So the question then is, build a combat ship to perform best during combat, or during the day to day grind?
What do you think?
I would think combat, but it sounds like that's not always the case.
And the problem with drawing existing designs to learn how to make new designs is... it doesn't work. To learn how to make new things you have to go deeper than just copying existing things, you have to learn why they were made the way they were. With my gun designs I've done a total of about 2 recreations of real world guns, and learned nothing from simply copying them. What I have done is spent weeks reading articles and pages and whatnot about how certain firearm technology came to be, how certain tech works, pros and cons of contradicting tech, things like that. I can do that with guns because they are much much smaller and less detailed than ships. To learn the kind of in depth theories I know about a single type of gun tech, with a ship, I'd have to sit down and study a thousand different things.
I can look at a real ship and think "Ok, it uses this, but why?" The why is the important part, not the fact that it uses it. Looking at an M4 I can see that it uses a direct impingement system, why? Because the designer felt the pros and cons were better than the other possible systems (which I won't get into here). Now that I know that, I can make my own choice on which system I feel is 'superior'. Many believe that the M4's D.I. system is a bad idea. Just because real life does something doesn't mean it's the best thing to do. I could look at 20 real world ships and see that they all use a traditional propulsion system, why? Probably because the others are too expensive for what they give in return, and not necessarily because traditional propulsion is actually better. In many cases it could be because the designer, or the government funding the designer, isn't willing to risk pushing the envelope. They don't want to have their money go down the drain if it doesn't work. Which is fine, but progress demands risk.
I'm saying this generally really, if I personally ever plan on using tech like the azipod in a design, I will do a bunch of research on it first. But the thing I excel in is taking a design and making a good sounding theory to improve it. So if I did decide to use an azipod, I'm sure I'd have some nice little diagrams showing why I think my improved azipod would be a fairly sound idea.
But I've rambled way too much now, sorry about that. What I've taken from this so far is that while combat ships spend most of their time chillin in port or just cruising from point to point, I'd rather design one for peak combat performance. And that azi-things are too expensive in the current day and age to make them viable on combat ships. In the future, I personally would greatly appreciate the added handling at the expense of complexity, when price is no longer as much of an issue.
(Also for the record, I told my fencing instructor the same basic thing about drills vs on hands learning, I hold this viewpoint almost everywhere in my life)
Every problem has a solution though, simple or complex. I do suppose that if a nation had a problem with fuel they'd be more worried about the daily grind, if they fought often they'd prioritize performance. And of course it could infinitely more complicated lol