Talk:Essay:JumpShip distribution

Discussion thread on BT forum[edit]

For quick reference: I have started a discussion thread for this Essay here on CGL's BattleTech Forum. Frabby (talk) 15:08, 11 July 2018 (EDT)

Primitive JumpShips[edit]

For completeness, I'd suggest adding the reference in XTRO: Primitives III (in the Prototype JumpShip Docking Hardpoint section on page 17) as to the virtual extinction of JumpShip classes without Docking Collars by the beginning of the 26th century. BrokenMnemonic (talk) 15:44, 2 July 2018 (EDT)

Thanks for your input. But I have to say I disagree with the notion that they are "virtually extinct" and instead believe they might still be around in niche applications.
The verbatim quote is "leading to the near-extinction of the "primitive" JumpShip by the beginning of the next century." Combined with the notion that previous DropShuttle-carrying "primitive" JumpShips couldn't be refitted to carry DropShips on Hardpoints, I'm reading this to mean there was a radical shift in design away from DropShuttles and "primitive" JumpShips to the new Hardpoint/KF-Boom JumpShip/DropShip combo, rendering the former hopelessly obsolete within three decades. However, the old JumpShips would remain in service for a time, even as a dying technology, because they were still prefectly serviceable. Why scrap a working JumpShip?
I can easily see entire fleets of those primitive JumpShips surviving in the near periphery (Hyades Cluster) and especially Deep Periphery (Chainelane Isles, Hansa, Nueva Castile, Jarnfolk, etc.) well into the Clan Invasion era and beyond. Frabby (talk) 08:27, 3 July 2018 (EDT)
I haven't seen anything in canon to support the idea of entire fleets of ships that are six centuries out of production and obsolete moving around up to and including the Clan invasion era, and it seems a stretch to suggest that it's the case, given the only quote we've really got about their life in service beyond the introduction of the docking hardpoint is that within fifty years, they were nearly extinct. Once a support infrastructure for something goes, those items drop out of service pretty steadily. Where JumpShips from early hardpoint-using classes exist, they're novel enough to attract attention - like the Leviathan used by Hannibal's hermits, or even old JumpShips from classes that are still in production, like the Star Lord class Rama Sita that used to be a part of the United Hindu Collective military and was still in use during Operation SERPENT. Given that, if there were fleets of Aquilas and other ancient, out-of-production JumpShips still moving around as anything other than isolated unicorns, wouldn't they have attracted some kind of mention? Much though I like the idea, I don't see any evidence for it. As for the question of scrapping a working JumpShip, the most obvious one would be so that the germanium-titanium core can be re-used in something more useful. While the primitive JumpShips may have been relatively plentiful up to a certain point, once the industrial base of the Inner Sphere shifted over to more modern JumpShips, I'd imagine the bulk of the ships ended up either simply being scrapped because they were unsupportable, or cannibalised for spares to keep other ships running - until it simply became unprofitable to keep them running, and companies and the military simply bought new ones to replace them. BrokenMnemonic (talk) 02:57, 9 July 2018 (EDT)
I'm not so sure if the infrastructure argument is convincing. After all, for all we know the KF drive as such would be maintenance-free and the generic spaceship parts around it (crew quarters, thrust engines, tankage, consumables and sundries) don't require a specialized maintenance infrastructure. If a given installation can maintain modern JumpShips, then it should be able to maintain primitive JumpShips just as well. Not to mention that the infrastructure would change and adapt together with the fleet. If you're not going to upgrade your Aquillas to modern JumpShips, you don't upgrade the support infrastructure either. And BT equipment has a fantastic longevity outside of combat attrition.
On the other hand, scrapping vessels for their Germanium is a good argument. I hadn't thought of this. If Germanium is really the expensive bottleneck component in JumpShip construction then it makes sense to scrap the outdated ships for this valuable raw material and reprocess it into a new JumpShip that can move several times the cargo with the same amount of Germanium in its core. In a highly industrialized and relatively peaceful time it is likely that primitive JumpShips suddenly were valuable not for their outdated jump capacity but for their raw germanium content, and were scrapped en masse.
So I take back the notion that "fleets" remain. I still maintain that individual ancient primitive JumpShips remain in operation in the farthest reaches of the periphery. But be that as it may, they are a negligible number and expressly excluded from the JumpShip Distribution percentages anyways, as they cannot transport DropShips. They would only be useful as courier vessels or in specialized environments where DropShuttles are still used. Frabby (talk) 10:07, 9 July 2018 (EDT)
One thing I didn't think to mention; don't forget that these primitive ships became obsolete before the era of the Star League. We know the Age of War was savage in terms of the damage inflicted, but it was then followed by the single most economically active period in human history, which went on for more than a century - nations and business literally had money to burn, and generated enough tax revenue for the Star League to terraform entire planets in incredibly advanced ways. That's a society that's not going to view primitive, limited JumpShips as something that are worth running on - they're going to view them as disposable. The people who would probably find them more useful - the Periphery nations - were also those most heavily taxed, with the most limited economies, and most heavily policed infrastructure. BrokenMnemonic (talk) 16:42, 9 July 2018 (EDT)