OSM VF-1 in a similar scenario the Tlead couldn't do SSTO shown (much less fly to the Moon as an implied destination) on pure rocket power (a VF-1 type profile for SSTO sure, but it isn't getting to the Moon).

The Logan's small size makes it very difficult compared to the AGAC. If the 2E RPG is to be believed here, these two mecha also are several times more fuel efficient than the VF-1 given their operating times coupled with their small size.

*Specific Impulse, efficiency value of a rocket engine
**assuming it is x12 more dense than LH2, though the density I've seen expresses it as x12-13. Slush-H2 is 20% more dense than LH2, or 1/10th that of SLMH estimate on the low end.


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Unread postPosted: Tue Sep 10, 2019 3:33 pm
  

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ShadowLogan wrote:
30km is the fighter mode ceiling as described in the Infopedia, AotSC, and 2E RPG.

It's not described as a service ceiling, just a speed at altitude...



ShadowLogan wrote:
Drag (air/gravity) yes potentially an issue, but perhaps not as much as one might think (it amounts to 1.5-2kps but that is from a surface launch, given we're talking about switching over at 18 or 30km that value will be less owing to a less dense atmosphere for the rocket portion of the flight).

It's still going to induce a measurable increase in fuel consumption, esp. given the Alpha isn't aerodynamically sound at those altitudes and would basically have to be flying on rocket thrust.



ShadowLogan wrote:
While that is possible, what would be their basis for deeming it unnecessary in-universe? The Southern Cross might be able to justify it (we'll use conventional fighter or missiles), but the UEEF is going to have a lot harder time given all the unknowns they have to deal with (do they have planetary data on Tirol, or any other habitable world?).

I don't think we can play the cost card, not when they went with the most "expensive" option to address the issue for solo operations at different points in time (ie Beta).

I think we explicitly CAN play the cost card, because cost was exactly the reason a fighter with capabilities similar to the VF-1's was passed over in favor of the Alpha. (The YF-4.)



ShadowLogan wrote:
Ex. The OSM VF-1 carries ~119.85kg of Slush-H2, for an Isp* of ~75,591sec for a Delta-V of 6.671kps (dry state). Changing NOTHING else (thrust, burn-time, Volume) in the RT-version (per 2E PB RPG) of the VF-1 using SLMH** it would carry 1,198.5kg of SLMH, but end up with an Isp of ~7,559sec with a Delta-V of 6.415kps (dry state). Even though SLMH is more energy dense than Slush-H2, one should be wondering what is going on here since the SLMH should be giving better performance.

This is a fairly easy-to-explain issue... which is down to a difference in technology between settings.

Robotech's mecha are using conventional, single-reaction thermonuclear fusion... they're using magnetic field pinches to fuse hydrogen into helium. The Macross OSM's reactors are a more advanced technology that use a gravitational pinch created using fold physics, making the fusion reaction significantly more efficient and energetic because more of the fuel is participating in the actual fusion reaction, and the intense gravitational compression ensures that more fuel participates in the fusion reaction and that the reaction itself follows chain reactions like the proton-proton chain, CNO cycle, etc. for greater energy yield from the same quantity of fuel.

Put simply, Robotech's VF-1 may be carrying ten times the mass of fuel that the OSM VF-1 is... but because its reactors are only 4.8% as efficient as the OSM VF-1's, ten times the fuel mass lasts less than half as long. So you see, I've actually been rather charitable to the Alpha in my computations because I've been assuming Macross OSM levels of efficiency (a 2083.333% leg up vs. the computable fuel efficiency of the Robotech setting's fusion engines). I do appreciate the amusing coincidence that 2083 is also the year the original MOSPEADA was set in.

Spoiler:
For those who haven't seen us chew this topic over in the past, here is the relevant data:

Macross OSM VF-1A-5 Valkyrie
Fuel: 1,410L of Hydrogen Slush
Fuel Mass: 119.85kg (@0.085kg/L)
Endurance: 700 hours / 29 days 4 hours (atmospheric), 10 minutes at maximum engine burn (space)

Robotech VF-1A
Fuel: 1,410L (assumed) of SLMH (RPG)
Fuel Mass: 1198.5kg (@0.85kg/L), mean density for liquid metallic hydrogen being 10x hydrogen slush's
Endurance: 336 hours / 14 days (atmospheric)




ShadowLogan wrote:
And it gets even worse with Protoculture if we consider that it is more energy dense than an undefined form of nuclear energy. This means that while the OSM Legoiss may have issues getting into orbit, the Alpha's more energy dense fuel source is not going to be as limited from the same mass of propellant. IIRC the Legoiss is powered by H2 Fuel Cells powering electrical rocket engines, the RT-Alpha is powered by something comparable/better than Nuclear Fusion (since PC fueled mecha replaced fusion fueled mecha), so it should have better performance in space-related functions even if we hamstring it to OSM thrust levels.

Now, it behooves us to remember that greater energy density does not in any way, shape, or form imply greater energy output or endurance on its own.

On its own, it sounds impressive to say that protoculture is more energy dense than nuclear fuels... but if you look at it rationally, it's an almost meaningless statement because the amount of energy you actually get out of it depends on how that energy is being harnessed and the quantity of fuel being used. One cubic centimeter of reactor-grade Uranium-238 in a fission reactor will yield slightly less energy than 100 cubic centimeters of deuterium in a fusion reactor. Take that same 100cc's of deuterium and burn it in a combustion engine and you'll get only a tiny fraction of the energy that would've yielded in the fusion reactor. Take that same U238 out of the fusion reactor and stick it in a RTG, and you'll get a long, slow, low output reaction instead of a faster, more energetic output of energy.

The Alpha has a very small quantity of protoculture - around 11 liters - in fuel cells. That points to a low output, high endurance powerplant. The output of the powerplant in the Alpha's case also has no direct relation to available engine power the way the VF-1's does, because they're effectively decoupled systems. Instead of having a reactor inside the engine heating intake air directly off the heat of the fusion reaction you've got a fuel cell outputting electricity that's being used to spin an electric turbine.

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Unread postPosted: Wed Sep 11, 2019 12:01 pm
  

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Knight

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Seto wrote:
It's not described as a service ceiling, just a speed at altitude...

It's the highest speed @ altitude listed though, making it a de facto "ceiling" in the stat blocks. Though given that the VF-1 and VF-9 can fly higher than the listed speed @ altitude it might not be a service ceiling at all, but it is the "ceiling" we have performance information for.

Seto wrote:
I think we explicitly CAN play the cost card, because cost was exactly the reason a fighter with capabilities similar to the VF-1's was passed over in favor of the Alpha. (The YF-4.)


Either Cost is a factor that the UEEF is considering OR it isn't. They can't have it both ways.

I'd be remiss to remind you that the Infopedia also adds complexity as a factor, it is also less agile than the Alpha, carries fewer missiles, and is bigger which are also sited. Complexity is revisited in the docking setup on the Alpha/Beta, and ironically the Alpha/Beta stack is BIGGER than a YF-4.

Seto wrote:
This is a fairly easy-to-explain issue... which is down to a difference in technology between settings.
...

FTS-comic has the VF-1 operating with a Reflex Furnance* (FTS chapter 4). While this might not be the same type of fusion system as the OSM, a RF being involved also means it isn't a pure "conventional" fusion setup as you suggest (yes, Infopedia/2E RPG limit it to fusion only, but they might not be going in-depth). I would also add that a "conventional" fusion drive setup in terms of efficiency IS closer to the OSM VF-1 than the RT VF-1 value (Isp's of ~100,000sec, I've seen it higher but this is the general value). This means that even if we go with the technology being different (and ignoring FTS), the derived values being considered are very inefficient for its type.

If we are allowing technology to be different between the settings (OSM v RT) in TMS, then it stands to reason that the same explanation could apply to NG vs GCM (and SDC:SC vs TRM). The OSM Legoiss/Tlead could use H2 fuel cells, but the RT Alpha/Beta are using PC in a Reflex Furnace. Per the RT Glossary definition of Reflex Furnace*, Shadow Devices are suggested to require this level of power output and we know the Alpha/Beta get Shadow Devices late in their life w/o mention of an powerplant change (ie removing the PC fuel cell for PC fueled Reflex Furnace). This means the Alpha/Beta aren't low-output/high-endurance system, but a high-output/high-endurance system by all indications.

So short of an official OSM/RT statement working out where the extra propellant is stored officially, the only known sources would be the HBT/PC canisters. Which means for them to do what we see, at minimum they have to be as efficient if not more so than what I stated previously based on their only known fuel source. The Alpha and Beta need not be as equally as efficient, but it stands to reason they should be similar/close given the available supply in RT.

*https://robotech.com/roboverse/term/reflex-furnace
also found in AoTSC pg140 (Glossary)

Seto wrote:
Now, it behooves us to remember that greater energy density does not in any way, shape, or form imply greater energy output or endurance on its own.

True, it comes down to how it gets utilized.

Seto wrote:
around 11 liters - in fuel cells

~15L if each canister is about equal to a can of motor oil (as described, so it might be more/less), which means 32oz/1qt US (assuming the size hasn't changed over time/region).


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Unread postPosted: Wed Sep 11, 2019 4:41 pm
  

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ShadowLogan wrote:
Either Cost is a factor that the UEEF is considering OR it isn't. They can't have it both ways.

"Cost" can be measured a lot of different ways... the actual monetary expense of the finished product, the man-hours and resources it takes to develop and/or manufacture the finished product, the monetary upkeep costs, the amount of time and resources needed for maintenance and repairs to keep it in service, etc.

You can have a design that is cheap to produce but hell to maintain due to bad design, or a design that's fiendishly overengineered but extremely cheap to maintain as a result. In this case, since the manufacturing has negligible costs in time or resources for actual people the complexity of the YF-4 design likely made it expensive (in resources and man-hours) to maintain because of its far higher performance than the Alpha.



ShadowLogan wrote:
Complexity is revisited in the docking setup on the Alpha/Beta, and ironically the Alpha/Beta stack is BIGGER than a YF-4.

That could be the easy go-to explanation for the Beta being a non-starter... too much added complexity running up the time and resource costs for maintenance.



ShadowLogan wrote:
FTS-comic has the VF-1 operating with a Reflex Furnance* (FTS chapter 4). [...]

You know as well as I do that this comic was written and published years before Harmony Gold's creative staff arrived at the decision to establish officially that the VF-1 used nuclear fusion instead of protoculture. That's the explanation for that line, not a new and exotic type of fusion power plant... nothing more or less than a retcon.



ShadowLogan wrote:
If we are allowing technology to be different between the settings (OSM v RT) in TMS, then it stands to reason that the same explanation could apply to NG vs GCM (and SDC:SC vs TRM). The OSM Legoiss/Tlead could use H2 fuel cells, but the RT Alpha/Beta are using PC in a Reflex Furnace.

The HG-blessed spec for the Alpha and all the other New Gen mecha indicates that they're powered by protoculture-based fuel cells... not a reflex furnace.

So, really, all that changed between the OSM and RT versions here is what the fuel cell electrolyte was.



ShadowLogan wrote:
~15L if each canister is about equal to a can of motor oil (as described, so it might be more/less), which means 32oz/1qt US (assuming the size hasn't changed over time/region).

Less, given that they have large contactor heads on either side, and if they're fuel cells they'll have channels for fuel and oxidizer, an anode, cathode, contactors, etc.

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Unread postPosted: Thu Sep 12, 2019 12:04 pm
  

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Seto wrote:
You know as well as I do that this comic was written and published years before Harmony Gold's creative staff arrived at the decision to establish officially that the VF-1 used nuclear fusion instead of protoculture. That's the explanation for that line, not a new and exotic type of fusion power plant... nothing more or less than a retcon.

Technically they might not have rectoned anything, FTS in Chapter3 did have the prototype flying w/o the RF, suggesting the system could be a dual Fusion/Reflex-Furnace setup (the furance was required for G/B mode operation per Grant). It's also possible they flew the prototype with different engines for early stage testing (X-15 did just this). All it really indicates in the Infopedia is that they don't detail everything, which we know since no operating times or fuel loads are considered for omitted for example (and the RPG doesn't always get things right either).

Seto wrote:
The HG-blessed spec for the Alpha and all the other New Gen mecha indicates that they're powered by protoculture-based fuel cells... not a reflex furnace.

Maybe and then again Maybe Not.

Fuel Cells run off two materials, the Reflex Furnace diagram we see in "Bye Bye Mars" has 3 materials used for the Furnace that Lisa overloaded (green, yellow, blue lines to the purple furnace). We know one of those feed lines has to be Protoculture, what the other two lines are we don't know in a Reflex Furance. Given the NG designs, one could be an "oxidizer". The remaining one could simply be a coolant (which wouldn't need to be carried w/the cell) to take away excess heat or it could be involved in operation in another way (?).

Seto wrote:
Less, given that they have large contactor heads on either side, and if they're fuel cells they'll have channels for fuel and oxidizer, an anode, cathode, contactors, etc.

correction ~15L of material in the canisters then. However the size given isn't exact ("about the size of a can of motor oil") which gives a bit of wiggle room to add/subtract, but we also have to get the right size "can of motor oil". 1qt US might not be the proper size, we might be dealing with a canister closer to 5qt US (4.73L).

The Lineart (side profile view of cyclone) suggest a diameter of ~0.17m and no more than ~0.20m length, which works out to the canisters having no more than 4.5L of volume. This is based on ratio of canister diameter location to overall length in the art for the diameter (length is taken to be 2.05m per OSM dimension not the larger version RT uses). The length of the canister is the maxim width for that section (between front forks) of the cyclone I would estimate (this is using RT's stated width). The ratio for the dimensions is roughly what I work out from a perspective shot of a single loose canister, also in lineart. If these hold, then we are both way off in terms of total material per canister (72L total for the Alpha/Legoiss seems possible, but likely less for a variety of reasons for simplicity call it 64L total?).

Lineart:
http://www.gearsonline.net/series/mospe ... ada-07.gif
http://www.gearsonline.net/series/mospe ... hbt-02.gif


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Unread postPosted: Fri Sep 13, 2019 2:12 pm
  

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Knight

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ShadowLogan wrote:
Technically they might not have rectoned anything, FTS in Chapter3 did have the prototype flying w/o the RF, suggesting the system could be a dual Fusion/Reflex-Furnace setup (the furance was required for G/B mode operation per Grant). It's also possible they flew the prototype with different engines for early stage testing (X-15 did just this). All it really indicates in the Infopedia is that they don't detail everything, which we know since no operating times or fuel loads are considered for omitted for example (and the RPG doesn't always get things right either).

Eh... that's a prototype, not a production aircraft. The Infopedia article is for the production aircraft, which was assumed (and semi-officially confirmed) to run on protoculture until the retcon that was to become the basis for RT2E's Macross Saga sourcebook's switch to fusion power for those mecha.

Granted, the Infopedia really doesn't detail much... but that's because the fan "experts" Harmony Gold outsourced the research to were painfully short on actual facts. Sometimes because those facts did not exist (e.g. Southern Cross), but equally as often because they just weren't aware that they existed in the first place.



ShadowLogan wrote:
Fuel Cells run off two materials, the Reflex Furnace diagram we see in "Bye Bye Mars" has 3 materials used for the Furnace that Lisa overloaded (green, yellow, blue lines to the purple furnace). We know one of those feed lines has to be Protoculture, what the other two lines are we don't know in a Reflex Furance. Given the NG designs, one could be an "oxidizer". The remaining one could simply be a coolant (which wouldn't need to be carried w/the cell) to take away excess heat or it could be involved in operation in another way (?).

... oooook? I'm not sure where you're trying to go with this, to be honest. Is it so surprising that an ersatz nuclear reactor would work differently than a fuel cell?

Mind you, it isn't even clear what the three substances being fed into the reaction chamber are in the original context of Super Dimension Fortress Macross. The labels on the diagram are in-jokes and while there are three substances that would normally be involved, only two should be coming from outside the reactor under normal circumstances. I'd expect an external coolant feed and fuel but the third substance, heavy quanta, would be generated by the fold carbon coil that's normally situated inside the reactor housing. (On VFs, there are usually only the two because the fuel slush and the intake air pull double duty as coolant and the fold carbon coil is inside the engine body.)

Protoculture in Robotech is essentially The Unexplainable, so trying to dig into it is fundamentally a waste of time for a macguffin that was NEVER given a coherent explanation in the show anyway (because it was an attempt to smash aspects of unrelated shows together).

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Damn you for anticipating my question. I've really got to unfoe you, your information is far more valuable than my sanity when dealing with your blunt callousness. :)


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Unread postPosted: Fri Sep 13, 2019 3:24 pm
  

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Unobtanium and Unexplainium. The basis of fiction forever. :lol:

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Unread postPosted: Fri Sep 13, 2019 3:53 pm
  

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Knight

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jaymz wrote:
Unobtanium and Unexplainium. The basis of fiction forever. :lol:

Yup, though the better sci-fi titles usually take the time to suss out how the advanced technology used in the story should work and set ground rules for what it can and can't do during development... so the stories produced are more consistent. It might require materials that are impossible with today's science or ways to exploit loopholes in physics that haven't been discovered yet in the real world but there's usually at least a coherent-ish explanation.

Unfortunately, because Robotech was conceived on the fly, the unique aspects of its technical setting doesn't have that background work behind them... so things like protoculture are inconsistent to the point where no coherent explanation exists.

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Zer0 Kay wrote:
Damn you for anticipating my question. I've really got to unfoe you, your information is far more valuable than my sanity when dealing with your blunt callousness. :)


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Unread postPosted: Sat Sep 14, 2019 10:48 am
  

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Seto wrote:
Eh... that's a prototype, not a production aircraft. The Infopedia article is for the production aircraft, which was assumed (and semi-officially confirmed) to run on protoculture until the retcon that was to become the basis for RT2E's Macross Saga sourcebook's switch to fusion power for those mecha.

I agree its a prototype, and it could be using a different set of engines for early testing just like the real world X-15 used x2 XLR11 engines that powered the X-1 before it XLR99 engine was ready.

Still Grant's dialogue in Chapter 3 states that a Reflex Furance was necessary for G/B-mode operations. ("Sir, the prototype's been fully armed for live fire testing. However, the alternate configurations are not functional since we have not yet outfitted her with Dr. Langs's new reflex powerplants.") Then there is the scene in Chapter 4 with Roy testing the reflex furnace and the engineers talking in German, but it ends with mentioning they can restart testing of Battloid Mode. Nothing in FTS indicates if the engines used in Chapter 3 are temporary or used in conjunction with the RF so it could go any which way. Even the Ep5 dialogue line doesn't technically break anything given the actual definition of the RF in the RT-Glossary is that it is a reactor.

Seto wrote:
... oooook? I'm not sure where you're trying to go with this, to be honest. Is it so surprising that an ersatz nuclear reactor would work differently than a fuel cell?

At a basic level we could treat the OSM HBT fuel cell system as synonymous with OSM nuclear reactors from other sagas in Robotech sense they all use the same fuel source in Robotech. This means that while at the OSM level if we drilled down enough the Nuclear Engine in SDF:M will be different than GCM's HBT Fuel Cell, but at the Robotech level when we drill down they would be the same or more closely related.

IIRC there is even a scene in TRM where the dialogue if connected to the visual overlay might further add to this, but at the moment I can't find the scene in question, reinforcing the multi-line nature of a prototculture power plant.

A nuclear reactor at a deep level of detail operate differently than a fuel cell, but at a certain level of basic schematic they could be made to look the same. Not all Nuclear Fusion reactor designs use just Deuterium Hydrogen, some combine it with Helium-3 (not found on Earth, but out in space...) or Tritium Hydrogen Isotopes. The mixture types create even more energy than the pure Deuterium, but important here is that at a certain basic schematic level they might look like a fuel cell as you would have multiple feed lines.


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