Ornithopters(?) -- General discussion thereof

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AmaroqStarwind
02/22/23 03:33 PM
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My father is a fan of Dune, and wanted to know if Ornithopters would work well in BattleTech. So I guess we should talk about Ornithopters now.

Here is a response to the same discussion—from the Black Widow herself—over on the BattleTech forum:
Quote:
In a universe where electrically activated myomers have delivered motion in multi-ten ton robots for centuries, biomechanical wings should arguably have taken over rotary wings a long time ago. Bonuses in MP, vertical flight, turning, control, etc. would depend a lot on the biological model. A bumble bee and a dragonfly have very different flight characteristics, for example. But imagining the advantages of a scaled-up dragonfly versus a real-world VTOL might help elucidate some rules.



What are your thoughts on Ornithopters? Should they have a place in BattleTech?
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ghostrider
02/22/23 06:21 PM
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There should be something like it. I can see during the time from the SL to the Helm core discovery, it would have faded out, like most high tech items.
I would think that someone that can pilot one, would not be able to fly other craft, and vise versa.

I would think no bonuses for mp, but it should have some built in maneuvering, like a side step style maneuver, much like quads have for going sideways.
I would think a weight limit should apply to them as well. Balance would be a factor here. Even wing position would not stop it from tilting if long or heavy enough in the fore/aft sections.

The big question is how fast can a myomer bundle contract/relax?
Not sure if you can seal them up, as maybe allow them to go from air to water, or water to air, to give them a unique advantage, IE swim, then pop up.

With just the wings, I don't know if better turning would work. Having a tail fan, like most choppers might be needed. But this is something that could be debated. I can see it being more responsive, as well as more delicate..
AmaroqStarwind
04/08/24 06:45 AM
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The swimming bit has me intrigued!
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Requiem
04/09/24 03:48 PM
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Question: what are Ornithopter wings going to replace (make obsolete)?

Small VTOL craft – yes, I can see this occurring – for infantry transport / gunship if they have a higher velocity than existing craft / have comparable or more armour / have more weapons (pack a greater punch)

Can they be used to transport Battle armour – yes, I can see this occurring also.

Transport Craft - depends upon the tonnage they ae able to lift / speed (velocity of the craft) / limitations due to extreme weather conditions / overall cost reduction compared to existing vehicles.
How do they stack up against existing craft?

Aerospace fighter – er…. No.

Conventional fighter – maybe?

Mech Jump Jets – replacement will thus become a true angel series mech with wings on the back…ha ha ha !!!!… will they have a greater range? … can they jump from a Dropship at a higher altitude? How much damage (are they fragile?) can the wings take in combat?
How conspicuous is a Mech with wings on the Battlefield?
Do they replace LAMs or do they improve LAMs?

Can the wings be used by a mech in space or on a lunar surface?

Can they be placed on a dropship – ie Leopard Class with wings?

PS

Also - can they be placed on a Union Dropship?

Therefore, will we turn a Union dropship into a Quiddich Golden Snitch from Harry Potter?

So, what it all comes down to is the construction / operation rules provided by TPTB.

Answers please ….
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Edited by Requiem (04/09/24 04:08 PM)
ghostrider
04/11/24 04:15 AM
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Given the way the ornithopter wings work, I don't see why they couldn't perform a maneuver that allows it to swim. Basically the way a real dragon fly is supposed to fly.

In the water, the wings would act like a paddle, with it using the wide side to push the unit forward, then use the flat side to bring the wing forward.
The main issue I can see is the connection to the body not being water tight. That might case problems.

But it does seem like a unique unit, if you can get it running right.

As a side note, the wings would not have to flap in the water, like it would in the air. So you can move it without creating a huge wave in the water.
Karagin
04/11/24 09:44 AM
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p28SJkX7ku8&t=267s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kz5GcOEcjyk

The two above video links will give you some other info and ideas on how things work; one points out the issues the crew would have from how the "wings/blades" work, and the other, well, it's an interesting video on an attempt at one being made.

The concept is cool; could it be done with BT technology? I would say yes, but the question is whether you are gaining anything over the standard VTOLs.

So, what weight cut-offs are we looking at for these? Are we following the combat or the non-combat vehicle rules? Which armor types are allowed? How complex do you want to go?

Are these combat vehicles or civilian craft? Are they limited to certain worlds? How much cargo can they carry/troops? What are their top speeds? All of that will factor in, along with the materials needed to build them.
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ghostrider
04/11/24 12:53 PM
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I would figure they are a vtol type unit, so have to have some sort of atmosphere to fly in. So a void world would be off limits. This is not trying to be funny or a smart alek.
The weight thing would probably have to be a light, but this is just a guess. I don't know how much thrust the unit could produce. I think a troop transport or light strike craft would be the main role. A scout would be another role. I don't know how much sound it would make moving, which would limit the scouting role.
It could be used as a combat engineering vessel. Move the engineers and equipment into position. Such as setting up radar or other servailance equipment.
Yes, normal vtols could be used for all of these potential jobs.
The big thing is making underwater bases, and using this to move things without needing to have a surface platform. It would work well for landing dropships in the water, and using it as a base. (Davions like doing this.)
Which also means you could use it as a sub as well.

Depending on weight and lift, it could well be used as a fast transport of other units. The landing gear might well be set up to attach to other units, like a tank, and move it over a river without needing a long time to hook up and release. And this could lead to someone trying to steal a unit as well.

A bomber is another role it could possibly be used for.

Just had a thought. If you set up the landing gear to propel the unit on the ground, you could 'drive' it up to a location and fly out of there quickly if things go wrong.

If the legs can attach to things, you could just hang them on the side of a building, saving ground space for other things.
miguel
04/17/24 08:35 AM
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Quote:
I would figure they are a vtol type unit, so have to have some sort of atmosphere to fly in. So a void world would be off limits. This is not trying to be funny or a smart alek.
The weight thing would probably have to be a light, but this is just a guess. I don't know how much thrust the unit could produce. I think a troop transport or light strike craft would be the main role. A scout would be another role. I don't know how much sound it would make moving, which would limit the scouting role.
It could be used as a combat engineering vessel. Move the engineers and equipment into position. Such as setting up radar or other servailance equipment.
Yes, normal vtols could be used for all of these potential jobs.
The big thing is making underwater bases, and using this to move things without needing to have a surface platform. It would work well for landing dropships in the water, and using it as a base. (Davions like doing this.)
Which also means you could use it as a sub as well.

Depending on weight and lift, it could well be used as a fast transport of other units. The landing gear might well be set up to attach to other units, like a tank, and move it over a river without needing a long time to hook up and release. And this could lead to someone trying to steal a unit as well.

In the context of the online game Aviator here , such vehicles can become a key element of strategy and tactics. For example, players can use VTOLs to quickly transport resources or military units between their bases or to the front lines. Additionally, the ability to attach landing gear to other units can be an interesting mechanic in the game, allowing players to form temporary alliances or perform special purpose operations

If the legs can attach to things, you could just hang them on the side of a building, saving ground space for other things.

I agree, troop transportation and light strikes seem the most likely functions of this ship.


Edited by miguel (04/19/24 04:28 AM)
ghostrider
04/18/24 01:23 AM
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I would think that using the conversion weight for LAMs might cover the ability to move from water to air, and back again, as I don't think there is anything else that might come close. Unless someone has a better idea.
Also, it would have to be sealed. The wings would be fragile, like the rotors on a VTOL.

Not sure of max weight, but I doubt it would be even 50 tons. Probably maybe 30 max, but again, it would be best to discuss this. I would also think fusion engine would be a requirement. Not sure about which suspension factor (air/sea) would work, or if there should be a minimum weight, like a hover has.

Probably have to have a max depth in the water it can go.
Would suggest only 8 hours or so of breathable air, unless something is added to deal with this. This should be more then enough to get from underwater to above and down again. Hazardous atmosphere might be an issue.
AmaroqStarwind
04/18/24 04:08 AM
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Here's the BattleTech Forums thread for Ornithopters.
Kinda wish there was some way to automatically bridge the two threads...
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ghostrider
04/19/24 03:41 PM
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Technically, there are fighters nowadays that aren't able to fly without computer modifying their flight characteristics. I want to say the F22 has that issue.
I would think the newer composites that have come out for the game might well work for the wings/blades. A computer can rotate the blades to perform the swimming motion to allow it to fly and have thrust.
Given this idea, you may be able to spin in position or even fly backwards, allowing you to fire behind you in a round, if combat is necessary. The backwards flight might be too powerful for the game.

If you run with the clamps/lift equipment, you may well be able to grab units and lift or at least push/pull them causing a piloting roll for mechs, and maybe moving land units out of firing position. Without going that far, you may allow them to grab something like a boulder or tree and use that as a melee weapon. A charge with a tree being used as a lance comes to mind, while using a boulder to smash into a mech would work. Granted, the clamps/grapples might well rip off after the attempt, it did sound like something to look into. You could always just drop a boulder on a unit.

If you deal with rapid recovery for people, a simple fly by grabbing them with the clamps might work well for extracting important people. Even using a simple 1 ton container might be a good escape plan. Simply stop, grab the container then take off again. Would suggest a piloting roll and a speed limit once you have the container, but then making a special escape one might allow someone to buckle in and avoid that.
A thought to add to this, you may well want to set up something like this for item recovery as well. Important items like a research prototype secured in a container might be a well to get it out quickly.
ghostrider
04/21/24 11:19 AM
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Had some thoughts on making it something unusual over VTOLs.
These would be suggestions, though they may slow down game play, or add too much other circumstances to the unit.

It would be to allow the unit to move one hex to either side, each turn, no matter if hovering or moving full speed or anything in between, without cost of a movement point. This would make it a little harder to hit, maybe giving it a -1 to hit for all others, though it would also cause a -1 for the unit to hit it's target. Much like a strafe option. Any more then one hex would be considered being a movement requiring normal costs.

It could change altitude without having to move a hex forward.

It could not do any sort of full roll. The nature of the movement would cause it to crash.

Any hit on the wings, might cause piloting roll immediately to avoid falling out of the sky, Losing both/all wings on a single side, would cause it to fall out of the sky, no roll allowed. Not sure how many wings it should have. I was thinking of just two, but as with all things, it can be discussed.
Having multiple hits on the wings, would increase the piloting roll by 1 for each hit. This might be possible as a single LRM or LMG hit may not destroy a wing.

The wings could fold along the body when in storage, to allow more units in the same hanger.
ghostrider
04/25/24 10:07 AM
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Had more thoughts come up...

The unit may well be something that came up to allow VTOLs to operate in extremely windy conditions. The wings constantly adjusting would allow it to correct for wind gust that would push other VTOLs around. This could be why it was used in commercial projects and might explain why the military would be interested in it. If you go with the air to water ability, this would work well on water worlds that constantly have storms raging. This would remove the need for dropships being required.

Another reason for it to become a realty, may well be that the wings don't produce as much sounds as a normal VTOL makes. This means a stealthier unit. As suggested before, it could be used to attach to something and take it. The idea of a fly by ability to steal a vehicle laden with items makes for an interesting and funny concept.
ghostrider
05/08/24 05:33 PM
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Something else came to mind.

The unit should have a ballast tank or two that would be used to help submerge the unit.
A single turn would be needed for the unit to go from floating on the surface, to being able to go under. This would allow the unit to switch the wings to underwater mode. I would suggest the same thing for moving into the air, but think the ballast tanks would give it a neutral bouyancy, as opposed to keeping it afloat.
The tanks would not be restricted to just water, and the unit could fly with them full.
This could allow the unit to fly with water, for fire fighting abilities, on up to carrying flamable liquids to spray over targets to ignite them. I would suggest these tanks can not be dropped, but input would help here.

Which leads me to this.
Any comments on what to use, delete, or change would be nice. This thread seems to be meant for ideas and input.

One last suggestion. The unit might be between 5 to 30 tons, just as a basis. This is only a suggestion.
AmaroqStarwind
05/09/24 04:35 AM
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I like the sound of firefighting ornithopters. 30 tons also seems like a good weight limit… perhaps a little on the light side, though.
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ghostrider
05/09/24 11:43 AM
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You could suggest making it 3000 ton in atmosphere unit. It was just a placeholder for the weight. Maybe make it the main cargo hauler on worlds. Have some sort of landing area that allows the unit to be loaded/unloaded without the cargo seeing the outside.
The 30 tons seemed like keeping with the lighter weights for VTOLs.
What do you think would be a good top weight for it?

You could have a thruster boost in order to lift off, and then shut them down once the unit is off the ground.


Hmm. The water tanks might well be something that could be an item that any flying unit could have, and be used for firefighting. It wouldn't be something new, but for something like a construction unit, the option would expand the feel of them. Much like the tanks on a coolant truck, which might be the way to go with this.
ghostrider
05/10/24 05:39 PM
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More possible uses.

Could be used to bring up resources from underwater mines/wells. Fresh water down to facilities, while other tanks might bring up oil, natural gas and other items.

Half thought of making it front heavy without anything being hauled. Which would be countered if extra fuel tanks or even just filled water tanks aren't hauled. The water could be dumped at a site in order to pick up materials, or the fuel tanks might be used to fill tanks at the site.
Yes, fusion reactors are much more efficient.
Even parts needed at a site could be hauled.

Military uses might well bring in bombs on top of troops or even heavier weapons.
A moblie command center, or radar unit could well be done. Could be easier to hide then a shuttle, so a temporary relay set up would be possible.

This also leads to being used for watering farms as well.
The issue is how effective it would be to use over normal VTOLs.
ghostrider
05/11/24 11:50 AM
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Well the Leopard dropship is 1900 tons. I would think this is too large of a unit for the ornithopter design.
If you make the unit a major cargo hauler on world, then it might not be so bad. Might suggest if going this large, you use helium tanks spaced around the ship, as to give some lighter then air lift, without having to relay on the wings to support all the weight. It would need to have some weight to allow it to submerge, so there would have to be a limit.
The container tanks would be the 'only' weight towards the total limit, though not sure how much the helium, or what ever is used, would counter the weight limit for lifting the craft.

But this concept is a bit overboard. Doesn't mean it couldn't be used in another unit.
And before anyone thinks of the blimps concept, the helium tanks would not be in cloth. The unit would have armor around all the internal structure. So a simple crossbow or arrow lit on fire would not take out the unit (maybe an arrow IV might).
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