Review - Balao-class Heavy Frigate OPEN UNTIL 2 AUGUST on Engineering Department
: Posted by Captain Brandon Irvine (Engineering Director) in Review - Balao-class Heavy Frigate OPEN UNTIL 2 AUGUST
: Here's the third draft of Nick Villarreal's...unorthodox Balao-class. Please give him a critique so it's not just Rob and I passing judgment in two weeks!
: Change Log:
: - Changed wording in History and Mission Overview
: - Changed wording in Structure and Construction
: - Changed Science and Remote Sensing Systems section to remove hydrophone references
: - Changed Tactical Systems subsections to reflect N3P guidelines, and to expand equipment types to what N3P allows
: - Changed Warp Systems to conform to N3P guidelines and to expand to what N3P allows
: - Changed the wording in the Impulse Systems section to clarify waterborne operations specifications
: - Modified multiple sections for grammatical and factual errors
: - Removed Escape Pod description from Utility Systems
: - Modified Transporter Systems description
: - Changed Technical Specifications to reflect changes as per N3P guidelines
: - Changed Deck Plan to reflect changes in rest of spec
: CATEGORY: FRIGATE
: VARIANT: HEAVY
: DESIGNER: Nicholas Villarreal
: Mark I
: Draft 3
: DATE: July 15, 2012
: Referenced URLS: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/53391878/BalaoLayout.jpg
I read it first, and had a submarine pictured in my head. Then I noticed this link and though, "Hm. It really does look like a floating submarine." I'm willing to let the concept grow on me but the initial thoughts I have are that this is going to funk up warp mechanics pretty bad. It looks like the nacelles are in the front? And even though the picture helps, it doesn't appear to be very aerodynamic. I know we don't care about "air" in space, but I was always under the impression that we've (meaning Star Trek) have tried to design our vessels, especially the newer ones, with that concept in mind to increase warp efficiency.
: HISTORY AND MISSION OVERVIEW
: With the venerable Miranda and Oberth class vessels and all of their different refits and upgrades slated to retire from service, Starfleet realized that they were somewhat short on smaller vessels. Although many of their lead vessels tended to be larger, in order to cope with more dangerous missions, a smaller all-purpose vessel was a necessity. After the success of the Nova-class research vessel, Starfleet Command decided to have the Utopia Planitia Yards design something that had a slightly wider scale of missions.
: However, the people at Utopia Planitia that the President of the Yards assigned to do the job weren't the typical designers. They created the original concept for the Defiant class, which was later given to Benjamin Sisko's design crew. They were forced to stand by while their design became corrupted, mothballed, and then turned in to the Nova-class. What was initially a creative combat vessel became just another ship in the fleet. They had chips on their shoulders, and once Benjamin Sisko left Utopia Planitia, the order for a frigate came in. All the members of the team decided that they decided that they were going to design something that did not fit typical Starfleet designs at all.
: Instead of utilizing a typical two-section ship design and making it their own, they looked at an older source of inspiration - the submarine. As it was the other type of vessel that humanity initially used to move in three dimensions, but in water instead of air, they felt that it was an underutilized hull type in spacecraft design. While using the basic premise of the submarine body style, they made the vessel more than twice as large as most submarines, replaced certain unnecessary systems with systems only required in spacecraft, and made it far more livable. They also decided to stretch the borders of what they were allowed to include aboard the vessel, using some aspects in the design that the Admiralty Board did not originally request or approve.
: What resulted was a multi-purpose ship that looked as out-of-place in the fleet as the Defiant class. This wide departure from standard ship design, much like the original military submarines, gave the Admiralty pause. After some consideration, they approved a single prototype, to test the promise of the new vessel. Due to the hull’s overall structure, multiple sections of the vessel could be built in tandem, making full construction of a single vessel require only four months. As the prototype was only a “proof of concept” model, it was finished in ten weeks.
: When the ship came out of Utopia Planitia, it was initially named the Skipjack, in honor of the submersible vessel class that had shared the name. Upon successful testing, Utopia Planitia Yards proceeded to finish construction so that the original prototype would also be the ship of the class. Upon its christening, the Admiralty Board decided to name it the USS Balao, in honor of the most successful - albeit not the most numerous - class of submarine built.
: Similar to the multiple roles that submarines performed in the past, the Balao was given a large and varied mission profile.
: - Internal patrols
: - Escort duties
: - Border security
: - Fleet support
: - Station support
: - Short-term diplomacy
: - Inter-planetary personnel transport
: - Planetary oceanography
: - Starfleet cargo transfer
: - Stellar cartography
: - Scientific research
I have an issue with a small ship doing personnel and cargo transport. I don't know if it's just me, but especially for a ship kind of mirroring a submarine, submarines for sure didn't do that stuff, and I personally don't think it's a small ship duty. I mean, where would the extra space be to allow for this? Maybe you address this later... I tend to do my reviews "dynamically" so that I understand the flow of the design and we can catch were things might not make sense where they should. ;) Otherwise I think this is a great list. Most people struggle with the mission objectives parts but I think this is pretty well rounded and also reflective of what a submarine type small ship would be doing these days. If I were to nit pick I might add something else more generalized/scientificy to drive home to point that this is a general exploration vessel.
: STRUCTURE AND CONSTRUCTION
: Although the ship is named for a vessel that was part of the United States Navy during the Second World War, the body style looks more like a combination between the Soviet Akula class and the United States Los Angeles class submarines of the twentieth century.
: The vessel is a single hull, eleven decks in height. Its central body is a cylindrical shape, comprising of decks 4 through 11. The fore ends in a semi-sphere with the same diameter as the main body. The bottom of the hull is rounded, while the top of the cylindrical shape just aft of the semi-sphere is flattened. There is a ring around the hull just aft of the semi-sphere made of basic navigational deflectors. The aft of the vessel is a conical shape which makes up about one-fifth of the ship’s length. and has two horizontal planes attached. These planes remain stationary while spaceborne. The top three decks form a tower-like structure, although it has relatively less height, is more rounded, and has more length than most towers from actual submarines, as it is roughly a quarter of the length of the ship at its longest. It starts one-third back from the fore of the ship.
: Both the starboard and port sides of the ship have horizontal quarters of prolate spheroid bulges on decks 6 to 8 that extend from just aft of the forward dome and run forty percent of the length of the ship. The bulges house the ship's two nacelles, and the bussard collectors form the forward part of the bulges. The bulges are flattened at their aft end, and are inset with the impulse engines outputs. They are each roughly half as wide as the combined height of decks 1-3.
: Hatches ring the exterior of decks 5 and 9 which are covers for the escape pods. There is also a docking hatch on deck 5. Retracting doors which cover the shuttle bay are on the top of deck 4, aft of the tower structure. Two coverings are on the fore of deck 7 equally spaced from the centerline. Both coverings slide open to allow the torpedo tubes to fire when needed. Finally, there is an airlock on the fore of deck five which allows the vessel to dock with space stations.
: The ship is capable of atmospheric entry and exit. It can make ground landings via six pylons - three on the starboard side and three on the port side - that fold and retract in to spaces in deck 11. The pylons themselves are built of solid tritanium with two tritanium joints each, and have pointed ends that sink in to the ground for added stability. A ramp extends from fore of deck 10 to allow for external access.
: Due to the ship's body design, the Balao is also capable of landing upon and travelling across any body of water of more than 70 meters in depth, and can submerge itself in any body of water of at least 100 meters in depth. The maximum splashdown speed is 250 km/h, and requires a speed of 50 km/h in order to leave the water before ascending. Instead of using ballast tanks, the fins at the aft of the ship assist the thrusters in the descent and ascent of the vessel, and the impulse engines are liquid-proofed in order to allow it to provide underwater propulsion. The draft when waterborne is 32 meters, and the underwater crush depth is 550 meters, according to simulations.
: The ship's superstructure and external shell are a tritanium alloy reinforced with duranium, while the internal structures are all duranium and other common materials. The superstructure is put together with transporter welding, the ship interior is added with more traditional methods, and the shell is attached using further transporter welding to make sure that it is sealed and shaped perfectly. Because the ship needs to work in space, atmospheric, and underwater conditions, the Balao has twice the amount of structural integrity field emitters as other ships its size.
Again I read this before looking at the picture and got the general idea. The tower part confused me, as did the part about the nacelles. I don't know if that can be or needs to be clarified or if that's just me being me. Where is the deflector dish? Also, if it's agreed that my aerodynamic points are valid, my recommendation would be a simple design fix that would still hold true to your submarine concept... make the tower less of a 'bubble' and more of an oval where it tapers to the back, like a tear drop... and taper the back of the submarine down like a tear drop also. I don't know if the front needs to be more "pointy" or not at this point.
A quick google search for images: http://www.onr.navy.mil/focus/blowballast/sub/work1.htm
That's kind of what I'm thinking, specifically looking at the back and the tower. I like that your tower is larger than this one, but this one still tapers off at the back. And I like your fin placement in your design, but I like how this one really does taper at the back to a point. Again, I have no idea if this is a valid critique or not, but it's just what jumps into my mind.
Just had another thought of probably something that should go in this section... since this is an underwater craft also, are there any internal mechanisms in place, like water tight hatches, that a normal submarine has these days? I have no idea if this is necessary, but it was a thought.
: SCIENCE AND REMOTE SENSING SYSTEMS
: The ship has type VII sensors capable of high-resolution scans up to 3.11 light years distant, and low-resolution scans up to 11.0 light years distant. The sensors are also capable of operating in passive mode while at sub-light speeds, meaning that the sensors only detect incoming energy and detection methods. While this provides a limited perspective, it allows for a certain amount of stealth when used in tandem with warp-signature masking techniques. Due to the nature of the vessel, the sensors are purposed to act as a SONAR system when waterborne. The main sensors are located in the forward dome of the vessel on decks 6 and 7.
Isn't a switch between active and passive sensors an automatic given that all ships have? I mean, if I want to be stealthy I can order my sensors to switch to passive at any time, can't I? If so, this renders a few sentences in this part moot.
: The ship's main computer is a series of 18 single-deck isolinear chip towers located on deck 3, which one can observe from a computer room also on deck 3, and the ship's computer network is entirely isolinear. The towers and the computer room are separated by a corridor, and both areas are accessible through four doors total opposite one another in the corridor. There is a backup core in Main Engineering, from decks 7 to 9, which consists of three three-deck isolinear towers.
: WARP PROPULSION SYSTEM
: The Balao class is powered by a single Class-VII warp core feeding two nacelles. The warp core is in the aft of decks 7 through 9, and the nacelles are integrated in to the hull in the starboard and port bulges on decks 6 through 8. The nacelles, due to their structural nature, are fixed-geometry. The ship has a cruising speed of warp 6.0, a maximum warp setting of warp 9.0, and a maximum speed that can be sustained for a twelve-Earth-hour period of warp 9.2. In emergency situations, the core can propel the ship to warp 9.5.
Also a fair balance. I thought variable geometry nacelles were standard is post-Voyager era though?
: IMPULSE PROPULSION SYSTEM
: The impulse engines are fusion units on the port and starboard sides of decks 7 and 8, inboard of the bulges. They each power an impulse unit at the aft of the port and starboard bulges which are inlaid in to the aft of said bulges. The engines are waterproofed. Due to the size of the vessel, the ship can reach a maximum impulse speed of 0.30c, and is capable of accelerating to said speed in 10 seconds, and decelerating in 15 seconds. When used for waterborne propulsion, they can propel the ship up to 50 knots on the surface without the automatic takeoff procedures engaging, and provided that there is enough space to do so, they can propel the ship underwater at speeds of up to 65 knots without the ship suffering significant damage. The acceleration time while surfaced is 12 seconds, and the deceleration time while surfaced is 19 seconds. The acceleration time while submerged is 23 seconds, and the deceleration time while submerged is 18 seconds. The time to dive a distance of 100 meters is 12 seconds, and the time to rise 100 meters is 17 seconds. Depth has no bearing on the diving and rising times.
I would like to see this broken into two paragraphs. One for space stuff and one for water stuff, for ease of reading.
I'm also concerned about the water numbers being a bit too fast. I don't have any specific knowledge in this so if you're researched it I'll trust you, but it just seems too fast to me.
: TACTICAL SYSTEMS
: The Balao's main deflector is formed in a ring just aft of the forward hemisphere.
I'd like to see this on the drawing, because it doesn't make sense to me, and it's a big part of the warp dynamics.
: The Balao is also equipped with five type-8 shield arrays: one directly forward of the tower on the top of deck 4, one on each of the starboard and port sides of the shuttle bay doors on the exterior of deck 4, one on the underside of the vessel's main cylindrical shape along the center line, and one that forms a ring around the midpoint between the fore and aft of the conical section. Together, the arrays form a uniform shield that can sustain a maximum graviton load of 1612 MW and has a maximum energy dissipation rate of 4.38 x 10^5 kW.
: Phaser Systems
: The Balao has three type XI phaser arrays that form rings around the tower structure and each of the bulges that contain the nacelles. The array around the tower has a horizontal firing arc of 360 degrees and a vertical firing arc of 90 degrees, while the arrays around the nacelle bulges have vertical firing arcs of 360 degrees and horizontal firing arcs of 90 degrees. Each type IX array has 130 emitters, a maximum energy output of 3.8 MW, and a maximum effective range of 225000 km. The Balao is further armed with two type VI phaser arrays on the aft starboard and port sides of deck 8. Each type VII array has 160 emitters, a maximum energy output of 2.6 MW, and a maximum effective range of 150000 km, horizontal firing arcs of 110 degrees, and vertical firing arcs of 180 degrees.
: When the Balao is waterborne, the array around the tower is active while the Balaeo is surfaced. When the Balao is submerged, all arrays are inactive. This restriction is to limit the environmental impact of using energy-based weapons in aquatic ecosystems, although they can be activated during extreme cases.
Can they? Do we have any TNG era canon references of firing phasers under water? /me ponders.
: Torpedo Systems
: The Balao is equipped with two type-II torpedo tubes with a range of 4500000 km, located forward on deck 9. They can each fire one torpedo every four seconds. If needed, they can alternate firing patterns, meaning that it is capable of launching six torpedoes in twelve seconds if the need arises. Due to the nature of the vessel, the torpedo tubes serve as the only offensive armament that the Balao has when submerged. As such, each tube has a hatch on the aft portion, and is capable of pressurization. The closing and sealing of a hatch adds one second . Should a hatch break, the covering plate on the fore of the tube slides back in to place, emergency shields activate, and auxiliary pumps evacuate any excess water from the tube interior. Should the protective hatches on both tubes fail, the phasers automatically activate if other protocols have deactivated the phaser systems. The Balao carries 50 Mark V torpedoes, with 12 casings typically reserved as probes.
Is this the max allowance of the N3P? I would want this specific section maxed out for your class.
: COMMAND AND SUPPORT SYSTEMS
So far so good.
: Communications Room
: Located on deck 2, the Communications Room is a central hub for all communications systems on the Balao. There are three work stations, as well as a display for all communications in the area, and aboard the vessel. The room also serves as a signals interception and cryptology area, allowing for the use of one time pad encoding and other forms of complex encryption, encryption decoding, and collection of communications from non-Federation sources.
Cool. Why isn't this somewhere in the mission profiles? What are the implications on the staffing of a CIO?
: Security Facilities
: Located on deck 9, this area contains both the Brig and the office for the Chief of Security. The Brig has three holding cells, each of which has two bunk-style beds, and is contained by a force field. The COS' office consists of a desk with a chair, an interactive display screen, two chairs for visitors, and a replicator. The office also holds a weapons locker with two phaser rifles and two hand phasers which the Chief of Security can access via a combined code input and biometric scan.
: Located on Deck 10, the Armory is a small weapons cache aboard the ship, should the vessel encounter a situation requiring person-to-person combat. It has six weapons lockers - two with a total of ten phaser rifles, two with a total of forty hand held phasers, one with two tetryon pulse rifles, and one with explosive charges. Only the CO, XO, and Department Heads can access these lockers.
Is this enough to arm the entire crew? I'm and advocate for combat and heavy vessels to have enough armaments for all crew.
: Multi-Purpose Office
: Located on deck 2, the Multi-Purpose Office serves as an office for the Department Head of any swing position that may be assigned for the mission, or as a permanent part of the ship's crew. It has desk with a chair, as well as two chairs for guests, and a wall display that can be configured to access relevant information.
I like the idea, but does this mean the Balao is restricted to one swing DH? That would include a CNS, CTO, CIO. I don't mind if you make this restriction, due to the vessel's size, though I can see anyone who takes up this spec ignoring it.
: Main Engineering
: Stellar Cartography
: Located at the fore of deck 1, Stellar Cartography is the only permanently specialized scientific laboratory aboard the vessel. The ceiling is a planetarium, capable of displaying the night sky of any known planet at any known configuration, as well as the current sky, if the ship is planet-side. The walls, save for the hallway entrance at the aft, are map displays that can show star maps of any previously charted area of space, as well as any place that the Balao charts. In the center of the room are four control panels that allow for data entry and retrieval.
I like it!
: Diplomatic Facilities
: Located in the aft of deck 1, this is an open area that can serve multiple purposes, including an alternate dining hall, a small meeting area, or offices for visiting diplomats. The crew can place furniture and other devices in the room depending upon the function that the diplomatic personnel in question require.
Are there any VIP or visiting personnel quarters? Since this is one of the functions, albeit you state mini diplomatic functions basically, we should still probably provide minimum diplomatic quarters.
: UTILITY SYSTEMS
: Cargo Bay
: There is a single cargo bay located on deck 10 forward of the Armory. It is a single-deck bay, 7500 cubic meters in size. It has a cargo transporter, but also has a retractable forward wall that allows the bay to be loaded via the ramp. Two turbolift access points, forward and aft of the bay, allow the crew to reach the cargo bay.
Fine, but I think this also supports my argument against making this a cargo transport vessel in any capacity.
: There are two six-person transporter rooms, on each of decks 8 and 9. They have a maximum range of 40,000 km. There are also four emergency single-person uni-directional transporters on each deck in the event that the escape pods fail or certain crew members cannot reach them. The emergency transporters have a range of 15,000 km.
: Tractor Beam
: The Balao has two tractor beam emitters located on the exterior of deck 8. They have a maximum range of 20,000 km.
: CREW SUPPORT SYSTEMS
Maybe slightly over descriptive but otherwise fine. :)
: Senior Officer's Lounge
I like that you make the distinction in lounges, it stays true to the vessel's background. Unfortunately I think this would be ignored by any crew though. :(
: Crew Lounge
: In addition to the recreational facilities aboard, the Balao has four holosuites located on deck 8. They share a single program computer, and have all holographic simulations available in the Federation that only require a single-level simulator.
I don't understand what that means.
: Located on Deck 8, Sickbay has four bio-beds and one surgical bed arrayed in an arc. The surgical bed has a series of monitor panels that are readily visible for medical crew performing an operation, and can be sealed off from the rest of sickbay either with force fields or a slide-out transparent aluminum wall that wraps around the area. The bio-beds have wall-mounted status displays. The port-side wall also has a medical replicator. A quarter of the area is a windowed space with a door that serves as the Chief Medical Officer's office, and has a lengthened desk complete with an expanded, self-contained medical library, a chair behind the desk, a couch along the windowed wall, and a replicator. The office door is capable of closing, and the windows are capable of tinting.
There's no EMH then? I'm fine with that, just making sure. I would also be fine with 2 surgical beds since this is a heavy variant.
: AUXILIARY SPACECRAFT SYSTEMS
: The shuttle bay is located in the aft of the vessel, on decks 4 and 5. The crew can access the shuttle bay through deck 5. The shuttle bay doors are retractable segments of the hull, split along the center line, and allow craft to exit the vessel vertically. The shuttle bay can hold either two Armadillo-class shuttles or one Liberty-class runabout.
: TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS
I think you can make better use of deck 11. At least throw deuterium waste storage or something down there.
: SHIPS OF CLASS
: The Balao shares ship names with submarines built and used during Earth's Second World War, many of which were Balao class submarines, but some of which were Gato class submarines.
: * USS Balao, NCC-75285 (Class Ship)
: * USS Wahoo, NCC-75287
: * USS Blackfin, NCC-75289
: * USS Dorado, NCC-75291
: * USS Hammerhead, NCC-75293
: * USS Growler, NCC-75295
: * USS Cavalla, NCC-75297
: * USS Razorback, NCC-75299
: * USS Manta, NCC-75301
: * USS Moray, NCC-75303
: The Balao class can be constructed quickly, and so many have been put in to service around the fleet, including the following:
: * USS Macabi, NCC-75286 (NPC)
: * USS Bugara, NCC-75288 (NPC)
: * USS Silversides, NCC-75290 (NPC)
: * USS Caiman, NCC-75292 (NPC)
: * USS Flasher, NCC-75294 (NPC)
: * USS Cubera, NCC-75296 (NPC)
: * USS Barbero, NCC-75298 (NPC)
: * USS Archer-Fish, NCC-75300 (NPC)
: * USS Tang, NCC-75302 (NPC)
: * USS Piranha, NCC-75304 (NPC)
: The Balao is designed to fill multiple small-ship roles, making it a very versatile design. In spite of – or perhaps because of - its unique hull variant, the Balao can be an effective part of the fleet.
: SUBMITTED BY NICHOLAS VILLARREAL, JULY 15, 2012
: -Brandon Irvine
I have to say Nick, this is a unique concept. I like how you've repurposed it for Star Trek, and I'm not immediately ruling it out in my own head as not feasible because it is written well. I like how much of the design stays true to the submarine concept, though I worry that any mainstream crew would pretty much ignore all those things that make this design unique. I know that's not really your concern, but I think it's worth noting.
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