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Author Topic: Fighter of the Week, Issue #045 (repost) - Ahab  (Read 3449 times)

Trace Coburn

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Fighter of the Week, Issue #045 (repost) - Ahab
« on: 25 March 2011, 04:27:16 »
AHB-443* Ahab - 90t, TRO2750
Originally posted 12 Oct. 2005.

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

“And how many barrels of oil will thy vengeance buy thee in Nantucket market, Captain Ahab?”

  Now, for the life of me I can’t decide what the Ahab resembles more - a bus with wings, or Thunderbird 3; it certainly doesn’t give the impression of being especially light on its feet.  Whatever design principles the Harvard Company were adhering to when they came up with this one, it’s pretty clear that they didn’t pay much attention to Dassault’s admonition that to be effective, a warplane must be beautiful.  ::)  But then again, beauty is as beauty does, and when they flew into harm’s way supported by blizzard after blizzard of missiles from this heavily-armed fire-support gunbus, SLDF pilots must have found the Ahab a lovely sight indeed.  }:)

  With its 270SFE and five tons of gas giving it 5/8 handling characteristics colourfully described by one jock as resembling those of “a moose in molasses”(!), the Ahab is clearly not cut out for the racetrack - or a turning fight.  On the other hand, its relatively light engine leaves it a very, very healthy proportion of internal volume for other concerns.  }:)  Fifteen-point-five tons of standard armour, 86/59/46, render the Ahab all but immune to the threat of medium-laser thresholding and put it into much the same ‘lumbering mini-Juggernaut’ category as the Stuka, long the measuring-/beating-stick of the heavy category.  ;D  Fourteen single heay-sinks aren’t nearly enough to cover all of the Ahab’s fearsome arsenal, but with proper bracket-discipline they’re adequate to the task.  And the actual weapons loadout?  Hold onto your hat, mate!  The nose-mounted large laser and the twin MLs aft are pretty clearly ‘getting-home guns’, and it’s very handy that those 14 SHS exactly cover their heat-burden.  Each wing houses an LRM-20 with three(!) tons of ammo, meaning that the Ahab can stand back and pour fire into a target pretty much all day if it chooses to; the back-up SRM-6s in each wing, with one ton per launcher, make for a dreadful ‘finishing punch’ at close quarters.  The final piece of ‘offensive’ equipment is a nose-mounted Narc launcher and four(! :o) tons of pods, intended to improve the effective hitting-power of the missile-racks and quite possibly the sole flaw in this formidable design.  Leaving aside the fact that Narc is effective only in the air-to-mud role under AT2/R, requiring ‘in to Narc, out to shoot’ manoeuvring from a platform explicitly intended for long-range fire-support like the Ahab (or that craptastic -5S refit of the classic ARC-2R Archer) Just. Don’t. Work.  >:(  (And who the feth needs twenty-four Narc pods - especially on a 5/8 ninety-tonner?  Unless you’re flying a prep-bombardment mission and Narcing for the benefit of your front-line ground forces, which is a slightly odd way to do business but just might work....  :-\)
  With that sole failing, the Ahab presents a commander with a hell of a lot of firepower.  Striking with one can put as many as fifty-two missiles onto a single target (which is well up into ‘Pre-Ejection Check-List*’ territory :o); a squadron offers two Long-range 7-Capital LRM bays, two fairly-solid clouts from 4-Capital SRM bays, and a sole 5-Capital LL bay which can crit-seek quite well on lighter hulls.  Bombload isn’t much to talk about, only ten tons at 3/5, but if you turn all of that into external fuel, you can double your operational radius and really give the other guy headaches... arguably making the Ahab almost ideal as a surface-based attack ship.  :-X

  The tactical fundamentals of employing heavy attack/fire-support platforms like the Ahab should be second nature to most players by now, but they bear repeating for the newbies: keep them well-escorted/-supported by friendly dogfighters, lest they be molested by the enemy; go for your primary mission target(s) while avoiding direct confrontations with enemy fighters wherever possible; and don’t linger where you have killed - do the job and go home, don’t get greedy.  One might note that such ‘defensive’ SLDF ships as the Zero, Spad, and Gotha make very good ‘bodyguards’ for the Ahab, and that the RGU-133E Rogue is not only a natural companion in the fire-support tasking, but also mobile enough to play ‘Little Friend’ if need be.

  Gunning for an Ahab unit?  Forget throwing your interceptors at ’em unless you’re a Clansman or your light-pilots did something to piss you off - twin MLs will beat the hell out of most IS interceptors very quickly, and their own MLs won’t achieve much against armour this thick.  Draw off the escorts, then hook around their flanks or aft with your (fast) dogfighters.  Don’t get in front of all those missiles if you can possibly avoid it, and bring some decent-sized guns to chew bits off of the AHBs - only C/ERMLs or better need apply.  ::)

  Pre-dating the ‘current’ standard of Ahab by six years, the 2697-vintage AHB-X ‘original’ model differed from the ‘accepted’ production standard in only one significant respect: what would later become the Narc mount was home instead to a triplet of medium lasers and four more heat-sinks.  (The Narc was a later substitution, supposedly to improve the accuracy of the missile racks.  Yeah, right: WTF-ever, fellas.  ::) )  With sufficient dissipation capacity to fire all of its forward energy weapons (or its LL and both SRM racks) without overheating, or to suffer only from a +2-per-turn when emplying both the LRMs and the LL, the AHB-X was fluffed as having better self-defence capability once it depleted its ammunition... but who the hell is going to burn through eighteen full turns of ammo from twin LRM-20s and fifteen turns of twin SRM-6s in one fight?  You’re far more likely to have run out of enemies or/gas before you empty your magazines - assuming you haven’t been rendered combat-ineffective yourself by then.  ::)  Definitely the ‘stock’ version to be preferred - especially since it’s IS1-legal Intro-Tech.  }:)

  [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,3574.0.html


*  Pre-Ejection Check-List:
- Remove helmet
- Spread legs
- Bend over
- Kiss your ass goodbye! :o



  Be advised: the attached .txt transcript(s) 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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AHB-*** Ahab (TRO3050 Updates)
Originally posted 24 Oct. 2007.


Quote from: Maelwys
Another Terran production, this design differs in that it actually got upgraded. The fluff is amusing, in that in the year 3000 the design changed hands, with the new company “forgetting” to produce spare parts and upgrades for the House military Ahabs, while continuing to outfit the ComStar Ahabs. In 3061 this practice would be forgotten, and the spare parts and upgrade packages would be sold to the House militaries and the SLDF, which really heightens the duality of the WoB...on one hand acting in a shady manner, utilizing deception and subterfuge, while on the other hand creating an army to the take on the Clans, as well as helping the Inner Sphere equip themselves. The FOTW covers the original Ahabs pretty well, including their odd weaponry (Narc anyone?) so we’ll concentrate on the newer versions coming out.

Quote from: Maelwys
[AHB-643 Ahab: 90t, 5/8/9/5, 84/59/46, 22 DHS; N: HPPC, 2xML; W: MRM-40 (2), 2xRL/10]
The new versions are being deployed mostly to the Protectorate forces, though several line units have used them, including destroying the massive Deiron fortresses. The first, the -643, packs a Heavy PPC on the front, making for a very nice “Hello” to anything it stumbles across. Dual medium lasers back the HPPC up, while the SRMs and LRMs are replaced by MRM40’s (you thought I was going to say MMLs, didn’t you?). Rounding out the design oddly, are 4 RL10’s, 2 on each wing. The biggest drawback is the 12 rounds for the MRM40s... 6 rounds per launcher simply isn’t enough. The -643 just winds up coming across as poorly designed. The RL10s could easily be pod mounted under the wings, freeing up 2 tons to increase the ammo. Second, while the original Ahab was geared towards fighting with its weapons at optimal ranges, the -643 is geared to alpha strike... and after 6 rounds you have half your heat sinks with nothing to do. The design also loses its rear firing medium lasers, which hurts the “lumbering” design. The MRM40’s hitting for 24 damage are nice, the 6 rounds per gun suck. It’s like many of the WoB ’Mech designs...it could be cool, but everything adds up to make it suck.
  Maelwys calls this one right, for my money.  While they add to the -643’s already intimidating alpha-strike firepower, the rocket-launchers are effectively dead weight when you consider that a single salvo from an MRM-40 generates four times the damage of an RL/10, you get six salvoes to the ton, and that they’re a substantial contributor to the -643’s need for those twenty-two freezers!  >:(
  OTOH, the HPPC has a hefty ‘shock and awe’ factor, especially since a Strike attack has a good chance at decapitating a ’Mech, and follow-up from two MRM-40s can erode armour, find criticals, and generally pulverize ground vehicles with extreme prejudice.  (That said, like Maelwys I also question the decision to shift the MLs forward: considering the fearsome firepower the forward mounts already have, they’d have been more use as a countermeasure to would-be tailgaters.)
  Still and all, the Ahab -643 comes across as a spaceframe with a schizo-affective or downright MPD designer and needs a severe overhaul.  (See below.  :P)

Quote from: Maelwys
[AHB-MD Ahab: 90t, 5/8/9/5, 84/59/48, 22 DHS; N: LPL, 2xML, W: MRM-40(4), TarComp]
There’s another design, cleverly named AHB-MD on the record sheet. The Rocket Launchers are gone, the MRM40’s now have 12 rounds each. The HPPC is replaced by a LPL, and a targeting computer makes it even more accurate, which is a somewhat scary proposition. The fluff says it hasn’t been used in ground attacks yet (oddly) but it seems to be designed for anti-shipping. The design almost seems wasteful. 9 tons of weaponry means a 3 ton targeting computer, hardly the most efficient use of the system. It’s just...blah really. Maybe I’ve just been reviewing too many fighters.
  Yeah, burn-out’s no fun at all.  :P
  It almost looks to me like the -643 was the prototype for the AHB-MD – you’ll note that major structural elements like the MRM mounts and coolant system are perfect matches for that deployed in the -643 – but they had an attack of good sense once the -643 was first test-flown and its performance evaluated.  Why they’d leave -643 configured Ahabs in service when the AHB–MD is available is yet another vagary of the Blaker mindset: it’s cooler-running (even a touch oversinked!), longer-lasting ammo-wise, and delivers more effective damage owing to the TarComp.
  (Maybe the toaster-boys accord the Heavy PPC some sort of Freudian significance?  :-X)

Quote from: Maelwys
The oddest part is the fluff saying that under each MRM [on the AHB-MD] is a hardpoint for an Alamo missile. That’s odd because the Ahab, at 90 tons, can carry 18 points of bombs. Each Alamo takes up 10 points worth of bombs. So either the Ahab has special dispensation, or someone is being fooled into thinking the Ahabs carry 2 nukes.
  Or maybe both hardpoints are wired for Alamos as a redundancy measure, but only one of them is so armed in any given sortie?  ???

Quote from: Maelwys
It’s a shame the Ahab variant from HS:3070 isn’t included, I guess it will remain a secret.
  Call me an optimist, but it might be intended for some sort of BattleCorps release some time down the pike.  ;)

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Fighter of the Week, Issue #045 (repost) - Ahab (’75 update)
« Reply #2 on: 25 March 2011, 04:31:58 »
PRINCES OF THE UNIVERSE
The “Royal” Starfighters of TRO3075
Originally posted 3 Sept. 2008.


  Given that the subject of “full-service high-tech super-fighters” has been the focus of ‘vigorous discussion’ ever since people first looked at the “lacklustre” platforms listed in TRO2750 - discussions which came close to starting their share of blood-feuds for my own tastes - TPTB may well intend these ships to finally end that particular debate once and for all.  Personally, I have to say it’s about time - posters shooting at each other on a tabletop or over MegaMek is all in the spirit of the game, but all those dagger-drawn arguments were trying my nerves.  :D

  Before we start, I’d just like to chip in a helpful fluff-note for the tech-scavengers, culture-vultures and wannabe-writers (like me!) who find every tidbit of CBT lore interesting.  For those who haven’t yet had the chance to score TRO3075 :'(, it appears that any SLDF platform which was given the “Royal” treatment has a ‘b’ suffix appended to its normal type-designator, e.g. TRN-3Tb.  If you’re checking your opponent’s record-sheets or OOB before a game, you might want to be very careful about looking for that innocuous suffix; it might be the difference between a fun game and getting mauled by some underhanded munchkin.  :-X

  Also FWIW: in the weeks since TRO3050U was released, I’ve made a point of ‘thinking out loud’ about what I thought a Royal ASF might look like.  I’m including links to those speculations in each entry, for reference purposes; you’ll need to scroll down to the “Update Workshop” in each post, though.  ;)

...

AHB-443b Ahab
  My version, which again appears to have been rather more... ambitious than the SLDF’s.  :-X
Quote from: Technical Readout 3075
AHB-443b Ahab: Upgrading to double-efficiency heat sinks allows an extended-range model to replace the large laser. The armor is now ferro-fibrous.
  GAAAAHHH!  >:( [tickedoff] @p? [metalhealth]
  I keep seeing this mistake made when fan-designers fluff their designs, and in those circumstances I can restrain myself from picking that particular nit even though it really, really works my nerves, but now it’s slipped into a published, canon TRO!  >:( [tickedoff]
  Folks, please remember: ferro-fibrous armour is used on GROUND systems - ’Mechs and vehicles.  In AEROSPACE applications - when you’re building ASFs, small-craft, or ’Ships - you use ferro-ALUMINIUM armour for more mass-efficient protection!  >:( [tickedoff]
  ...
  Sorry.  That just... hits a berserk button, y’know?  :-X  Back on-topic now.  ::)

  Now, the added beam-range is useful, and the thicker armour is welcome, but... really, not the SLDF’s best work.  The Ahab was always meant to be a missile-boat, and they managed to pass up (or worse yet, miss) a golden chance to crank that up to ‘11’?  Hey, Goose: could I borrow your ‘facepalm’ smilie for a minute?  ???  :P

sandstorm

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #045 (repost) - Ahab
« Reply #3 on: 25 March 2011, 07:22:02 »
High amount of Narc reloads would be nice, if one could use the alternate pods. Nothing like sneaking an Ahab next to Clan WarShip and hitting it with Nemesis pod. Of course, it wouldn't really do anything in Space...

And anything you can pod on Ground is going to be hit with plenty of nice and heavy firepower anyway. One thing to say for ASF Narc'er, though. It's much easier to get into range of some nasty Dire Wolf when approaching by air instead of on the ground.
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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #045 (repost) - Ahab
« Reply #4 on: 25 March 2011, 08:50:23 »
Considering that we now know the SLDF had and used both the Thunderbird and the Stuka, I'm not really sure where the Ahab fell into that whole roll.  Rules that make Narc a not-especially-useful system compound the problem.  It's a decent bird but it really feels like the whole thing could use some tweaking.

High amount of Narc reloads would be nice, if one could use the alternate pods. Nothing like sneaking an Ahab next to Clan WarShip and hitting it with Nemesis pod. Of course, it wouldn't really do anything in Space...

Or in the air.  That said, given the general lack of interference that aerospace Artemis faces, it's easier and more generally effective to just use Artemis IV and suck it up the occasional times you're hitting a surface target using ECM.  Since strike fighters aren't just ground attack planes, dedicated fixed payload space to Narc is not a terribly good idea in my book.  The Ahab has the tonnage to sort of get away with it, sort of, but it's still not really a great idea.

Does anyone have any practical experience with this?  It doesn't seem like something that's well-regarded IC (the only aerospace Narc units are, to the best of my knowledge, all from about the same time period OOC and aren't terribly numerous).  And if so, is it better to use some cheap dedicated platforms to do the Narc work?

And anything you can pod on Ground is going to be hit with plenty of nice and heavy firepower anyway. One thing to say for ASF Narc'er, though. It's much easier to get into range of some nasty Dire Wolf when approaching by air instead of on the ground.

Possibly but I'd rather risk some cheap, easily mass-produced hovercraft or WiGEs than an ASF.  Dire Wolves are the sort of thing that are threatening to everyone and at least one