Cost and Economics of the TIE Fighter and Hyperdrives

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Re: Cost and Economics of the TIE Fighter and Hyperdrives

Post by Batman » 2020-05-21 08:19pm

ANH. The TIEs don't Zerg Rush the X-Wings, and they don't die in droves.
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Re: Cost and Economics of the TIE Fighter and Hyperdrives

Post by Gunhead » 2020-05-22 03:42pm

Gandalf wrote:
2020-05-21 08:14pm
The two need not be mutually exclusive. They can be both decent and expendable.
All military hardware is "expendable". The only question is what's the risk vs. reward. You're always balancing between quality vs. quantity with anything you're going field in any meaningful numbers. Big military like the Empire would by necessity place heavier emphasis on quantity as it needs simply more to cover all the area it aims to keep controlled, that doesn't mean they'd totally abandon quality but it's more a case of stuff being good enough with highly limited number of top of the line equipment given to specialist / elite troops. This reflects also to tactics and strategy and then there is the big question who do you need to fight / are fighting and or trying to deter so you don't have to.
Expendable is also easily mixed up with easily replaceable which is not really the same thing, expendable refers to some piece of equipment that is commonly used and then discarded and it's not a great loss as such, so no real effort is made to recover it if lost. Easily replaceable however is few tiers up from that where you should recover it if lost / damaged and not squander them away pointlessly. A TIE fighter is easily replaced not really expendable, or so I see it. Not really responding to Gandalf as such, I just thought I'd expand on his point a bit.

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Re: Cost and Economics of the TIE Fighter and Hyperdrives

Post by GuppyShark » 2020-05-22 10:24pm

Based on what's been raised I see four major 'cost centres' of starfighter design:

Pilot training.
Hyperdrive.
Shields.
Everything else.

Pilot training - Is flying a starfighter highly assisted by AI/droids or is it like flying a 21st century jet?

Hyperdrive - I'm not sold that hyperdrives are extremely expensive. When Watto is asked about the hyperdrive part Qui-Gon needs his response indicates that the problem is that it's specifically Nubian, not that it's a hyperdrive component itself. Nubian ships are clearly intended to be hand-crafted, rare starships used by the wealthy and prestigious, not the masses. Hyperdrive-capable ships are apparently cheap enough that Luke balks at Han's initial asking price (10,000) protesting "almost buy our own ship for that". That price turned out to be... about 5x the cost of his landspeeder.

Shields. Shields seem to vary in strength from old-EU 'it's a hitpoint pool' to what we see in the films, where it's not uncommon to see a 'shielded' craft blapped in seconds.

WWII comparisons are overdone but is it reasonable to compare them as TIEs are Shermans (mass produced, just good enough, crews were easy to come by) vs X-wings were Panzers (as good as they could make them, skilled crews the main constraint)?

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Re: Cost and Economics of the TIE Fighter and Hyperdrives

Post by chimericoncogene » 2020-05-22 11:08pm

GuppyShark wrote:
2020-05-22 10:24pm
Based on what's been raised I see four major 'cost centres' of starfighter design:

Pilot training.
Hyperdrive.
Shields.
Everything else.

Pilot training - Is flying a starfighter highly assisted by AI/droids or is it like flying a 21st century jet?

Hyperdrive - I'm not sold that hyperdrives are extremely expensive. When Watto is asked about the hyperdrive part Qui-Gon needs his response indicates that the problem is that it's specifically Nubian, not that it's a hyperdrive component itself. Nubian ships are clearly intended to be hand-crafted, rare starships used by the wealthy and prestigious, not the masses. Hyperdrive-capable ships are apparently cheap enough that Luke balks at Han's initial asking price (10,000) protesting "almost buy our own ship for that". That price turned out to be... about 5x the cost of his landspeeder.

Shields. Shields seem to vary in strength from old-EU 'it's a hitpoint pool' to what we see in the films, where it's not uncommon to see a 'shielded' craft blapped in seconds.

WWII comparisons are overdone but is it reasonable to compare them as TIEs are Shermans (mass produced, just good enough, crews were easy to come by) vs X-wings were Panzers (as good as they could make them, skilled crews the main constraint)?
That was my analysis too (back on page 1), and I ended up concluding that a mix of cheap non-clone pilots (vs. Rebels who have recruitment bottlenecks), ideology, plentiful capital ships and desirable combat characteristics of lightweight fighters led to their dominance in Imperial times.

Note that droid starfighters and tri-droids didn't have hyperdrives - so cheaper pilots = less hyperdrive. On the other hand, Jedi starfighters lack hyperdrives too, because they like the exquisite maneuverbility of a lightweight fighter.

Hyperdrive definitely drives up cost, especially for something as mass-constrained as a starfighter (in the real world, fighter aircraft masses help dictate costs - a bigger fighter is often more expensive). A bigger starfighter (because of hyperdrive) needs bigger engines and bigger radiators, etc. Compare the size of a V-wing and a Z-95, and a Jedi Starfighter and its hyperdrive ring. Before the A-wing, hyperdrives tended to be pretty big and heavy things, and adding that would drive up starfighter costs a lot by knock-on effects as much as the cost of the hyperdrive itself.

10,000 - entry level DIY ship kit, not the Falcon. Think Ahsoka's spice-running buddies and their Traveller Mk I ship, or worse. That's several times the cost of a repulsorlift craft (and presumably space-rating is not substantially more expensive than merely repulsorlifting to orbit - so a lot of that is probably in the hyperdrive).

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Re: Cost and Economics of the TIE Fighter and Hyperdrives

Post by Lord Revan » 2020-05-22 11:49pm

The thing is that you really only need hyperdrive capable fighters if your base or mothership cannot pick you up after a fight. In case of the empire there really wasn't that many (if any) opponents that could realistically threaten an ISD, so hyperdrives on fighters aren't really needed as the Star Destroyer can just pick up the fighters after combat. So I can imagine some official in the imperial HQ asking "why waste credits on hyperdrive capable fighters when we can use that money for something else".

I with rebels they didn't really have that much of a capital ship fleet until later in the civil war so they needed hyperdrive capable fighters as more often then not their bases were not within sublight travel from their targets and few motherships they did have were too much of an asset to risk them in a attack if it could be avoided.

Remember that the Lothal cell capturing the carrier in Rebels was a really big deal.
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Re: Cost and Economics of the TIE Fighter and Hyperdrives

Post by chimericoncogene » 2020-05-23 12:47am

Yeah, the Rebel's relative lack of capital ship capability was probably a huge factor in their decision to rely on heavy starfighters. Also, for a Rebellion, weaker than its opponent and with no need to hold territory, offensive capability - space denial - is far more important than space control, which is what capships and frigates can buy you.

Think Soviet Naval Aviation Backfires vs USN CVBG air wings.

The Empire, OTOH, needs space control. TIE fighters seen to be basically optimized for interceptor A2A duties - defending larger warships from enemy fighters, possibly under ground control (well, capship fighter warfare director control), and for that, a hyperdrive equipped multirole strike fighter with proton torpedoes and concussion missiles (like the TIE defender and X wing) is overkill.

Weapons systems are merely parts of a greater warfighting system, and it is helpful to think about the ecosystem the TIE inhabits.

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