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Author Topic: Fighter of the Week Special Issue #007 (repost) - Overview, FedSuns  (Read 2830 times)

Trace Coburn

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FIGHTER FORCE OVERVIEW: FEDERATED SUNS
Originally posted 24 May 2006.

  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 Federated Suns 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 DAVION STARFIGHTERS, c.3025

SPR-H5 Sparrowhawk - INTERCEPTOR (CLOSE ATTACK)
 MASS     MOVEMENT/SI/FUEL      ARMOUR PROFILE    H.SINKS
  30t, 10/15/10/5, 38/24/34, 10 SHS; N: 2xML, W: SL

  An SLDF spaceframe so popular after its acquisition that it ended up displacing Davion’s indigenous Centurion as the realm’s leading interceptor (after centuries of workhorse service, no less!), the Sparrowhawk is one of those interceptors that’s small enough to be fast and nippy without going overboard while being big enough to absorb some punishment and hit hard enough to be useful.

CSR-V12 Corsair - DOGFIGHTER (ATTACK)
  50t, 6/9/6/5, 73/50/43, 16 SHS; N: 2xLL, 2xSL, W: ML; A: 2xSL

  Created in-house by Wangker in the hopes of an SLDF contract that vanished with Kerensky’s armada, the Corsair was eagerly snapped up by the FedSuns and has been making people miserable throughout the Succession Wars.

STU-K5 Stuka - ATTACK
 100t, 5/8/10/5, 84/54/48, 30 SHS; N: LRM-20(2), ML, SRM-4(1), W: 2xLL, A: 2xML

  Called ‘the B-wing of the BattleTech universe’ once upon a post, the Stuka falls on its foes with all the fury of an angered dragon and leaves just as much devastation in its wake.  Never a speed-demon, but as tough as the Reiver and without that type’s worries about ammunition or tailgaters, the STU-K5 is one of the standards by which heavy fighters are measured.


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

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


SIGNATURE FEDERATED SUNS FIGHTERS IN ’25 - FORCE POSITIVES:
  All three ‘signature’ Feddie types are highly resilient, enjoying very good armour profiles that allow them to absorb almost anything their opponents can throw at them and keep plugging away.  (Yes, the Stuka doesn’t carry maximum armour, but what it does have will shake off almost anything short of a PPC - and as a TAC-threat, MLs need not apply.  ;D  And the Corsair’s toughness is as legendary as it is sick ;D - Nikas_Zevekal called it a ‘Rocky-style counterpuncher’, which is as apt a comparison as any I’ve heard around here.  ;))
  The force’s endurance is pretty good, too - all three fighters have the ‘standard’ five-ton fuel tanks, meaning they can hang with most other types, and all of them mount goodly amounts of energy weapons, so they don’t have to worry about rendering themselves completely defenceless through ammo depletion.  Indeed, the CSR-V12 is one of the more notable flashbulbs of the 3025 era.
  Nor is firepower in short supply: the Stuka’s massive laser and missile batteries and the twin-LL main punch of the Corsair compare favourably to most other IS systems of the era, and while the Sparrowhawk’s twin MLs/two SLs aren’t as heavy as some might like, as interceptors go they do offer solid hitting power and good crit-seeking ability to a pilot/commander, especially if he’s facing Capellan Thrushes; even the solidly-built Sholagars find their equals in the SPR-H5.

SIGNATURE FEDERATED SUNS FIGHTERS IN ’25 - FORCE NEGATIVES:
  While these three fighters are all nice, solid designs, without a missile-support platform which can keep up with the Corsairs, they’re more likely to find fair fights than they are militarily good ones - and as we all know, in a military context only a sucker gets into a ‘fair’ fight.  Nor do we find a ‘fast’ dogfighter amongst them as such, though this problem is addressed by judicious use of the generic fighters manufactured within the FedSuns’ borders (see below).
  Also, though they’re not egregious hot-boxes if used thoughtfully, the CSR-V12 and STU-K5 do have rather more firepower than their heat-sinks can handle.  The Corsair, for instance, makes a less-than-ideal ’Ship-hunter, being that the old squadron rules meant it can’t use its nose-guns at all, and a flight of Stukas looking to bust up ’Ships must make careful weapons-selections (including not being able to fire both LL banks in a given turn).  (That said, newer rules do mitigate this shortcoming; the Strat Ops squadron rules form their weapons-bays by individual weapon-type, so now you can with-hold the SLs on a Corsair flight, though the lack of dissipation does mean you’re SOL for PD capability.  ::) )


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

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


  House Davion does not have the unfettered access to all of the ‘generic’ birds enjoyed by the Lyran Commonwealth, but it does find itself getting help in some (though not all) of the critical areas of shortage.  Controlling factories which produce the SBR-27 Sabre, HCT-213 Hellcat I, LTN-G15 Lightning, EGL-R6 Eagle and THB-D36 Thunderbird, the FedSuns has at its disposal another quite useful interceptor (to complement the Sparrowhawks), a pair of distinctly burly 6/9 brawlers to help the CSR-V12s hammer back Capellan Transgressors, a close-attack bird to dash close while Stukas give a target a long-range hammering, and another LRM-/LL-boat in the T-bird, augmenting the AFFS air arm’s already potent attack echelons.  (Oddly enough, the CNT-1D Centurion is the only ‘generic’ that originated in the FedSuns, but is no longer produced there, the blueprints and tooling having been traded to the Lyran Commonwealth’s Lockheed/CBM for the bits needed to construct Sabres at Jalastar’s facility.  I guess the Feddies finally committed to changing their front-line interception squadrons over an exclusive force of Sparrowhawks, but I’d imagine there were a fair few pilots who were sorry to see the Centurions relegated in such fashion....  :'( )
  This makes the AFFS look almost overpowering in comparison with the Capellan Confederation’s inventory, which does not feature any fast-dogfighters and would find its favoured slugger the Transgressor almost nullified by FedSuns Eagles built to much the same specs.  However, the Draconis border is still on the warm side, as the AFFS still lacks both a 6/9 fire-support capacity to match that of the Shilones and a fast dogfighter to keep the Sai at bay.  Is it a crucial difference?  My knowledge of the specifics of the Succession Wars is a little patchy, so I can’t say for sure, but a comparison of the 2750 and 3025 maps of the Inner Sphere certainly suggests that something on the Drac/Feddie border wasn’t going Davion’s way....  :-\



FORCE ASSESSMENT: SIGNATURE FEDERATED SUNS STARFIGHTERS, c.3067

SPR-6D Sparrowhawk - INTERCEPTOR (CLOSE ATTACK)
  30t, 10/15/10/5 (XLFE), 50/27/39 (FAA), 10 SHS; N: 2xMPL, W: SPL

DARO-1 Dagger - FAST-DOGFIGHTER (OMNIFIGHTER)
  45t, 7/11/7/5 (XLFE), 77/65/50 (FAA), 11 DHS; 17 tons pod-space

  Though lacking as many or as varied canon configurations as some other OmniFighters, the Dagger is one of the infamous ‘’67 Bricks’ and has a great turn of speed, meaning it’s a perfectly Davion response to the Sai.  (Hrmm: Dagger:Sai::Corsair:Shilone? ???)

CSR-V14 Corsair - DOGFIGHTER (ATTACK)
  50t, 6/9/6/5, 73/50/43, 16 DHS; N: 2xERLL, 2xSL, W: ML, A: 2xSL

  A straightforward upgrade of heat-sinks and main-guns gives the Corsair more reach and, finally, enough heat-capacity to fire some of its secondary weaponry as well without getting too toasty.  Certainly the ability for squadrons to use their PD smal lasers would’ve been welcome during the nuke-tossing days of the Jihad.

STU-D6 Stuka - ATTACK
 100t, 5/8/10/5 (XLFE), 84/54/56, 20 DHS; N: 2xSRM-6(4), ML, W: 2xLL, LRM-20(4), A: 2xML

  Even more long-range punch, better heat-capacity (though it’s still a little warm if you’re injudicious), and close-quarters crit-seeking goodness (especially if you’re allowing SRM resolution by individual hits!).

  Hmmm... let’s see: the Davions’ signature interceptor is tougher and surer of its aim, its pre-existing medium-dogfighter can reach further and provide its own direct-fire-support (as well as being able to fire its nose-weapons in squadron bays, he-he-he-he-he! }:)), and the already hard-hitting Stuka is now an outright beast.  In addition, they have a near-tank of an indigenous light-wannabe-medium OmniFighter which can play fast-dogfighter in its own right or, with a change of pods, make a pain of itself as an attack-ship (if you don’t believe me, ask the RAC/5! :o).
  Admittedly, the canon loadouts of House Davion’s new toy do not include a missile-based configuration (which is rather odd for an OmniFighter - missile-boat set-ups are almost obligatory for Omnis!), but hey, a couple of hours of brainstorming and a bottle of bourbon in the right place can achieve wonders, right?  ;D  The FedSuns half of the former AFFC fighter corps must have developed a hell of a swagger now that they’ve got the Dagger amongst their ranks, and justifiably so - it is to the AFFS what the Eisensturm is to the Lyrans: the aerial equivalent of a silver-screen chainsaw murderer, brutal, near-inescapable, and well-nigh indestructible.  It gives them a home-grown counter to the DCMS’ Sai fast-dogfighters and (with a non-canon pod-out) the SL-17 fire-support platforms, all in one sleek, rugged 45-ton package.
  In all honesty, with the exception of creating that fire-support config for the Daggers (and maybe completing the integration of foundtech into their peculiarly-Davion fighters - see the relevant FotW columns), there isn’t much the Federal fighter corps needs to become a true ‘total package’.  Of course, many armchair experts here (including myself) have voiced distinctly pleasant daydreams about Lyran/Davion trades which exchange DARO-1s to the LAAF in a three-or-four-to-one ratio for some of their EST-Os....  }:)
* Trace Coburn drifts into pleasant imaginings of a Avalon CA loaded with carrier Droppers loaded to the gills with DARO-1s and EST-Os.  ’Ey, toaster-boy - c’mon an’ ’ave a go if yer think yer ’ard enough!  [skull]
  (Yeah, I know it’s never gonna happen - having the CBT equivalents of the F-16C and the F-4E in the same force would cause a spontaneous quantum rupture in the fabric of the CBT universe from having too much concentrated kick-ass assembled at one place and time.  But still: dreams are free.  :P)

  Historical: Operation KLONDIKE has revealed that during Kerensky’s campaign against Amaris, numerous advanced-tech machines were built for his forces in Lyran, Capellan and FedSuns territories.  That these machines, or the technologies used in them, were not exploited more eagerly and proliferated more widely before the technological decline caused by the Succession Wars (*kof*ComStar*kof*)... well, I’m this close to mowing down catgirls in job lots over the matter, and indeed this data is informing the background of my fics.  The FedSuns is specifically ascribed responsibility for creating the SB-27b Sabre that all five(!) Successor States built for Operation LIBERATION, and that they didn’t get their hands on the CSR-V12b, LTN-G15b, EGL-R6b or STU-K5b in large numbers... well, let’s just say that keeping those designs alive might have done a lot to blunt the smashing DCMS successes of the First Succession War, and resurrecting them in the current era would make the Blakers’ lives a shedload more miserable.
  For that matter, the refits of various AFFS fighters during the Jihad era would’ve been lively for the Blakers, if they hadn’t had so much ‘luck’ (*kof*fiat*kof*) in nobbling factories.  The XL-engined, HFA-sheathed CSR-V18 Corsair with its wingtip LPPCs is damned good, fencing at Medium-range or diving right into a brawl without hesitation; similarly, the STU-D7 and its combination of ERML banks and wing-mounted RAC/5s readily rip new anal orifices into any Blaker ’Mechs it sees.  [skull]  Unfortunately, the uncertain state of FedSuns production capacity during that period, as well as the highly-interpretational nature of what data we do get and the general FLAILEX conduct exhibited by all parties (much less the Successor States!) during proceedings, mean that it’s extremely hard to form any sort of coherent picture about things.  :(


CONCLUSIONS:
  In the pre-foundtech era, the Federated Suns’ fighter force is a classic three-tier system conforming to apparent IS ‘accepted wisdom’ of the era: light interceptor, medium dogfighter, heavy attacker.  With a leavening of ‘generic’ fighters, they have a TO&E sufficiently well-integrated to make life miserable for the less-well-off Capellans, but the DCMS’ seeming monopoly on fire-support-capable 6/9 starfighters (and recently, possession of a uniquely Kuritan 8/12 fast-dogfighter) makes the AFFS’ task in the Draconis March distinctly heavier going.
  Post-REVIVAL, with some relatively solid uses of foundtech and a hell of a near-medium OmniFighter coming off the CAD/CAM screen into service, the AFFS fighter corps is certainly feeling very sturdy (even a little cocky); however, it isn’t quiiiite there, as it takes a little non-canon leger de main to create the fire-support they need to be a ‘complete’ force.   Nonetheless, they’re certainly in a very strong position, and God willing and the WoBs don’t nuke the Dagger factories, they should only get nastier.  Certainly the Kuritan and Capellan fighter corps know that they’d have a hell of a fight on their hands if things ever truly kicked off with the Davions again.  ;)

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Nice article as always and thanks for sharing. An 8/12 Corsair flying top cover for a  ground supporting Royal Stuka in HFA would be a dream come true. Somebody please cue the theme music for Baa Baa Blacksheep while I fervently scratch up a copy of the old 3rd Attack Group from the 5th Air Force.
May no one ever know less then me......