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Author Topic: Fighter of the Week, Issue #055 (repost) - Trident  (Read 5813 times)

Trace Coburn

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Fighter of the Week, Issue #055 (repost) - Trident
« on: 07 April 2011, 05:59:43 »
TRN-3T Trident - 20t, TRO2750
Originally posted 1 Feb. 2006.

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


  Keeping its history straight and consistent has always been one of the BattleTech universe’s primary headaches.  For instance, the SLDF’s Trident interceptor entered service in 2717... yet we are expected to believe that the type was rendered obsolete by the ‘introduction’ of the Cheetah, which made its debut in 2630>:(  In any case, with its design role of carrier-based interception usurped by the F-10 after a short period, the Trident was fobbed off on Army commanders, who were apparently delighted by the craft’s avionics and turn of speed, which let it dance around enemy ’Mech forces and harry them at will.

  Being built on the smallest possible ASF spaceframe - and one whose rugged design is considered a benchmark of the industry, to the point where it is imitated in many types which have flown since - the TRN-3T derives great benefit from even a relatively small powerplant like the Rawlings 200SFE: a 12/18 thrust curve makes the Trident one of the swiftest fighters in the sky, capable of leaving all but a handful of its competitors choking on its exhaust or reversing a disadvantageous position in the blink of an eye.  On the other hand, the type’s mere three tons of fuel makes extended engagements or heavy manoeuvring a dubious proposition; not a massive problem for an out-hit-return carrier-launched interceptor, perhaps, but the lack of allowance for Murphy is disconcerting.
  On the gripping hand, though, the Trident enjoys quite a decent load of armour for its size: two tons of ferro-aluminium, 10/10/6, allow the spaceframe to withstand re-entry heat far better than conventional armour and make it survivable against even a blow from the mighty particle projection cannon.  More would be better, of course, even if the TRN-3T is meant to avoid punishment rather than absorb it, but the down-side of building a fighter so small is that you have a dearth of room to tinker with them.  Besides, the rest of the ‘free’ tonnage was needed for the armament: single medium lasers in the nose and each wing (prompting the type’s name, I rather think), and a single small laser aft to use a niggling half-ton and provide psychological protection against anyone who might actually manage to get on a TRN-3T’s back.  ::)  There is no room for heat sinks above the base ten (singles), nor is there need: a Trident can alpha-strike all of its weaponry, fore and aft, without worrying about overheating at all.  ;)
  Special combat considerations are pretty sparse on a twenty-ton interceptor, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t exist or aren’t useful.  For instance, the four-ton external warload (at 11/17, no less!) allows one to carry enough drop-tanks to match the onboard fuel-endurance of heavier types while retaining enough speed to cover ground at two hexes per turn on the strategic scale - vital for an interceptor meant to meet the enemy and begin ruining his day as soon as possible.  }:)  And while a squadron of Tridents boast only three bays of a mere 3 Capital damage apiece, these is enough to worry many DropShips and JumpShips - and with luck, it’s enough to punch through the armour of some light WarShips to damage something vital.  TRN-3T units are not ’Ship-killers in their own right, but they certainly make useful skirmishers and harrassers.

  As with any interceptor starfighter, the Trident is meant for Muhammed Ali tactics: “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee” - though ‘wasp’ might be a better metaphor.  ::)  Never let ’em get a good bead on you: stick and weave, pick pieces off of ’em every chance you get, and keep a close eye on your fuel-gauge, because out in the black, empty fuel tanks will kill you just as dead as a Barracuda missile.  Between this and the usual guidelines, there isn’t much more to say.  :P

  Tridents are pretty tough customers for their size - which is not the same thing as being tough outright.  Most fighters are unlikely to outmanoeuvre them, so the best prescription is probably concentrated firepower: an LRM-20 rack or heavier system is all but certain to strip a hostile TRN-3T of its armour and punch deep into the spaceframe’s guts (yes, that’s assuming everything lands in the same location under TW Cluster rules, but still).  My much-beloved Shilone is one of the best choices available for such measures: a tough dogfighter with reach and great heat dissipation, they can concentrate a heavy barrage on Tridents at Long and Medium ranges, potentially killing them outright before they can engage with their own weapons.  Anything mounting a Gauss Rifle or two will also do well, as those nickel-iron basketballs will go internal with a single shot (waves to Eisensturm fans!).  }:)


  [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,4243.0.html


  Like the Trident?  Think it’s a piece-o’-junk?  Like the new refit?  Hate it?  Think you can do better?
  [R. Lee Ermey]
  “I can’t hear you!  Sound off like you got a pair!”  >:(
  [/R. Lee Ermey]
  ;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.  ;)

Trace Coburn

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TRN-** Trident (TRO3050 Updates)
Originally posted 21 Nov. 2007.

  It’s not going to be a long ‘Update’ this week, for fairly obvious reasons, but hey, I had to cover all of the ASFs in ’50U sooner or later, right?  :D

Quote from: Maelwys
3050U actually provides very little new life to the lightest fighters of the Star League. The fluff is basically the same, including the problem with the Cheetah that Trace mentions in the FOTW. The only "new" news of the Trident is the rumor of a high performance tele-operated version, and the recovery of Trident frames missing the normal cockpit has lent credence to the rumors. Whether this is true or not, the presence of the frames indicates to me at least a method of production. The lack of a change in the Trident means everything Trace mentioned in his article remains the same. However, I would've liked to have seen an modernization of the Tridents in both the WoB and CS forces, with the medium lasers made into extended range versions atleast. This would be enough to move their firepower from the short range bracket to the medium range bracket. Double heat sinks would be nice, but not strictly necessary (though with the Trident’s 12/18 movement it can more easily get into position to bring all its weaponry to bear). If the WoB ARE producing the Trident, and not just producing it for "Tele-operated" designs, [VARIANT PROPOSAL(S) REDACTED]
  Tele-operated, hmm?  Sounds like somebody’s been following the exploits of SLS Tabiranth and SLS Sybil Luddington:P
  Though if they are, they’ve missed a trick: without a pilot to be debilitated (or crushed to jam) by the craft’s own accel, a ‘drone fighter’ has greater freedom of manoeuvre than one with a carbon-based pilot.  Being so, it’s a perfect candidate for an uprated engine and even more speed.  (Maybe even with a flash new paint-job in fire-engine red, just for the Ork-y touch?  :D)

  (Update 07/04/2011: the publication of JHS: Terra late last year cleared up some of the confusion; judging by the contents of its TRO section, it seems that the “Teleoperated Trident” experiment contributed (in part) to the (re-)development of SDS fighter-drones, specifically the “Hive” series.  Those ships are, uh, not exactly rattletraps, and apparently made Stone’s coalition forces pay cash for every AU they made into Sol system in ’78, so (unfortunately) it doesn’t look the Blakers managed to botch the programme.  #P)

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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 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.  ;)


TRN-3Tb Trident
  Scroll down a little to see my guesstimated version.  And it seems that I wasn’t very far wrong.  :P

Class/Model/Name:  Trident TRN-3Tb [spec]
Mass:              20 tons

Equipment:                                                              Mass
Power Plant:  200 XL Fusion                                              4.50
Thrust:  Safe Thrust: 12
      Maximum Thrust: 18
Structural Integrity: 12                                                  .00
Total Heat Sinks:    10 Double                                            .00
Fuel:                                                                    4.00
Cockpit & Attitude Thrusters:                                            3.00
Armor Type:  Ferro-aluminum  (35 total armor pts)                        2.00
                           Standard Scale Armor Pts
   Location:                            L / R
   Nose:                                 10
   Left/Right Wings:                  10/10
   Aft:                                   5

Weapons and Equipment      Loc        SRV    MRV    LRV    ERV  Heat    Mass
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1 Medium Pulse Laser       Nose         6     --     --     --    4      2.00
1 Medium Pulse Laser       RW           6     --     --     --    4      2.00
1 Medium Pulse Laser       LW           6     --     --     --    4      2.00
1 Small Laser              Aft          3     --     --     --    1       .50
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
TOTALS:                                                    Heat: 13     20.00
Tons Left:                                                                .00


  You’ll note that even with the added ton of gas, this spaceframe still doesn’t have the legs of most other fighters, but within a mass-budget this tight, there’s only so much you can do.  :-X  Being that the SLDF apparently didn’t see the need to develop an ER Medium laser, this is about as fearsome as an interceptor with the available technology was going to get; that notwithstanding, it is plenty nasty.  No interceptor bar the Seydlitz could punch out to Medium-range back then, so the “Royal Trident” went for increased in-fighting capability punch instead - and the fact that it can generate threshold TAC-checks against starfighter armour which was immune to standard medium lasers made it a pretty decent system for that.  And perhaps best of all?  AFAICT, none of these changes will be visible to an adversary until the beams start flying - which makes life even harder for enemy intelligence officers and offers a good chance of fulfilling the very definition of ‘tactical surprise’.  }:)


  POST-SCRIPT: I can’t guarantee there’ll be FotW reposts over the next couple of days, folks - I’m trying to line up a trip to Armageddon Wellington on Saturday, and the prospect of driving more than two hundred klicks over New Zealand roads twice in the space of the same day... well, I’m gonna need my rest, both before and after.  :o

Moonsword

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #055 (repost) - Trident
« Reply #3 on: 07 April 2011, 07:30:01 »
My response to the main model is thus: "Aww, look, it's the runt of a Thrush litter!"  Little tougher armor (partially thanks to getting to cheat with ferro-aluminum) but less fuel.  I think it's probably preferable to a Cheetah due to the increased laser power - only the smallest fighters or conventionals can't stop a threshold from a small laser - but it's not that impressive.  The Royal version is mainly good for making sure your time on this good Earth is spent accurately, something it accomplishes pretty well, and the extra fuel is quite welcome.

I will note that at some point in 2753 (before most if not all of the birds in Klondike), the folks at Raimei-Outreach put together the SB-28 Sabre with its ERLL, giving the SYD-21 Seydlitz the finger as far as range goes.  The Seydlitz doesn't manage to claw its way back until long after the SB-28s were smoking wrecks.  Whatever they're smoking over at ROM, they probably need to quit doing it during work hours.

lowrolling

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #055 (repost) - Trident
« Reply #4 on: 07 April 2011, 10:57:47 »
This is a welcome sting after some other beatings I have taken.
May no one ever know less then me......

glitterboy2098

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #055 (repost) - Trident
« Reply #5 on: 12 April 2011, 18:33:36 »

  Keeping its history straight and consistent has always been one of the BattleTech universe’s primary headaches.  For instance, the SLDF’s Trident interceptor entered service in 2717... yet we are expected to believe that the type was rendered obsolete by the ‘introduction’ of the Cheetah, which made its debut in 2630>:(  In any case, with its design role of carrier-based interception usurped by the F-10 after a short period, the Trident was fobbed off on Army commanders, who were apparently delighted by the craft’s avionics and turn of speed, which let it dance around enemy ’Mech forces and harry them at will.

perhaps the Cheetah was originally a ground based interceptor, which was only later employed as a carrier based version? like how the real world F-4 Phantom was originally a carrier based Navy plane, which was forced onto the US airforce? or how the US airforce's F-111 tactical bomber was originally going to be forced onto the US navy as a carrier based interceptor (which thankfully for Navy pilots and airplane fans, never occured and the F-14 tomcat got the job..). heck, there were even some plans at one point to redesign the YF-16 into both the airforces F-16 and a naval version (which was killed when the navy picked the rival VF-17 and had the F/A-18 made..)

Moonsword

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #055 (repost) - Trident
« Reply #6 on: 12 April 2011, 21:52:49 »
That's unlikely.  I've never heard of any aerospace fighter being exclusively used for non-carrier operations - such a use precludes it from even many defensive deployments because it prohibits them from being launched from space stations, let alone use on DropShips or WarShips.  It's such a routine part of aerospace fighter deployment that it's odd for a fully mature design to be considered that way.  I could see it with a contemporary of the Eagle or Sabre, but not something from the Star League era.

The actual explanation is buried in TRO3025.  Originally, they were principally used as reconnaissance or support units and were apparently only later used as interceptors.  It's possible this may indicate the introduction of the F-10 rather than an earlier model, but that's purely speculative.

Neufeld

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #055 (repost) - Trident
« Reply #7 on: 13 April 2011, 01:57:35 »
It's possible this may indicate the introduction of the F-10 rather than an earlier model, but that's purely speculative.

Or it could have been a royal Cheetah.

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Moonsword

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #055 (repost) - Trident
« Reply #8 on: 13 April 2011, 08:51:28 »
The Royals weren't that widely distributed and mainly showed up after that point.  For the general carrier interceptor (which the Trident was), it would be very, very odd to see a Royal in that role.  Since the first SLDF Royal interceptor to turn up was probably either the Trident or the Royal-grade SB-28 Sabre, it seems unlikely to me that there was an out and out Royal Cheetah, though it might have been one with, say, ferro-aluminum.

What it looks like, rereading TRO3050U, is that ImStar pushed the Cheetah aggressively in marketing, displacing the Trident's contract.

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #055 (repost) - Trident
« Reply #9 on: 18 April 2011, 12:46:30 »
 Actually it would make sense to have the Cheetah as an ASF and have it focused on planetary battles since the speed of the Cheetah means it could depart the dropship earlier and give quick last minute intelligence for any invading forces. The XTRO version produced later on takes this to an even greater extreme.

Moonsword

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #055 (repost) - Trident
« Reply #10 on: 18 April 2011, 13:41:08 »
Actually it would make sense to have the Cheetah as an ASF and have it focused on planetary battles since the speed of the Cheetah means it could depart the dropship earlier and give quick last minute intelligence for any invading forces. The XTRO version produced later on takes this to an even greater extreme.

The F-10 Cheetah isn't any faster than a Trident and the XTRO version has precisely zip to do with procurement decisions by the Star League.  It has a little more gas and heavier armor, not more speed.

Minemech

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #055 (repost) - Trident
« Reply #11 on: 18 April 2011, 13:47:01 »
 I was not aware I posted such information, I was merely talking about the Cheetah's early developement.

Moonsword

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #055 (repost) - Trident
« Reply #12 on: 18 April 2011, 13:57:24 »
Since the topic at hand was the Trident's replacement, not the Cheetah itself, I assumed you were talking about that.  If this is going to relate to just the Cheetah, why not post it in the Cheetah's article thread?

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #055 (repost) - Trident
« Reply #13 on: 18 April 2011, 15:39:35 »
That's unlikely.  I've never heard of any aerospace fighter being exclusively used for non-carrier operations - such a use precludes it from even many defensive deployments because it prohibits them from being launched from space stations, let alone use on DropShips or WarShips.  It's such a routine part of aerospace fighter deployment that it's odd for a fully mature design to be considered that way.  I could see it with a contemporary of the Eagle or Sabre, but not something from the Star League era.

The actual explanation is buried in TRO3025.  Originally, they were principally used as reconnaissance or support units and were apparently only later used as interceptors.  It's possible this may indicate the introduction of the F-10 rather than an earlier model, but that's purely speculative.

IIRC, the SLDF's army and navy each had seperate air arms.
if the Cheetah was originally an "Army" ASF, and mainly operated off army operated ships, while the Trident began as a 'Navy' plane operating off the SLDF's warships, both scenarios could apply. the army would need a recon bird more than the navy would (there being no horizon or appreciable terrain in space to hide behind). and with it's special armor type, the trident is more expensive and certainly harder to make, meaning that the cheaper Cheetah would be seen as a budget saver. something militaries are always looking for, even when they have seemingly unlimited funding like the SLDF. :)  cheaper planes mean more planes..which mean more units, which in turn means more prestige for the commanders and thus potentially more rapid promotion..just like today.

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #055 (repost) - Trident
« Reply #14 on: 18 April 2011, 16:18:34 »
Since the topic at hand was the Trident's replacement, not the Cheetah itself, I assumed you were talking about that.  If this is going to relate to just the Cheetah, why not post it in the Cheetah's article thread?
Thats simple, you said someone's explanation was not likely for that fighter, and I responded.

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #055 (repost) - Trident
« Reply #15 on: 18 April 2011, 16:30:29 »
and with it's special armor type, the trident is more expensive and certainly harder to make, meaning that the cheaper Cheetah would be seen as a budget saver.

Provided you already have the infrastructure in place to produce ferro-aluminum in quantity (and the Star League did), the Cheetah is actually 10% more expensive.  In addition, the known Star League variants of each have similar reconnaissance capabilities.  What would make the Cheetah more attractive in atmospheric operation is the fact that in the air, you burn more fuel, and the Cheetah has larger gas tanks.

Thats simple, you said someone's explanation was not likely for that fighter, and I responded.

Next time use the quote function.  That was two posts back from the last post in the thread.

 

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