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Author Topic: Fighter of the Week, Issue #027 (repost) - Thrush  (Read 2954 times)

Trace Coburn

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Fighter of the Week, Issue #027 (repost) - Thrush
« on: 26 February 2011, 08:11:33 »
TR-7 Thrush - 25t, TRO3025
Originally posted 25 May 2005.

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

  House Liao’s primary light fighter in the Succession Wars, the TR-7 Thrush was apparently quite popular as an introductory type as well, as many ab initio pilots found its responsiveness a joy.  These pilots seem quite prepared to overlook the TR-7’s penchant for departing controlled flight within atmosphere (thought to be a product of its circular wing-form) and its near-non-existent armour, both of which should have given the craft a reputation as a widowmaker.  Personally, the thing is too much of an over-engined deathtrap for me to go near.  ::)

  Another 12/18 twenty-five-tonner, the Thrush can match the performance of the FWL Cheetah and fly rings around the heavier, slower FedSuns Sparrowhawks.  Five tons of fuel gives it better endurance than the F-10, meaning that it can use fuel-conservation tactics on the only fighter that can match its agility, though the SPR-H5’s lower thrust means it might actually fare a little better on those terms.  Armed with three Kajuka "Bright Blossom" medium lasers, one in the nose and one in each wing, the Thrush outguns the Leaguer machine and arguably the Davion one as well; note that despite the fluff, the Thrush’s weaponry causes no heat-problems in its own right, an alpha-strike generating only nine points, which the type’s free ten SHS laugh at.  But all of this comes at a price; carrying only one and a half tons of armour in a 7/6/5 pattern, the Thrush is effectively a layer of tinfoil wrapped around an engine, meaning that a single hit from any angle from any weapon as potent as a large laser (or a pair of mediums) will blow it into very, very tiny pieces.  As almost every fighter in the inventory of its two main competitors mounts such firepower (or more), this makes combat a brief yet highly eventful experience for any Thrush unit that tries stand-and-deliver tactics.
  On the other hand, the Thrush is also a fair light attack spaceframe.  Five tons of external ordnance arriving at 11/17 is certainly respectable; a strafe or strike from three medium lasers isn’t the Finger of God you find in heavier types, it ain’t exactly a laughing matter either, especially to lighter ground-units or as a crit-seeking measure; and while massively fragile in the face of return fire, a Thrush squadron can hand DropShips three three-point Capital whacks per turn, which can be a true brick-passer if six or seven squadrons are at work on said Dropper (as they should be, if the player is doing it right).  All this being true, if the SYD-Z1 Seydlitz is the MiG-21 "Fishbed" of the CBT universe (cheap, cheerful, and hard-hitting), and the F-10 Cheetah is the A-4 "Skyhawk" (cheap, tough bomb-truck), then the TR-7 Thrush is a good candidate for the F-5E "Tiger" (a cheap, fast bomb-truck with some limited use in aerial combat).

  TR-7s are explicitly designed for boom-and-zoom swarm tactics.  Anyone not throwing at least a full squadron at a single target fighter (or whole wings at a DropShip, if you lack any other anti-ship platforms) has completely missed the point of the exercise: individually, they cannot kill bigger fish, but a pirahna-pack of the things can nibble the other guy to death but quick.  As always, the mantras must be observed: Thrush pairs should come screaming in and make slashing attacks on individual targets, then beat feet to extend and troll for another customer.  Stand-up fights and turning engagements are suicidal for something this brittle.
  As I mentioned in the Transgressor article, there’s an alternative tactic some might want to try: the skeet-shoot.  Working in cooperation with a unit of Trangressors or Thunderbirds, a wing-pair of Thrushes plays judas-goat, forcing or luring enemy units into the heavier birds’ line of fire, then breaking clear of the danger area to watch as their companions crank the volume on the good news up to 11.  ;D  Yes, folks, the "Thach Weave" lives on!

  Of the Free Worlds and FedSuns types, only the Cheetah is capable of keeping up with the Thrush, and that only as long as its smaller fuel-fraction lasts, which means that turning fights with Thrushes are not an option - leaving you with the other stand-by: firepower.  The TR-7 tries to draw/force enemy aircraft into kill-zones, and so it should be done to them: screen a lance or two of LRM-birds with some dogfighters (or even a couple of well-armed dogfighters with a few lights) to deny space to the TR-7s.  The Cappies’ lights will either have to avoid the heavy fire-zones (which gives you the tactical advantage of denying them freedom of manoeuvre) or watch their Thrushes get decimated from outside their own range.  If you can arrange for some friendly light-fighters to crowd the TR-7s into those pre-set KZs, the results will not be unlike watching a flying sausage-grinder in action.  ;)

  [VARIANT PROPOSAL(S) REDACTED] All proposed fan-variants - including my own - belong in the corresponding "FotW Workshop" thread:,2299.0.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.  ;)

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Fighter of the Week, Issue #027 (repost) - Thrush ('39 Update)
« Reply #1 on: 26 February 2011, 08:14:22 »
TR-** Thrush – TRO3039 Update
Originally posted 23 Apr. 2008.

  Looking at the updated fluff from TRO3039, one has to wonder if the pilots of the CCAF’s interceptor corps were actually a little grateful to the Federated Suns for prompting the secession of the St. Ives Compact at the tail end of Great Squabble (Round Four).  On the one hand, it deprived them of their only source of interceptors; on the other hand, considering that St. Ives produced Thrushes, one might argue that the shortage of spaceframes did a lot towards prolonging their life-expectancies.  ;D
  (I might add that in the part where the new fluff makes mention of the TR-7’s ‘circular-wing’ atmospheric quirks, it mentions that Cheetah pilots quickly learned to lead them in and out of atmo to force ‘departures’ and thus gain tactical advantage.  Given the amount of, erm, ‘verve’ with which the perennial Davion/Liao feud is pursued, it’s odd to see particular mention of tactics used by pilots of a nominally Marik machine.  Perhaps TPTB are trying to remind outsiders that yes, the Capellans did/do have battle-fronts other than against the Demon Davion?  ???)

  During the Compact’s brief spell as a nominally independent state, Mujika Technologies asked the government to let them play with the design’s specs a little.  The first was a fairly simple armament refit that never got beyond the theoretical stage before the Xin Sheng bulldozer rolled through.
-> TR-7p Thrush: 25t, 12/18/12/4, 7/6/5, 10SHS, W: MPL  (<- AFAIK)
  Now, the added throw-weight and accuracy of pulse lasers is generally a good thing in aerospace combat, where the pitfalls of Spheroid pulsers are mitigated by the range-bracket system.  Nonetheless, IMO this is very much a downgrade: less fuel and combat-endurance, less overall hitting power, and fewer chances to hit with something.  Either most of the other foundtech was being held closer to the FedSuns’ core worlds for security reasons, meaning that the Mujika staff were trying to make the best of a bad lot (without conspicuous success), or Mujika’s people... just flat-out weren’t that great.  :-X

  On the other hand, in 3065 the CapCon came out with a very straightforward upgrade package for their interceptors, under the somewhat prosaic designation of TR-8.
-> TR-8 Thrush: 25t, 12/18/12/5, 7/6/5, 10DHS, N: ERML, W: ERML  (<- AFAIK)
  I don’t know if this a factory-level upgrade or a field-modification kit, but either way, it takes a satisfyingly minimalist approach that means almost anyone can handle the necessary tasks.  At that, it’s a pretty good way to go about keeping the type viable: the increased hitting range is entirely welcome in the modern age of advanced weapons, and the freezers are more than enough to keep the air-conditioning going full-bore even during an alpha-strike.

Quote from: Technical Readout 3039
Plans for an XL-powered Thrush with much heavier armor and weapons never left the cash-strapped Confederation’s design software before the Jihad broke over the Inner Sphere.
  One might speculate as to what that ‘super-Thrush’ might have looked like - as you’ll note over in the Workshop, I certainly did! - but there were ‘money problems’, and that was that.  (We could go into exactly how much bunk the ‘poverty’ argument really is... but it’s been argued to death time and again, so I think we’ll let the catgirls off with a scare this time around the dance-floor.  :P)

  [VARIANT PROPOSAL(S) REDACTED] All proposed fan-variants - including my own - belong in the corresponding "FotW Workshop" thread:,2299.0.html


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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #027 (repost) - Thrush
« Reply #2 on: 26 February 2011, 09:58:45 »
The TR-8 is probably the most practical limited refit that they could make and is a D refit kit if issued that way.

In any case, yes, it's a deathtrap, but honestly, it's not a bad response to the interceptors on their borders.  The firepower is enough to threaten either of the other two and with either fuel or thrust over them, it can dance around them to put guns on target.  It probably does inspire a certain mentality among its pilots, though.

Evil Imperial

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #027 (repost) - Thrush
« Reply #3 on: 29 March 2014, 20:32:15 »
The TR-5 Thrush first built in 2510 according to the Master Unit List (Which is in error by doing some research to make sure it was right.  Ferro-Aluminum wasn't around in the Capellan Confederation until at least 2580 according to Historical: Reunification War advance tech section) as stated in Field Report 2765: CCAF switches the armor out for Ferro-Aluminum increasing the wing armor by 1 point, thus allowing it to last about a fraction of a second longer when hit by well nearly any weapon.

So the loss of advance technology during the succession wars really didn't hurt the Thrush to much other than a slight little bit of protection.

This is probally the advance version of the Thrush mentioned in the original Liao housebook designed by future Chancellor Normann Aris while working as VP of R&D at Earthwerks Ltd.

So I wonder if the earlier 2510 era one was the TR-4 or some other designation.
« Last Edit: 29 March 2014, 20:35:32 by Evil Imperial »
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