The Catapult created by Hollis Incorporated between the years 2561-2563, for a special contract for the Star League. This was a very short production run for a good design. My personal experiences with this â€˜mech have been good. Staying out of range of an opponent while showering them with missiles and then jumping behind a building, ridge or some other object for cover.
With the fall of the Star League near the end of the twenty eighth century many Catapults left the Inner Sphere with Alexander Kerensky. The majority of the Catapultâ€™s that remained were in the Capellan Confederation. These served House Liao well.
Very rarely did we hear about a Catapult being outside of the Capellan Confederation. The Kell Hounds had one in the Warrior Trilogy. One was serving with the DCMS in Wolves on the Border.
The DCMS did a noble deed in 3033. The DCMSâ€™s Catapults had served the DCMS well. Thus in 3033 Yori â€˜Mech work was contracted to build replacement Catapults, primarily the CPLT-K2 variant. Production of this war machine resumed after far too long a hiatus of four hundred and seventy years. Al Naâ€™ir is now where the Catapult is produced.
Since new Catapults were being produced this was a mech no longer a threatened species on its way to extinction in the battles of the Succession Wars. It is moving on the risk scale to out of threatened to lower risk.
TRO 3050 Upgrades states â€œThough produced only in limited numbers at the dawn of the Star League, the Catapult has remained a venerable design that has proven its worth time and again over the centuries.â€
I have found this mech very useful and there are many people who consider it one of the best heavy battlemechs around in its time and still have uses for it in these days of ERPPCs, Gauss Rifles, HPPCs, ERLLs, Light Gauss Rifles, etc.
I have had lots of fun with this mech. My first experience with it was in Mechwarrior 2: Mercenaries. SGT. Unther, not the most pleasant fellow, but entertaining none the less. It was fun to be able to stay out of range and shower opponents with long range missiles. Also when the Clans came the jump jets were extremely useful for popping up and firing at approaching foes before falling back behind cover before taking hits. The problem with the Catapult in MW2: Mercs was that its head was easy to hit just like the Jennerâ€™s. This made the mech unusable by your lancemates.
In the Mechwarrior 4 series the Catapult got a pair of LRM-20s, Large laser and a small pulse laser. It was still a good mech, but the model of it looked like a bloated airliner. Still it was a good mech and its base speed was faster than the original. ~70 KPH max instead of 64 KPH. There were lots of good variants you could make with the Catapult in the MW4 series of games, everything from long range missile spammers to short range brawling missile spammers.
A movement curve of 4/6/4 is average for its weight class and time. Most 3025 heavies lacked jumpjets. This gives the Catapult an edge in broken terrain or in terrain where there are lots of rivers to be jumped over. Also in uneven terrain the Catapult can use its jump jets to put some distance between its self and a slightly faster opponent that lacks jumpjets such as a Dragon.
The original Catapult the CPLT-A1 was armed with two Holly LRM-15s with two tons of ammunition each. This gave it sustained long range punch, but made the same mistake as US fighter planes designed during the 1950s and 1960s such as the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II which had no close range weaponry such as a gun, until a gun pod was designed and then the F-4E which had an internal gun. Newer models of the Catapult such as the CPLT-C1 had four Martell Medium Lasers for anything that got close.
The CPLT-A1 is a good fire support platform that must be escorted by other mechs that do not rely on missile based weaponry. It is in a world of trouble if it is rushed or runs out of ammunition. Its twelve tons of armor give it a thick hide. 192/211 points of armor give it 91% of max protection. The number one problem is that it lacks anything for up close.
The CPLT-C1 is less armored than the A1. The C1 has only ten tons of armor giving it 160/211 points, giving it 76% of maximum protection. I have already gone over its weapons which are good. It can stay in the fight after its missiles have been exhausted using its four mediums lasers to help out its friends. I like have had fun planting this one behind partial cover where it can send swarms of missiles at advancing enemies. This helps reduce the need to move since it is behind partial cover to absorb some of the incoming damage.
The CPLT -C4 has the same armor as a C1, but upgrades the LRM launchers to LRM-20 and increases the ammo to two tons per launcher while downgrading four medium lasers to two small lasers in the center torso. This is similar to the A1, but not as well armored. This one also needs to have body guards. Its small lasers are too weak to do much damage.
The CPLT-K2 variant is the Kurita variant. This one has the same armor as the C1. Instead of the standard fifteen single heat sinks the Catapult carries this one has twenty allowing it to fire both PPCs without overheating if it has not been running or jumping. Its LRM-15s have been removed for a pair of particle projection cannons. It retains a pair of medium lasers in the left and right torsos. A machine gun has been added to each torso with 1 ton of ammunition for the machine guns stored in the center torso. The addition of PPCs is nice because they are not reliant on ammo allowing it to shoot and scoot without worry of wasting ammo. Machine guns require too close a range to effectively back up the PPCs so the machine guns and their ammo should not have been added to replace the four mediums. Keeping the mediums would have made this variant a better infighter incase things got close that needed to be killed.
The CPLT-C1b came out in the war of 3039. It has the standard movement curve of 4/6/4. Thirteen double heat sinks keep this variant cool. It has 179/211 points of ferro-fibrous armor. This gives it 84.8% protection. It has the same weapons as the C1, but has four tons of ammo for the LRM-15s, making this more of a standoff mech. The problem with so much ammo though is the lack of CASE on this variant.
When you compare the Catapult to similar â€˜mechs of its era like the Crusader, Bombardier, and the Archer, it is outgunned, but has enough heatsinks to use its ranged weapons or its close ranged weapons without risk of overheating. The other missile support â€˜mechs mentioned are undersinked with only ten heatsinks to deal with heat buildup. The Catapult can pound away at advancing enemies and use its lasers to finish the job.
3050 Variants and Post 3050 Variants
The CPLT-C3 variant is identical to the C1, except that the C3 had its Holly LRM-15s and their ammunition stripped out to make room for and ARROW IV missile launcher in the right arm and the right torso. The problem with this variant is that it only carries five rounds for its ARROW IV launcher. So it must be kept far away from the front and be guarded by forces friendly to it. The Capellans have been known to use two of these and buddy them with a TAG equipped light â€˜mech that can designate targets for the Catapultâ€™s, while the Catapultâ€™s are out of range of the enemyâ€™s weapons. Personally, I think the ARROW IV is wasted on this â€˜mech as it takes up too much space and has too little ammo.
The CPLT-H2 variant is shared between the Capellan Confederation, Magistry of Canopus and the Taurian Concordat. This has thirteen double heat sinks. Its eleven tons of armor bring its protection to 176/211, 83% of maximum armor protection. Its weapons are one RL/20 in LA, 3 RL/20 in RA, 2 RL/20 in RT, 2 RL/20 in LT. These have a maximum range of 18 hexes or 360 meters. A PPC is in the left arm giving this version a maximum range of 540 meters. It keeps the two medium lasers in the center torso.
The CPLT-K5 is another Kurita variant. This one has 12.5 tons of armor for a total of 200/211 points. That gives this variant 94.7% of maximum armor. This variant has an endo-steel skeleton which frees up weight at the expense of space. Twelve double heat sinks replace the original 15 single. Mounted in its head is a C3 slave, giving this variant better communication with the mech with the C3 Master. Two medium pulse lasers occupy the center torso to deal with fast movers or elementals. In each arm replacing the old Holly LRM-15s is a Medium Range Missile launcher thirty with two tons of ammo each for sixteen volleys per launcher. The MRMs have a max range of fifteen hexes or four hundred and fifty meters. This is more of a close in brawler.
The CPLT-K2K is an upgrade of the K2. It has a stronger engine giving it a 5/8/4 movement curve. It has twenty double heat sinks. It has 152/211 points of armor. This gives this variant 72% of maximum armor. It has a pair of ERPPCs one mounted in each arm giving it long range punch and has the heat to handle it. Its backup weapons are a pair of medium lasers one mounted in each arm.
The CPLT-K4 is a bit slower with a movement curve of 3/5/3. It has seventeen double heat sinks. It is fully armored 211/211 points of armor which is light ferro-fibrous. It is armed with a heavy PPC in each arm and an extended range medium laser in each torso. It has a C3 Slave in its center torso giving it a better communication system. It has a heavy punch with both HPPCs.
The CPLT-C6 is a dark age variant. 4/6/4 movement curve. 15 double heat sinks allow it to fire both its plasma rifles and extended range medium lasers without over heating. It has an XL engine that makes its side torsos more sensitive to weapons fire, but has better protection. It has much more armor 200/211 points for 94.7% armor protection. What frees up some weight in this one is its endo-steel internal structure. Its plasma rifles can reach out to 450 meters and its extended range mediums to 360 meters making this a mid range brawler.
The CPLT-C2 is another dark age variant. 4/6/4 movement curve. This one has ten double heat sinks. It has 184/211 points of armor for 87.2% protection. Its engine is an XL. Its internal skeleton is endo-steel, which lightens it up a bit, but adds to maintenance needs. It retains the LRM-15s, but these are artemis IV capable. It has four tons of ammo available. Backing up the LRM-15s are a pair of LB-2X light autocannons one mounted in each side torso. The autocannons share a single ton of ammunition with forty five shots. The autocannons have a nice range of 810 meters, but really cut down on fire power. Being able to dish out a total of ninety points of damage, but at close range the pilot of this newer model will likely miss the four Martell Medium Lasers that the old ones had.
The Catapult is a good heavy, but its use of LRMs can be a detriment since their use requires discipline. You have to wait to fire until you have a high probability of a hit or you waste some or most of the salvo. Firing thirty missiles with a possible thirty points of damage is a nice idea which can turn sour when only ten hit and the rest miss.
Versions equipped with PPCs have the advantage of not having ammunition dependent weapons as its primary weapons.
The Catapult works well when paired with â€˜mechs with similar movement curves that are armed with a mix of weapons such as the Vindicator, Whitworth, Marauder (5D works especially well with the Catapult), Warhammer, Thug, Tempest, etc. Pretty much anything in the 4/6/4 movement curve that has weapons that compliment the Catapultâ€™s and cover its weaknesses is good to have in a lance with the Catapult.
Original article here: http://www.classicbattletech.com/forumarchive/index.php/topic,53327.0.html