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Author Topic: Fighter of the Week Special Issue #003 (repost) - Overview, Lyran Fighters  (Read 4418 times)

Trace Coburn

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FIGHTER FORCE OVERVIEW: LYRANS

  You’ll recall that I defined the ‘ideal’, ‘complete’ overall fighter force back in the “Generic Fighters” Overview column; please take the time to refresh your memory before/while you read what follows, and bear it in mind; however, the bare acceptable minimum for any force is one (or more) interceptors, a dogfighter and an attack bird - the other roles are the ‘nice-to-have’ spaceframes which act as force-multipliers.
  For the purposes of this discussion, I’m going to handle the signature Succession Wars-era Lyran fighters on their own, then throw in the ‘generic’/‘other’ fighters they have access to (according to FM:U, TRO3050U, TRO3075, and MadCapellan's excellent work Objective Raids 3067), then handle the IS2-era stuff in one big whack... not that there’s much to say once you bring out the 95-ton Swiss Army knife.  }:)  ::)


FORCE ASSESSMENT: SIGNATURE LYRAN STARFIGHTERS, c.3025

SYD-Z1 Seydlitz - INTERCEPTOR (CLOSE ATTACK)
  20t, 11/17/11/3, 10/6/10, 10 SHS; N: LL

  At once the smallest and most heavily-armed IS1-tech interceptor in the skies of the Succession Wars, the Seydlitz dates back to 2605 and (like most BT fighters) supposedly served in the SLDF for some time - presumably attached to the Lyran-recruited/-based divisions.

F-90 Stingray - DOGFIGHTER
  60t, 6/9/6/5, 60/45/34, 20 SHS; N: PPC, W: LL, ML

  Only introduced in 2748, the Stingray never really got a chance to establish its reputation in the SLDF before the Amaris Coup, but the Star League’s loss was the FWL’s incredible gain.  A number of F-90 spaceframes left in Lyran space (or the TH planets the Elsies annexed before 1SW) were eagerly pressed into LCAF service, but the factories were all deep inside FWL territory, rather emphatically orphaning the Lyran birds.

LCF-R15 Lucifer - ATTACK
  65t, 5/8/6/5, 63/38/37, 20 SHS; N: LRM-20(5), 2xLL; W: 2xSL; A: ML

  Introduced in 2526, the Lucifer has been in continuous service ever since, despite a laundry-list of flaws, gripes, and quirks that make the type almost as dangerous to its own pilots as to the enemy.  Personally, in light of its mediocrity I can only ascribe its retention to stultifying levels of institutional inertia and an obscene degree of graft in the procurement process.  >:(

CHP-W5 Chippewa - ATTACK
  90t, 5/8/9/5, 43/24/29, 25 SHS; N: 2xML, 2xLRM-15(4), SRM-6(1); W: 2xLL; A: 2xSL

  Introduced to give the Star League a ‘quality offensive fighter’ for the Reunification War, the Chippy is thin-skinned, overgunned, and (even with the infamous ‘special insulation’ on its large lasers) seriously undercooled.  The remarks regarding the Lucifer’s retention apply here as well; why the heck the Taurian Concordat bought a licence to build the things when it already makes and operates Thunderbirds is a mystery for the ages.  [metalhealth]


IN TERMS OF THE ‘IDEAL’ FORCE - SIGNATURE LYRAN STARFIGHTERS, 3025

  ROLE                           ADDRESSED
Interceptor                           YES (1)
Fast Dogfighter                       NO
Dogfighter                            YES (1 - with a ‘but’)
Fire-Support                          NO
Attack                                YES (2)
*Close-Attack                         NO



SIGNATURE LYRAN FIGHTERS IN ’25 - FORCE POSITIVES:
  As you can tell from the readouts above, a ‘pure’ Lyran force has pretty much all the guns you could want - and quite possibly a few more than is wise for its own good.  Your attack squadrons are all heavily armed, meaning you can make a big mess of whatever heavy assets/ground-forces you choose to go after, and having both a heavy attack fighter and a medium one means you have a range of mud-moving/’Ship-killing options.
  The Seydlitz is also the second-fastest of all the ’25 interceptors, out-paced only by the Cheetah and Thrush; coupled with its heavy firepower, this makes it a platform to be respected.

SIGNATURE LYRAN FIGHTERS IN ’25 - FORCE NEGATIVES:
  First huge problem: a conspicuous lack of 6/9 dogfighters, other than a few Stingrays which the Commonwealth did/could not produce for itself and are thus in even more short supply than was the norm for ASFs in this era.  This leaves a gaping hole in the LCAF fighter corps, in that its attack assets lack a credible escort and its Seydlitz have no ‘big brothers’ to back them up.  :'(
  Second huge problem: all of the LCAF’s signature fighters buy their heavy warloads at the price of desperately thin armour (and in the SYD-Z1’s case, dreadfully small fuel-tanks).  The Lucifer’s armour is little better than soggy tissue paper (on top of fluff that makes it sound like a deathtrap), and the Chippewa’s armour is even thinner than the LCF-R15’s!  :o

  Frankly, taken on its own this is not a force to fill a commander with confidence.  However, things get a great deal better if one combs through the sourcebooks and notes that the Lyran Commonwealth builds/built every single one of the ‘generic’ starfighters in this era, not to mention several variants of the Rapier; although you lose some of the ‘flavour’ of a pure-signature force, you gain a great deal of capability....


IN TERMS OF THE ‘IDEAL’ FORCE - ALL LYRAN-BUILT STARFIGHTERS, 3025

  ROLE                          ADDRESSED
Interceptor                           YES (3)
Fast Dogfighter                       NO
Dogfighter                            YES (4)
Fire-Support                          NO
Attack                                YES (4)
*Close-Attack                         YES (1)


  The Hellcat Is, Eagles and Rapiers are particular godsends, allowing the LCAF fighter corps to send its (formidable) attack assets at a target with sufficient escorts to ensure a fair chance of actually getting them back again.  ::)  With the ‘generics’ and the RPR- series included in the mix, the LCAF is actually quite happy for dogfighters, albeit mostly ones that suffer from their propensity towards over-gunning and under-cooling their fighters.  Unfortunately, it still lacks a 6/9 fire-support platform to counter the Combine’s Shilone (the Rapier’s LRM-10 has too few tubes to count) and (circa the War of ’39) a fast dogfighter to deal with the S-3/S-4 Sai.


FORCE ASSESSMENT: SIGNATURE LYRAN STARFIGHTERS, c.3067

SYD-Z4 Seydlitz - INTERCEPTOR (CLOSE ATTACK)
  20t, 11/17/11/5 (XLFE), 20/12/19 (FAA), 10 DHS; N: ERLL

F-92 Stingray - DOGFIGHTER
  60t, 6/9/6/5, 60/45/34, 20 DHS; N: ERPPC; W: ERLL, ML

LCF-R16 Lucifer - ATTACK
  65t, 5/8/6/5, 63/48/38 (FAA), 20 DHS; N: LRM-20 w/Art-IV(5), 2xERLL; W: SSRM-2(1); A: MPL

CHP-W7 Chippewa - ATTACK
  90t, 5/8/9/5, 43/29/33 (FAA), 25 DHS; N: 2xML, 2xLRM-15(4), SRM-6(1); W: 2xLPL; A: 2xSPL

EST-R3 Eisensturm - DOGFIGHTER/ATTACK/FIRE-SUPPORT
  95t, 6/9/9/5 (XLFE), 110/85/69 (FAA), 11 DHS; N: 2xGR(4), 2xML; W: LL

EST-O Eisensturm - DOGFIGHTER/OMNIFIGHTER
  95t, 6/9/9/5 (XLFE), 110/85/69 (FAA), 11 DHS; 46 tons pod-space

  The Eisensturm has been called ‘the fighter the Inner Sphere had to have’, and with good reason.  Mobile enough to keep up with most dogfighters (even better than most, given its high SI!), incredibly tough, and better-armed than a marilith, it demonstrates the full power and potential that foundtech (and OmniTech) can achieve when applied with energy, vision, and the ability and will to throw obscene amounts of money at a problem.  ;D


  In all honesty, with the exception of the limited Stingray force and the much-improved Seydlitz, the best idea for the Lyran fighter force after the debut of the EST-R3 would be to flog off all of the other ‘signature’ Lyran fighters to any suckers mercenary units stupid desperate enough to want them and replace them with as many Eisensturms as the factories can produce (and more besides!).  Even in the fixed-equipment -R3 model, the Eisensturm is simply that flexible and that dominant: it can do fire-support, dogfighting, escort, attack - pretty much anything you’d need a starfighter to do.  My recommendation would be to build masses of the lower-cost EST-R3s to fill out the dogfighter/multi-role squadrons, then start cranking out EST-O’s to re-equip the attack units; thus, when the Omnis take service, they have a corps of trained, experienced pilots to draw on, as well as a ready-established escort force.  SYD-Z4 Seydlitz to lead the way, EST-R3s to escort the attackers and handle the furbrawl that develops, EST-Os for attack duties - there’s your three cardinal fighter roles served right there, and the force is comprised of only two main types for commonality (which is no bad thing ;)).  All it would need to be the ‘ideal, complete’ force is a fast dogfighter, and trading a couple of hundred Eisensturms to the FedSuns for their value in DARO-1 Daggers would probably cover that niche.  }:)  (Seydlitz and Daggers and ’Sturms - oh my:o  “Sweet dreams are made of this....”  ;D)
  Alternately, with the FWL seemingly retiring its Stingrays for all-foundtech Lancers, the Lyrans could buy up all those ‘obsolescent’ F-90/-92 spaceframes on the open market and put them through a comprehensive overhaul to address that tactical niche....

  [VARIANT PROPOSAL(S) REDACTED] All proposed fan-variants - including my own - belong in the corresponding “FotW Workshop” thread: http://www.classicbattletech.com/forums/index.php/topic,3259.0.html


CONCLUSIONS:
  In the pre-foundtech era, the ‘signature’ Lyran fighters, taken on their own, do not comprise a ‘complete’ starfighter force; they do not even fulfill the accepted three tiers most other Successor States allowed for (interceptor, dogfighter, attacker), except when one gives them the Stingray (which is more of an FWL icon anyway).  When considered in conjunction with the other fighters which the Lyrans produce (and sell to other nations?), mostly being ‘generic’ designs but also including the none-too-shabby Rapier (which strangely has never featured too prominently in LCAF OOBs, AFAIK, despite the revelation in ’50U that it was built on Tharkad throughout the Succession Wars!), the picture improves somewhat, matching the ‘bare-bones’ framework all of the other states enjoy; however, it still lacks the fast-dogfighter and fire-support platforms it would need to equal the (admittedly robust) standard set by the DCA, whose well-oiled aerospace machine exhibits complementary capabilities and natural teamwork that are the despair of its enemies.

  After 3049, things actually don’t change much: the ‘generics’ are left untouched (precisely because they are generic?), the Seydlitz becomes the interceptor it has always wanted to be, the other two signature spaceframes get firepower upgrades... and the dogfighter role remains solely with the heavyweight and under-mentioned (and perhaps under-produced?) Rapier, a handful of Stingrays, and a scattering of generics whose intro-tech was utterly outclassed by the Clanners, while the fast-’fighter and fire-support niches still go begging.  It’s only with the introduction of the Eisensturm in 3063 that the Lyran fighter command properly addresses those needs and thus undergoes a true paradigm shift, though the nature of that shift certainly makes its heavy fighters the envy of the entire Inner Sphere.  }:)  The LAAF (LCAF-redux?) ‘needs’ only a fast-’fighter to offset the Clan/Combine types, and one could even make the case that that ‘need’ is more a matter of outsiders’ dogma than actual requirement, given the way that the new Seydlitz and Eisensturm can get down to business.  }:)  ::)

  It’s also worth noting that TRO’85 has revealed that after half a millenium of killing Lyran pilots almost more efficiently than it ever did Leaguers or Dracs, the Lucifer (along with the significantly less-sucky Hellcat I) is being phased out in the ‘Republic’ era and replaced by the new MR-1S Morgenstern, a 70-ton, 6/9 (SFE) OmniFighter that operates in a ‘high/low’ mix with the Eisensturm.  (It only took them five centuries to work out that the Lucy was a deathtrap POS, huh?  Wow: who knew Elsie bureaucrats could move that fast?  #P)  [RANT EXCISED - I’ll save it for the actual Morgenstern article.  [tickedoff]]  With two OmniFighters in their OOB - a medium and a heavy, to boot! - Lyran fighter-forces in the post-Jihad timeframe have an enviable degree of flexibility and interoperability; if the other types are phased out of the LCAF with any degree of alacrity during the new ‘peace’, their fighter-wings might actually start to approach a degree of uniformity of equipment that 21st-century military professionals might deem ‘adequate’.  >:(
« Last Edit: 18 March 2011, 06:12:11 by Trace Coburn »

Moonsword

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Their 'need' for a new fast dogfighter was met with the production of the Samurai by Fairchild Dorneir.  Whether the line is still on their territory or not after the Republic's founding, I don't know.  We simply don't know whether the factory was on Mizar, where the old one was, or if it was located somewhere else.

Ruger

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Needs to be updated to include the Thunderbird, Centurion, Sabre and Lightning, which HB: HS reveal are all built in the LC/LA...

Also, I'm not sure I agree with the comment on the Lucifer's armor, as both the Stingray and Shilone (it's two primary competitors at the time) only have a half ton more armor, and the Hellcat I actually has a half ton less...and the faster, but shorter ranged Samurai has a full ton and a half less...

I would actually be of a mind to use SL tech to turn the Lucifer into a high performance (for its size) bird (fast, heavily armed and armored), with the Morgenstern as the budget bird...You can make it just as effective as its nearest competitors in the 3025 environment by changing just one weapon (or possibly 2 types, if you don't like small lasers ilo meds), and with SL tech, it could become a Lyran version of the Dagger... (of course, I'm a bit biased, as I consider the Lucifer one of the overall better looking 3025 fighter designs...lookswise if not statwise...)

Ruger
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Trace Coburn

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Their 'need' for a new fast dogfighter was met with the production of the Samurai by Fairchild Dorneir.  Whether the line is still on their territory or not after the Republic's founding, I don't know.  We simply don't know whether the factory was on Mizar, where the old one was, or if it was located somewhere else.
  Nice catch.  Back when this was originally written, I still thought the Samurai was a Drac bird, and in my haste to get this reposted I overlooked the new fluff and thus didn't re-write that section.  :-[

Needs to be updated to include the Thunderbird, Centurion, Sabre and Lightning, which HB: HS reveal are all built in the LC/LA...

  Ahem...
  Frankly, taken on its own this is not a force to fill a commander with confidence.  However, things get a great deal better if one combs through the sourcebooks and notes that the Lyran Commonwealth builds/built every single one of the ‘generic’ starfighters in this era, not to mention several variants of the Rapier; although you lose some of the ‘flavour’ of a pure-signature force, you gain a great deal of capability....
  Reading too fast, were we?  :P

Also, I'm not sure I agree with the comment on the Lucifer's armor, as both the Stingray and Shilone (it's two primary competitors at the time) only have a half ton more armor, and the Hellcat I actually has a half ton less...and the faster, but shorter ranged Samurai has a full ton and a half less...
  ... YMMV, then.  I was in a slight hurry to get this (re-)posted, and that section was another that I didn't edit in light of later experience/learning.   :-\

I would actually be of a mind to use SL tech to turn the Lucifer into a high performance (for its size) bird (fast, heavily armed and armored), with the Morgenstern as the budget bird...You can make it just as effective as its nearest competitors in the 3025 environment by changing just one weapon (or possibly 2 types, if you don't like small lasers ilo meds), and with SL tech, it could become a Lyran version of the Dagger... (of course, I'm a bit biased, as I consider the Lucifer one of the overall better looking 3025 fighter designs...lookswise if not statwise...)
  Oh, I wholeheartedly agree that the Lucifer looks phenomenal, and that it could be highly competitive with some overhauls and touch-ups... I'm just saying that between the base-model's having some questionable stats and all the horror-stories in the fluff, the LCAF's decision to start with a blank CAD screen is completely understandable.   #P


  Wow - I managed to make a tit of myself twice with one post.  Way to set up a real hippo birdie for myself.  :-[  ;D

Ruger

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  Ahem...  Reading too fast, were we?  :P

Nah...just not putting 2 and 2 together to understand what was meant by "'generic' starfighters in this era"...

Ruger
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Trace Coburn

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Nah...just not putting 2 and 2 together to understand what was meant by "'generic' starfighters in this era"...
  The line does assume that folks followed the link at the top of the thread to the 'Generic Overview', or had read Special Issue #002 before coming to this column.  Given what happens when you assume... yeah, I probably should've been a little clearer about what types I meant.  :D

sandstorm

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  Wow - I managed to make a tit of myself twice with one post.  Way to set up a real hippo birdie for myself.  :-[  ;D

Woot?!

This calls for an ASF flight show right here and now... DCA vs LCN in friendly competition fo TAG, pre-SwissArmyKnife?

And Congratulations for surviving your mistakes for another year.
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Lyran Archer

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I'm actually surprised that the Stuka isn't listed as a Lyran ASF.

It has a German name and its size and firepower would seem to fit more in line with Lyran guns-ablazing military doctrine. Since the Lyrans were so cozy with the Fed Suns even before the FedCom merger, wouldn't quite a few Stukas have been sold to the Lyran Commonwealth by their Davion allies? Then, especially after the FedCom merger, wouldn't Lyran AeroSpace pilots be begging their COs to acquire Stukas for Lyran space defence?

In fact, the Stuka D6 is said to be a FedCom model. If that Stuka was being produced for the FedCom, wouldn't the Lyran half of FedCom rejoice and demand that their flying-coffin Lucifers and paper-skinned Chippewas being immediately replaced? I certainly would think so.

Is there any indication of Stukas in Lyran use or is this just extremely wishful thinking on my part?
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DragonKhan55

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Historically, AFAIK, the Stuka has always been a Davion design. Prior to the failed experiment FedCom merger, the STU-D6 has always been the quintessential Davion attack bird, much like the overheated flying tissue paper wedge has always been a pure Lyran fighter. But after the merger? I think you can probably get away with merging a few Stukas into your Lyran attack wings.

Oddly enough, Davion DID import the Chippewa and made their own variant, the CHP-W10, which sheds two LLs for 10(!!) more tons of armor, turning a flying deathtrap into a legitimately powerful attack bird. If you are interested, I would suggest that you convert your Lyran CHP-W5's to the Davion model and watch the effectiveness of your attack wings skyrocket-not to mention the morale for your flyboys!

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