Naval Architecture

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Naval Architecture is the skill and art of designing starships, spaceships and space structures such as space stations, space habitats, and sophont-made artificial satellites. [1]

The sophont who performs naval architecture is known as a Naval Architect

Classic Definitions: A vessel is any interplanetary or interstellar vehicle.

Description (Specifications)[edit]

Design and Construction: Space ships are constructed and sold at shipyards throughout the galaxy. Any Class A Starport has a shipyard which can build any kind of ship, including a starship with jump drives; any Class B Starport can build small craft and ships which do not have jump drives. The military procures vessels through these yards, corporations buy their commercial vessels from these shipyards, and private individuals can purchase ships that they have designed through them as well. The major restriction on the purchase of ships is money. [3]

A Traveller with this skill is able to understand the underlying structures and subsystems, to identify structural weak points or areas that are highly resistant to damage. They are able to understand the rigors of space and how to build or modify objects that must exist in space for long periods without failure.

Naval architecture provides a diverse background and exposure to specific skills such as engineering, mechanics, electronics, and material engineering. They also can provide an understanding of designs that are both functional, beautiful and/or practical. Naval Architects possess the ability to analyze and interpret technical drawings and designs and evaluate craft for performance and efficiency. They are indispensable to space-faring races, navies, and planets with space-based industries.[4]

Ship Design & Naval Architecture[edit]

Ship Design: Most vessels are constructed from standard design plans which use time-tested designs and combinations of features. Shipyards work from these plans which cover every detail of construction and assembly. [5]

Naval Architecture: Small design corporations can produce design plans for any vessel type once given the details of what is desired. The design procedure is followed to determine what is available and allowed, and the results are presented to the naval architect firm. They produce a detailed set of design plans in about four weeks for a price of 1.0% of the final ship cost; they can be hurried to finish the job in two weeks if paid 1.5%. Once the design plans are received, the shipyard may be commissioned to produce the vessel desired. [6]

Standardized Ship Designs[edit]

Standard Designs: There are a number of standard design plans known as Universal Manufacturing Template (UMTs) widely available; they have been in use for a long time, and are available for a nominal fee (Cr100 for the set).

Construction Times[edit]

Construction Times: Ship construction requires a relatively long period of time, based primarily on the hull size used. The rule section on hulls indicates the basic time required to construct a ship based on a certain size of hull (...ranging from 10 to 36 months). Standard design ships take about one month less than the stated time. [8]

Construction time for any custom hull is 36 months, regardless of tonnage. [9]

A ship’s hull is broadly composed of two sections:

  1. Engineering Compartment / Section
  2. Main Compartment / Section
Six Most Common Hull Sizes [10]
Hull (tons) Main % Engineering % Price (MCr) Time (months)
100 Tons 85 % 15 % MCr2 10 months
200 Tons 185 % 15 % MCr8 12 months
400 Tons 350 % 50 % MCr16 16 months
600 Tons 520 % 80 % MCr48 24 months
800 Tons 635 % 165 % MCr80 28 months
1,000 Tons 835 % 165 % MCr100 30 months

History & Background (Dossier)[edit]

Construction Times: Time required for buiiding any vessel depends primarily on the hull. The drive potential table indicates construction time for each tonnage of hull; any hull over the indicated tonnage requires the next higher construction time. The standard hulls table gives shorter construction times for those hulls; they are more familiar to the shipyard and easier to build.[11]

Costs and Payments: A shipyard will insist upon a 20.0% down payment with the order for the vessel, as well as requiring a demonstration that proper financing is available to cover the balance when due. [12]

Most Common Standardized Smallcraft Types[edit]


  1. Cutter (50-ton)
  2. Fighter (10-ton)
  3. Launch (20-ton)
  4. Pinnace (40-ton)
  5. Ship's Boat (30-ton)
  6. Shuttle (95-ton)
  7. Slow Boat (30-ton)
  8. Slow Pinnace (40-ton)

Most Common Standardized Starship Types[edit]


  1. Free Trader (Type A) (200-ton)
  2. Mercenary Cruiser (Type C) (800-ton)
  3. Safari Ship (Type K) (200-ton)
  4. Laboratory Ship (Type L) (400-ton)
  5. Subsidized Liner (Type M) (600-ton)
  6. Subsidized Merchant (Type R) (400-ton)
  7. Scout/Courier (Type S) (100-ton)
  8. Patrol Cruiser (Type T) (400-ton)
  9. Yacht (Type Y) (200-ton)

See also[edit]

Please see the following AAB Library Data articles for more information:
Manufacturing Technology of Charted Space - Ship Design:

Naval ship construction[edit]

References & Contributors (Sources)[edit]

This list of sources was used by the Traveller Wiki Editorial Team and individual contributors to compose this article. Copyrighted material is used under license from Far Future Enterprises or by permission of the author. The page history lists all of the contributions.