Title Posted
The pre-war importance of Basilisk Station Apr 2009
Elizabeth's new royal yacht, HMS <em>Duke of Cromarty</em> Apr 2009
Freighting LACs to the Talbott Quadrant Apr 2009
More on the sources of Manticoran wealth Apr 2009
With Apollo, do you really need armor any more? Apr 2009
The spillover effect from Manticore's Junction-created astrographic position Apr 2009
Shot weight vs shot size Apr 2009
Apollo fire control for light units Apr 2009
Overwhelming the RMN with light units Apr 2009
Why the Queen's Own exists Apr 2009


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Pearls of Weber

A collection of posts by David Weber containing background information for his stories, collected and generously made available Joe Buckley.

LACs as parasites

  • Series: Honorverse
  • Date: October 22, 2002

[T]he notion of LAC parasites. They're being called "battleriders" this time around, and the suggestion is that they could be transported on the exteriors of non carriers as a way to give, say, a cruiser a teeny LAC squadron of its own and also as a way to transport them to areas where they are needed without tying up carriers. There's also been a suggestion that it might be possible to build a modular LAC bay which could be loaded in and out of a standard freighter hold (and JMT freighters, in particular) to turn any freighter into a temporary CVE. Also, if the modular concept is feasible, could the modules then be operated independently or "strapped onto" another structure at their destination in order to create an instant "Henderson Field."


There's no inherent reason why LACs couldn't "ride" the exterior of a larger vessel's hull. Well, no reason a Manticoran LAC couldn't. A Havenite LAC doesn't have the onboard endurance to make it practical to [be] transported for any great distance with its crew on board, so there'd have to be additional personnel space sufficient to carry the LACs' crews, as well. There'd also be the fact that in the absence of a physical interlock system similar to that used in the CLAC fighter bays, you'd be up the creek in a hurry if the mooring tractors failed under acceleration. Whereas the loss of a missile pod tractored to the outside of a hull would be inconvenient, the loss of a LAC -- and its entire crew -- would probably be considered just a tad more serious.

The numbers of LACs you could transport this way would not be large, unless you were using a very large ship, like a superdreadnought. I certainly wouldn't think that you could transport worthwhile numbers on anything much smaller than an old-style Havenite battleship. And carrying them that way would lead to all sorts of problems in the form of interference with sensors, communications links, weapons bays, etc. You'd have to have provision for launching the LACs in a hurry if you had to clear for action, and that could be a problem, since you'd pretty much have to strike your own wedge long enough for the LACs to get clear and bring their wedges up. In an "ambush" scenario, that could be inconvenient, to say the least.

Having said all of that, however, this might be a way to transport a small number of LACs -- replacements, let's say, for a LAC group which has taken combat losses -- to a forward base, or a way of recovering LACs after the [de]struction of or damage to their CLAC. Or, for that matter, if the LACs in question have to be gotten away into hyper faster than they can be reunited with their carriers. I don't see it as any sort of routine application, but I don't see anything inherently impossible about it, since LACs are small enough to fit inside the compensator field of the ships to which they would be tractored.

There's nothing inherently impossible about the concept of modular fighter bays, and I've actually thought about it off and on. The system may eventually make an appearance in the series, but I'm still mulling over the question of whether or not I want it to.