CRX-O Corax - 30t, TRO3067Originally posted 19 Jan. 2005. All proposed fan-variants should be posted in the corresponding "FotW Workshop" thread.
Today's craft comes from Those Wascawy WavensTM
and their buddies, the neo-Amish Outworlds Alliance. Frankly, I can't imagine a more unlikely partnership, but they do
have one fundamental philosophical point of agreement: both are firm believers in "Don't #$^% with me or I'll bomb your ass back to the Jurassic Period!"
And now the Alliance has come up with a very interesting tool for doing just that - and Raven technical assistance notwithstanding, for a nation so small and unindustrialised as the Outworlds Alliance to develop and field an entirely new OmniFighter is a laudable demonstration of national capability.
I'm not quite up on the OA's fluff, but it looks like they took bits from Raven technical assistance and from their own Seydlitz
when they drew up the Corax
schematics. A 210XL engine with double heat-sinks drives the Corax
to 9/14 - it's certainly not the most agile craft around, especially in the light category, but it's a match for the Clan Batu
and enough to out-turn almost anything heavier, and the traditional five tons of fuel makes for a respectable combat radius. The armour is surprisingly generous for a fighter in this class; eight and a half tons, more than a quarter of the design's all-up mass, is given over to conventional armour plating that wraps the spaceframe in a 44/33/26 profile - enough to prevent ML TACs to the nose and to survive two(!) C/ERPPC hits to either wing, which is tough enough for a light-fighter in my book.
The remaining nine tons(!) is given over to pod-space, which makes for a surprising degree of punch for something this light even in the Level 2 era.
With an IS LPL slotted into the nose and a standard medium laser on each wing, Corax Prime
is an unabashed knife-fighter/attack bird. Now, IS pulse lasers suck wind in tabletop BattleTech, we all know that; their ranges are just too damn' short. However, in AT2/R the Spheroid large pulser juuuust
reaches into the Medium range bracket (
) and retains its -2 TH bonus
, which is a serious trouser-browner for any hostile considering that its nine points of damage can threshold the nose of any light or medium fighter in the air, with the sole exception of the Tatsu
(Interesting thing to note: all
canon Clan light and medium fighters are vulnerable to nose-TACs from the Corax Prime
's IS/LPL... and the Snow Ravens would have known that when they helped design the bird. Hmmm....
) The standard mediums perhaps aren't the best back-up weapons, as they lack that same reach, but they do make for good crit-seekers... and you'll note that LPL + 2ML = 16 heat, where the Corax
can dissipate 20. Strafing or dogfighting, the Corax
Prime can keep it up for as long as its armour and fuel hold out - it needs neither ammunition nor 'cool off periods'.
And with six tons of external ordnance that only slows them to 7/11, Corax
bombing runs are distressing things to contemplate - not so much because of the individual weight of iron put on target in a single attack, as because of the way that the Corax
' speed means that the turnaround time between sorties is very, very low and you're going to be facing a constant stream of bombers your whole time on-planet. :'(
The Corax Alpha
, on the other hand, does not fill me with fuzzy bunny feelings; an SRM-6 with a ton of ammo in each wing and twin small lasers aft are not armaments best-suited for air-to-air engagements. However, in the attack role they can be lethal: crit-seeking is a valid strategy against ground units, and with a good dose of luck they can force a PSR on a 'Mech.
They might also find good employment in finishing off crippled fighters while other, more capable aircraft and configs deal with those that remain combat-capable. Corax
is a brutal
dogfighter and no mistake. Twin medium pulsers are set into the nose, with two standard mediums in each wing and a brace of standard smalls aft. Heat-neutral while firing all of its forward weaponry, the Corax-B
can generate some 32 points of damage in every turn without respite, and horror of horrors, those same lasers correspond to three bays of a single point of Capital damage per Corax-B
What a six-plane squadron of Corax-Bs
can do to DropShips and some thinner-skinned WarShips doesn't bear imagining... and the prospect of a strafing run from even a single Corax-B
will make many 'Mech pilots very uneasy. Unfortunately, this configuration needs to get right into the other guy's pocket to make itself effective, so support from longer-ranged types is a must.
Finally, the Corax Charlie
, which is rightly fluffed as an 'oddball' configuration. Its only weapon is a Draconis-built MRM-20 launcher with two tons of ammunition, supposedly intended for 'Wild Weasel'* missions so that other Alliance aircraft can have a pleasant, flak-free evening dropping their bombs. Given my luck with the dice, I reflexively distrust any weapon that comes with an inherent TH penalty, and most of the supporting factors which can offset that penalty (like C3
) are illegal for AT2/R play, but under certain circumstances, an MRM-20 can make the other guy's life very, very unpleasant. Vehicles (with crit-tables that remain unforgiving (albeit in different ways) both pre- and post-TW) especially need to fear this model, and in squadron force the MRM mounts can do nasty, nasty things to heavy assets like DropShips. All that said, if I had the choice, I'd avoid this model: carrying a sole weapon which is not only notoriously inaccurate but also ammo-dependent is not
a good idea in the modern aerial battle.* Wild Weasel, also known as SEADE (Suppression of Enemy Air Defence Elements) or 'Iron Hand' taskings: shooting up specialist anti-aircraft ground units so they're too busy cowering/dying/shooting at the Wild Weasel to bother other aircraft. Going out to kill the very AAA gunners who are especially trained to kill you makes a lively but very gratifying mission profile.
Despite its current deployment pattern, which suggests that it will eventually replace the SYD-Z4 Seydlitz
as the Alliance's standard light fighter, the Corax
is perhaps best deployed with
the -Z4, as they complement each other so well: the -Z4's ERLL reaches the targets the Corax
flights can't in their canon configurations, while those same Corax
units have better resilience and are better-armed for turning dogfights, where the one-gun Seydlitz
find themselves lacking multi-crit-seeking ability. Remember and use classic Seydlitz
tactics: tie up their interceptors with the -Z4s, while the Corax
units go gunning for their heavier fighters, which they can easily out-manoeuvre and pick to pieces with that IS/LPL; break up their formations, then isolate one or two elements and take them to pieces with massed attacks before carving another victim out of the pack. Be ready for casualties, though - even with its relatively thick hide, the Corax
cannot stand up to heavy weapons and is in for a world of hurt if it gets caught in front of a Corsair
or a Shilone
, much less anything with more teeth.
Anyone flying against the Corax
needs to stay on their toes. My recommendation would be the 'wall of battle' approach: screen your medium and heavy fighters with interceptors, pound the Corax
formations with heavy firepower as they try to close, then set the interceptors on them and stand off with your heavier aircraft, pouring fire into the furball to pick off targets of opportunity. Interceptors alone seeking action against Corax
units will get mauled, but Sparrowhawks
can offer them as much trouble as they can handle (better agility and more crit-seeking weapons vs. an IS/LPL and thick armour = interesting contest); dogfighters alone will need ruthless formation discipline and unrelenting mutual support, or the nimbler Corax
pairs will chew chunks off them at will. [VARIANT PROPOSALS REDACTED] All proposed fan-variants, including my own, belong in the corresponding "FotW Workshop" thread: http://www.classicbattletech.com/forums/index.php?topic=1349.0 .
Closing digression: given the Corax
artwork in TRO3067 and its promising capabilities, I'd like to see a version with a 240XL engine, which would give it a 10/15 movement curve and make it interoperable with 40-, 60- and 80-ton fighters (in that the same powerplant would be used across an entire ASF wing of several types, making for far simpler logistics and training requirements). While the OWA lacks such heavier fighters to my knowledge, other factions might like to see such standardisation (which would make mass-production very much easier) and might prove to be good export customers. Be advised: the attached .txt transcripts of previous runs of this thread contain numerous reader-proposals for variants. I'll try to change those out for 'sanitised' versions of those threads when I can, but I can't promise it'll be soon - that's a lot of ground to cover.