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Author Topic: Fighter of the Week, Issue #095 - Katya  (Read 3522 times)

Trace Coburn

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Fighter of the Week, Issue #095 - Katya
« on: 03 November 2011, 04:02:49 »
C-*** Katya - 30t, Handbook: House Liao

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

«Расцветали яблони и груши,
Поплыли туманы над рекой;
Выходила на берег Катюша,
На высокий берег, на крутой.»

  Mujika might be based in the St. Ives Compact, but the SIMC simply didn’t think Mujika’s old Guardian CF could hack it in front-line service; only sales to second- and third-line domestic operators and the mercenary market kept the production-lines open at all, and even then they only worked half-schedule for a lot of the time.  When Sun-Tzu unveiled his Capellan Solution (AKA: a blatant abuse of his status as First Lord of Star League 2.0 for the sole benefit of his own realm), the newly re-annexed St. Ives Commonality (and Mujika) found themselves looking to make the best of a pretty bad hand of cards.  In Mujika’s case, that meant licencing Guardian production (and selling most of the tooling) to Ceres Metals for a song in 3063, essentially to divest itself of an underperforming ‘asset’.  Thing is, Ceres weren’t interested in making straight-up Guardians, but rather using many of the tools, parts and assemblies for a design of their own.  (Five centuries overdue, perhaps, but I do have to view this as a kind of belated karmic justice finally catching up with Mujika, after what they/the CCAF pulled with the Lightning/Transit scam.)  The new fighter was heavily based on the Guardian and shared many major components with it, not only saving a lot in development time and costs but also (Just! As! Planned!) allowing the new machine to exploit existing channels and stockpiles of Guardian parts, thereby also saving the CCAF on the type’s logistical footprint.  Even the same simulators can be used, once they’ve had software updates.  This wasn’t the end of Ceres’ cost-consciousness, either: having realised that CFs which loiter over the battlefield die in depressing numbers, they deliberately modelled their new ship on a one-pass-haul-ass strike model.  The type was introduced in 3064, only a year after Mujika signed the licencing deal, and by 3067 (the ‘now’ of HB:HL) several hundred airframes were scattered about the Confederation in penny-packets for operational use and field-trials, including with the Hell’s Black Aces, with standing orders that were basically ‘test-to-destruction’.

  There is simply no earthly way this aircraft’s name can be an accident or coincidence: the Catalyst creative-staffer who named this aircraft did so with conscious, malicious forethought and, I’m quite certain, an evil snigger or two.  (Of course, compared to some other references we’ve seen - say, in J:FR - this one is a good half-step or so less blatant more subtle, which is appreciated.)  ‘Katya’ is a Russian diminutive name, the equivalent of ‘Kate’; its affectionate form, about the same as ‘Katie’, is ‘Katyusha’ (Катюша) - also the name of an enduring Russian folk-song that goes back to the 1930s.  (Side-note: according to Wikipedia, it’s also the fan-song of Spartak Moscow.  I don’t speak Russian myself, but it strikes me as a very pretty song regardless; it’s not as rousing as, say, a haka, or maybe ‘Men of Harlech’, but as football fight-songs go, I’ve heard worse.  /me glances at ‘I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles’.... :D)  During Big Mistake Number Two, that song quickly lent its name to several weapons-systems, all of which the Wehrmacht learned to dread pretty much instantly.  Kind of a dedication, really: ‘this one’s going out to you, Adolf.’  }:)
  Why is the WW2 use of the name «Катюша» relevant?  Simple: as shown in the Youtube link above, the weapon(s) known as Katyusha were/are... rocket launchers.  }:)

  A thirty-ton airframe turning out a very respectable 7/11 thrust-curve, the Katya actually uses the same brand (if not rating) of turbine engine as its progenitor, with two tons of fuel ensuring a respectable operational radius but discouraging pilots from the nigh-suicidal practice of ‘lingering where they have killed’.  A ton-and-a-half of armour is about all you can get on the chassis, and while its 10/5/4 layout doesn’t give you much in the way of meaningful damage thresholds, it’ll keep the machine in the air after a grazing hit or two, which is about as much as you can demand of an air-breathing fighter.  All known models of the Katya (there are three) have a token nose-mounted self-defence armament of twin LMGs and a half-ton of ammunition, which is enough to maybe worry other CFs of its own size and to tear up PBIs pretty good, but little more.  Where they differ is the arrangement of the rest of the ‘internal’ armament: the baseline C-904 mounts two Cr-15 rocket-pods in each wing, while the C-905 packs two Cr-10s into the nose and a Cr-20 in each wing, and the C-906 keeps it simple by going with four Cr-10s in each wing.
  Whichever model you choose, it’s pretty much ‘all rockets, all the time!’ with this bird.  Sao-wei S. Bernard, I think we’ve found that vehicle you reported missing....  }:)

  The fluff-text touches on a couple of tactical recommendations that are quite welcome, if a little self-evident if you simply, y’know, look at the ship you’re flying.  The Katya’s design intent was for a defensive fighter that made a single bombardment pass against enemy ground-forces, then went home to reload and do it again - though there’s mention of pilots who save half their rockets for a second, follow-up pass.  Personally, if you’re going the air-to-mud full-rockets approach and you’re silly enough to want to make two passes, I’d recommend that you carry a full load of external RL/10 pods (that’s fourteen RL/10s, if you’re flying a -906 like you should be!), put those into the target with the first pass (when you’re still flying at only 5/8), then use the internal pods for the second pass and bug out.  Of course, if you’re hitting a heavy or assault-’Mech, or even something heavier than that, simply alpha-strike the sumbitch and be done with it - you don’t want to stick around once you’ve gotten his attention!  :o
  Of course, the internal rocket-packs also make the Katya pretty darn good at exploiting breaches once it’s done delivering other external ordnance, too, so don’t be shy about bringing along gravity ordnance like various forms of bombs (somehow, cluster-bombs seem especially fitting) or the various makes of Arrow-IV air-to-surface missile.  If you’re worried about enemy interceptors - and most smart pilots are - you’d do well to have a few Crane MSFs along to stiff-arm the other guys with their LRMs, or simply to provide several of your Katyas with AA Arrows or FWL Light AAMs to play escort.  (I’m somehow certain that those technologies have permeated all of the Inner Sphere states, and likely some of the Periphery ones, by the end of the Jihad, and they make very good equalisers against CFs and lighter ASFs.)
  As a side-note, my source for these specs mentions that the -906 is his preference, simply for the extra punch of having (a third!) more internal rockets than the other two models, and I have to agree, if for a different reason: simple logistics.  If you’re using external-ordnance rockets, which are RL/10s, the -904 and -905 mean you’ve got to deal with stocking, packing, loading, and reloading two or three different kinds of rocket-pods and casings, whereas if you stick with the -906, the only model you need is the Cr-10.  Everything else about the type was intended for streamlined logistics, so I’d keep going in that same vein.  ;)

  As for defensive countermeasures... well, for all that it’s a very smartly designed one, the Katya is still only a conventional fighter, and all of the standard measures to defend against CFs still apply: Partisans or LRM vehicles, Riflemen or JägerMechs, hell, even a few well-placed platoons of AA infantry are enough to do the job.  Basically, all you need to do is follow one of the cardinal rules of warfare and ‘honour the threat’: acknowledge it, factor it into your game-plan, and be ready to adjust when something goes wrong.



  THE WORKSHOP


  D’oh!  I almost forgot, I found you all a little bonus: a link to a lyrics-sheet, translation, and .mp3 of the song.  Culture Vultures of the world, unite!  :D


NEXT WEEK:     Morgenstern (TRO:3085)
« Last Edit: 03 November 2011, 05:52:30 by Trace Coburn »

Martius

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #095 - Katya
« Reply #1 on: 03 November 2011, 04:31:14 »
A nice bird. Too bad the Marians did not come up with something like that.

sandstorm

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #095 - Katya
« Reply #2 on: 03 November 2011, 06:45:54 »
Somehow, I am having visions of a full wing of 'air cadets' doing their graduation fight for CCAF Aerospace Arm pulling a massed cleansing operation with fully loaded -906's.

Sheesh, that many RL10's would be a credible threat to even a dropship. And a mutually supporting squadron could scare the flightsuit full of 'business' from a Manei Domini...
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Moonsword

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #095 - Katya
« Reply #3 on: 03 November 2011, 17:55:07 »
I've been waiting on your article on the Katya since I got HB:HL.  The looks are good, the operational concept is solid, and the firepower is first-rate.

Weirdo

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #095 - Katya
« Reply #4 on: 07 November 2011, 10:51:13 »
Run these things in a mass wave right after a salvo of Bullets to finish off things that survived the blasts, but are still shellshocked. Moo hoo ha ha...
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Colt Ward

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #095 - Katya
« Reply #5 on: 07 November 2011, 12:14:27 »
Like this, thought about it before . . . but is it really better to have dedicated RLs on the frame or leave them off to put more speed on the machine so it can haul more bombs & rockets w/o as much a loss of speed?
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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #095 - Katya
« Reply #6 on: 07 November 2011, 15:34:50 »
Great article. I love this little CF. It reminds me of ye olde Sthurmovik.
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Moonsword

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #095 - Katya
« Reply #7 on: 07 November 2011, 18:54:09 »
Like this, thought about it before . . . but is it really better to have dedicated RLs on the frame or leave them off to put more speed on the machine so it can haul more bombs & rockets w/o as much a loss of speed?

In my opinion, yes.  You can carry five points of bombs along with 8 RL/10s at 6/9 using a Katya.  Getting a little smaller at 25 tons and ditching the LMGs would alter that to 4 RL/10s at 7/11 but you lose part of your punch and the ability to carry certain types of ordnance, or you can carry six points of bombs at 6/9 using a 30 ton fighter with a half-ton left over, losing over half of the Katya's firepower for relatively little gain.
« Last Edit: 07 November 2011, 19:57:23 by Moonsword »

Trace Coburn

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #095 - Katya
« Reply #8 on: 07 November 2011, 19:29:58 »
Like this, thought about it before . . . but is it really better to have dedicated RLs on the frame or leave them off to put more speed on the machine so it can haul more bombs & rockets w/o as much a loss of speed?
  CFs top out at fifty tons, and that 50t CF can carry a maximum XO load of ten RL/10 pods.
  A C-906 Katya can only carry six RL/10s as XO, but when you throw in its eight internal pods, its one rocket-pass hits 40% harder than a 50-tonner could with a maximum external load.
  For what are essentially aesthetic reasons, I'm not normally a fan of internally-mounted rocket-launchers either... but in gameplay, I'd make an exception for Katyusha;)

Moonsword

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #095 - Katya
« Reply #9 on: 07 November 2011, 20:10:04 »
Keep in mind that the Capellans also have a lot of Lightnings and Transits, birds whose less advanced forms aren't too unlikely to get fobbed off as part of a backwater's token ASF complement.  That's not a combination I want to be anywhere near, personally.

ANS Kamas P81

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #095 - Katya
« Reply #10 on: 08 November 2011, 16:18:24 »
Considering that, Moonsword, it makes an even better point.  All those AC20 boats are going to have opened a lot of holes; the Lightnings are your goalies to critseek an incoming shot-up DropShip into an incoming shot-up TerrainFeature.