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Author Topic: Fighter of the Week, Issue #014 (repost) - Hellcat family  (Read 4805 times)

Trace Coburn

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Fighter of the Week, Issue #014 (repost) - Hellcat family
« on: 14 February 2011, 07:53:16 »
HCT-213 Hellcat - 60t, AT2
Originally posted 16 Feb. 2005.

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


  The original Hellcat has no fluff that I know of, being that comes from the AT2 'generic' set and it has the same legally contested provenance as the Samurai and several others.  Since I have no actual fluff on the Hellcat, I can't make much in the way of flavour-recommendations - I don't know who it's likely to face, so I can't recommend specific tactics/counters.  :-[  I will say, however, that the pic makes the first Hellcat look like one of the doofiest-looking ASFs ever deployed anywhere.  :D

  By the standards of medium fighters, the original Hellcat carries formidable firepower: a large laser and twin mediums in the nose, a large and a medium in each wing, and an ML aft to scrape off tail-gaters.  As mobile as most of its fellows at 6/9 and running off the nominal five-ton fuel reserves, the Hellcat also has twenty SHS, which is enough to make life very, very lively for the recipient.  (One imagines that when it came time to draw up faction-specific fighters, it was the Hellcat which evolved into the Stingray, much as the Lightning became the Transit.)  Delivering a twelve-ton bombload at 3/5, the Hellcat makes a formidable attack platform, especially when one considers all the strafey goodness it offers.  An alpha-strike with all forward weapons presents a +16 overheat, which means it is a 'dire circumstances only' sort of option, but failing that, any medium or short-range tactical problem can be addressed with a hell of a wallop: at Medium range, a repeating 3-2 with the large lasers averages 0 heat over two turns and puts a lot of throw-weight onto a target; up close, I'd stick with the nose large and the four mediums, which is exactly heat-neutral.  The amount of punishment a squadron of Hellcats can hand to a capital target is concerning, even with the attendant heat problems, and threatens to crit the hell out of most smaller vessels: the squadron's total bays come to one of 6 Capital (the nose MLs), three of 5 Capital (for the larges), and two of 3 Capital (for the wing MLs), and while not all of these would be employed at once, they can still give the target(s) a lot of grief.  }:)  About the only true weak point of the Hellcat (and the phrase is deliberate) is the armour.  The similar Stingray uses just enough armour to nerf threshold criticals to its wings from MLs; the 55/40/20 arrangement of the Hellcat's 11.5 tons of standard plate, on the other hand, leaves the wings exposed to such TACs, which is not exactly a good thing in a fighter this big - from the rear, enemy interceptors will dish out as many crits as they take, which is not exactly an ideal strategy but would still be considered a winning proposition by most commanders/players.  ::)

  In using Hellcats, one must remember that these are specialist attack platforms, not dogfighters.  They can defend themselves ably if pressed, but they should not have to; protect them with interceptor squadrons and avoid unnecessary entanglements en route to and from their target(s).  Strafe with them; bomb with them; kick the hell out of WarShips and DropShips with them; but don't pitch them into a dogfight if you have any other choice.  If you find yourself lacking such options, however, 'boom and zoom' is the best approach - trying to go toe-to-toe with other aircraft is begging for a beating.  And as always, DON'T FORGET THE MANTRAS.  ;)

  For all their firepower, Hellcats are fairly fragile, so if you want to beat them, hold their attention with mediums or heavies (preferably fighters with long-reaching heavy firepower like PPCs or LRMs, for the early crits), then swarm 'em with interceptors to tail 'em and pick them to pieces.

  [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=1680.0.html




HCT-213B Hellcat II - 50t, TRO2750


  Interestingly enough, the Hellcat II appears to be only one of two canon ASFs which is both a variant of another spaceframe and differs in mass from its predecessor - the other being the Deathstalker.  Most other 'variant' spacecraft are simple weapons-and-armour mods of the same spaceframe.

  Massing only fifty tons, the Hellcat II has a very nippy 7/11 thrust profile (better than almost any other fighter of its own size or larger - only the Oni and Hammerhead can match its mobility) and the usual five-ton gas tank; it also packs on twelve tons of ferro-aluminium armour, coming out to a 68/51/45 layout that makes it more or less ML-proof and moves it firmly into the 'dogfighter' column, but it also sheds five SHS and most of the original's guns.  Its warload consists only of large lasers in each wing and an aft-mounted ML, as well as a Beagle Active Probe which seems to be there only for fluff purposes, as it has no game use in pure AT2/R AFAIK, but it's fluffed as a scouting tool/training aid/tactical advisor, so I'll let it slide for now.  :D

  To the best of my knowledge, the Hellcat II is now found only in Clan second-line units, which means it's going to face very steep competition if it is ever challenged in a modern campaign.  (Aside to Peter laCasse: the Faction List says the Snakes have these too?  Did they capture them from the Jags or something?  ???)  That being so, you'd best hope your pilots are switched-on when it all hits the fan, 'cause they're gonna need their A-game to handle Clan OmniFighters.

  Clumsy and underarmed compared to XL-engined OmniFighters, the Hellcat II would be best served by operating as the aerial scout it is fluffed as, or as an attack platform - for instance, the Black Thorns learned respect for HCT-213Bs the hard way, and so will many other opponents, especially since those strafing passes can be backed by ten tons of bombs arriving at a 5/8 thrust profile (:o), and a Star's worth can lay two 8 Capital bays onto a target, which is enough to bring a tear to anyone's eye.  If used in aerial combat, the Hellcat II will slowly but surely overheat through sustained firing of both its large lasers (+1 per turn adds up over five or six turns), so one would do well to use short, hit-hard-get-out tactics to do what has to be done.  Clan ordnance will eat you for breakfast - a C/ERML matches your LLs' range performance and can crit your wings or aft - so steer clear of their main batteries and come at them from (relatively) undefended angles.  DON'T FORGET THE MANTRAS.

  If you're up against the Clan second-line formations which field Hellcat IIs, you're probably either Clan yourself or some poor mercenary sod who was dumb enough to sign a contract to raid an OZ.  Your options depend on which situation pertains, but I can tell you now, if you're a merc you'd better be one of the better-equipped outfits or yousa in deep do-do.  :P  What you want are fighters that can either out-manoeuvre the Hellcat IIs and/or out-hit them and/or out-range them.  Oddly enough, the Combine's S-4 Sai seems to be the best single aircraft to counter the Hellcat II, testbed or not: while its armour is distressingly thin, it can out-turn the HCT-213B, its ERPPC out-reaches those IS large lasers and can cause threshold crits from any angle, while the SRM mounts are also an all-aspect crit threat and a solid finsihing weapon.  Failing that single-type solution, CSR-V14 Corsairs, TR-13A Transgressors, and SL-17 Shilones are good IS counters on the high end of a high-low mix, and if you've got Eisensturms, your life will be a great deal easier; the low end is, of course, your interceptor of choice to finish what their companions' firepower started, though my personal preference would be for SYZ-Z4 Seydlitz, to stay clear of the tail-gun.   On the Clan side of the equation, a mix of Visigoth-As and Chaeroneas or Batu Primes would be just ideal.  In any case, out-manoeuvre them if you can, out-hit them if you can't, and DON'T FORGET THE CARDINAL RULES.

  [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=1680.0.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

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Fighter of the Week, Issue #014 (repost) - Hellcat family ('50U Update)
« Reply #1 on: 14 February 2011, 07:56:13 »
Hellcat II (TRO3050 Updates)
Originally posted 12 Sept. 2007.

  TRO3050U is about updating the 'Mechs and fighters from TRO3050/Revised and TRO2750, so as ever, the poor old HCT-213 Hellcat, which is so basic and generic as to appear in the basic rulebooks instead, gets overlooked and passed over for updates.  That's not necessarily a bad thing - it leaves something so low-tech that hardscrabble operations like Periphery realms, fourth-line House units, pirate-bands and hard-up mercs (or am I being redundant? :D) still have some cheap-'n'-cheerful starfighters to play with - but given how 'common' those same generic spaceframes are, it's something of a disappointment to us out-of-universe types and a curious oversight in-universe.  [whoknows]

Quote from: Maelwys
The fluff for the Hellcat II finally confirms that it's actually linked to the original(?) Hellcat. Amusingly, the new fluff describes how on Graham IV the Amaris units were particularly brutal, using widespread nuclear attacks to hit cities and factories. However, the Hellcat II's factories survived... until they were destroyed by the "liberating" Kerensky.  [The original FotW column] also suggests these only survived in the Clan second-line forces, but apparently ComStar kept quite a cache for themselves. 3050U gives us a few new configurations.
Class/Model/Name:  Hellcat II HCT-212
Mass:              50 tons

Equipment:                                                              Mass
Power Plant:  250 Fusion                                                12.50
Thrust:  Safe Thrust: 7
      Maximum Thrust: 11
Structural Integrity: 7                                                   .00
Total Heat Sinks:    16 Single                                           6.00
Fuel:                                                                    5.00
Cockpit & Attitude Thrusters:                                            3.00
Armor Type:  Standard  (200 total armor pts)                            12.50
                           Standard Scale Armor Pts
   Location:                            L / R
   Nose:                                 67
   Left/Right Wings:                  50/50
   Aft:                                  33

Weapons and Equipment      Loc        SRV    MRV    LRV    ERV  Heat    Mass
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1 Large Laser              RW           8      8     --     --    8      5.00
1 Large Laser              LW           8      8     --     --    8      5.00
1 Medium Laser             Aft          5     --     --     --    3      1.00
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
TOTALS:                                                    Heat: 19     50.00
Tons Left:                                                                .00

The -212 is the lowtech version which drops the BAP for an extra heat sink, and some more armor. (Note: the record sheet for this seems to be messed up; it lists an extra medium laser, but also lists the heat incorrectly, so I'm not too sure what happened there). The -212 actually probably works better then the -213. The extra heat sink means its main weapons are now heat neutral when fired. The loss of ferro-aluminium armor hurts, but the extra half-ton means it's mostly the same (except for the noticable loss in the rear arc).
  Even Murphy and gubmint couldn't bollocks this one up (too much).  ;D  The lost armour isn't the best thing ever, but the improved heat-curve more than makes up for it IMO - in the Succession Wars era, any day you could spend the entire fight pounding the other guy with a pair of 80mm laser-cannons without ever once disturbing your heat-gauge was unlikely to be a bad one.  :P
  Oddly enough, the sheer KISS-simplicity and sustained firepower of this layout puts me in mind of the Spiculum from Interceptor 2.0: too tough to brush aside, too mobile to trap, and two hard-hitting laser cannons making it too powerful to ignore.  TOG had a justly-feared weapon of war in the Spiculum and made it a media icon; anyone possessing HCT-212's in the Inner Sphere would've been well-advised to do likewise.
  Incidentally, glancing at a series of IS maps shows that Graham-IV was in Free Worlds territory until Spheroid Family Feud pt.IV, when it fell to the Lyran Commonwealth and stayed in Lyran (and later FedCom) hands until Operation: GUERRERO, which saw it returned to Leaguer control (and probably plundered by WoB-ROM foundtech-prospectors within days).

Quote from: Maelwys
Class/Model/Name:  Hellcat II HCT-214
Mass:              50 tons

Equipment:                                                              Mass
Power Plant:  250 Fusion                                                12.50
Thrust:  Safe Thrust: 7
      Maximum Thrust: 11
Structural Integrity: 7                                                   .00
Total Heat Sinks:    14 Double                                           4.00
Fuel:                                                                    5.00
Cockpit & Attitude Thrusters:                                            3.00
Armor Type:  Ferro-aluminium  (215 total armor pts)                     12.00
                           Standard Scale Armor Pts
   Location:                            L / R
   Nose:                                 68
   Left/Right Wings:                  51/51
   Aft:                                  45

Weapons and Equipment      Loc        SRV    MRV    LRV    ERV  Heat    Mass
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1 Beagle Active Probe      Nose        --     --     --     --    0      1.50
1 Medium Laser             Nose         5     --     --     --    3      1.00
1 ER Large Laser           RW           8      8      8     --   12      5.00
1 ER Large Laser           LW           8      8      8     --   12      5.00
1 Medium Laser             Aft          5     --     --     --    3      1.00
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
TOTALS:                                                    Heat: 30     50.00
Tons Left:                                                                .00

The second variant, another ray of hope that the 2750 designs were just the ones released to the public, the -214 was designed during the time of the Star League. A single heat sink is dropped, a medium laser is added to the front, the remaining heat sinks are made double, while the [large] lasers are made into extended versions. Apparently it took the coming of the Clans to make ComStar realize that their Hellcat IIs weren't really that great, and they upgraded them to the -214 version.
  Uh-huh.  Right.  And if anyone out there is actually buying that, I've also got an exciting and very lucrative investment opportunity for them: a nice section of ocean-front land... just north of Phoenix, AZ.  ::)
  For my money, this 'fact' is a sign that WolfNet's 'access' to ComStar data is still being dazzled by a layered scheme of disinformation, either deliberately fed to them by ongoing ROM operations or simply held over from previous 'records'.  Admittedly, the Terran Hegemony wasn't comprised exclusively of geniuses (Richard Cameron, anyone?), but anyone smarter than Ralph Wiggum should've taken one look at the -214's specs, compared them to the readout of the proposed HCT-213B, and made the -214 the Terran Hegemony's production-standard for Hellcat IIs right then and there.  With Long-range reach on its main weapons, centreline MLs for additional strafing/crit-seeking (and aft for discouraging tail-gaters), the ability to engage with any three of its four fire-arcs without any heat-worries at all, and an advanced sensor-suite which doubles as a pilot-training aid, the HCT-214 is the starfighter that the 'baseline' -213B could and should have been.  Unlike the former 'engineering limitation' relating to XL engines in starfighters (which turns out to have been either a fallacy or even more ComStar misinformation), under the rules as I understand them the only reason why you wouldn't put DHS on an ASF might be an attempt to moderate the C-bill-per-unit price - and as Maelwys has pointed out, you get what you pay for.  :-X
  Unless, of course, the HCT-214 exists only as disinformation (which would be a massive disappointment to all involved, especially your 'humble' columnist), or it was the baseline production-standard for Hellcat IIs all along, and the readout presented in TRO2750 as the 'real' Hellcat II stats was an artful piece of ROM disinformation, which was preserved post-schism by the Blakers (from necessity and sheer contrarianism) and the post-schism 'new' ComStar (out of habit, embarrassment, or simply not knowing it's BS).  Out-of-character, I have to concede that this is unlikely - TPTB know it's extremely unwise to actively lie to the players about the real capabilities of the kit they're gaming with - but in-universe... well, I have a slightly dirty, habitually sarcastic, and often rather suspicious mind, so I wouldn't be overly surprised.  ::)
  (BTW: In looking at the tools available and the KISS principle, it's little wonder that the TPTB and I parallel-developed this one (please refer to the Workshop at the top of this thread for details).  ;))
  There's also the issue of whether the HCT-214 Hellcat II described by TRO3050U (and Maelwys) would have been satisfactory to the purchasing agents supplying the "Royal" units.  The ret-con mention of XL-engined "Royal" ASFs rather suggests this may not have been the case, so I've taken the liberty of preparing a couple of up-engined 'artist's concepts' and attaching them [please reference the Workshop thread].  I believe you'll find that each of them has its own charm.  }:)

Quote from: Maelwys
Class/Model/Name:  Hellcat II HCT-215
Mass:              50 tons

Equipment:                                                              Mass
Power Plant:  250 XL Fusion                                              6.50
Thrust:  Safe Thrust: 7
      Maximum Thrust: 11
Structural Integrity: 7                                                   .00
Total Heat Sinks:    15 Double                                           5.00
Fuel:                                                                    5.00
Cockpit & Attitude Thrusters:                                            3.00
Armor Type:  Heavy ferro-aluminium  (215 total armor pts)               12.00
                           Standard Scale Armor Pts
   Location:                            L / R
   Nose:                                 81
   Left/Right Wings:                  51/51
   Aft:                                  39

Weapons and Equipment      Loc        SRV    MRV    LRV    ERV  Heat    Mass
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1 Beagle Active Probe      Nose        --     --     --     --    0      1.50
1 ER Medium Laser          Nose         5      5     --     --    5      1.00
1 Light PPC (TW)*          Nose         5      5     --     --    5      3.00
1 Light PPC (TW)*          RW           5      5     --     --    5      3.00
1 Light PPC (TW)*          LW           5      5     --     --    5      3.00
1 Light PPC (TW)*          RW           5      5     --     --    5      3.00
1 Light PPC (TW)*          LW           5      5     --     --    5      3.00
1 ER Medium Laser          Aft          5      5     --     --    5      1.00
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
TOTALS:                                                    Heat: 35     50.00
Tons Left:                                                                .00

With the Jihad, a new variant was made. Apparently ComStar upgraded them with XL engines (which pretty much negates my earlier arguments of "Well, this fighter isn't being made anymore, so a XL engine upgrade isn't likely"). Each large laser was replaced by 2 Light PPCs, while a 5th Light PPC was added to the nose. An extended range medium laser was added to the nose, and the rear firing medium laser was made into an extended version. Heavy ferro-[aluminium] armor was used, and 15 DHS means it can alpha everything firing forward. This -215 is an interesting bird. Compared to the -214, it loses range, but compared to every other Hellcat II, it gains quite a bit of damage potential, while keeping the range the same. The increase in armor is nice, and the heat sinks make it doable. While it's not going to threshold many designs, the multiple chances to hit means that it's going to be doing damage pretty much every round by the laws of probabilities.
  I'm afraid that I have to take issue here.  Will it do some damage?  Probably.  Will it do effective damage?  Unless it's taking pot-shots at passing interceptors, or Strafing BattleMechs to crit-seek, I wouldn't hold my breath.
  Even as often as I play that same numbers game - using the shotgun approach in an attempt to offset consistently foul luck with the dice and hurt the other guy at least a little - I don't think the HCT-215 is the right place for it.  While it can generate as many as six five-point hits out into the Medium range-bracket, that's nothing that you can't do with a six-pack of ERMLs, so unless individual weapons-ranges are being used, the Light PPCs are little more than a great way to squander ten tons of your mass-budget - and offloading the large lasers means that you've lost the Hellcat II's foregoing potential/ability to generate through-armour criticals at medium ranges.  While a number of the WoBM and FWL starfighter the -215 will face are hardly "'67 Bricks", they're not that under-armoured, and some of the Blakies' birds are solid contenders (DFC-O Defiance and CMT-3D Troika, anyone?), so relying on a large number of guns with the same penetrating-power as standard medium lasers is... not the best approach.  >:(
  That said, one wonders if all those Blue Bolts o' Death from the particle-guns are an attempt at psy-war, trying to play up the Hellcat II's resemblance to the original-model Cylon Raider and spook out the Blakers with visions of being hunted by sentient robots - perhaps the pinnacle of the very technology they worship.  }:)  If that's the idea, there's a simple-enough way to do that and keep the HCT-215's ass-kicking power: [VARIANT PROPOSAL REDACTED]
  Also: "heavy" ferro-aluminium armour?  Sounds new and intriguing.  Another thing to look forward to when I purchase the upcoming TW/TM-compliant iteration of HM:A....  ^-^

  I won't get into the Great XL Starfighter Engine Debate for the time being, save to say that Maelwys makes good points, especially about their haphazard (ret-con) use in Royal ASFs.  Instead, I'll look at correcting that same haphazard use and posit what the "Royal" HCT-214 might have looked like.  ;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=1680.0.html

Trace Coburn

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Fighter of the Week, Issue #014 (repost) - Hellcat family ('75 Update)
« Reply #2 on: 14 February 2011, 07:58:23 »
HCT-*** Hellcat I – TRO3075
Originally posted 16 Jul. 2008.

  Mitchell Vehicles were making considerable cash off of their 'Mech and combat-vehicle divisions, but with the Reunification War almost a century in the past, they knew that there probably weren't going to be many big purchases any time soon, so if they wanted to expand their profit-base, they'd have to diversify.  What field they'd diversify into was pretty much a no-brainer: interstellar (read: aerospace) trade was booming, and interstellar piracy had boomed with it - meaning that the market for anti-pirate systems was also ripe for exploitation.
  Of course, Mitchell's previous body of experience influenced their design philosophy, so when it first flew in 2671, the Hellcat I was very much a 'flying tank' that triumphed over gravity and aerodynamic issues through raw thrust, rather than elegance of engineering.  Thickly armoured and bristling with heat-sinks and lasers, the Hellcat wasn't sexy enough to win SLDF contracts, but quickly found favour in secondary markets - private commerce-defence forces like corporate security arms and mercenary commands - fending off raiders and pirates of all stripes.  (Some of those 'pirates' were, of course, covert units from one House or the other operating against the shipping of their rival(s).  After all, the Star League era was 'peaceful' only for certain values of 'peace'.  ::))  As the type's reputation grew, House and SLDF procurements officer began to give it a second look, and though it still wasn't sexy enough for front-line duties, the HCT-213 soon found its way into militia and similar 'second-line' formations, where its ease of maintenance, independence from ammunition resupply, and startling firepower made it a solid performer.  Indeed, they allowed the type to survive in production through the Succession Wars when its higher-tech colleagues vanished into the haze of 'lostech', and Lockheed/CBM and the FedSuns' Lycomb-Davion IntroTech enjoyed solid sales right up to the point where the Word of Blake recently shut down production in abrupt fashion.  :D

  Over the years, Mitchell Vehicles tried to tempt new customers with a range of no-frills variants tailored to different tactical roles - though one of the selling points was that none of the gear these variants used was outside the bounds of 'baseline' technologies, retaining the trademark simplicity of design-and-maintenance that brought them their first buyers.

Quote from: Technical Readout 3075
  The HCT-213R is a reconnaissance variant that drops the nose-mounted large laser to double its internal fuel capacity.
  Of course, all that endurance means that it'd also make a pretty fair long-range escort or 'second-shell interceptor'.

Quote from: Technical Readout 3075
On the other hand, the HCT-213S is a space-superiority variant that replaces the wing-mounted large lasers with PPCs to enable it to punch through the armor of other fighters.
  Against most other medium fighters, I don't know that this is a good layout; against most armour-schemes in that weight-bracket, three LLs means more chances of 'punching through' and causing serious damage than twin PPCs.  On the other hand, if you detail the standard -213s to containing enemy dogfighters and send a few S-models to hunting the big guys, twin PPCs will cause most of the heavy fighters of the 'IS1 era' a certain degree of unease.  :D

  Lastly of the Mitchell variants...
Quote from: Technical Readout 3075
The HCT-213D is reserved for tackling enemy DropShips. The three large lasers are replaced with two SRM-6 launchers and two tons of ammunition in each wing, and an extra heat sink is added.
  ... I think someone's grammar slipped there: by my HM:A work, adding two tons of ammo in each wing puts the specs two tons over its mass budget, so I'm guessing that it's a magazine of two tons total:D  Personally, I don't know that I'd be super-keen to get so close to a hostile DropShip, but when a squadron's worth of -213Ds can hammer a 'Ship with two bays of 10-Capital damage apiece, the appeal (to strike commanders, at least) gets a little clearer.

  Finally, we have the HCT-313, Outworlds-built and upgraded with Raven technical assistance.  Indeed, when the type proved its quality against an 'unknown' group of fighters over Remora in 3074, Those Wascawy Wavens began unobtrusively folding numbers of HCT-313s into their own second-line fighter formations.  (Asking whether this is a measure of the -313's potency or of Raven desperation may not be entirely fair to the new model of Hellcat::))
Quote from: Technical Readout 3075
  With aid from Clan Snow Raven advisors, United Outworlds Corporation introduced ... the HCT-313 Hellcat.  Equipped with double heat sinks, all the lasers have been upgraded to extended-range models.  Armor protection is improved significantly via the use of heavy ferro-aluminum armor...
  If I reconstructed it in HM:A correctly, this baby gets 'a little warm' if you're not very careful, but you can snipe with three ERLLs at Long range (rarely a bad way to open the ball), and once it gets into a turning fight using your nose-guns and the 'engaged' wing is probably sufficient firepower for the task at hand without taxing your dissipation systems.  Moreover, the 'wall of light' one of these can produce in a Strafe/Strike, regardless of the cool-off between passes, should not be underestimated by anyone likely to be on the receiving end.  :o

  And as I did for the Sai family, I think it might be wise for me to serve the Hellcats the same way and provide a diagram of the 'family tree'.  Otherwise, the confusion over the primogeniture of Hellcat variants may plague us forever.  :D

HELLCAT I  HCT-213  ----> HCT-213D/R/S ----> HCT-313
                        \
                         \
HELLCAT II                \-> HCT-213B ----> HCT-214  ---->  HCT-215
                                       \
                                        \
                                         \-> HCT-212


  [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=1680.0.html

Trace Coburn

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Gold Strike Package
HCT-213C Royal Hellcat II – Operation KLONDIKE
Originally posted 7 Jul. 2010.

  Funny thing: when I posted the ’75 Update version of the Hellcat-family article, until Kit_deSummersville drew it to my attention I didn’t realise that I’d done so on the second anniversary of the day I (re-)posted that original article to the forums after another Server Shift.  Now I’m re-posting the whole thing again for the sake of examining another branch on the Hellcat family tree, and I’m doing so two years (less nine days) after I posted the ’75 Update article.  :D  And no, Kit, I didn’t actively plan it that way this time any more than I did last time.  :P

Quote from: Historical: Operation KLONDIKE, p.160
Aerospace Fighters
Upgrades for the SLDF’s aerospace forces came in the latter half of the 28th century, though with much reduced funding compared to what the Star League dedicated to upgrading the ’Mech service. The program was interrupted by Amaris’ coup, shutting down the SLDF’s access to most of its key production facilities. As the Amaris Civil War progressed, and the SLDF’s losses mounted, Kerensky turned to suppliers the Star League hadn’t typically utilized.

Quote from: Historical: Operation KLONDIKE, p.161
HCT-213C Hellcat II: As extralight aerospace powerplants became more and more available, the already-powerful Hellcat II became a likely candidate for upgrades. Both large lasers were replaced with pulse models, with two more medium pulse lasers added to the nose of the craft. Its already impressive armor remained unchanged, though the fifteen single heat sinks were removed in favor of just thirteen double-strength freezers.
  ... which is funny, when you consider the existence of Mitchell’s in-house development HCT-214 already gave the SLDF a perfectly good choice of high-tech Hellcat II.  Unless they were looking to slip a 'stealth upgrade' past the rival Houses?  By keeping almost the same designation and refitting extant HCT-213Bs to the 'Block C' standard, they could do wonders for the fighting efficacy of those squadrons and create a very nasty 'sucker punch' for any House military which overlooked the increment in the designation and thought they were just 'plain old -213Bs'.  A trick rather at odds with the intent of the 'puffer fish' gambit I've posited in the last couple of articles, I might note, but it's entirely possible that it was done before Simon Cameron’s 'accident', as a way to enhance the SLDF during Simon’s reign without overtly provoking the other five Houses.  [shrug]
  (It’s also another 'unnoticed' XLFE upgrade, I might note, but I'm not going to go into that again.  ::)  I've always favoured Liam’s Ghost vision of the SLDF's procurement practices.)

  [For those without RS'75, the shorthand version of the HCT-213C is 50t, 7/11/7/5, Armour 68/51/45, 13DHS, N: BAP, 2 MPL, W: LPL, Aft: ML.]

  ... I don’t get it.
  Mitchell had already put together the HCT-214 we saw in ’50U, and they were ready to offer it to the SLDF pretty much right then... so why did the SLDF’s engineers go to the trouble of creating an XLFE-refit version with all those pulse lasers?  The -214 can use all of its forward firepower without overheating; despite using DHS, the -213C has to favour 'slashing' attacks with the nose-lasers and 'engaged' wing, because it eats a +2 overheat on a forward alpha-strike.  The -214 can hit out to Long range, which gives it the 'surprise, bitches!' factor against those expecting vanilla -213Bs; the -213C has to close into Medium (AKA 'knife-fighting') range to start delivering its punches.  The -214 uses an SFE which is cheaper and easier to make and maintain, meaning you can acquire and deploy large numbers of -214s in a relatively short time-frame and pay lower costs over its service-life; regardless of whether it’s a spaceframe factory-overhaul or outright new constuction, the -213C requires an expensive, demanding, long-lead-time XLFE, which costs the SLDF the two things any military prizes as much as its troops prize oxygen: money and time.
  Maybe my thought-processes are impaired by the sleep-deprivation of playing too much X-COM: UFO Defence in the last couple of days, but as it stands, the HCT-213C looks like it uses an XL engine and pulse-lasers... simply for the sake of using an XL engine and pulse-lasers.  Otherwise, I just plain don’t see the 'logic' behind this particular Royal upgrade.  :-\
  ...
  ... wait, I take that all back.  [facepalm]  On reflection (and remembering the rules changes intro’d in Strategic Operations), I do see the use: as one of the few ASFs to actually carry an Active Probe system of any sort, the Hellcat II is almost uniquely capable of counteracting large-craft ECM fields (albeit on a limited basis), and the pulse-lasers give it the TH bonuses it needs to offset the rest of a WarShip’s ECM coverage and get 'unimpaired' shots at the ’Ship and/or 'blow away the fog of battle' for companion fighters.  (Not that you could get me to volunteer for the latter job.  Make a sitting target of myself for WarShip-grade weapons, including capital missiles and AAA-capable NLs, to path-find for everybody else?  Sod that for a game of soldiers!  #P)

  [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=1680.0.html

  And I think I might do well to update the 'geneaology chart' of Hellcat variants.  I’ve seen kudzu that didn’t grow this fast or tangled.  ;D

HELLCAT I  HCT-213  ----> HCT-213D/R/S ----> HCT-313
                        \
                         \
                          \              /-> HCT-213C
                           \            /
                            \          /
HELLCAT II                   \-> HCT-213B ----> HCT-214  ---->  HCT-215
                                       \
                                        \
                                         \-> HCT-212





  On another note, this brings me to the end of the fighters in Historical: Operation KLONDIKE, and thus to the end of the "Gold Strike Package".  I’m going to take a couple of weeks off from updating FotW columns; hopefully, my DTF of KLONDIKE will arrive during that time and give my inspiration a nudge or two.  ::)  Once I’ve had that down-time, I may run a series on "Herb’s Funnies" - the wierd, wild and wacky designs we’ve been seeing out of the XTRO series.  Depending on interest from the readers and whether or not TPTB hammer me for proposing to give non-buyers a peek at the contents of those .pdf-only products, that is.  ;D

  Repost note, 14 Feb. 2011: Ye Gods, this thing got involved, didn't it?  Four different articles, with three different runs on the forums over the years?  If this is even a small slice of what TPTBs and their fact-checkers have to deal with in writing canon, I don't envy them a bit of it.  When I get done with the reposts and the new fighters, I might have to come back around and revisit the Hellcat family again, compiling it all into one mega-article.  "The Compleat Hellcat?", perhaps?  ???

Moonsword

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #014 (repost) - Hellcat family
« Reply #4 on: 14 February 2011, 09:03:41 »
The original Hellcat is a nice little medium-weight dogfighter.  Kind of a budget Eagle.  The artwork is a sin against aeronautics, however.

The Hellcat II is both a counter-ECM platform and a surprisingly effective dogfighter.  It's a pity the FWL wasn't taking better note of history when they were considering how to design the Lancer.

Hellraiser

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #014 (repost) - Hellcat family
« Reply #5 on: 14 February 2011, 17:19:55 »
Not a big fan of the Hellcat myself,  the II model on the other hand is nice as one of the few 7/11 mediums out there.

I'm a big fan of the 214, though I will admit that 213C gave me some ideas for clan 2nd line units.
3041: General Lance Hawkins: The Equalizers
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