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Author Topic: Fighter of the Week, Issue #108 — Wusun  (Read 2810 times)

Jellico

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Fighter of the Week, Issue #108 — Wusun
« on: 17 November 2013, 00:33:44 »
Wusun — 55t, TRO3085




With a new variant showing up in RS3145 I went looking for a Fighter of the Week for the Wusun only to find none existed. Let's see if we can fix that.

The Wusun is a Snow Raven OmniFighter introduced in TRO3085 which takes more than a little from the Dagger. In many ways it is a hole filler, occupying the vacant 55 ton OmniFighter weight bracket it offers a different set of capabilities to the gun boat Turk and heavy Visigoth.

Though it is little hard to track through the TROs, the Wusun was the final step in a long development program by United Outworlders Corporation under the guidance of Clan Snow Raven. The Corax OmniFighter, to the upgraded Hellcats and Lightnings, and finally the Corax C were all steps leading up to the Wusun. The process saw UOC's Ramora facility upgraded and integrated with Clan Snow Raven. The Wusun itself manages to maintain the Clan naming standards, being named for an Asiatic tribe, the Chinese name '烏孫' ('Wusun') literally means Wu = 'crow' or 'raven' + Sun = 'grandson'

The Wusun combines 8/12 thrust with 24 tons of pod space, 4 tons of fuel, and 11.5 tons of ferro fibrous armour. While protection is not super heavy it is high by (very very dated) Clan standards. Canted forward, the nose arc can only be penetrated by 9 point weapons while the wing arcs require a 7 point weapon. Unfortunately the aft arc can be critted by a medium laser, being a major vulnerability. Given no variant mounts a rear firing weapon the Ravens clearly intended to rely on the high thrust rating to keep enemies out of the rear arc.

The Primary variant is clearly a dog fighter with no long range weapons. A trio of ER Medium Lasers sit in the nose, tied to a targeting computer, while paired Streak SRM6s sit in the wings. There are heat sinks to fire most of it, on those few turns when the Wusun is able to line up a target. In any case the Streak effect should keep the Prime running cool. The medium lasers are able to crit most peer opponent’s armour while the Streaks provide volume damage. Especially in this age of Reflective Armour.

The A variant follows the same pattern but switches the weapons around. Targeting computer aimed pulse lasers sit in the nose, while an Artemis guided LRM 15 sits in each wing. Again heat management is good. This seems to be the standard missile support platform. That said the 5 point clusters from the LRMs will offer better penetration against light opponents.

The B variant suffers a bit from new toy syndrome. A huge HAG 40 with a targeting computer fills the nose. 5 point clusters are nothing special, and total damage is a little low. That said it is more accurate than most ballistic or missile systems until Artemis V comes into play making it useful against reflective armoured opponents.

The C variant is clearly a DropShip hunter, though it is equally terrifying to other opponents. A token ER Large Lasers provides long range fire while six computer-guided, totally heat sinked, Heavy Medium Lasers provide the bulk of the firepower. An Active Probe rounds it out.  The ability to put 60 points of damage into a target, say with a strike attack, is always attractive suggesting this variant is a powerful option when a pilot can be sure of being able to get to short range.

The new D variant in RS3145 is a total reversal of usual Wusun practice. While the Targeting Computer remains the cluster of medium weapons is replaced by two heavy hitting weapons; a Gauss Rifle and an Improved Heavy Large Laser. An ECM Suite and an extra ton of fuel round out the variant. The D has the lowest throw weight of all the Wusuns, but is has the most potential to achieve critical hits against all enemies. The Gauss Rifle would certainly be useful against Koroshiyas and Cutlasses.

Using a Wusun is all about dog fighting. Open the throttle and rely of evasion and your armour to get you into range. At 50% accuracy the Prime can put 34 points of damage into a target with no heat problems. The B can manage 22 points but more accurately. Start applying some of that and your problems will go away. Target the big and slow. Probably the most dangerous peer is the Rondel which has similar reflective armour and thrust, but half the firepower. The Visigoth has to be respected, purely because the thrust ratings are so close and the older fighter has more firepower.

The main threat to the Wusun is the higher thrust light fighters. Batus and Sullas are able to outmanoeuvre the Wusun so it needs to use its throw weight to overcome the lighter fighters before a turning fight sets in. The 10/15 fighters are even more dangerous, though they are easier to kill with a lucky salvo. Out of atmosphere under vectored thrust any of the big 6/9 or 5/9 fighters are potentially too dangerous simply because it is so easy for them to bring their large arrays of guns to bear.


« Last Edit: 17 November 2013, 23:15:11 by Jellico »

Jackmc

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #108 — Wusun
« Reply #1 on: 17 November 2013, 04:20:20 »
Nice write up.  You did a good job catching the high points, though I think that 4 ton fuel tank deserves mention.  If someone is used to driving birds with the standard 5 ton tank isn't heads up, that 20% reduction is going to come as a nasty surprise on something like this that is so built for turning and burning.

-Jackmc
« Last Edit: 17 November 2013, 04:22:16 by Jackmc »


Wrangler

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #108 — Wusun
« Reply #2 on: 17 November 2013, 19:40:45 »
Mighty bird is what thing is for its weight class.  Thanks for the write up, Jellico!

EDIT: Wusun D, how would this fighter be used?  Star formation of these isn't a joke but it doesn't seem very compelling in comparison to other fighters or its own alternated configurations it has.  Looking at the other 3145 variants of fighters, at least it doesn't fall into the trend of maxing out its heat sinks.
« Last Edit: 17 November 2013, 20:16:38 by Wrangler »
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UnLimiTeD

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #108 — Wusun
« Reply #3 on: 17 November 2013, 21:48:16 »
The Description for the C is missing a half-sentence. 8)
Otherwise, a decent writeup.

The D variant pokes around that question again whether raw damage or thresholding are more important in today's dogfight, and it probably depends on the target.
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Jellico

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #108 — Wusun
« Reply #4 on: 17 November 2013, 23:39:27 »
EDIT: Wusun D, how would this fighter be used? 

In some ways you might call it fumbling around for how the Clans might deal with reflective armour. Where the usual Wusun variants go for volume of fire, this can fall to pieces in the face of heavily armoured targets like the Rondel. The D pretty much promises to crit anything flying. The extra fuel is to make up a hole in the original design while the ECM is to improve defence.

Serious consideration has been given to masses of LRMs to deal with reflective armour. The issues are twofold. One most Clan omnis already have a LRM variant. And secondly 5 point clusters don't mean much in this age of flying bricks. That means using ballistics which lack the traditional huge Clan advantages. A major problem on fighters as small as the Sulla and Wusun.

So a pilot has several options. The Prime, with huge firepower but no chance of a crit. The A with a mix of firepower and crits. The B with low crits and damage but no wasted effort. And the D with low damage but high chance of crits.

Goodness knows which is better and it is better answered by Trace than me. I normally stride a bridge rather than cower in a cockpit.
« Last Edit: 17 November 2013, 23:42:01 by Jellico »