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Author Topic: Fighter of the Week Special Issue #004 (repost) - Overview, Capellan Fighters  (Read 3080 times)

Trace Coburn

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FIGHTER FORCE OVERVIEW: CAPELLANS
Originally posted 28 Dec. 2005.

  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 Capellan fighters on their own, then throw in the ‘generic’ 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.  }:)  ::)


FORCE ASSESSMENT: SIGNATURE CAPELLAN STARFIGHTERS, c.3025

TR-7 Thrush - INTERCEPTOR (CLOSE ATTACK)
  25t, 12/18/12/5, 7/6/5, 10 SHS; N: ML; W: ML

  Introduced in 2798, the TR-7 makes you wonder what the heck the Confederation was using for a lightfighter in the Star League era.  (And why the heck they switched, given the TR-7’s abysmal survivability in the face of enemy fire - unless Mujika pulled another of their cons?)  Despite its armour being a polite fiction and somewhat awkward aerodynamics, the Thrush does bring an impressive acceleration curve and decent firepower to the table.

TR-10 Transit - CLOSE-ATTACK (DOGFIGHTER)
  50t, 6/9/6/5, 65/35/33, 13 SHS; N: AC/20(2), 2xML; W: ML

  The result of the infamous “Mujika BOHICA” scam by the Capellan government, Mujika’s TR-10 Transit is effectively a clone of Tengo’s Lightning and has been in service since the first quarter of the 26th century(!).  Noted for its forgiving handling characteristics and certainly not short of short-range punch, the Transit is a mainstay of CCAF fighter-commands despite its lack of reach.

TR-13 Transgressor - DOGFIGHTER
  75t, 6/9/6/5, 82/51/40, 25 SHS; N: LL, ML; W: LL, ML; A: ML

  First seen in action in the last decade of the thirtieth century, the Transgressor is more than likely another ‘cloned’ spaceframe (this time a rip-off of the FWL’s Eagle), proving that across a contested border, the sincerest form of flattery can also be the deadliest.  ;D  A superb dogfighter well-known for its firepower and toughness, the Transgressor is probably a good choice of ab initio aircraft for Capellan rookies, letting them survive their mistakes long enough to learn how to be deadly, not just a menace to themselves.


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

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


SIGNATURE CAPELLAN FIGHTERS IN ’25 - FORCE POSITIVES:
  A ‘pure’ Capellan force has close-attack and dogfighting abilities that are hard to argue with.  It’s interesting to note that the usual doctrine of medium = dogfighter, heavy = attack is reversed in the CCAF; the fifty-ton Transit is the attack platform which can dogfight if pressed, while the seventy-five-ton Transgressor is the multirole platform which especially revels in the air-to-air brawl!  :o  It’s an early sign that, as Rage once said, “[Capellans] like to ****** with peoples’ heads.”  :P
  The Thrush also matches the speed of the Cheetah, making it one of the fastest ASFs in the game.

SIGNATURE CAPELLAN FIGHTERS IN ’25 - FORCE NEGATIVES:
  There are no fire-support platforms in the ‘peculiarly Capellan’ line-up; nor is the nice-to-have fast-dogfighter anywhere to be seen.  Capellan dogfighters have to fly into the furball without any LRM barrages to prepare their way, which can get awfully un-fun when the other guy does have missile-boats.
  Despite its speed and fairly good firepower, the Thrush is one of the most fragile systems in the sky.  It isn’t really the best choice to tangle with Sparrowhawks one-on-one, so swarm tactics are vital.
  Despite the devastating firepower offered by the Transit’s AC/20, all of its weapons are restricted to Short-range engagements, meaning that anyone who has slightly more reach can beat the hell out of it without entering its danger-zone.

  Now, having the Transgressor in your starting line-up does cover a multitude of sins... but not that many.  Without fire-support of its own, even so potent a system as the TR-13 is missile-bait.

  The news doesn’t get much better when you throw in the ‘generic’ fighters found in the Capellan RATs in FM:U and other sources.  Despite the infamous scandal, Tengo kept building the Cappies Lightnings on Sarna and Texlos (as well as on St. Ives before, during and after the Compact’s independence); presumably, the Sabres, Centurions, Hellcat-Is and Eagles which appear in the RATs are prizes of war and/or legacy products, though the Thunderbirds might have been obtained in useful numbers through legitimate trade (the Taurians build them on Perdition and Taurus, and those TR-13s in the Periphery RAT had to come from somewhere::))  Being that a handful of ‘isorla’ designs likely aren’t going to be a significant factor in any strategic calculations, I’m adding only the Lightning and T-bird to the Capellan order of battle for the purposes of this discussion... though what that gains is arguable, given that the Lightning and Transit are virtually identical and calling the T-bird Cappie-built is a rather generous interpretation.  :-X


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

  ROLE                          ADDRESSED
Interceptor                           YES (1)
Fast Dogfighter                       NO
Dogfighter                            YES (1)
Fire-Support                          NO
Attack                                YES (1)
*Close-Attack                         YES (2)


  The T-bird adds much-needed Long-range punch to the CCAF’s aerospace arm, but it’s too slow to support the Transgressors, meaning that the dogfighters don’t have anyone who can keep pace with them when they move into the furball.  The Transit/Lightning/T-bird combination is a formidable attack package, especially against ’Ships - the THB-D36s stand back and pound with LRMs and LLs while the other two rush in with those intimidating AC/20s - but when the ‘Great Davion Satan’ has Corsairs at his disposal, the Transit/Lightning jocks are in for a rough time of it, and even the Transgressor jocks might find things sporty.
  If they’d had the option (perhaps under the terms of the Kapteyn Pact?), the Capellan would have done well to buy or clone some Shilone fire-support birds, and/or a number of Sai fast dogfighters.  It might not have completely turned the tide during Big Mistake Number Four, but it might have helped turn that war’s disheartening near-rout into a determined fighting retreat which would have been far better for the morale of the nation (and its supporters).  ::)



FORCE ASSESSMENT: SIGNATURE CAPELLAN STARFIGHTERS, c.3067

TR-8 Thrush - INTERCEPTOR (CLOSE ATTACK)
  25t, 12/18/12/5, 7/6/5, 10 DHS; N: ERML, W: ERML

TR-12 Transit - CLOSE ATTACK
  50t, 6/9/6/5, 69/39/37, 12 DHS; N: LB-20X(4), 2xERML, W: ERML

DFC-O Defiance - ATTACK/FIRE-SUPPORT (OMNIFIGHTER)
  55t, 6/9/6/5, 75/60/45, 11 DHS; 26 tons pod-space

CMT-3T Troika - FIRE-SUPPORT/ATTACK
  65t, 6/9/6/5, 74/52/46, 17 DHS; N: LRM-20(3); W: ERPPC, ERML

TR-13A Transgressor - DOGFIGHTER
  75t, 6/9/6/5, 82/51/40, 25 DHS; N: ERLL, ML; W: ERLL, ML; A: ML



  Well, I said they needed fire-support birds, and it looks like the Capellans recognised it too - though coming up with two types, the Defiance and Troika, to address the role might have been going a little overboard.  (It’s okay, though.  The Troika’s development was driven by three different sets of national biases/requirements, so the resulting design was always going to be a compromise, and the result is pretty fair.  :P)
  This makes the Capellans’ ‘overall force’ picture much, much brighter.  However, a fast dogfighter would still be a very good idea; though virtually all of their medium and heavy platforms can turn-and-burn at 6/9 and have very, very respectable warloads, armour and heat-curves, the opposition’s possession of 7/11 birds like the Dagger and/or the Lancer can make those sames birds’ lives very, very uncomfortable.
  Data on the exact form of the LTN-G16L is still pending the release of the ASFs-updated RS3075 Unabridged, but TRO3075 specifically describes it as carrying an Ultra autocannon, ER lasers, ferro-aluminium armour and DHS.  This makes for a very nice combination with the Transit that usurped its original prominence, leading to punch (huge!) holes with what is presumably a UAC/20 while the Transits follow in their jetwash and exploit the breaches with LB cluster-rounds.  A very nice ground-attack pairing, to be sure, but not quite what I was hoping for.  :-\



CONCLUSIONS:
  In the pre-foundtech era, the ‘signature’ Capellan fighters, taken on their own, do not comprise a ‘complete’ starfighter force, though they do fulfill the three tiers demanded by the accepted wisdom of the Successor States (interceptor, dogfighter, attacker)... albeit in their usual bass-ackward kind of way.  When considered in conjunction with the ‘generic’ fighters which they can build or buy, their attack capabilities improve a great deal, but their dogfighters are still bereft of 6/9 fire-support platforms.  (Of course, so are the Leaguers and Davions they face, but still....)
  With the technological renaissance that accompanied/followed Operation: REVIVAL, and the eventual implementation of OmniTech, those fire-support platforms finally appear, making the CapCon fighter corps more or less ‘complete’... though it happens very late in the piece (the Defiance debuting circa ’63, and that only thanks to WoB assistance that recent canon indicates Sun-Tzu will very much live to regret [skull]).  However, it still lacks a fast dogfighter... a lack which the FWL/WoB Lancers, FedSuns Daggers, and Manei Domini Shades/Rusalkas would/will exploit with no small amount of glee.  }:)
  Almost all of the major powers came up with something cool in the ‘late-to-post-Jihad’ TRO3085, and the Confederation wasn’t left out, scoring the MÄ›ngqín 5/8 heavy attack bird.  Apart from some Thunderbirds here and there, it’s not a role the CapCon appears to have ever majorly addressed before - perhaps they never felt the need, or couldn’t spare industrial capacity from their established types - but the MÄ›ngqín’s standard fusion engine (for low costs) and fearsome armament (twin plasma rifles #P, two LRM-15s, three SRM-6s, three pairs of ERMLs and a single defensive SPL!) make it a very serious problem for folks on its business end.  Especially for the Republic of the Sphere, who if I’m not mistaken are going to be seeing a lot of these angular ‘flying wings’ pointed their way before the end of the thirty-first century.  }:)  Once again, personally I might have been more eager to see them procure a fast-dogfighter to counteract the Dagger, but then again, Capellans have always done things their own way.  I know I’m not quite so warped that I’ve ever been able to fathom their alleged thought-processes.  ;D


  Be advised: the attached .txt transcript(s) of previous run(s) of this thread may 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.  ;)


Sorry for the delay, folks - fic-muse showed up, and I had to write the broad strokes while the idea was fresh and energy was high. ::)

Neufeld

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Nice summary.
Checking my record sheets I see that the TR-12 Transit is up-engined to 7/11, which will be a nasty surprise for any unaware Lancer or Dagger pilot.


"Real men and women do not need Terra"
-- Grendel Roberts
"
We will be used to subdue the Capellan Confederation. We will be used to bring the Free Worlds League to heel. We will be used to
hunt bandits and support corrupt rulers and to reinforce the evils of the Inner Sphere that drove our ancestors from it so long ago."
-- Elias Crichell

Trace Coburn

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Nice summary.
Checking my record sheets I see that the TR-12 Transit is up-engined to 7/11, which will be a nasty surprise for any unaware Lancer or Dagger pilot.
  It is?   ???
* Trace Coburn takes a look at RS3039
  Arglebargle!!!  [metalhealth]  Once again, I overlook a detail because I didn't check all of the .pdf page!  #P

  That said, I might not have made too much of a big deal about it anyway, and I shan't go back to edit the article.  After all, cheap-shots about esoteric Capellan thought-processes are almost as big a crowd-pleaser around here as 'short' jokes about Victor Steiner-Davion.  ::)  ;D

Maelwys

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I'm not sure if you've seen it or not Trace, but if you have, what's your opinion of the Měngqín from TR 3085?

Trace Coburn

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I'm not sure if you've seen it or not Trace, but if you have, what's your opinion of the Měngqín from TR 3085?
  You’ll notice I did a quick thumbnail on it in the last paragraph of the article.  ;)  I haven’t broken it down part-by-part just yet, and won’t until its turn comes due for full-scale FotW treatment, but at first blush I am inclined to treat it with respect.   :o

Maelwys

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  You’ll notice I did a quick thumbnail on it in the last paragraph of the article.  ;)  I haven’t broken it down part-by-part just yet, and won’t until its turn comes due for full-scale FotW treatment, but at first blush I am inclined to treat it with respect.   :o

I shouldn't post so early in the morning...

Moonsword

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Generally, the Capellans have a very... eclectic set of tools but an effective enough one to get the job done.  The Transgressor is able to stand in for a heavy attack bird reasonably well and the Transits and Lightnings can be passable dogfighters in a pinch.  The Thrush's main justification is sheer balls-to-the-wall madness, but it has the acceleration to out-turn most of its opponents and the lasers to penetrate their armor.  If you're desperate for another interceptor option, you probably have some Sabres laying around.

Looking at their usual opponents is always handy to get an idea how badly those weaknesses work out in practice.  The 3025 dogfighters (including the Eagles either might have inventory) generally only match the Transgressor or Transit/Lighting and none have long-range fire capabilities, so dodging the former eliminates their own firing possibilities and the latter more easily bungled.  Shilones would be a real pain in your rear.  Probably the most dangerous are the Eagles but the Stingray's PPC is a thresholding threat across the board and the Corsair is freakishly tough and easily manages to get its larges on target.  Of interceptors, the Thrush pilots need to burn every bit of acceleration they can - most of them out-armor it and at least two of those available match its firepower quite handily (Centurion and Sabre).  Dealing with the heavyweights - Rievers, Stukas, and Thunderbirds - is less pleasant but doable.  None of them have the thrust to evade a Transit, which can threshold any fighter flying, and the Transgressor can also out-maneuver them.  So, overall, the situation isn't as bad as it could be.

Later on, their options get more diverse.  The lack of access to the Royal Lightning is annoying - it's an excellent way to take the starch out of Daggers and not something ground pounders want overhead, either - but livable.  Daggers may be a touch more maneuverable but several of the newer birds (variants and new frames alike) are going to get their licks in before the Omni can get around them.  None of the fighters above the Lightning/Transit are overly vulnerable to the Dagger's own weapons, either, so while it's a major pain, it's a survivable one.  The Lancer is annoyingly maneuverable but lacks the armor that makes Daggers so hard to put down, so hammer them before they get the opportunity to start the turning game.  Shivas need to be hammered flat - get out of their front arc and pour fire into their wings or tail.  Fortunately, they're slow and not notably tough, so this isn't a difficult proposition if you can avoid getting pounded flat by the Mack truck-load of weapons sticking out the front.  The others are basically similar to what they've always been in a lot of ways, but the new Sparrowhawks are going to start killing Thrushes in job lots.  One to watch out for is the new F-95 Stingray - that HPPC is going to hurt, cutting through armor the same way the original's PPC would back in 3025.

Flying against the Blakists is heavily dependent on what they're operating.  The FWL types are basically covered above.  The Shade is probably best answered by drowning it in Thrushes - their lasers can threshold it and they can outturn it fairly easily.  Rusalkas are Daggers with more podspace and somewhat less armor.  Firepower and a lot of it is probably your only answer, but the Mantras are going to be essential - Transgressors and other types with 8 point or heavier guns to open the engagement, then just keep pounding it until the thresholds can hopefully cripple it.  Thrushes need to focus on tying up the other guy's assets to free your big boys to play, possibly by turning and burning with the Shades.  With Strigas, the best response I see is to field TR-15s and TR-16s in the largest quantity you can get away with.  The armor and firepower are going to be necessary to cut them back down to size.  The new Ultra/20 Lightning might also be useful there.

EDIT: A note on the TR-12 Transit.  While it's going to nail Lancers to the wall, Daggers or Rusalkas are not terribly vulnerable, nor are Corsairs and at least most of the various heavies.  Their armor is thick enough to shrug the 5 point clusters off for a while, while the TR-12's is vulnerable to 5 point hits on the wings and tail.  (The Lancer's LPLs crit all three of the others on all aspects, of course.)  The nose is vulnerable to the LLs on the Dagger A as well.  Of course, Stingrays are going to hate these things with their thin rear armor, but they can return the favor until it manages to get behind them.

If your opponent is willing to let you use slug ammo in the LB 20-X instead of the cluster rounds they're apparently obliged to use in TW, this is a whole other ballgame, though, and they start becoming the sort of thing that really inspires hate.

EDIT 2: While poking through the new House Liao book, I noticed that we can add the Cheetah to the list of Capellan-built designs since Tengo builds them on Sarna and St. Ives.  Whether they were built before the late FedCom Civil War/early Jihad era is an open question for me; the lines may have been damaged or may simply not have enough output to be listed in TRO3039, but Objective Raids indicates they were up and running at the beginning of 3054.  *looks from the 3025 Cheetah to the 3025 Thrush*  ...frankly, I'm having trouble believing it really matters.

Later on, if they can pry the upgraded Cheetah specs out of Imstar Aerospace, it might be a little more notable, but Objective Raids indicates it's the F-10 at that point.  The Strategios has been reluctant to buy from the Sarna branch for reasons I'm going to punt and call cultural, so if they are building more advanced Cheetahs there, they're not selling to the CCAF.  The St. Ives plant is doing brisk business, though.  My guess would pin the most likely advanced model as the F-11, the oldest of the bunch.
« Last Edit: 05 April 2011, 19:17:05 by Moonsword »