Blake sat on his office chair and went through all the reports sitting on his work desk. Food and water supplies, ammunition consumption, crew morale, and more. Luckily the giant horned wolves donated over 4 tons of meat, helping them greatly with their food supplies.
How am I going to solve the ammunition problem? Over 30% used up in the defense against the wolves, if they attack constantly, they will be down to sticks and stones. Blake held up Lt Frank's report and skim through it.
Black powder? Hmm, we need a saltpeter source if we need potassium nitrate. Blake makes a reminder to get survey teams to head down south along the cliffs and hills to see if they can find any "bat" caves
Senior Chief Petty Officer Gale knocks sharply at the open hatch of Blake's office, "Permission to enter, Sir?" He stood at parade rest outside the office.
"Come in Chief." Blake glances up from his stack of paperwork, glad of the interruption. He pushes back on his seat, thinking even if stranded on an unknown planet, trying to survive, yet paperwork never dies. "At ease, Chief and take a seat."
Chief Gale pulls the chair out and sat down heavily, before handing over a tablet to Blake. "Sir, the vehicle designs are done."
"Oh? That's fast." Blake raised his eyebrows as he scrolls through the designs.
"Yes Sir, the past 2 days due to the wolf raids, we are mostly on lockdown, so the lads had plenty of free time to come out with something." Chief Gale explains. "We also built a couple of prototypes to test."
"What? Really?" Blake's eyes lit up, "Can I see them?"
"Sure you can sir!" And they set off towards the flight decks. Along the way, Chief Gale explains the design they came out with to Blake.
"This way," Chief Gale leads Blake to makeshift garage housed inside the flight deck. "We built up this garage so that it is easier for us to create and test the vehicles."
Sitting in the middle of the garage were 2 vehicles with several mechanics working on them. "Captain on the deck!" Chief Gale bellows. The mechanics instantly stop work and stood at attention.
"At ease," Blake enters the garage and looks with approval at the 2 vehicles sitting there. One is a 4 wheeler while the other was a half-track design, both still looking very barebones, with cables and gears exposed.
Chief Gale points to the 4-wheeler and points out its characteristics. "We took an old jeep design as it was the simplest to build with what we have. It is powered by an overclocked 50kW electric motor salvaged from the auto doors, providing 67 horsepower."
The 4-wheeler has no doors, just a simple car body frame with a driver seat, front passager seat and bench bolted to the back for 2 more passengers. "Of course, since the terrain here has no proper roads, it has 4 wheel drive capability, able to hit speeds up to 110 km/h with a max load of 450 kg and a range of 520 km on a full battery charge."
"Tested?" Blake sat on the driver seat, holding onto the steering wheel. He looks at the primitive design of the steering wheel, gearbox and foot pedals. "How do you drive this thing?"
Chief Gale gives a brief run-through of how the steering wheel, gearbox, and foot pedals work. "This turns the direction of the vehicle, while this controls the speed and this is the accelerator, brakes, and clutch."
After 30mins of explanation and learning, Blake turns the power key on and steps gently on the accelerator. The jeep rolls forward smoothly and exits the garage to the joy and excitement of the mechanics. Blake drove several rounds inside the flight deck before returning to the garage. "That was fun!" He grins at the excited mechanics and Chief Gale. "Very good work! Now we just need to do some outfield trials! What's next?"
"This is the half-track design we came up with. We actually wanted to use 8 wheels to give it good off-road capabilities but we are kinda lacking in rubber." Chief Gale pats the steel hull of the half-track. "For the engines, we pulled several large electric motors off the blast doors. The 200 kW motors provide as much as 260 horsepower, allowing it to transport over 2 tons of load while keeping its top speed at 78km/h."
The half-track looks like a flatbed trailer truck with 2 front wheels while the rear is a caterpillar track, instead of having wheels. "For it's maxed range, the batteries are also good for roughly 480 km on a full charge."
"Why a half-track?" Blake asks, curious. "Shouldn't a 4 or 6 wheels at the rear be better?"
"A few points, Sir. One is due to the placement of the tracks, it spreads the vehicle's weight over a larger area, which gives it greater mobility over soft terrains like mud and snow." Chief Gale ticks off his fingers as he continues. "Relying instead on their front wheels to direct the vehicle, they do not require the complex steering mechanisms of fully tracked vehicles. Next, it is easier to learn to operate than fully tracked vehicles."
"Last of all, rubber. We do not have enough of it to produce enough tires for all the vehicles, thus we opt for tracks, using modular steel plates as we have plenty of steel."
Blake nods before asking, "How long do you need to finish it before starting trial runs?" Blake stands next to the half-track. "And how many can you build and how fast?"
"The jeep is almost done, just needs some finishing touches." Chief Gale rubs his chin as he mentally makes some calculations. "Probably can squeeze out 2 jeeps per week."
"As for the half-track. 1 per week or up to 10 days to produce it. Also same as the jeep, rubber is lacking, unless we change all to tracks, like a tank." Chief Gale looks at Blake. "Including the needs of rubber for the jeeps, I say 12 jeeps and 20 half-tracks is all we can produce."
Blake nods. Once the survey teams have jeeps, they can expand out to find more resources easier. "Alright, that sounds good. Quickly finish the prototypes and run trials, once all tested to run fine, I want production of the jeep and half-track to begin."
"Yes, Sir. Also if you can assign people to start stripping the ship of rubber and other parts, it will help a lot." Chief Gale gave a suggestion.
"Got it, I will assign people to work on it." Blake agrees and continues. "We also need a manual for maintenance and driving, start getting some of your guys who know how to drive to be prepared to teach others."