Ship Mission Code/updates

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Ship type codes

Notes (2019)[edit]

All of these codes were superseded at a later data, but they have been preserved for record's sake.

- Maksim-Smelchak (talk) 17:54, 6 August 2019 (EDT)

Comments: (2015)[edit]

Let me know if you see a ship designation that I missed! Also There is some room for expansion under the proposed categories. I tried to be as consistent as I could, but you may not some deviations. If you think them excessive, I can try to come up with something different.

Medical Ships (RESOLVED)[edit]

  • The primary codes of H, U, and W are redundant (and unused) enough we can redefine them to capture missing item.
  • There is enough explicit use of "Medical" or "Medivac" in the code that we ought to select a qualifier (second character). I recommend "W" (was slow, now medical).
I used A for "Aid", but "W" would work as well. My only issue is using them as a second level qualifier. How would you differentiate a FAA Heavy Medical Frigate, and a FFA Medium Medical Frigate?
Are we sure we need to distinguish between Heavy, Medium, and Light Medical Frigates? I'm thinking a Medical Frigate is FW.
Why not just drop the Medical Frigate and call it a Casualty Ship or Hospital ship "QC".

Do we have resolution on this thread?


Commercial Ships (RESOLVED)[edit]

Some suggestions for filling out the remaining items.

  • The Merchants (Civilian Commercial).
    • A - Small merchant vessels (< 1000 dtons)
    • M - Large Merchants (> 1000 dtons)
    • N - Ferry craft (no jump drive, > 100 dtons) for in system transport
    • R - Liners (primary passengers)
    • T - Tankers and other bulk transports
My goal was to be able to put all the "Merchants" under designator and not have them split up.
If you think there's enough reason to give Battleships, Cruisers, Destroyers, Escorts, and Frigates their own primary code, I think there is enough reason to give the Civilian commercial side at least as many codes.
Personally, I'm more inclined to group all the escorts under one category. There is often little to differentiate them, but I was unwilling to tamper too much with what was already in place. In addition, because the military does have additional unique mission areas, it would make sense that they have additional primary designation classes.
That's the point I'm trying to argue here. These ships have unique mission areas. There are at least three. Each of these three has different design constraints, mission profiles, what ever you want to call it.
  • M - Containerized cargo merchants
  • T - Transport - bulk cargo
  • R - Liners - passengers
I'm still thinking of the hull designations as set of descriptions produced by Travellers' Aid Society as service to their members. It would allow the members to quickly understand what the design, mission, and scope of the craft they are encountering. But TAS members are as much involved with the commercial side of the universe as they are in the military one. So having multiple primary designations for these craft becomes important.
I see at best two categories cargo and passengers (with passengers just being live cargo that complains a lot) Then there are the cross over vessels, merchant liners. The only difference I see between cargo and bulk cargo, is that bulk cargo is likely to be freight, but merchants carry freight as well. I can well imagine one ship of a class being a merchantman and another carrying bulk cargo. If you would like to split them I would just do the two, merchants and liners.
The difference in the cargo containerized cargo (merchants) vs. bulk cargo like oil tankers or LNH tankers or ore haulers. Very difference set of design and port facilities required for the two, hence two different letters. It's not like we're running out.
Yes, I agree that designs may vary, but the function is basically the same. Maybe that is where we differ on this issue. I'm looking at the basic function, moving cargo whether bulk, gas, liquid, or passengers. I would like to move forward on this issue, so if you want to designate another primary designator, please feel free to do so. After all the wiki is shared, and must encompass more than one individual's vision.

I updated the "T" code for the bulk cargo transport. I agree if we had run out of code it would be a good place to consolidate. But since we have extra we may as well use them.

Non-Commercial Ships (RESOLVED)[edit]

  • The Civilian Non-Commercial should be defined as:
    • L - Lab ships (use broad definition as research ships)
    • Y - Yachts - (use broad definition as privately owned ship)
Agreed that Yachts and Lab Ships fall under non-commercial, along with customs and revenue boats.
If we're not distinguishing between space ships and star ships, what is the difference between a light frigate and a customs boat? Correctly built the ship is built as a military craft and flown by a civilian crew. I don't think this system has the detail to distinguishing this case.
Yes, but when a military ship is transferred for civilian use, the hull designation should be changed to the appropriate category. After-all, we can't have civilian vessels masquerading as military ones.
This becomes an interesting problem: Are ships belonging to mercenary companies civilian or military? Traveller very deliberately blurs that line. Is the U.S. Coast Guard civilian or military (technically they are a branch of the U.S. military)? So if the local equivalent of the Coast Guard is running the customs boat (very likely), which is it?
Just to make it easy, local government, and mercs are civilian. Let's not over think this too much.

Do we have resolution on this thread?

I believe so. I updated the listing below with these changes.

Smallcraft (RESOLVED)[edit]

  • Small Craft (sub-100Dton) variously called Gig, Cutter, Shuttle, Pinnace, or other things.
    • G - Gig (short duration)
    • K - Pinnace (long duration)
I would put those under Civilian Auxiliary Vessels

From this we can have

    • GG - Gig, Gunned, i.e. Fighter craft
    • GA - Gig, Armored - Fighter
    • GH - Gig, Heavy - Fighter
    • KT - Pinnace, Transport - modular cutter or other small craft cargo vessel
    • KR - Pinnace, Raider - Recon/scout
    • KW - Pinnace, Medical - Medivac
Most of these should either go under fighter or smallcraft. If their primary mission is fighting, under fighter. If their primary mission is not fighting under small craft. If their mission is transportation, under Auxiliaries.
So small craft (< 100 Dtons?) are either fighters (H), auxiliaries (Q), or other (K).

The other option for small craft is to use the "Y" qualifier:

Military small craft fall under their mission area (Fighters(P), Auxiliaries (A), etc). Civilian smallcraft fall under their function (Civilian Utility Craft (U), Non-Commercial Vessels (H), etc). Wouldn't it make sense for a gunned gig to fall together with vessels similar in size and function?
    • BY - Battle, Shuttle - Fighter craft
    • NY - Ferry, Shuttle - Small craft cargo vessel.
    • LY - Liner, Cutter - Small craft passenger craft
    • SY - Scout, Cutter - Small ship scouting craft
The problem there is they get mix in with the wrong groups. Fighters should be grouped with fighters. They are just another variant. Too often label overlap. What is the difference between a Scout, Cutter and a designation like SSL, Light Scout. I may not currently have SSL in the table, but that is easy to update. LY, why that is just a STL, Light Shuttle, if it is a military craft.
I agree with this. It was just a thought.

Orbital Facilities (RESOLVED)[edit]

  • Orbital stations use the "U" qualifier.
    • LU - Lab, unpowered - orbiting laboratory
    • MU - Merchant, unpowered - General access orbital station. Assigned by default.
    • BU - Battle, Unpowered - Orbital system defense station.
    • SU - Scout, Unpowered - Orbital scout station
    • YU - Yacht, Unpowered - Private orbital station
How do these differ from a variant from a sensor platform? Also is it necessary to have a starship/spacecraft designation? My view of sensor platforms is that they had some limited ability to change orbits.
What is the designation for a orbital highport? Or similar medium to large scale orbital structure. Or a Trade station in solar orbit?
Why do they need a designation? Or why do they need a spacecraft designation? They could have their own designations based on the functions and services they provide. I can easily envision a large platform providing ship construction and repair functions, cargo transshipment and unloading, living and recreational facilities, trade facilities, and serves as a passenger lounge and embarkation point. Also stations can add on and expand functions. A cargo facility, builds a light repairs dock. Do you change the designation to reflect this? These type of changes don't really apply to ship hulls.
Orbital facilities need a hull designation because:
  • The line separating ships from orbital facilities is a grey one. There are canon examples of ships being transformed into orbital stations of one sort or another. So the process of converting a ship to an orbital prison, how do you change the designation. If you park a ship in orbit for a couple decades to use it as a cargo transshipment point, does it's designation change?
  • From an in-game perspective, which is part of the reason for doing this, every artificial construct in space ought to have a hull designation as part of it's identification code. Traveller makes a big deal about the tamper-proof transponders. In order to track objects in space they need a transponder, a transponder requires an identification code, which includes a hull designation.
All of the activities you list are "Civilian, Commercial", so the facility is "MU".
If you want to designate orbital stations, I would recommend an new initial designation, and throw sensor platforms in with them as well. There are still letters available.
  • I selected "W" as the primary code for this.
    • I consolidated the other sensor platforms under the "W" code.

I believe we are now in consensus, and the thread is resolved.

Military Auxiliaries vs Specialty (RESOLVED)[edit]

What is the difference between these two designations of ships? And why can't they use the same primary code?

Actually they could be, maybe except for the Q-ship. I couldn't come figure out where to put it, so I made it its own group, and threw some others in as well. One of the problems with Q-Ships is that they could be somewhat large (in WW2, one sunk a light cruiser) or smaller (one was a sailing vessel, another was a fishing trawler). In addition, another type of special vessel would be special service ships, which range from special stealth vessels to communication intercept vessels like the USS liberty.
I see. The Auxiliaries are military owned/operated but strictly non-combat ships. The Specialty ships are an "Other" category. Combat ships not fitting into the usual order of battle, experimental designs, or intelligence ships. Now that I understand the differences I think it's fine to leave them the way they are.
I believe that certain ones need to be moved to the Military Auxiliary area, and will make that adjustment, but it is probably appropriate that we keep the category to handle the oddballs that done easily fit into other groups.

Smallcraft are 100 dtons or smaller?[edit]

Am I correct in assuming that the definition of "smallcraft" for both civilian and military is space craft of 100dtons or smaller?

I look at noncombatant military smallcraft as smaller, naval, support craft primarily used in noncombatant roles. Ships like couriers, and scouts. Their missions involve them staying out of combat. They may have weapons, but the weapons are for defensive purposes. In that way they differ from fighters, which occupy a similar displacement. This definition takes in some ships in excess of 100 dtons.
As for civilian smallcraft, I see that group more closely fitting the 100 dton definition, but I didn't separate them out along those lines, but more along the lines of function. I believe you once pointed out to me, in another conversation thread, that tonnage was not a reflection of the ship type, because TL had to be factored in. Higher TL often mean lower displacements. Ever since, I've been reluctant to use tonnage as a primary differentiator.
In the Traveller universe, as put forth by the game designers (via the various ship design systems) and the (player) ship designers, there is one important option: Does the ship have a jump drive. There are two reasons for not including one in a ship: It too small to include one, or the designer decided not to include it.
You have stated that you don't think just the presence or absence of a jump drive is a significant element in determining the overall mission and capabilities of a ship. I tend to agree with you on this point. But since the design system (High Guard, TCS, others) spend some word count making a big deal about this option, we're going to need to have this system reflect that. Either explicitly by having a code to reflect that (e.g. "W" hulls have neither a jump drive nor a significant maneuver drive), or by spending some word count in the description of the existing code to make that clear.
So what I'm asking here is, in the detailed description of this category, can I include the definition of having or lacking a jump drive. For the civilian smallcraft I'm inferring the answer is yes, and the few examples that are over 100dTons are not jump capable. For the military smallcraft the answer is no, and we'll need to designate the individual types as jump capable or not.
Military smallcraft would be larger due to larger crews (to handle casualties,armor, weapons, sensors, etc), due to special systems (larger computers, higher power requirements, berthing, weapons, sensors, medical, etc), and larger storage needs (reloads, special supplies). They would also be larger due to the need to make those vessel capable of multiple mission needs. When in a hostile situation, you can only use the resources available, you lack the luxury of time to be able to send for resources tailored for the job. Therefore you need some flexibility in what you have locally to fill in the gaps in your capabilities.

Escorts vs Frigates[edit]

This is another redefinition idea which you may or may not agree with. The basic idea here is to redefine "Frigate" as a civilian combat vessels. From the canon description of Escort, these military ships encompass all ships smaller than about 10,000 dtons, not armed with either spinal mounts or bay weapons, and used for a variety of roles. Which overlaps with the definition included in Frigate. With this change, the definition encompasses the (as argued above) mercenary cruisers, various pirate vessels, revenue boats, and other, like ships. Same code as before. With this change the "Civilian, Non-commercial" definition encompasses four base types:

  • F - Frigates - combat vessels
  • L - Lab - research and survey vessels
  • Y - Yacht - Private ships
  • H - non-commercial - The dreaded other category.
Frigates are a very overloaded term, and I would hesitate to expand its use. It is already being used as not just for escort vessels, but as an alternative name for heavy and light cruisers. As I stated before, there is a lot of overlap between all the escort classes and there is little to differentiate between destroyers, escorts, and frigates. If you were to throw them all into the same category and sort them by tonnage, I would expect substantial commingling of the three types. Also, we have to remember the original goal of this exercise, to come up with a defined set to support automatic generation of the class lists, hopefully based on the primary and secondary designators. I just don't see how we can easily pull Frigates out of the military classes.

Secondary description codes[edit]

The letter codes for each of the categories shows below are the primary mission descriptor code. I looked through the list in an attempt to create a consistent list of secondary (the second letter in the designation code) code Ship type codes/updates. I split the secondary list into "military" and "civilian" codes, since they have much overlap with completely different meanings. Both sets still have codes open, and I want to make sure I covered the possibles.


Military Auxiliaries
In Use Recommended
  • AC: Casuality Vessel, Hospital Ship, Medical Frigate
  • AD: Medium Transport
  • ADA: Heavy Transport
  • ADL: Light Transport
  • AE: Fleet Tug
  • AEA: Heavy Fleet Tug
  • AEL: Light Fleet Tug
  • AF: Medium Tanker
  • AFA: Heavy Tanker, Supertanker
  • AFL: Light Tanker
  • AM: Medium Replenishment Vessel
  • AMA: Large Replenishment Vessel
  • AML: Light Replenishment Vessel
  • AO: Medium Ordinance Carrier
  • AOA: Heavy Ordinance Carrier
  • AOL: Light Ordinance Carrier
  • AO-F: Medium Ordinance Carrier (Fast)
  • AS: Salvage/Recovery Vessel
  • ASA: Mobile dock
  • AT: Ship Tender
  • ATP: Figher/SDB Tender
  • ATC: Cruiser Tender
  • AZ: Medium Tanker/Replenishment Vessel Hybrid
  • AZA: Large Tanker/Replenishment Vessel Hybrid
  • AZL: Light Tanker/Replenishment Vessel Hybrid
  • AZT: Rift Tanker, Long jump tanker


In Use Recommend Changes


In Use Recommend Changes


In Use Recommended


In Use Recommended


In Use Recommended


Civilian Commercial Craft
In Use Recommended
  • GB: Gunboat
  • GS: Gunship
  • GC: Construction Vessel
  • GCA: Mobile Construction Plant
  • GCL: Repair Vessel
  • GM: Miner Craft, Asteroid Miner
  • GMA: Heavy Asteroid Miner, Asteroid Processor
  • GMC: Prospector's Cutter
  • GR: Mercenary Cruiser
  • GE: Tugs, Towing Vessel
  • GEA: Heavy Tug/Towing Vessel
  • GEB: Beacon Maintenance Vessel
  • GEL: Light Tug/Towing Vessel
  • GT: Medium Tender
  • GTA: Mobile Repair Dock, Large Tender
  • GTL: Ship Repair Vessel


Civilian Non-Commercial Craft
In Use Recommended
  • HS: Explorer
  • HC: Customs Boat
  • HG: Any government vessel without other designation
  • HP: Law Enforcement Vessel
  • HPA: Heavy Law Enforcement Vessel, Armed Law Enforcement Vessel
  • HR: Revenue Cutter


Intruder Assault Transports
In Use Recommended
  • II: Commerce Raider
  • IT: Intruder Transport
  • IA: Heavy Assault Transport
  • IAI: Heavy Assault Intruder
  • II: Assault Transport
  • IL: Light Assault Transport, Assault Shuttle, Marine Cutter
  • ILI: Light Assault Intruder, Assault Lander
  • IV: Small Assault Transport, Assault Gig, Marine Gig



Civilian Lab/Research vessels
In Use Recommended
  • LC: Survey Cruiser
  • LF: Light Freighter - Merchant
  • LC: Corvette
  • LS: Laboratory Ship
  • L : Laboratory Ship
  • LS : Survey Ship


In Use Recommended
  • MA: Large/Heavy Merchant
  • MAL: Large/Heavy Merchant Liner/Transport
  • MAS: Large/Heavy Subsidized Merchant
  • MAT: Large/Heavy Merchant Tanker
  • MM: Medium Merchant
  • MMA: Medium Armed Merchant
  • MML: Medium Merchant Liner/Transport
  • MMS: Medium Subsidized Merchant
  • MMT: Medium Merchant Tanker
  • MC: Merchant Cruiser
  • ML: Light Merchant
  • MLF: Light Merchant Free Trader
  • MLJ: Light Merchant Far Trader
  • MLL: Light Merchant Liner/Transport
  • MLT: Light Merchant Tanker
  • MS: Small Merchant
  • MSF: Small Merchant Free Trader
  • MSJ: Small Merchant Far Trader


In Use Recommended
  • PC: Pocket Carrier
  • PSA: System Surveillance Ship
  • PT: Fleet Scout - Smallcraft
  • PX: Monitor
  • PA: Heavy Fighter, Gunned Scout
  • PAM: Heavy Missile Fighter
  • PAS: Heavy SDB
  • PG: Gunboat/Gunship
  • PI: Interface Fighter
  • PL: Light Fighter
  • PLS: Light SDB
  • PLM: Light Missile Fighter
  • PP: Medium Fighter
  • PPS: Medium SDB
  • PS: Strike Fighter


Military Specialty Craft
In Use Recommended
  • QE: Experimental Vessel
  • QM: Mine Dispensing/Mine Retrieval Vessel
  • QP: Military Prison Vessel
  • QT: Q-Ship


Civilian Merchants Liners - passenger carriers
In Use Recommended


Military Smallcraft
In Use Recommended
  • SA: Heavy Scout
  • SAF: Heavy Fleet Scout
  • SC: Courier
  • SCL: Long Range Courier
  • SF: Fuel Cutter, Medium Gas Skimmer
  • SFA: Large Fueler, Large Gas Skimmer
  • SFL: Fuel Pinnace, Light Fueler, Light Gas Skimmer
  • SG: Gig, Pinnace
  • SGR: Recon Gig, Recon Pinnace
  • SS: Scout
  • SSF: Medium Fleet Scout
  • SSM: Medium Medevac Scout
  • SSR: Medium Recon Scout
  • ST: Shuttle
  • STA: Heavy Shuttle
  • STL: Light Shuttle
  • STM: Medevac Shuttle


Merchant Transport
In Use Recommended
  • T: Tanker
  • TA: Heavy Tanker
  • TF: Fuel Tanker
  • TL: Light Tanker
  • TM: Medium Tanker
  • TO: Ore Transport
  • TV: Agricultural Transport


Civilian Utility Craft
In Use Recommended
  • UN: Towing Vessel
  • UCA: Cutter, Pinnace
  • UC: Launch, Ship's Boat, Ship's Shuttle
  • UCL: Gig
  • UCS: Lifeboat


In Use Recommended


Civilian orbital stations and sensor platforms
In Use Recommended
  • WM: Bulk Ordinance Carrier
  • WS: Yacht/Warsloop
  • WA : Armored station
  • WG : Government station (unspecified)
  • WM : Merchant / commercial station
  • WMD: Floating Dock/Repair facility
  • WMI: Orbital industrial facility
  • WR : Residential orbital habitat
  • WS : Sensor platform
  • WSA: Armed Sensor Platform
  • WSB: Sensor/Beacon Platform
  • WSM: Manned Sensor Platform
  • WY : Private orbital habitat



Privately owned craft
In Use Recommended
  • Y : Yacht


  • ZF: Cruiser
  • ZP: Patrol Frigate