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Author Topic: Fighter of the Week, Issue #093 - TiG-15 Tigress  (Read 11214 times)

Trace Coburn

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Fighter of the Week, Issue #093 - TiG-15 Tigress
« on: 19 October 2011, 08:09:52 »
TiG-15 Tigress - 150t, Handbook: Major Periphery States

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


  The Taurians have always placed great faith (and financial investment) in their space-combat arms and those forces’ ability to protect the Concordat against foreign aggression.  This didn’t work out entirely well when the whole weight of the Star League landed on them, but as eagerly as the League marched to war, the Concordat made damned sure that they limped on the way home (twenty years later).  At the fall of the Star League and the general outbreak of insanity throughout the ruling Houses, the Taurians found themselves with a lot of space and space-based assets to patrol and protect, some of those assets being far out of the reach of aerospace-fighter life-support, too far inside gravity-wells for the TCN’s few remaining WarShips(!), and/or too dispersed to set up permanent defensive installations near every one.  Vandenburg Mechanised Industries took a look at the problem and proposed a solution: an entire range of combat small-craft intended as WarShip escorts and patrol craft, designed to loiter where and when better-armed fighters couldn’t, providing at least early-warning and attrition if an enemy showed up at places nothing else could reach in time.  The fluff-text for the Tigress explicitly says that there was a whole range of these ships, of which the Tigress was neither the heaviest nor the fastest, but unfortunately thus far it’s the only exemplar for which we have stats and specs.  :(

  Intended to patrol the relatively dense asteroid-fields of the Hyades Cluster, the Tigress weighs in at a hundred and fifty tons, exactly in the middle of the small-craft weight-bracket.  While only developing 4/6 thrust, meaning it’s got worse tactical mobility than even the heaviest ASF, fifteen tons of fuel (a 10% fuel-fraction!) give the type vast endurance, on the order of eight days at 1g transit thrust, and that’s the design’s mission: to fly between outposts on asteroids and other heavenly bodies, keeping its eyes on the skies.  With an SI only up to its max thrust of 6, and armour laid out 64/57/46, it’s got marginal survivability against heavy weapons; a Large Laser will threshold every section, but it can stand up to a couple of salvoes - certainly long enough to use its radio, which is long enough for the mission.  Seven tons of cargo allow a Tigress crew to pack in a fair amount of food, consumables, and entertainment options to make the duration of their patrol less tedious (as long as they remember to keep their minds on the job when they’re in areas of particular interest, instead of ‘pulling a Racetrack’).  Neither the TRO entry nor the record-sheet stat-sheet explicitly mentions what sort of quarters are allocated to the four crewmen (nominally three flight-crew and a gunner, though personnel shortages mean many often fly with short complements), but I presume these are what TPTB have declared to be the standard for small-craft, namely basic five-ton steerage accommodations. (A quick reconstruction in HM:A actually suggests seven tons per person, speaking to an all-enlisted crew... and possibly the designing PTB not looking at those particular numbers too closely?  :-\)  And there’s even a fairly decent armament to go with all that: a nose-mounted PPC and LRM-15 with four(!) tons of ammo provide long-range coverage, while at closer quarters a pair of medium lasers in each wing provide their usual workhorse service, with twenty heat-sinks making sure that almost all the firepower that can be brought to bear on a target will be available to the joker at the fire-control station.  It’s no Stuka, of course, but it can let someone know they’re somewhere they’re not wanted.

  Operationally, the Tigress is more of a ‘flying tripwire’ than a combat platform.  Its real job (as demonstrated in my recent ficlet /shameless plug ;D) is to keep eyes on an area that needs watching, and if it spots someone who shouldn’t be there, it screams about it on the radio as loud and as long as it can, gets to where the bad guys are ASAFP, and gives the defenders the most accurate and timely tactical intelligence it can for as long as it survives.
  And then the Tigress crew get to die gallantly, fighting a battle they can’t hope to win, selling their lives as dearly as possible to buy the defenders more time to prepare a typically Taurian warm welcome for their hostile visitors and maybe, just maybe, hurting one of the bastards badly enough that someone else can finish him off.
  Because make no mistake, being built as a small-craft means that the Tigress’ only advantages over an aerospace fighter lie in operational endurance, which matters not a whit in a tabletop scenario, and possibly in very reasonable per-unit C-Bill costs (ditto).  Fighters thirty or forty percent of its weight have more speed, better armour, and as much or more firepower (witness the famous Corsair and Stingray).  The only hope Tigress units have of victory over even small groups of aerospace fighters lie in concentration of firepower and mutual support - fairly basic stuff - and even if they should prevail somehow, I’d expect to see some holes in their order of battle once the wreckage cooled.
  Of course, the ‘tripwire’ function can also put them in a position to clobber enemy JumpShips and DropShips.  JumpShips are generally lightly armed, if at all, and there are many cargo-haulers which would be outgunned(!) by individual Tigresses in given arcs (or overall!), so if you’re ready to pay the price in lives and treasure to cripple an enemy’s ability to shift his troops from system to system, without regard for 3SW-style ‘tacit agreements’, there are worse choices.

  I shan’t bother making specific recommendations on dealing with Tigresses from across the game-board, because almost any fighter you brought to the table will do the job.  They have no rear weapons, so interceptors can get behind them and simply pound them to death (though it’d be a long process); for that matter, pretty much any medium or heavy fighter you can think of outguns and out-turns the Tigress.


  THE WORKSHOP



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UPCOMING:      C-*** Katya (Handbook: House Liao)
               Morgenstern (TRO:3085)

cray

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #093 - TiG-15 Tigress
« Reply #1 on: 19 October 2011, 08:32:20 »
too far inside gravity-wells for the TCN’s few remaining WarShips(!)

If something is in space and plans to remain there, how is it possibly "too far inside a gravity well" for a WarShip?

Quote
(A quick reconstruction in HM:A actually suggests seven tons per person, speaking to an all-enlisted crew... and possibly the designing PTB not looking at those particular numbers too closely?  ) 

HMA is useful and convenient, but out of date with respect to the core rulebooks. If you have a rules question, start with the new rule books.

In this case, HMA isn't out of date: it is providing the same recommendation for crew quarter masses provided on pg188-189 Tech Manual. As stated there, it is normal practice to give officers 10-ton quarters, crew 7-ton quarters, and cram mother-in-laws in 5-ton steerage quarters, but it is not a rule that this must be done. So long as some sort of quarters (including steerage quarters) are provided for each crewmember, the rules are happy.

Quote
Because make no mistake, being built as a small-craft means that the Tigress’ only advantages over an aerospace fighter lie in operational endurance, which matters not a whit in a tabletop scenario

You've never played a chase scenario, calculated interceptions before reaching the board, or used the high speed engagement rules?

Quote
They have no rear weapons, so interceptors can get behind them and simply pound them to death (though it’d be a long process);

Who needs rear weapons when you can simply flip and point your nose weapons at someone behind you?
« Last Edit: 19 October 2011, 08:44:16 by cray »
Mike Miller, Materials Engineer

**"A man walks down the street in that hat, people know he's not afraid of anything." --Wash, Firefly.
**"Well, the first class name [for pocket WarShips]: 'Ship with delusions of grandeur that is going to evaporate 3.1 seconds after coming into NPPC range' tended to cause morale problems...." --Korzon77
**"Peace is that brief glorious moment in history when everybody stands around reloading." --Thomas Jefferson, or not

Disclaimer: Anything stated in this post is unofficial and non-canon unless directly quoted from a published book. Random internet musings of a BattleTech writer are not canon.

Trace Coburn

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #093 - TiG-15 Tigress
« Reply #2 on: 19 October 2011, 08:48:21 »
If something is in space and plans to remain there, how is it possibly "too far inside a gravity well"?
  I was thinking in terms of jump-denial zones, envisioning a defensive tactic along the lines of "if someone's shooting at Space Station X, and WarShip Y hears about it in time, it jumps in right next to them and talks them out of it with a NAC/20".  :D

HMA is useful and convenient, but out of date with respect to the core rulebooks. If you have a rules question, start with the new rule books.

In this case, HMA isn't out of date: it is providing the same recommendation for crew quarter masses provided on pg188-189 Tech Manual. As stated there, it is normal practice to give officers 10-ton quarters, crew 7-ton quarters, and cram mother-in-laws in 5-ton steerage quarters, but it is not a rule that this must be done. So long as some sort of quarters (including steerage quarters) are provided for each crewmember, the rules are happy.
  Nor did I say it was a matter of TM rules, beyond the point which this last sentence cites.  I was taking my guidance from the Lyonesse and Aquarius combat small-craft, whose crew-quarters all grew up to the minimum 5t/person during the transition from TRO'26R to TRO'75, and (possibly misremembered) comments by creative staff implying that they regarded 5t quarters per person to be the default assumption at that point and thereafter.  To my mind, that implied that a little more tonnage might have been freed for other purposes by a mind seeking to min/max the TiG-15 a little more, but that the individual responsible for creating the design might not have been in a position (or a frame of mind) to do so.  :-X

You've never played a chase scenario, calculated interceptions before reaching the board, or used the high speed engagement rules?
  ... it would be a stretch even to call my tabletop gaming options 'limited', cray.  Short version, 'no' to all of the above.  :(

Who needs rear weapons when you can simply flip and point your nose weapons at someone behind you?
  Assuming those rules are in play at the game-table? Yeah, this is another point I'll concede.

  Can anyone else tell I was running late and wrote this week's column in a teensy bit of a rush?  :-[
« Last Edit: 19 October 2011, 09:05:42 by Trace Coburn »

cray

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #093 - TiG-15 Tigress
« Reply #3 on: 19 October 2011, 09:32:14 »
  I was thinking in terms of jump-denial zones, envisioning a defensive tactic along the lines of "if someone's shooting at Space Station X, and WarShip Y hears about it in time, it jumps in right next to them and talks them out of it with a NAC/20".  :D

Ah, okay.

Quote
  Nor did I say it was a matter of TM rules, beyond the point which this last sentence cites.  I was taking my guidance from the Lyonesse and Aquarius combat small-craft, whose crew-quarters all grew up to the minimum 5t/person during the transition from TRO'26R to TRO'75, and (possibly misremembered) comments by creative staff implying that they regarded 5t quarters per person to be the default assumption at that point and thereafter.

Somewhere around there an executive decision was made to standardize crew quarter weights. It was difficult to encode rules for randomly selected 1- or 3-ton "minimalist" quarters when the construction rules only gave 5, 7, and 10-ton quarters. Steerage quarters are not mandated for small craft crew (you could put first class quarters in there, if you wanted), but they are now the minimum.

Quote
  To my mind, that implied that a little more tonnage might have been freed for other purposes by a mind seeking to min/max the TiG-15 a little more, but that the individual responsible for creating the design might not have been in a position (or a frame of mind) to do so.  :-X

For a long-duration patrol craft, improved quarters are a mercy for the crew. Considering the fluff and cargo addressing those concerns, the author was probably thinking of making the crew comfortable.
Mike Miller, Materials Engineer

**"A man walks down the street in that hat, people know he's not afraid of anything." --Wash, Firefly.
**"Well, the first class name [for pocket WarShips]: 'Ship with delusions of grandeur that is going to evaporate 3.1 seconds after coming into NPPC range' tended to cause morale problems...." --Korzon77
**"Peace is that brief glorious moment in history when everybody stands around reloading." --Thomas Jefferson, or not

Disclaimer: Anything stated in this post is unofficial and non-canon unless directly quoted from a published book. Random internet musings of a BattleTech writer are not canon.

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #093 - TiG-15 Tigress
« Reply #4 on: 19 October 2011, 10:04:09 »
It might be worth adding that the Tigresses died in numbers during the offensive against the FedSuns, and that the Foxhound was designed as its replacement.

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #093 - TiG-15 Tigress
« Reply #5 on: 19 October 2011, 11:16:49 »
To me, the best use of the Tigress is in the high-speed intercept. You track an inbound raider until it's a few days out, and launch shuttles. The Tigresses pull a 1g intercept burn, and after a couple days of boredom, it's time to break out the record sheets and paper shredders. Escorting fighters have their speed advantage negated in this fight, and there's no way to actually destroy the shuttles before they get a crack at the DropShips, though they will exact a heavy toll on them at the same time. One Tigress's firepower isn't overwhelming, but a squadron or two should be more than enough to take out a cargo ship, or seriously hurt a troop carrier, possibly render it unfit for reentry or landing. Similar tactics can be used in offensive missions, with Tigress squadrons breaking off and going after orbital targets, either destroying secondary targets or drawing off some defenders while the main fleet goes on to the target planet.
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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #093 - TiG-15 Tigress
« Reply #6 on: 19 October 2011, 13:09:12 »
To me, the best use of the Tigress is in the high-speed intercept. You track an inbound raider until it's a few days out

Can't do that. At TN 12, you might spot a drive plume at 35 million kilometers, which is 24 hours at 1G. Every other sensor (except the one-time emergence wave detection) has much shorter ranges.

Your basic tactic is sound, and small craft will still have much more range than fighters (which are useless beyond 100,000-200,000 kilometers from a refueling point), but you won't track anything "a few days out." The required density of sensor platforms in a system, even the inner system, is simply too high.
Mike Miller, Materials Engineer

**"A man walks down the street in that hat, people know he's not afraid of anything." --Wash, Firefly.
**"Well, the first class name [for pocket WarShips]: 'Ship with delusions of grandeur that is going to evaporate 3.1 seconds after coming into NPPC range' tended to cause morale problems...." --Korzon77
**"Peace is that brief glorious moment in history when everybody stands around reloading." --Thomas Jefferson, or not

Disclaimer: Anything stated in this post is unofficial and non-canon unless directly quoted from a published book. Random internet musings of a BattleTech writer are not canon.

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #093 - TiG-15 Tigress
« Reply #7 on: 19 October 2011, 13:23:26 »
So the precise timeframe won't work, but the high-speed intercept strategy is still sound? I can live with that. As for more short-range missions, has anyone considered cramming some troops into the cargo bay and using the Tigress as an ad-hoc assault shuttle, spec-ops transport, or customs gunboat?
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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #093 - TiG-15 Tigress
« Reply #8 on: 19 October 2011, 13:36:54 »
I consider doing that with every Small Craft with a cargo bay.  :) For short duration flights, you can cram 10 Marines into each ton of cargo space, so it doesn't require too much capacity to overwhelm even vessels with complements of Battle Armor Marines.

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #093 - TiG-15 Tigress
« Reply #9 on: 19 October 2011, 13:45:18 »
the vibe i get from this craft is "super-Colonial Raptor". it has the thrust and fuel to do customs intercepts, provide "on site" sensors within a system on short notice, can serve as a short haul passenger craft or boarding ship, and carries enough firepower to make it a viable 'coast guard' craft.

honestly, i'd wonder whether similar craft  aren't common around the IS, given how useful this craft would be.

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #093 - TiG-15 Tigress
« Reply #10 on: 19 October 2011, 13:52:56 »
It would indeed make for a lot of sense for many planetary garrisons to use similar Small Craft to fill their aerospace needs. Yes, fighter squadrons might be more effective when it comes to pure, close quarters aerospace combat, but that should be uncommon for worlds that don't border other factions or lack significant military-industrial development that could attract unwelcome attention. Most of the time, those worlds would be a lot better served by craft that could perform SAR missions, custom duties, etc. Some/many/most perhaps already have civilian craft to handle those roles, but not all.

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #093 - TiG-15 Tigress
« Reply #11 on: 19 October 2011, 13:55:58 »
You want fun with shuttles? Pack a Behemoth with 'em. Twenty launch bays plus room for several more shuttles in storage and more consumables than you can shake an air wing at? Now that's a long-haul carrier...
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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #093 - TiG-15 Tigress
« Reply #12 on: 19 October 2011, 14:27:32 »
Can anyone else tell I was running late and wrote this week's column in a teensy bit of a rush?  :-[

Yep. Not a single anti-Davion jab in an article about a Taurian bird. Definite rushjob...  ;D

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #093 - TiG-15 Tigress
« Reply #13 on: 19 October 2011, 18:42:27 »
I consider doing that with every Small Craft with a cargo bay.  :) For short duration flights, you can cram 10 Marines into each ton of cargo space, so it doesn't require too much capacity to overwhelm even vessels with complements of Battle Armor Marines.

Surely these are Taurians: the "cargo bay" carries their kamikaze nuke
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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #093 - TiG-15 Tigress
« Reply #14 on: 20 October 2011, 16:49:35 »
What is "pulling a Racetrack?"  Some sort of BSG reference?

Also... have you done the Celestial fighters (Shade, Rusalka, Striga) yet?  I can't find any articles on them. 

Great article, thanks!

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #093 - TiG-15 Tigress
« Reply #15 on: 20 October 2011, 20:44:19 »
What is "pulling a Racetrack?"  Some sort of BSG reference?
  Yep.  I haven't seen the episode myself, but at one point in the later seasons, "Racetrack" Edmondson and her ECO almost get killed because they're too busy playing cards to, y'know, do their job - namely, keep an eye out for bad guys in their sector - and get jumped by the Cylons.  Kind of an object lesson in how picquet-ship crews should not approach their duties.

Also... have you done the Celestial fighters (Shade, Rusalka, Striga) yet?  I can't find any articles on them. 

Great article, thanks!
  I haven't reposted them yet, because they're still available through the forum archive.  But since finding things in the archive is a little troublesome at times:

  S-SHA-O Shade
  S-RSL-O Rusalka
  S-STR-O Striga

  And you're most welcome.  :D

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #093 - TiG-15 Tigress
« Reply #16 on: 21 October 2011, 00:51:59 »
Surely these are Taurians: the "cargo bay" carries their kamikaze nuke
Exactly how I was thinking.  There's no rules that don't say I can't load a 'shuttle' with a suicide nuclear package.

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #093 - TiG-15 Tigress
« Reply #17 on: 21 October 2011, 02:05:34 »
Who says the crew has to know anything about the palleted cargo in the cargo bay?

Or the blinking light on it that goes anry red when the right encoded signal is received and confirmed.

Of course, they might have some idea that if it needs to be connected to the sensor systems on the shuttle, it's going to USE the sensors for something...
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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #093 - TiG-15 Tigress
« Reply #18 on: 21 October 2011, 12:49:25 »
  Yep.  I haven't seen the episode myself, but at one point in the later seasons, "Racetrack" Edmondson and her ECO almost get killed because they're too busy playing cards to, y'know, do their job - namely, keep an eye out for bad guys in their sector - and get jumped by the Cylons.  Kind of an object lesson in how picquet-ship crews should not approach their duties.
  I haven't reposted them yet, because they're still available through the forum archive.  But since finding things in the archive is a little troublesome at times:

  S-SHA-O Shade
  S-RSL-O Rusalka
  S-STR-O Striga

  And you're most welcome.  :D

Thank you!!

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #093 - TiG-15 Tigress
« Reply #19 on: 05 July 2014, 01:50:58 »
I cast Thread Resurrection! :D

I've been looking through the Alpha Strike Companion, and the nature of combat on the Capital Radar map has made me think of shuttles like this.

Aside from high-speed fights in peripheral sectors, once you are engaged in combat by someone, you have to successfully roll to break away from them before you can move away from them. So if a patrolling shuttle like the Tigress(or more recent Condotierre) were to catch a DropShip in an outer or middle sector, it can force an engagement, and essentially pin that DropShip in place while planet-launched reinforcements are vectored in to finish the job. You don't have to kill your target or even hurt them noticeably, you just have to keep the dogfight going. Hell, you could even theoretically tie up a WarShip that way, though I don't advise trying it due to reasons of disparity between your armor and their firepower.

(Of course, surviving for long against even a small DropShip's guns is still a dicey situation, but I'll leave that up to the shuttle's crews to figure out.)
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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #093 - TiG-15 Tigress
« Reply #20 on: 06 July 2014, 00:50:19 »
Are the Taurians fielding these in 3145?
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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #093 - TiG-15 Tigress
« Reply #21 on: 06 July 2014, 03:11:10 »
The odds are good that they are. The MUL doesn't yet say one way or the other, but Vandenberg Mechanized Industries were building them as of the Obj: Per sourcebook, and VMI is still around per TRO3145 Merc.

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #093 - TiG-15 Tigress
« Reply #22 on: 06 July 2014, 06:45:13 »
Well, then maybe let's hope for an upgrade?
Say, 10 DHS and put the rest into Armour?  :D
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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #093 - TiG-15 Tigress
« Reply #23 on: 06 July 2014, 12:31:57 »
Looking at the Marshall and Brahma I am not sure I would want it upgraded . . .
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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #093 - TiG-15 Tigress
« Reply #24 on: 06 July 2014, 20:30:55 »
Wouldn't the Fox Gunship be the Tigress replacement?  Its updated, its well armed.  Why continue production of century old design aside from possibly cost?
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UnLimiTeD

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #093 - TiG-15 Tigress
« Reply #25 on: 06 July 2014, 20:40:57 »
Didn't you just answer your own question? :P
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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #093 - TiG-15 Tigress
« Reply #26 on: 06 July 2014, 21:39:25 »
Didn't you just answer your own question? :P

Possibly, but it doesn't stand up to what the TPTB say. :P Key difference between the two is, one is spheroid and other is Aerodyne.   Firing arcs for the Tigress i think are better than spheriod Foxhound i believe.  Despite its heavy firepower its packing per firing arc.

The Foxhound is short endurance craft with limited supplies with a lack of a cargo bay and it's big guns has a ammo limitation which is very real if it gets into a prolong fight. While Tigress can go out longer patrols. and has unlimited ammunition.  It was meant for long patrols.  Another thing I noticed is both have chewy center. The Foxhound little better than Tigress with a SI of a 9, while old bird is a 6.  Which means old bird, if anything gets through, it could rended either ship into debris.

Each craft has its saving graces.   I think only glaring other problem Tigress has its Structural Intergity, which is only a 6.   
« Last Edit: 06 July 2014, 21:48:52 by Wrangler »
"Men, fetch the Urbanmechs.  We have an interrogation to attend to." - jklantern
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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #093 - TiG-15 Tigress
« Reply #27 on: 06 July 2014, 23:02:18 »
Actually, I completely forgot about the Foxhound when I was looking at these in terms of Alpha Strike.

As a picket in that ruleset, the Foxhound actually looks superior to the Tigress. A higher thrust rating makes it more likely to win the Engagement Control Roll, making it harder for enemies to break away from the engagement. Similarly, the higher armor means it will last longer before it has to break off, and the guns mean you can quickly see of interceptors that try to keep you away from their charges.
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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #093 - TiG-15 Tigress
« Reply #28 on: 07 July 2014, 00:17:36 »
Possibly, but it doesn't stand up to what the TPTB say. :P Key difference between the two is, one is spheroid and other is Aerodyne.   Firing arcs for the Tigress i think are better than spheriod Foxhound i believe.  Despite its heavy firepower its packing per firing arc.

The Foxhound is short endurance craft with limited supplies with a lack of a cargo bay and it's big guns has a ammo limitation which is very real if it gets into a prolong fight. While Tigress can go out longer patrols. and has unlimited ammunition.  It was meant for long patrols.  Another thing I noticed is both have chewy center. The Foxhound little better than Tigress with a SI of a 9, while old bird is a 6.  Which means old bird, if anything gets through, it could rended either ship into debris.

Each craft has its saving graces.   I think only glaring other problem Tigress has its Structural Intergity, which is only a 6.   

sounds to me the Tigress is the picket/patrol boat, the Foxhound the 1st wave backup should the Tigress actually run into anything..

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #093 - TiG-15 Tigress
« Reply #29 on: 07 July 2014, 01:44:49 »
I'm kind of curious exactly what these pickets are meant to be guarding. Even ignoring the issue of how easy it is to avoid the zenith and nadir jump points, the Tigress lacks the legs to get from the main planet to those points in many systems (eg. Taurus is 8.53 days and New Vandenberg is 14.94 days from planet to jump point), even moreso when you consider that you need to reserve fuel for the return trip and potentially maneuvering once you get on station. Perhaps they're used for guarding planets other than the main planet, but if there's something worth guarding there, why not simply station fighters on the planet?

Even on station, their sensors leave a lot to be desired compared to a DropShip or other Large Craft. Small Craft can't even use all sensor options under the rules in SO p117-119, and what they do have is so short ranged as to provide little extra warning of an intruder. A Large Craft can provide data on a drive plume out to about 35 million km, assuming a NCSS isn't being used. It'd take around 33 hours to get to that boundary at 1G assuming deceleration halfway, but once there, you're only adding 10000 km more sensor range and having to use active radar to do it, and unless you have a stupidly high density of pickets, you're obviously going to leave a lot of gaps.

 

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