So I posted a long long time ago with an idea I had been kicking around about ship combat, or rather a whole ship system in Warframe not terribly long after Railjack was first mentioned way back that would tie regular missions, railjack space missions, clans, syndicates, and more together. The idea would be to not only give railjack and space combat much more depth, but to tie it to existing game systems so that it feels more interconnected and doing normal missions can contribute in a meaningful way to your space fleet and vice versa.
The idea here would be that players and/or clans could capture (and maybe build?) ships of various types. Not just the railjacks/crewships but everything from fighters to freighters to capturing galleons. There are several ways to add these in, from taking normal missions and adding a very hard additional optional objective for the bigger ships, to letting players keep the crewships they capture in railjack, to stealing Dargyns on PoE, taking the Corpus freighters you see (like the one at the extraction of ice planet tileset and that Rush archwing mode people don't play much), and more. You could add ways to acquire ships to a vast swath of existing mission types. This would enrich existing missions and give players a reason to do cleared starchart missions if they can snag ships both big and small for their (or their clan's) fleet. These ships could be kept by players or donated to their clan. (Possibly with a cap on the number/type of ships players or clans could hold to keep it from getting too silly). Clans would have fleets they could deploy for a variety of purposes as listed below.
What do we do with these ships?
The options here are pretty vast. You could bring ships with you into railjack missions, starting with captured and converted crewships assisting you, to even bringing in big guns like a Grineer Galleon or Corpus flagship. It is conceivable to make new railjack sectors where you'd almost need a fleet to help you. The ships could be lost thus giving incentive to capture more ships to replace those destroyed. Maybe captured transport ships could send allied NPCs to board the enemy? The Railjack would still exist, being a command ship and/or spearheading an assault in the space missions.
Of course there are other things that could be done with the ships besides just railjack missions. Remember how I mentioned freighters? Well maybe you could send them out loaded with resources your clan has stored up. Send them to Cetus or Fortuna or the Mycona Colony or a few new places (DE has mentioned "the colonies" a few times without expanding on them too much, would be a good chance to correct that). This would be a way to slowly convert one resource to another for clans (clan never finished the Hema research, maybe the Myconions have some mutagen samples they'll trade for ferrite?) without making it too easy. The freighters would be loaded with goods and warships you've acquired could be used to escort them. If you don't protect them, they could be lost or stolen by enemy forces. (Possible clan wide alert if they come under attack without adequate escort? If your clan doesn't react in X time the freighters are lost). This would make the ships like a resource extractor for a clan but with more moving parts.
Ships owned by a clan could be used elsewhere. Maybe the clan leaders could assign capital ships to planets and clan members could call down orbital strikes via a gear item? Transport ships taken from the Grineer and Corpus could be filled with donated specters and called in to help out? Might be nice for newer players that would have trouble on their own.
Ships need crew so where would we get them? Well we have a couple options available. Kuva Liches are one obvious route. They could captain ships and fight certainly. But what about the Solarians we freed from the Corpus? Certainly some of them would have useful engineering abilities. Syndicates have been seen to own ships and operate them. Maybe we could use rep to hire crew from allied syndicates? End game players could use a sink for syndicate rep besides buying relic packs when new primes drop. And there is always the old standby of specters that most players have more of than they know what to do with. There are other options as well including hiring from the colonies we occasionally hear about, the Ostrons, maybe a new game mode or two that can reward crew.
In addition, what if the crew, like the tenno had roles they filled better than others? A little bit of inspiration from Metal Gear Solid here (Peacewalker and MGS5 specifically) where the soldiers that join you have specialties in certain fields (medical, research, etc.). Maybe the crew you find/hire/rescue could have stats with some being better at engineering or at repelling boarders, gunnery, and so on. Maybe the crew would also have to be paid and that could influence your crew choices, the best crew requires a bit more credits. (Though admittedly some players might not like the idea of having a constant credit drain on their hands)
Limits on ships
There would probably need to be a limit on how many ships a player or clan can own if just for server space. This could be done with both hard or soft limits. For the former, a clan has X hanger space and each ship takes up so much depending on it's size (A swarm of fighters, a few capital ships, or a mix of each?). Or you could have a soft limit and say "It costs X credits to maintain a ship and/or pay it's crew" and it would be up to a clan to pay for their ships or else they'd have the mothball them.
What do you guys think? I think there is a lot of potential in this system.