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Author Topic: DropShip of the Week: Interdictor  (Read 3518 times)

Jellico

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DropShip of the Week: Interdictor
« on: 28 December 2013, 18:28:02 »

Interdictor Assault DropShip, TRO3085, JHS3076



After their debut in 3072 it was natural to expect to see sub-capital weapons mounted on a DropShip. With JHS:3076 we get to see them in use on one of the most fearsome assault DropShips to take to the skies. The Interdictor.
First seen in combat in 3074 the Interdictor is best described as an Achilles on steroids. Indeed as the fluff notes that is exactly what it is; a modern reinterpretation of everything the Achilles has taught us. Designed as an interceptor rather than as a missile boat like most of the existent “Pocket WarShips”, the Interdictor is intended to run down enemy units and devastate them with its powerful weapons. Where necessary small craft packed with battle armoured marines are ready to board and finish the job.
So how does the Interdictor do this? Well let’s start with the protection. Heavy Ferro Aluminium makes a notable debut on a DropShip with over 2000 points of this advanced armour. 9 AMS offer further protection but only the forward bays are strong enough to offer protection against capital missiles. Combined with the ECM screen inherent to a DropShip this makes an Interdictor a very tough kill, even for a WarShip.
As one of the smaller Pocket WarShips the Interdictor makes good use of its aerodyne hull. While this form does leave exploitable flanks, it also allows the heavy armour, and importantly the ability to fire all three forward arcs at the same target. When facing other large craft the high thrust rating allows the Interdictor to achieve this concentration of firepower at will.
There is an important doctrinal understanding here. Where the spheroid Pocket WarShips are essentially defensive, the Interdictor is clearly intended to operate offensively to achieve its greatest effect. Operating with a WarShip battleline this causes problems as the Interdictor chafes in a close escort role. It is very tempting to let the high speed Interdictors off the leash and get them into dangerous situations. More on that in a moment.
Probably the biggest let down with the Interdictor is its armament. Initially there were two variants, the second of which gives up an infantry bay for more weapons. Both suffererd from new toy syndrome.
Both ships are dominated by MMLs, VSP lasers and Heavy PPCs. That doesn’t sound too bad. The energy weapons in particular are known for being brutal. The problem is that very little of this reaches beyond 13 hexes. Only the MMLs reach out to 20 hexes and MMLs are notorious for being under gunned when compared to LRMs.
The capital weapons are likewise restricted. The best that can be said of the paired AR10s is they are nuclear capable. The wing mounted light sub capital auto canons can be considered after thoughts when every PPC bay does more damage. The Sub Capital variant barely keeps its nuclear rating with its downgraded missiles, and the long range firepower is let down further by the use of light sub capital lasers. These are highly accurate but not really damaging. Admittedly the wing mounted medium auto canons do offer some real bite with more accuracy than the conventional weapons.
Ultimately the capital weapons are functional, but poorly deployed. Wing mounts make it difficult to use them all the time. Inconsistent weapon types make it difficult to gain benefits like Bracketing and large damage bays. The bow missile launchers seem to be there more to carry a nuclear weapon rather than for combat, and if so a single light weight Killer Whale would have been enough.
The conventional weapon load of the Interdictors seems to be based around combat at short range, making use of the high thrust to get there. If this is the case it would have been better to forgo token long range weapons like the light auto canons and lasers and concentrate on the more brutal, larger auto cannons. Too many of these weapons feel like they were chosen for the sake of carrying a sub capital weapon. A better understanding of the ship’s role would have solved this problem.
This comes back to how a Pocket WarShip should be used. The role of most Pocket WarShips before TRO3085 was fire support. This demands long range weapons with no great need for high thrust. They compliment a WarShip line. Like most aerodyne assault ships the Interdictor is better suited to closing the range and fighting in a brawl. This will be highly effective against normal DropShips and aerospace fighters, but in a WarShip environment the Interdictor should really stay back out of danger. Its armour can only save it so long against capital weapons. Unfortunately its short ranged weapons will be harmless if forced into a close escort role as it won’t be able to make an effective commitment to a battle, and even an old Achilles can perform this role just as well.
This brings us full circle to TRO3085. With the end of the Jihad the Republic of the Sphere inherited the sources of Interdictor production. Not needing the nuclear capability they rebuilt the nose of the Interdictor into something far more conventionally dangerous. Twin medium Sub Capital Cannon now sit either side of the nose. Capable of bracketing and doing 100 conventional points of damage they offer much needed hitting power to the Interdictor. The marine quarters have been rearranged to save weight and increase habitability, also the number of MMLs has been increased. Yet for all of these positive changes, dinky SCL1s are still carried in the wings for sniping purposes. Using them will be difficult as they will lack accuracy at range while the nature of combat means it will be unlikely to see them lined up on the same target at long range. The Republic’s Interdictor is an improvement, but shows its heritage.
Finally RS:3145 NTNU made a final modification to the 3078 model. The nose VSP Lasers were dropped in favour of a Naval C3 computer. With no standoff weapons the Interdictor (3115) is almost certainly going to serve as a point unit for C3 networks. This is almost a waste of such a large DropShip, but not as bad as using the Taihou in the same role.
So how do we use an Interdictor? Charge on in, stay mobile and blast anything in sight. Your armour will keep you safe. I should also point out; due to the low number of weapons Interdictors have relatively low BVs compared to over armed units like the Excalibur. I pity the poor ‘Mech that gets strafed by one of these.
How do you stop an Interdictor? Work hard to keep it away from your large craft. Interdictors eat DropShips for breakfast, even other Pocket WarShips. You will need the best part of 18 average Inner Sphere fighters to drop one. The Interdictor’s high thrust makes tactics like tailgating difficult to say the least. If you know an Interdictor is coming load any sort of anti WarShip missile you can find and try to smash as much armour as you can as quickly as possible. The aerodyne form means that Interdictor can’t roll to expose a fresh flank. A stripped wing will leave an Interdictor very vulnerable very quickly. Feel free to use nukes, the AMS can’t protect it and it is worth it for the quick kill in this case. If you want to try a WarShip I recommend a destroyer to be safe. The problem is an Interdictor is worth a lot less than a destroyer, though any destroyer is a far more flexible platform than the essentially one trick Interdictor. A Naga is roughly comparable in combat. Alternatively a pair of Noruffs or Achilles is able to out armour and out turn an Interdictor in a dual situation, but escorting units may restrict this possibility.
So to summarise, an Interdictor is a very powerful and capable DropShip well suited to the role of killing anything that gets in its way. It operates best on its own or in packs of similar craft like Achilles. To stop one in a useful time frame requires massive firepower. Despite this both Interdictor variants have an eclectic choice of weapons which expose them to more threats than are strictly necessary. If you see this ship in combat be very afraid.
« Last Edit: 28 December 2013, 22:57:55 by Jellico »

chanman

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Re: DropShip of the Week: Interdictor
« Reply #1 on: 28 December 2013, 21:30:42 »
Why the quote tags?

Jellico

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Re: DropShip of the Week: Interdictor
« Reply #2 on: 28 December 2013, 22:58:13 »
Opps. Fixed.

Wrangler

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Re: DropShip of the Week: Interdictor
« Reply #3 on: 29 December 2013, 08:34:52 »
Awesome article Jellico.  Tought medium size butt kicker.  So the Sub-cap lasers are just filler weapons or place to prove that these weapons are used?  1 point of capital damage isn't much.  Its +3 hit most common threat, the Aerospace Fighter.
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Sharpnel

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Re: DropShip of the Week: Interdictor
« Reply #4 on: 29 December 2013, 08:48:04 »
Awesome article Jellico.  Tought medium size butt kicker.  So the Sub-cap lasers are just filler weapons or place to prove that these weapons are used?  1 point of capital damage isn't much.  Its +3 hit most common threat, the Aerospace Fighter.
It is when you are fighting other Droppers and Fighters. 1 pt. of Cap damage does equal 10 points of standard and then can mean some serious damage to smaller vessels.
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Giovanni Blasini

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Re: DropShip of the Week: Interdictor
« Reply #5 on: 29 December 2013, 16:54:04 »
Quote from: Wrangler
Its +3 hit most common threat, the Aerospace Fighter.

And then you switch your SCL into anti-fighter mode and they're only +1.
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vidar

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Re: DropShip of the Week: Interdictor
« Reply #6 on: 29 December 2013, 17:09:17 »
This is a cool development small vessel that are not just armed with mech scale weapons.  The now I just need to spinal mount cap. weapon on dropships.

Jellico

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Re: DropShip of the Week: Interdictor
« Reply #7 on: 29 December 2013, 17:39:11 »
And then you switch your SCL into anti-fighter mode and they're only +1.
It is when you are fighting other Droppers and Fighters. 1 pt. of Cap damage does equal 10 points of standard and then can mean some serious damage to smaller vessels.
And a Gauss Rifle rounds up to 2 points of Cap damage.

The value of Sub Caps is in their accuracy. Their capital range brackets mean they get pulse like bonuses at certain ranges, not to mention bracketing. Unfortunately all Interdictors do a really poor job of exploiting this. Wing mounts are typically rule of cool type arrangements. All of the Interdictors would have benefitted from putting their Sub Caps in the nose.

Awesome article Jellico.  Tought medium size butt kicker.  So the Sub-cap lasers are just filler weapons or place to prove that these weapons are used?  1 point of capital damage isn't much.  Its +3 hit most common threat, the Aerospace Fighter.

Let us be very clear here. "Medium size" in this case is as big as an Overlord. Post Jihad assault ships are big. The Dragau is 1000 tons heavier than its Successor War equivalent. Modern armour requirement require a big hull, and Sub Caps require even more. See the Kuan Ti as an example of a bare minimum load.

 

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