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Author Topic: Fighter of the Week, Issue #058 (repost) - Boeing Jump Bomber  (Read 2476 times)

Trace Coburn

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Boeing Jump Bomber - 20t, AT2/McCarron’s Armoured Cavalry/TRO3039
Originally posted 22 Feb. 2006.

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


  It’s nice to see a conventional aircraft designed without illusions.  Models like the Meteor HSF and the bat-brained Yellowjacket gunship have such heavy onboard armaments that you’d be forgiven for thinking the designers a) actually expected to get more than five sorties out of one conventional airframe in the face of determined opposition and b) actually thought the main point of conventionals was to fight with their internal ordnance in the first place.  The Boeing Jump Bomber (JB), on the other hand, does exactly what it says on the box: it’s a V/STOL aircraft intended for operating from semi-prepared strips (obviating the need for lots of highly vulnerable infrastructure) and carrying bombs/RLs to smack about the other guys, ideally operating in massive numbers to make up for the relative weakness of the individual airframes.

  Conventionals are expressly meant for the ‘cheap-and-cheerful horde-of-death’, and the JB remembers that with great clarity.  Its 9/14 movement curve derives from a heavy but low-purchase-price Turbine powerplant and two tons of fuel (equivalent to four tons in an ASF): this makes the airframe both swift enough to avoid many heavier ’craft and easily affordable.  As with most conventionals the armour is all but non-existent, a mere two tons laid out 7/3/3, so anything more potent than an AC/5 or an LRM-10 is going to rock your world but good.  Perhaps most crucially, it doesn’t carry any internal ordnance, because it doesn’t really need to - and indeed, internal weapons would likely interfere with the design purpose.  The JB isn’t confused over what it’s intended to do: this is a bomb-truck, end of line.
  Granted, four tons of external ordnance at 8/12 isn’t a spectacular amount of warload... but that’s four tons hanging from one airframe, and when each unit costs less than 160K C-bills and/or a mere 103 BV1, it’s simply preposterous to contemplate deploying JBs in anything less than squadron strength!  :o  (I’m told that the McCarron’s scenario pack describes the JB as having its bomb bays mounted internally; mayhap so, but this has no in-game effect other than lending the type some character (which is no bad thing).)

  I’m pretty sure that I’ve mentioned this before, but conventional fighter types require an entirely different mindset from most ASFs.  Where an aerospace fighter might barge through some defences and count on its armour to fend off enemy fire (to a certain extent), conventionals can’t afford to take any hits at all and necessarily must seek to reach their targets by avoiding defenders, rather than weathering what they can throw out.  The JB is no exception: when a mere LRM-5 can strip the armour from your wings or tail-section, running a gauntlet of defensive fire is a particularly stupid way of committing suicide.  While a purely mechanical assessment of risk v. reward would almost undoubtedly lead us to Soviet-style ‘swarm ’em and damn the casualties’ tactics - a methodology encouraged by the type’s low, low prices - I’d rather see the pilots and their airframes expended usefully, rather than simply because they can be.  In this case, mission planning skills are critical: as much as possible, avoid (or lure away) dense concentrations of enemy forces on your ingress and egress routes, and never engage in an aerial battle - even with a max load of four RLs your chances of doing meaningful damage are vanishingly thin, so if you see enemy fighters, RUN!  In accordance with long-standing tactical practices, you’re best advised to find your target, give it the full ‘benefit’ of your bomb/rocket-load, and get the hell out of Dodge before anyone can react.

  Defenders don’t need to mass much firepower to swat single JBs, but hordes of them?  Not quite so simple.  Nonetheless - and contrary to established practice - the recommendation would be for a target to be defended by large numbers of mobile surface-to-air systems with moderate firepower, such as Saracen or Striker missile-vehicles... at least in the outer layers.  Truly critical points should enjoy defence-in-depth, with the outer and intermediate layers consisting of the above lighter systems and the key point itself shielded by a heavy system or two like Pikes or Partisans.
  Fighter cover would also be welcome, but it’s a little problematic, because JBs are so fleet of foot that most dogfighters would find themselves left choking on jetwash.  The best bet would be to keep some interceptors about - ideally a squadron or so, but even a lance would do much to disrupt the rhythm of a JB strike-package.

  I don’t know of any variants to the JB, and although I’ve created a Workshop thread in case anyone else feels inventive, I’ll break with my normal practice here by not proposing any.  Anything I come up with in HM:A just doesn’t feel right: AFAICT you can’t squeeze any more performance out of a Turbine at this size, and fusion-powered versions start in the neighbourhood of 400K C-bills per unit (far too expensive for an ‘expendable’ conventional).  Even going to FA armour only nets you one additional point of protection, and that’s more of a psychological improvement than a genuine one.  ::)


  [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,4520.0.html


  Okay, show of hands: who’s used the JB?  Worktroll, it seems to fit your style of play!  ;)  Anybody else?


  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.  ;)  Regardless, you should read these transcripts anyway - some of the comments are not only on-point and tactically relevant, they’re hysterically funny.  ;D

Goose

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #058 (repost) - Boeing Jump Bomber
« Reply #1 on: 13 April 2011, 04:32:40 »
Everyone seems to forget what a spread of RL-10s could do to a spheroid, if timed right . . .
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Moonsword

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #058 (repost) - Boeing Jump Bomber
« Reply #2 on: 13 April 2011, 08:28:07 »
It's small, cheap, disposable, and doesn't pretend to be anything other than a bomb truck.  I like it.

nerd

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #058 (repost) - Boeing Jump Bomber
« Reply #3 on: 14 April 2011, 21:25:14 »
It's the 31st century's Harrier equivlant.  Did some one at Fed-Boeing HQ on Galax look into ancient corporate archives for an idea?
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