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Author Topic: Fighter of the Week, Issue #011 (repost) - Tomahawk  (Read 5681 times)

Trace Coburn

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Fighter of the Week, Issue #011 (repost) - Tomahawk
« on: 09 February 2011, 00:16:01 »
THK-* Tomahawk - 45t, TRO2750 and beyond
Originally posted 26 Jan. 2005.

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


  Yet another example of the Star League's idiosyncratic deployment of Level 2 technologies, the Tomahawk is intended as a lighter dogfighter and can grab anybody's attention with its blending of decent firepower, good mobility, very respectable armour and admirable heat efficiency.

  Built around a 270SFE with the customary five-ton fuel load, the Tomahawk can turn and burn at 8/12 - not up with the first-shell interceptors, perhaps, but greatly superior to any heavier canon airframe (the Sulla is 9/14 but masses the same as the THK).  A generous ten tons of ferro-aluminium armour sheathes the spaceframe thickly - the nose and wings are immune to ML thresholding, which means that the primary threat (interceptors) has a much harder time of it all.  And the warload is certainly enough to get one's attention: a large laser in each wing, backed by a small in the nose and twelve(!) freezers.  (Frankly, the fluff about the Tomahawk being a 'hothead' and needing two extra DHS is totally ridiculous - even alpha-striking with all three weapons would have left the heat-scale at -3 with the old specs; as it stands in canon, an alpha-strike yields a heat-scale reading of -7, which is an utter non-event.  If it had used single heat-sinks, maybe they'd have cause to complain, but as is?  Feh!  ::)  These people are too hung up on memories of the original THK-33.)  Nothing lighter than the Tomahawk can mount that sort of arsenal effectively, nor withstand it when on the receiving end; indeed, few larger aircraft can afford to ignore a Tomahawk, and ground targets need to respect them as well - two LLs and/or nine tons of bombs at 6/9 can ruin your day in a hurry.  :D  If it ever comes to a turn where you need them for anti-shipping duties, two bays of 5 Capital damage per squadron can cause a great deal of anxiety, at that.  ;)

  The Tomahawk is a classic second-shell aerospace-superiority fighter.  The interceptors go out in the first shell and tie up the enemy lead elements; the Tomahawks are the second line of defence, who (with the enemy interceptor screen occupied) are perfectly free to pick on the slower enemy aircraft and dance around them, slicing bits off them at will.  Their weapons have the reach to match many of those fighters' primary arsenals, and they have the agility, the armour, and the heat-efficiency to fight a prolonged engagement with few worries.

  The best solution to the problems presented by Tomahawks is a two-tiered one: lots of firepower, and lots of interceptors to exploit the results.  Use fighters with long-range weapons (especially large LRM racks [looks at Shilone and Stuka]) to soften them up, then pour a couple of squadrons of smaller, faster birds like Sholagars into their midst and go for the back-shots.

  The only 'official' variant, the THK-53, offloads the nose-mounted SL for another half-ton of armour (see!? :D), while each wing now mounts triple medium lasers and a pair of additional DHS, apparently as a failed(!?) earlier attempt to rectify the type's 'heat problems'.  WTF, over?  This model's arsenal would have been a -2 Heat alpha-strike with the base ten DHS; with sixteen, it's so oversinked it's pathetic, and they say that the attempt to fix the heat-problems failed?  (Man, whatever those Star League designers were smoking, they need to start sharing, like now>:()  And 'pathetic' is a good epithet for the THK-53's armament, too - without the LLs, you're back to the Short range bracket (albeit with almost double the throw-weight), which takes away one of the Tomahawk's key advantages.  This model of Tomahawk is more of a blunt hatchet - don't use it if you can avoid it.

  Closing side-note: from what I understand of the squadron rules, there is one positive aspect to the Tomahawk's being so absurdly oversinked - tossing a Tomahawk or two into a flight of hot-boxes smoothes out their heat-curve like magic, which can make for nasty, nasty things happening when they engage a target.  Something to consider.  }:)

  [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=1416.0 .

  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.  ;)

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Fighter of the Week, Issue #011 (repost) - Tomahawk ('50U Update)
« Reply #1 on: 09 February 2011, 00:21:03 »
THK-*** Tomahawk (TRO3050 Updates)
Originally posted 17 Oct. 2007.

Quote from: Maelwys
The confusing fluff on the Tomahawk continues. If the -53 (the 6 medium laser version) didn't utilize DHS, and only had 16 single heat sinks, then maybe the fluff of it overheating would make sense. Make it so that the -63 is the first version to utilize DHS, then the fluff makes perfect sense. Usage of the Tomahawk doesn't really change from its FOTW. Even the three new "variants" that we recieve from 3050U doesn't change the basic firepower of the design.
  I should point out that Maelwys describes only the "new" variants and seems to have overlooked the "old" variants, which appear to have been earlier versions of the base spaceframe.  I'll deal with them a little later.  ;)

Quote from: Maelwys
Class/Model/Name:  Tomahawk THK-63CS [from RS'50U]
Mass:              45 tons

Equipment:                                                              Mass
Power Plant:  270 Fusion                                                14.50
Thrust:  Safe Thrust: 8
      Maximum Thrust: 12
Structural Integrity: 8                                                   .00
Total Heat Sinks:    12 Double                                           2.00
Fuel:                                                                    5.00
Cockpit & Attitude Thrusters:                                            3.00
Armor Type:  Ferro-aluminum  (179 total armor pts)                      10.00
                           Standard Scale Armor Pts
   Location:                            L / R
   Nose:                                 57
   Left/Right Wings:                  42/42
   Aft:                                  38

Weapons and Equipment      Loc        SRV    MRV    LRV    ERV  Heat    Mass
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1 ER Small Laser           Nose         3     --     --     --    2       .50
1 ER Large Laser           RW           8      8      8     --   12      5.00
1 ER Large Laser           LW           8      8      8     --   12      5.00
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
TOTALS:                                                    Heat: 26     45.00
Tons Left:                                                                .00

Calculated Factors:
Total Cost:        2,768,133 C-Bills
Battle Value:      1,146
Cost per BV:       2,415.47
Weapon Value:      1,269 (Ratio = 1.11)
Damage Factors:    SRV = 16;  MRV = 11;  LRV = 4;  ERV = 0
BattleForce2:      MP: 8,  Armor/Structure: 4 / 0
                   Damage PB/M/L: 2/2/2,  Overheat: 0
                   Class: FL;  Point Value: 11

The -63CS is Comstar's version which replaces all the laser weaponry for extended range versions. In a mockery of the original fluff, the new fluff states that these weapons (capable of building up 26 heat total) cause complaints about heat management issues (it can dissipate 24). I think at this point Tomahawk pilots need to be told to shut up about heat problems unless they're flying the -33 or -43.
  'Quoted for truth', as they say on tha intarnets.  :D  The additional weapons-range is more than welcome, the heat-scale is all but neglible unless you spend too long in the 'phone-booth with someone and have too many(!?) centrelined shots at them, and the difference in price from the older model is little more than a rounding error.  This is the sort of refit that's long, long overdue.  :-X
  On a side-note, with the exception of the 'newtech' ERSL, the perfect heat-balance between 12 DHS and twin ERLLs almost makes me suspect that this is what the SLDF actually had in mind with the Tomahawk concept - and that this may indeed have been its ultimate expression in the pre-Coup era.

Quote from: Maelwys
Class/Model/Name:  Tomahawk C [from RS'50U]
Mass:              45 tons

Equipment:                                                              Mass
Power Plant:  270 Fusion                                                14.50
Thrust:  Safe Thrust: 8
      Maximum Thrust: 12
Structural Integrity: 8                                                   .00
Total Heat Sinks:    13 Double                                           3.00
Fuel:                                                                    5.00
Cockpit & Attitude Thrusters:                                            3.00
Armor Type:  Ferro-aluminum  (211 total armor pts)                      11.00
                           Standard Scale Armor Pts
   Location:                            L / R
   Nose:                                 72
   Left/Right Wings:                  52/52
   Aft:                                  35

Weapons and Equipment      Loc        SRV    MRV    LRV    ERV  Heat    Mass
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1 ER Small Laser           Nose         5     --     --     --    2       .50
1 ER Large Laser           RW          10     10     10     10   12      4.00
1 ER Large Laser           LW          10     10     10     10   12      4.00
1 C.A.S.E. Equipment       Body                                           .00
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
TOTALS:                                                    Heat: 26     45.00
Tons Left:                                                                .00

Calculated Factors:
Total Cost:        2,861,233 C-Bills
Battle Value:      1,612
Cost per BV:       1,774.96
Weapon Value:      1,620 (Ratio = 1.00)
Damage Factors:    SRV = 23;  MRV = 14;  LRV = 6;  ERV = 0
BattleForce2:      MP: 8,  Armor/Structure: 5 / 0
                   Damage PB/M/L: 3/2/2,  Overheat: 0
                   Class: FL;  Point Value: 16

The Clan Tomahawk does the exact same thing, but its smaller ER Large Lasers allows it to add another DHS (making it perfectly heat neutral) and some extra armor.
  Armour which is, I might point out, subject to the same mentality of "auto-allocate in HM:A, then forget" which I noted a couple of weeks ago.  And for all that the Clans don't pay too much attention to their second-line forces - especially the ASFs - this is a nice, solid, cheap platform for them to work with, and its 100% heat-dissipation makes it simple enough to use effectively that even a Clanner can manage it.  :P

Quote from: Maelwys
Class/Model/Name:  Tomahawk CH [from RS'50U]
Mass:              45 tons

Equipment:                                                              Mass
Power Plant:  270 Fusion                                                14.50
Thrust:  Safe Thrust: 8
      Maximum Thrust: 12
Structural Integrity: 8                                                   .00
Total Heat Sinks:    13 Double                                           3.00
Fuel:                                                                    5.00
Cockpit & Attitude Thrusters:                                            3.00
Armor Type:  Ferro-aluminum  (211 total armor pts)                      11.00
                           Standard Scale Armor Pts
   Location:                            L / R
   Nose:                                 72
   Left/Right Wings:                  52/52
   Aft:                                  35

Weapons and Equipment      Loc        SRV    MRV    LRV    ERV  Heat    Mass
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1 Heavy Small Laser        Nose         6     --     --     --    3       .50
1 Heavy Large Laser        RW          16     16     --     --   18      4.00
1 Heavy Large Laser        LW          16     16     --     --   18      4.00
1 C.A.S.E. Equipment       Body                                           .00
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
TOTALS:                                                    Heat: 39     45.00
Tons Left:                                                                .00

Calculated Factors:
Total Cost:        2,994,451 C-Bills
Battle Value:      1,323
Cost per BV:       2,263.38
Weapon Value:      1,589 (Ratio = 1.20)
Damage Factors:    SRV = 21;  MRV = 12;  LRV = 0;  ERV = 0
BattleForce2:      MP: 8,  Armor/Structure: 5 / 0
                   Damage PB/M/L: 3/2/-,  Overheat: 1
                   Class: FL;  Point Value: 13

The second Clan variant, the Tomahawk CH, replaces all the extended range lasers with heavy lasers. Creating 39 heat on an alpha strike, and only able to dissipate 26 gives the CH pilots a reason complain about heat issues. On the other hand, a single laser is thresholding small DropShips, and even some WarShips, so it's worth considering...just don't fire both (13 heat is +2 to hit, and random movement on 6+).
  Actually, this one's a little more fitting for second-line pilots, who are mostly solahma looking to die with some semblance of military dignity.  I never understood why the supposedly waste-averse Clans would choose to make war-machines specifically designed for 'death-or-glory' suicide operations (though I believe chanman has a theory :D), but the smashing power heavy lasers impart makes the Tomahawk CH a good way to kill-or-die in a brief, glorious bout.  Like Maelwys said, though: only use both HLLs one a centrelined target if you're willing to eat the heat-penalties or don't care about them in the first place.  :D

Quote from: Maelwys
This is yet ANOTHER design that is still being produced (On Mars) that gets nothing more then a field refit. And a field refit by COMSTAR at that. It's even mentioned being put back into production in 3052 by ComStar, yet no new variants have come out yet? If we go by the ER small laser on the -63CS, that means the "Revamp" didn't occur till after 3058. Just what the heck have they been doing?  Considering the WoB helped design the Shiva, the Defiance, and who knows what else, the fact that their own locally produced designs were ignored is more then dumb (I suppose you could say that all of the Sol system's aerospace production was geared towards making whatever space based defenses it's utilizing, but I seriously doubt it).
  Damfino.  I've long since given up trying to follow what passes for WoB 'thinking' in order to preserve my own sanity (and if Apollyon's mentality in the JHS3072 previews are any indication, it's just as well!), and who knows how much of 'ComStar' was ever truly loyal to Sharilar Mori and Anastasius Focht in the first place?  ::)

  For the sake of completeness, however, I'm including assessments on the two 'old' Tomahawks Maelwys missed in his eagerness to post.  ;)

> Tomahawk THK-33 [from RS'50U]: 45t, 8/12 (SFE), Armour 60/46/40 (std), 10 SHS, N: SL, W: LL
  Apparently the first-ever model of Tomahawk, and truly deserving of the accusations of 'hotbox!' many pilots level at the type as a whole.  While I laud their eagerness and determination to get a 45t twin-LL-shooter into the black, the designers overlooked a few 'minor' concerns in the process which mean that the final product is useful only as a 'slashing' dogfighter or in the role of Strafer (with adequate cooling time between passes).  The technology they had available simply didn't support their intentions, and what they came up with is hobbled by its own firepower.  (I'd almost suggest that they should have installed a single LL on the centreline and gone with an array of additional SHS and MLs, mixed to taste... but that seems a little pedestrian, don't'cha think? ???)

> Tomahawk THK-43 [from RS'50U]: 45t, 8/12 (SFE), Armour 57/42/38 (FA), 12 SHS, N: SL, W: LL
  Getting better, but still not that great.  Upgrading the armour to ferro-aluminium thinned the total protection a touch, which is unnerving but liveable... especially since it also freed tonnage for two more SHS to moderate the worst of the heat-burden.  It takes the THK-43 a full alpha-strike or two turns of firing to generate enough heat-burden for a 'random movement' roll, which makes it rather better for dogfight applications, especially if you use a 2-1-2-1 pattern of fire that will be immediately recognised by many players who 'date back' to the Succession Wars era of design and gameplay.
  However, my fascination with these earlier THKs stems not from their stats as a tool of gameplay but as a measure of the IC thinking that went into the programme, and by following the various mark-numbers one can chart the evolution of the Tomahawk from its initially disappointing form to the SLDF standard it reached before the Amaris Coup:
 - The THK-33 was the designers' first attempt to create an 8/12, 45t ASF armed with twin LLs, but it was simply too far ahead of the technology to be truly viable;
 - then came the THK-43, which was better than the -33, but still not great;
 - the THK-53 was an attempt to 'solve' the Tomahawk's heat problems once and for all, but they went too far out the other side - and I can almost see the miscommunications within the design team that led to that problem.  Boffin One decided to downrate the armament from LLs to triple-ML packs for more heat-sinks, getting near an ideal balance; somewhere in the process, Boffin Two upgraded the coolers to freezers to let the design handle its guns without looking too closely at what would be installed in the gun-bays; by the time they got together and realised that they'd managed to work at cross-purposes, they had the THK-53... and a lot of explaining to do.  (I almost have to wonder if the DHS was introduced into SLDF service halfway through the THK-53's design-process, too late for them to reinstate the old armament in light of the improvement in dissipation capability.)
 - then, finally, we have the THK-63, with its twelve DHS, FAA, and two 80mm laser-cannons - a (field?) refit of the older -43 models which solved most of their problems.  Given how they'd outsmarted themselves last time, the boffins probably took one look at what they'd wrought, considered doing something about its being oversinked... then remembered their 'experience' with the -53 and decided to leave well enough alone.  ;D

  [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=1416.0 .

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Fighter of the Week, Issue #011 (repost) - Tomahawk ('75 Update)
« Reply #2 on: 09 February 2011, 00:28:40 »
THK-63b Royal Tomahawk (TRO3075)
Originally posted 9 Feb 2011.

Quote from: TRO3075, p.169
  THK-63b Tomahawk: In a radical upgrade, the THK-63b replaces the small laser with an ER PPC and adds a half a ton of armor to the wings and rear, thanks to the installation of an XL power plant.
  With the release of RS3075 Unabridged still 'pending', the above paragraph is all we know of the -63b, but frankly, it's quite enough to make me say "eek!".  The XL Upgrade doesn't do anything for the type's speed, and depending on where it went the additional armour might only be enough to negate ML TACs to the aft while adding only another layer of tinfoil to the wings ;D, but the use of an ERPPC does wonders for the Tomahawk's capability.  Between the combination of a ten-point weapon that can 'soften up' and enemy from Long range well before the merge, and the ability to fire that same nose-gun and the 'engaged' wing while remaining one under maximum dissipation capacity, the Royal Tomahawk is effectively a faster, lighter Stingray and fills the 'fast dogfighter' role to nigh-perfection.  I wouldn't recommend alpha-striking too often, though - not at an overheat of +7/turn.  :o
  (Passing thought: I wonder if experimenting with the THK-63b helped inspire the armament of the F-90 Stingray?  The two types would have complemented each other quite well and had a certain degree of interoperability, especially once the Stingray was upgraded to an ERPPC-packing Royal variant of its own (which probably would have happened near the end of the 28th century, absent the Amaris Coup).  Something to consider....   ;))

  [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=1416.0 .

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #011 (repost) - Tomahawk
« Reply #3 on: 09 February 2011, 00:48:55 »
I'm compelled to point out the Tomahawk was written back when AT1 was in effect, and overthrust cost heat . . .
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Trace Coburn

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #011 (repost) - Tomahawk
« Reply #4 on: 09 February 2011, 05:46:18 »
I'm compelled to point out the Tomahawk was written back when AT1 was in effect, and overthrust cost heat . . .
  ... as you have quite conscientiously pointed out both times I've run this article before.  Considering how you were the main one pushing for a column on this design even back in the original 2004 run of FotW, you really do have a slavering man-crush on serious (and unhealthy?) fixation on the Tomahawk, don't you, Goose?   :D

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #011 (repost) - Tomahawk
« Reply #5 on: 09 February 2011, 20:47:03 »
 8)
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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #011 (repost) - Tomahawk
« Reply #6 on: 09 February 2011, 20:49:34 »
sweet article, i love the way you write, you make it really entertaining to read these. this was actually one of the first ASFs i ever saw when i got into battletech, and i really like it game wise, and there really isn't anything that sticks out that i hate, and i'm utterly dying for a mech scale mini for this bad boy
« Last Edit: 09 February 2011, 20:51:40 by Daishi411 »
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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #011 (repost) - Tomahawk
« Reply #7 on: 09 February 2011, 20:54:19 »
The old Tomahawk does have one niche it gets to share with the refit Shilone - telling smart aleck Clanners plinking with plasma cannons to force PSRs where to shove it.  It doesn't get to specify angle and depth of the shove the way the Shilone does, though.

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #011 (repost) - Tomahawk
« Reply #8 on: 17 February 2011, 09:45:28 »
Does the THK-53 have 6 MLs and 14 DHS on its record sheet? As I read it from the TRO, my guess would have been 14 SHS and 3MLs.

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #011 (repost) - Tomahawk
« Reply #9 on: 17 February 2011, 09:47:03 »
Six MLs and 16 freezers according to the sheet in RS3050U Clan & SL.

Goose

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #011 (repost) - Tomahawk
« Reply #10 on: 17 February 2011, 12:49:37 »
. . . Clanners plinking with plasma cannons to force PSRs  . . .
The what, now? ???
GooseAnd Yorinaga Kurita threw his daishō out of the cockpit of his Warhammer in disgust.
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Moonsword

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #011 (repost) - Tomahawk
« Reply #11 on: 17 February 2011, 14:35:47 »
The what, now? ???

Plasma cannons inflict heat to ASFs, not damage, averaging about 7 points - it's an excellent way to annoy the hell out of pilots or make an already complicated PSR worse.  Most Tomahawks have enough reserve dissipation to laugh off attempts to play that game.  The SL-17R's dissipation is high enough to make bothering completely pointless.

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #011 (repost) - Tomahawk
« Reply #12 on: 17 February 2011, 18:15:10 »
GooseAnd Yorinaga Kurita threw his daishō out of the cockpit of his Warhammer in disgust.
The Egyptian God of Frustration
Surprisingly Enlightening©"I am always ready to learn, although I do not always like being taught."
- Winston Churchill
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Moonsword

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #011 (repost) - Tomahawk
« Reply #13 on: 17 February 2011, 18:28:14 »
What?  If some aero jockey is annoying me in an ASF, I'm going to return fire with anything available.  Plasma cannons are an excellent way of making their life harder, especially since some of them may run the heat curve a little too eagerly on a strike pass.  It's not going to be the only thing I'm shooting, though.
« Last Edit: 17 February 2011, 18:58:07 by Moonsword »

 

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