Register Register

Author Topic: Fighter of the Week, Issue #037 (repost) - Spad  (Read 4875 times)

Trace Coburn

  • Starfighter Analyst
  • Global Moderator
  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 4198
  • За родину и свободу!
Fighter of the Week, Issue #037 (repost) - Spad
« on: 14 March 2011, 07:05:51 »
SPD-502 Spad - 30t, TRO2750
Originally posted 10 Aug. 2005.

  All proposed fan-variants should be posted in the corresponding “FotW Workshop” thread.


  The other ‘slow light’ out of the SLDF’s ‘experimental’ school, the Spad is actually quite nice from a fluff standpoint, as it is given much the same treatment as the CRB-27 Crab gets for the ground-forces: an absolute doddle to repair and maintain, the sort of bird where the maximum necessary fixes for even the worst hangar-queen are only a few plug-and-play modules, some speed-tape and a good healthy kick in the hydraulics to get back into the air to kick ass once again.  ;D

  Even smaller than the ZRO-114 Zero, the Spad gets its 7/11 thrust-curve from a 150SFE, one of the lightest engines you’re ever likely to find in a starfighter.  (It’s also found mainly in the lightest and most maligned of L1 ’Mechs, such as the COM-2D Commando and the VLK-QA Valkyrie, so if you ever need replacement powerplants....  ;))  The fuel load is the typical five tons - no real issue there.  The armour is a very healthy eight tons of standard plate, 46/25/32 - only the nose is protected against ML TACs, but only the nose carries weapons, so that’s not the issue it might be.  The weaponry, though - exsqueeze me?  This thing mounts a particle projection cannon!?  :o  That’s a shedload of throw-weight for something this small, m’man.  The ‘back-up’ weaponry includes a medium laser and a small, the latter on a (fluff-only) turret-mount with 360o coverage against tail-gaters.  With only ten SHS, though, the Spad needs to make sure it doesn’t salvo all of its weapons two turns in a row.
  (Incidentally, the nose-mounted weaponry, with the ML mounted in front of the cockpit but above and behind the PPC, is described as being the main reason for the type’s name, as it is reminiscient of ordnance layouts found in WWI fighters.  Taken as referring to the ML alone, that’s fair enough, but if it’s meant to describe the whole weapons package, I don’t know which model of Spad biplane these guys were thinking of - the only Spads I remember mounted twin Vickers on the engine cowling; it was the SE-5a which mounted a heavy Vickers on the cowling and a lighter Lewis gun on an overwing rail.  ::)  Trust me: I read lots and lots of ‘Biggles’ novels when I was a kid.  ;D  That said, I’m told that there were some models of WW1 Spad which used a hub-mounted cannon with a cowling-mounted MG, and I was always more of a follower of the RFC types than the French/American ones in any case....  [shrug])
  Note well: as with the Zero, despite being of SLDF origin every single component of this bird is stock-standard IS1 technology, so with the right line of BS, you can get away with folding them into a Succession Wars scenario and maintaining them in the era before the Grey Death Memory Core.  }:)

  Tactically, the Spad is in a sort of no-man’s-land.  It’s too slow to keep up with most other light fighters, but it would make a decent ‘dogfighter escort’ for many mediums and heavies - especially the SLDF’s 7/11 HMR-HD Hammerheads, which have the same thrust-curve; the Hammerheads have the heavy close-range punch, while the Spads provide the defensive energy-weaponry the Hammerhead itself lacks; similarly, the 7/11 LRM-boat RGU-133E Rogue might appreciate the company.  ::)
  It’d also play well as a defensive platform for fixed installations, much like the Zero and the GTHA-500 Gotha.  It doesn’t have quite as much reach as the Zero’s LRMs, meaning that the same ’bait-and-switch fire-support’ techniques aren’t quite as useful... but still, a PPC has to be respected, and if employed right the Spad can be a downright pain in the mik’ta;D
  In the attack role, the external loads aren’t much to write home about - only six tons at 5/8 - but that same thrust-curve also means that you can pull a P-51D: max out on external fuel and escort the heavies all the way to and from target, only punching off your tanks when/if someone takes a shot at you.  }:)  And with nothing but energy weapons, it’s also a pretty good strafing machine; okay, a PPC, an ML and a dinky little SL aren’t enough to force a PSR on a ’Mech, but they’ll get his attention... and if you hit something other than a ’Mech, well....  }:)

  Taking down a Spad?  The two stock answers come to mind: speed, or raw firepower.
  Standard interceptors can get inside a Spad quite handily, but I don’t know that they’d be willing to risk a smacking from its PPC to do it, so you might want to go for the ‘high-end’ lights and low-end mediums, like the S-4 Sai, SL-25 Samurai or the (fellow SLDF!) HCT-213B Hellcat II, which can out-turn (or at least hang with) the Spad and have the armour and firepower to withstand its punishment long enough to do the damage themselves.
  At the other extreme, a couple of salvoes from something like a THB-D36 Thunderbird or an AHB-443 Ahab will leave a Spad much the worse for wear, and if you’re going to insist on dogfighting Spads with a heavy, the TR-13 Transgressor might be your best bet - lots of Medium-range, high-hitting-power weapons to offset the PPC, and a 6/9 thrust-curve that can almost keep up with the lighter machine.  Personally, though, if I had to take on Spads with heavies I’d stick with slashing attacks - bearing the mantras in mind, you don’t want to turn with the other guy when a turning fight is what he craves.  ::)
  Of course, this sort of listing might not be complete without mention of the SL-17 Shilone, whose combination of Long-range/high-throw-weight, decent energy weapons, 6/9 movement and great heat dissipation makes it perhaps the ideal ‘utility’ medium starfighter.  (You might have noticed by now that I have a certain fondness for that bird, much as I just don’t ‘get’ the DC itself.  In all honesty, I can’t quite explain that myself... no, wait, that's not entirely true.  “I don’t shoot a man for being incompetent in the Devil’s work; I shoot him for being competent in the Devil’s work.  A certain admiration for his technique is a necessary part of the process.”  :D)

  [VARIANT PROPOSAL(S) REDACTED] All proposed fan-variants - including my own - belong in the corresponding “FotW Workshop” thread: http://www.classicbattletech.com/forums/index.php/topic,3088.0.html

  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.  ;)

Trace Coburn

  • Starfighter Analyst
  • Global Moderator
  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 4198
  • За родину и свободу!
SPD-50* Spad (TRO3050 Updates)

Quote from: Maelwys
The first of the 3050U fighters to really have anything done to them, the Spad manages to break earlier published rules. However, the fluff will also apparently make more then a few people happy. One of the major problems with the designs in 2750 (both ’Mech and fighter and vehicle) was that the designs were very low tech. Many featured only one or two pieces of advanced technology, and some, like the Spad were useful on the Level 1 playing field. With the advent of new “Star League” designs appearing in books like TR3058, where the advanced technology was more widely used, some thought that perhaps the 2750 designs were the “public” designs, those meant to appease the Houses, while the Royal units got units that were even more upgraded. The Spad’s new fluff gives hope (along with the Black Knight and King Crab fluff) that the Star League designs we know perhaps weren’t the pinnacle, and we can hope that they had even better designs still hidden.
  Well, not all of us, apparently.  :P   However, I'll leave that issue alone, since it’s been hashed out several times already and I find myself seeing truth in the arguments of both sides....  :-\

Quote from: Maelwys
Class/Model/Name:  Spad SPD-503
Mass:              30 tons

Equipment:                                                              Mass
Power Plant:  150 XL Fusion                                              3.00
Thrust:  Safe Thrust: 7
      Maximum Thrust: 11
Structural Integrity: 7                                                   .00
Total Heat Sinks:    10 Double                                            .00
Fuel:                                                                    5.00
Cockpit & Attitude Thrusters:                                            3.00
Armor Type:  Ferro-aluminum  (143 total armor pts)                       8.00
                           Standard Scale Armor Pts
   Location:                            L / R
   Nose:                                 50
   Left/Right Wings:                  29/29
   Aft:                                  35

Weapons and Equipment      Loc        SRV    MRV    LRV    ERV  Heat    Mass
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1 Large Pulse Laser        Nose         9      9     --     --   10      7.00
1 Medium Pulse Laser       Nose         6     --     --     --    4      2.00
1 Medium Pulse Laser       Nose         6     --     --     --    4      2.00
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
TOTALS:                                                    Heat: 18     30.00
Tons Left:                                                                .00

Calculated Factors:
Total Cost:        2,761,495 C-Bills
Battle Value:      793
Cost per BV:       3,482.34
Weapon Value:      1,259 (Ratio = 1.59)
Damage Factors:    SRV = 21;  MRV = 8;  LRV = 0;  ERV = 0
BattleForce2:      MP: 7,  Armor/Structure: 4 / 0
                   Damage PB/M/L: 2/1/-,  Overheat: 0
                   Class: FL;  Point Value: 8

Two new variants appear in TR3050U, the first giving us hope of a better Star League. The -503 utilizes ferro-aluminum armor, an XL engine, double heat sinks, and replaces the PPC with a LPL, and the smaller lasers with MPLs. This was apparently a Royal unit variant, and with the coming of the Clans, ComStar said “Oh crap, maybe we should’ve been upgrading stuff these past 300 years” and upgraded their 502s to 503s. Despite the changes, the -503 under AT2R rules actually fights pretty much the same as its predecessor, so the FOTW remains valid with the simplified ranges. The only difference is the design can now use all its weapons on an alpha strike with no problem, and the design is a lot more accurate when playing.
...
The -503 should be relegated mostly to the Protectorate Guard, the accuracy of the pulse lasers allowing the Protectorate forces to have a valid chance against the more experienced attackers. However, the -503 also has its place in the front line, and shouldn’t be neglected in that manner.
  As SLDF upgrades models of baseline units go, this is pretty much the gold standard, using all of the relevant League technologies intelligently.  The engine frees tonnage, armour is thicker (and all areas are increased proportionally compared to the -502, rather than someone hitting ‘auto-allocate’), the weapons connect more often and deal more damage (yes, the PPC->LPL conversion costs you a point at Medium range, but you get it back and more when the knife-fight starts), and DHS cover all of your heat-burden and more besides.  If TPTB were trying to showcase exactly what a “Royal” ’50U starfighter should be, they achieved that in spades.  O0

Quote from: Maelwys
Class/Model/Name:  Spad SPD-504
Mass:              30 tons

Equipment:                                                              Mass
Power Plant:  150 XL Fusion                                              3.00
Thrust:  Safe Thrust: 7
      Maximum Thrust: 11
Structural Integrity: 7                                                   .00
Total Heat Sinks:    10 Double                                            .00
Fuel:                                                                    5.00
Cockpit & Attitude Thrusters:                                            3.00
Armor Type:  Ferro-aluminum  (143 total armor pts)                       8.00
                           Standard Scale Armor Pts
   Location:                            L / R
   Nose:                                 50
   Left/Right Wings:                  29/29
   Aft:                                  35

Weapons and Equipment      Loc        SRV    MRV    LRV    ERV  Heat    Mass
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1 Heavy PPC (TW)*          Nose        15     15     --     --   15     10.00
1 ER Small Laser           Nose         3     --     --     --    2       .50
1 ER Small Laser           Nose         3     --     --     --    2       .50
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
TOTALS:                                                    Heat: 19     30.00
Tons Left:                                                                .00

Calculated Factors:
Total Cost:        2,678,120 C-Bills
Battle Value:      1,031
Cost per BV:       2,597.59
Weapon Value:      1,395 (Ratio = 1.35)
Damage Factors:    SRV = 19;  MRV = 11;  LRV = 0;  ERV = 0
BattleForce2:      MP: 7,  Armor/Structure: 4 / 0
                   Damage PB/M/L: 2/2/-,  Overheat: 0
                   Class: FL;  Point Value: 10

Another design with the factory on Terra, it’s not that surprising that the WoB has come up with a new variant (or maybe, after the Swift, it *is* surprising). Utilizing the same construction upgrades as the -502 (XL engine, ferro aluminium armor, DHS) the -504 is a simple weapons swap of the -503. A Heavy PPC replaces the LPL, while two ERSLs replace the twin MPLs. The design loses the accuracy of the pulse lasers, but keeps the same range brackets, as well as the same potential damage. However, the big difference is the 15 damage of the HPPC. The damage allows every fighter to be thresholded by the Spad, an amazing claim for a 30 ton fighter. The damage inflicted on DropShips is also considerable, meaning that if the Spad is escorting in heavy fighters, you have to worry just as much about the Spad as you do the Hammerhead or the like.
...
With the availability of both the -503 and the -504 to the WoB, the best bet is to produce the -504 for anti-shipping and your front line forces.
  I don’t know if the -504 Spad is a direct conversion of existing -503s or outright new construction, but either way, amazingly the Blakers couldn’t find a way to stuff it up.  :P  Energy-based head-cappers are rarely a bad thing, and what the Blakers did with this model is a guaranteed attention-getter.  Even leaving aside the “Where’s Apone!?” effect of a headcap that someone ascribed to the Demolisher tank :P, the sheer efficacy of this ‘punch holes/find crits’ weapons mix is hard to deny, either in air-to-mud or air-to-air.  As cheap Dropper choppers (or defensive platforms), you might do well to look closely at the -504 Spad.
  Interesting technical observation: except for the range difference, HPPCs and Gauss Rifles work out at pretty much the exact same effective weight.  (GR + 2t ammo + 0.5 DHS = HPPC + 7.5 DHS = 17.5t.)  GRs outrange the new particle-cannon; OTOH, HPPCs won’t run out of ammunition or cost you anything in stocking said ammo.  Methinks canny mercenary ASF drivers everywhere are going to be rather intrigued by this new system in the near future - assuming they’re not already. ::)

Quote from: Maelwys
And I promised some more information about the XL engine. You may have noticed that not a single 2750 fighter carries an XL engine. This isn’t just because the Star League couldn’t afford them (heh), it was because the original rules in 2750 said that Aerospace Fighters couldn’t use XL engines. Obviously, the Spad -503 fluff has now blown this ruling out of the water completely, and opened up the floodgate for XL versions of pretty much all the Star League fighters in existance. Oddly, this doesn’t seem to be the case. With the 3050U fighters, after a quick glance through, it seems all of 2 of them use XL engines (one uses a LFE, the Gotha). ... This is a *major* hit against using the 2750 fighters in the modern battlefield. Sure, they’re relatively cheap, but you get what you pay for. In 3050U, 2 out of 12 fighters use XL engines. Since about 3055, 2 out of 12 modern IS fighters DON’T use XL engines. There’s a reason for this. Take a look at the Lancer and the Oni, the two fighters that don’t use XL engines. Look at their armor. Completely and utterly out of line when compared to pretty much every other fighter out there. And that reason is the lack of XL engine. It’s really questionable if in this day and age, any non-XL fighter can really stand up against something like the Dagger or Defiance (and no, this isn’t a place to bring the Dagger discussion back up). If they were going to blow away the old XL engine rule with the Spad, I think most of the fighters should’ve gotten a “Royal” version.
  However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that we in the community can’t (or won’t :P) speculate about said designs regardless of their canonicity (witness the various ’50U FotW Updates, for instance.... :P).


  [VARIANT PROPOSAL(S) REDACTED] All proposed fan-variants - including my own - belong in the corresponding “FotW Workshop” thread: http://www.classicbattletech.com/forums/index.php/topic,3088.0.html

Moonsword

  • Global Moderator
  • Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 15464
  • You interrupted me reading TROs for this?
Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #037 (repost) - Spad
« Reply #2 on: 14 March 2011, 08:25:35 »
An interesting little light dogfighter.  Not bad, not bad at all.  It also nicely plays with the usual assumptions of ASF design without managing to have anything blow up in its face.

The 504, with the HPPC, is probably my favorite.  That's a lot of boom in a little package.

nerd

  • Captain
  • *
  • Posts: 2059
  • Nunc Partus-Ready Now
    • Traveller Adventures
Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #037 (repost) - Spad
« Reply #3 on: 15 March 2011, 21:08:26 »
The SLDF went smart with this one, you know.

Also, there's and over the transom line in TRO 3057(original) that the Spad's easy, modular construction heavily influenced Clan OmniFighter development.

I'd almost say the Batu is the Spad's omni replacement, based on speed and armaments.
M. T. Thompson
Don of the Starslayer Mafia
Member of the AFFS High Command

Giovanni Blasini

  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 5103
  • And I think it's gonna be a long, long time...
Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #037 (repost) - Spad
« Reply #4 on: 22 May 2021, 00:06:17 »
Since you did the Goth, any chance of a Spad update for the Issedone, ie. the Omni version of the Spad?  I mean, it's being sold on the open market in the 3150 era. :)
"“Eternity is a long time, especially towards the end.” -- Stephen Hawking

Trace Coburn

  • Starfighter Analyst
  • Global Moderator
  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 4198
  • За родину и свободу!
Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #037 (repost) - Spad
« Reply #5 on: 16 June 2021, 00:04:24 »
Since you did the Goth, any chance of a Spad update for the Issedone, ie. the Omni version of the Spad?  I mean, it's being sold on the open market in the 3150 era. :)
  I’ll see what I can do — but it might take a little while.  :-\

Jellico

  • Spatium Magister
  • Freelance Writer
  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 5189
  • BattleMechs are the lords of the battlefield
Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #037 (repost) - Spad
« Reply #6 on: 17 June 2021, 17:57:53 »
 :D

 

Register