UESPA-9 finished, early warp reactors added

Well, I’ve just finished my UESPA-9 design in time for today’s update! Take a look at the development of the design:

uespa9_final
Late-August to mid-October 2017 development

I should make it clear than not everything about the design is finished. An orthographic and internal schematic is yet needed to give a complete picture, but this complete sideview will be enough to allow me to begin incorporating the design into the website fully. By the end of today, I should have most of the ship’s database entry done. By this time next week, I should also have a few paragraphs about the ship written for insertion into chapter 1. For now, you can read more about the design here!

Another significant addition to the website is a section of the (currently only UESPA) database dedicated to warp reactors. Since reactors are probably the single best way to signify technological development in starships, I decided it was time to put some attention there. Currently, information on the Cochrane-type fusion, Yoyodyne-type pulse fusion, and Cochrane II-series fusion reactors is present (which are written in chapter 1 and 2 to be the most prominent reactors in the mid-to-late 21st century). A Yoyodyne II-type pulse fusion reactor page will be done within the next few days to compliment the completion of the DY-732-class ship database entry next Thursday.

Have a good evening!

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“Space Boomers” chapter

When I completed the draft to chapter 1 of the website’s History repot, I wrote the blog post “Rationalising and solving UESPA problems” to complement it and show some of the thought behind it. Today I have put up chapter 2, which mainly deals with the formation of the Earth Cargo Service (ECS) and reactor progress for the UESPA. I will not be writing a post that large on here for it. Just a brief.

So. The ECS was a major theme of two episodes of Star Trek: Enterprise (“Fortunate Son” and “Horizon”), where it is shown to be an agency responsible for governing the operations of Earth freighters. This chapter follows a similar sort of format to the first one, combining what we know canonically with my own creative approach of bringing it to life; explaining political, economic, and social reasons for the development of the ECS and contemporary ships.

Enjoy!
http://pathto2265.com/history/c2

A new button (again) and the first Star Trek: Discovery ship review

So,the website has a new logo (again)!

testing_tablet_20171005

I’ve also been experimenting with colours. I want the Red/Blue theme, but I want it to be easy on the eyes too.

The biggest addition is the first starship review, which is of USS Shenzhou from Star Trek: Discovery. All things considered, I gave it a weighting of 6.3/10. I should have the rest of the Federation background ships from the Battle of the Binary Stars done soon. Other than that, not much to report really.

Falklands War Commemorative Carrier Coin

So I just started collecting coins now it seems.

Today I received my second coin from World Challenge Coins, a neat company that sells a lot of British military coins (among other coins). The first one I ordered back in September 2016 was a commemorative Avro Vulcan bomber silver coin. This one is for the Falklands War carrier fleet, namely light carriers HMS Hermes (R12), Centaur-class, and HMS Invincible (R05), Invincible-class. I decided to order this coin as my personal tribute to both of these fine carriers that served the Royal Navy well under trying time of war and increasing budget cuts. I also fancied completing a 16-coin 35-year-anniversary collection dedicated to the Falklands War that came with it (a fancy cardboard ‘ammo box’ for holding them came with the coin).

The coin itself is silver. There was an option to upgrade to gold, but I did not have enough money to spare for it at the time. This coin cost £4.99 + £2.50 delivery. The coin has a fair bit of weight to it, even when it is out of the included protective casing. The photos I took of it in relatively-poor lighting do not do the coin’s quality justice, as it is a fine piece of pressed metal.

Coin_01
Both sides of the silver coin

I guess at this point I should do the usual disclaimers, like saying that I by no means support the deaths that occurred during the conflict. Because I don’t, and all I wanted is something to remember these amazing, misunderstood machines that I love so much by!

HMS Ocean sales rumour

Apologies for my absence as of late, I have been busy with coursework among other things. Anyway, rumours are now floating around about a possible sale of HMS Ocean (L12) to Brazil as a possible replacement for their now-demobilising NAe São Paulo (A12). I believe it to be a very bad decision for both the UK and Brazilian governments. Here’s why.

Note: this will assume that Brazil wants Ocean in a strike-carrier role. Also before we get into this, I’ll give a brief overview of the ship. HMS Ocean (pennant L12) is a 21,500-tonne Landing Platform Helicopter (LPH) carrier commissioned back in 1998. The ship is a dedicated helicopter-carrying platform for supporting amphibious assaults and serves as an afloat Royal Marine training and staging base.

Firstly, the impact to the UK. As supporters of the sale quickly point out, we do indeed have two Queen Elizabeth-class supercarriers coming soon, with one (HMS Prince of Wales R09) being ‘enhanced’ with amphibious-supporting capabilities. But that is far from a specialised replacement. Those supercarriers are and will always be fleet carrier-first. LPH-second is not good enough. Especially given the whole purpose Ocean was commissioned was that using a non-LPH ship in the LPH role was problematic. RFA Argus (A135), which now serves as an aviation training and casualty receiving ship, was pressed into the LPH role in the early-90s due to the decommissioning of our dedicated ‘commando carriers’. She proved the unsuitability of ships of a certain type being made to serve as another type. This ‘solution’ to the absence to Ocean from I fleet I feel has the potential to be a repeat of that crucial mistake that led to Ocean being developed in the first place! There is also a question of a two-year gap between the scheduled decommissioning of Ocean in 2018 and the commissioning of Prince of Wales in 2020…

Next, we need to consider the impact of purchase for Brazil itself. Firstly, if Ocean is to serve as a strike carrier now, there would be a pressing need for a very large and very costly conversion to make the ship suitable for operating STOVL jet aircraft. This includes adding a ‘ski-ramp’ to support take-offs given Ocean‘s relatively-small flight deck, re-plating the flight deck with a new material and/or coating to better deflect the immense heat that would it would be subjected too (even modern helicopters such as the MV-22 Osprey put a lot of pressure of a flight deck), and finally a lot of internal reconfiguration would have to be done for supporting large amounts of aircraft munitions, jet fuel and aircraft workshops as opposed to its current internal commitments to training facilities and troop barracks. More things Brazil must consider with Ocean is that it was built to commercial (not military) standards. Which potentially means poor damage resistance, and I know for a fact the carrier is quite slow at 18 knots maximum speed. These characteristics are understandable for a ship that was primarily designed be anchored off some shore, providing helicopter support to Marines (with secondary roles as a limited anti-submarine platform and aforementioned an afloat training and staging base). In conclusion, Ocean as a strike/light carrier would have a small airwing and her speed would effectively ‘handicap’ its own escorting fleet, making long-range travels horribly slow.

That’s my two cents and brief rationale towards this argument. My concluding position that it is not feasible and quite ill-advised that Brazil would even consider Ocean as an alternative to a proper replacement to São Paulo.

 

Two carriers in a week

That’s right. Last week, two big events impacted the carrier world. The Indian Navy’s INS Viraat (R22) light carrier was formally decommissioned and the US Navy’s USS Independence (CV-62) supercarrier began its journey to the breaker’s yard.

So the first event. On 6th March 2017, the Indian Navy decommissioned INS Viraat, former Royal Navy Colossus-class light carrier HMS Hermes (R11). Age and her cost of maintenance prompted the Indian Defence Ministry to retire Viraat three years early – her expected end of service life was 2020. Future INS Vikrant will replace her role in the fleet. It is unclear at this time if she will be preserved. A previous attempt at making her a museum a few years ago apparently fell through. Period to her decommissioning, Viraat was the oldest operational aircraft carrier. Personally, I will remember the ship chiefly as Hermes, since she was famous for being one of those Cold War-era ‘commando carriers’ (basically a Landing Platform Helicopter or LPH) and serving in the Falklands War.

Viraat
INS Viraat – US Navy photo (cropped)

Now the second event. USS Independence (CV-62), Forrestal-class, was decommissioned almost 20 years ago (30th September 1998) and now it is time for her tow to Texas for scrapping. She began this journey on the 11th March 2017, which is 25,750 kilometres from Puget Sound Naval Shipyard to a breaker’s yard in Brownsville. Being a Forrestal-class member, she was among the World’s first supercarriers in service. From 1959 until decommissioning. She served with distinction in Vietnam and the rest of the Cold War. After the decommissioning, she remained mothballed for five and a half years before finally being struck on 8th March 2004. During this time, Independence was said to have been heavily stripped to support active supercarriers. The state of the ship by the end of this meant she was not in good enough condition to be preserved.

Independence
USS Independence – US Navy photo (cropped)

As always, I hate to see carriers go. I hope that INS Viraat can be preserved, since she could be the last World War II-era British carrier left that can be preserved. As for USS Independence, I understand she is not in safe condition for preservation as a museum/memorial. It does suck that no Forrestal-class supercarrier can be preserved now, but they were all pushed hard during their years of service. I am grateful that they did exist and left their mark on history!

See you around Viraat and Independence, noble Warriors of the Sea!

Goodbye São Paulo

I did not expect to write two of these sorts of posts in a month. But it seems I must wave goodbye to another aircraft carrier. NAe São Paulo (A12) of the Brazilian Navy (Marinha do Brasil). I first heard the news at around 4AM this morning. I saw someone post a news article about it on a Facebook group I am a part of. Although the impact of São Paulo is not approaching that of USS Enterprise (CVN-65), the other carrier retired early this month, but she is still a Warrior of the Seas and thus I will once again say my goodbyes.

sao_paulo
Photo by Rob Schleiffert (cropped)

São Paulo has had the distinction of serving in two navies. She was built and first commissioned as the French aircraft carrier Foch (R99). (Pronounced “fosh”, not “fock” or “fuck”.) She was the second Clemenceau-class fleet carrier. First commissioned in 1963, she was a CATOBAR-type carrier (basically means catapult-assisted take-offs for aircraft) and was named after French general, Marshal and military theorist Ferdinand Foch. Her size, displacement and capability is similar to that of a World War II-era Essex-class fleet carrier of the US Navy. She was decommissioned from French service in 2000 and transferred and commissioned into Brazilian service the same day.

In her years of service as São Paulo, the ship has suffered fires, serviceability issues and has never managed to operate more than three months at a time without the need for repairs and maintenance. Despite the attempts to refit and upgrade her, a recent study has shown that it would take around 10 years to upgrade the ship. By that time, its airwing of A-4 Skyhawk fighters will reach the end of their service periods themselves. Officially due to high costs, the Brazilian Navy will demobilise and decommission São Paulo. Apparently, the Navy plans to domestically construct two 50,000-tonne carriers to replace and supplement São Paulo‘s role in the future.

Admittedly, I am not completely informed about the history of Foch/São Paulo – both ship’s service lives have had much less media coverage here in the UK compared to our Royal Navy carriers or US Navy carriers. But it is always sad for me to see an aircraft carrier go. In the years that I have been alive, it has seemed like São Paulo has never managed to stay in the sea long enough to be an ocean warrior. But every aircraft carrier has a place in my heart, and São Paulo is no exception. She’s in dire need of repair, and thus I’d rather see her put to rest than rust away doing nothing. Or worse, being a moving hazard at sea.

I salute you, old Warrior of the Seas. Let history never forget you.