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Author Topic: Fighter of the Week, Issue #066 (repost) - Guardian  (Read 2974 times)

Trace Coburn

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Fighter of the Week, Issue #066 (repost) - Guardian
« on: 04 May 2011, 02:01:50 »
Guardian - 20t, TRO3026
Originally posted 31 May 2006.

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


  Cheap, near-child’s-play to build and maintain, moderately dangerous and capable of V/STOL from fifty metres of clear space - the Guardian is perhaps the ideal of what a conventional fighter should be, especially for guerrilla-warfare applications (which is probably the best manner of employment for CFs anyway).  Given their background/image of conniving in the face of adversity, it’s little surprise to find that the Guardian is a House Liao unit, first fielded in 2831 to free bigger, pricier ASFs for front-line duties.

  A delta-winged, tail-less, dorsal-intake turbine-driven craft whose engine arrangements bear a striking resemblance to that of the Pegasus powerplant found in today’s Harriers, the Guardian’s Rawlings 140T engine drives it to a very respectable 7/11 thrust curve - hardly enough to escape Succession War-era interceptors, but sufficient to shake off most heavier craft.  Even with the double-for-conventionals rule, two tons of fuel isn’t overly great, but how much can you realistically ask of a twenty ton system, anyway?  ::)  The construction rules also say that the armour can’t be anything but a joke, and 6/3/4 isn’t all that funny; being subject to one-shot internal strikes from MLs from most aspects is not exactly a heartening thought to any pilot who has aspirations to longevity, but I’d imagine that the more ‘sympathetic’ of Liao’s commissars would tell them “If I want your opinion, I’ll give it to you.”
  In keeping with the rest of the system, the Guardian’s organic armament is straightforward: a single Sian/Ceres SRM-6 with fifteen reloads, offering respectable hitting power, very decent air-to-surface crit-seeking and (under more recent rules) a truly nasty Inferno capability which would be the despair of many a treadhead or ’Mech-puke.  Capable of carrying only four bombs per airframe at a 6/9 speed of advance, an individual Guardian on a bomb-run may not be a beast of awe and terror amongst enemy forces - but being that each such airframe costs a mere 253K C-bills and 182 BV, the odds of seeing only one or two Guardians tends towards ‘zero’ quite sharply.  :P

  Much like other conventional fighters, the Guardian is meant for horde-style strikes on high-value targets or harrassment duties.  Airframes will be expended in the courses of their missions, of course - these are airframe expressly designed for expendibility - but useful expenditure mandates evasive routings to stay away from heavy concentrations of Triple-A as much as possible en route to target.  As we saw with the Boeing Jump Fighter, tactical sleight-of-hand is crucial to allowing Guardians to get to their targets and pelt them with bombs, rocket-launchers, and SRMs (ideally a mix of standard warheads and Infernoes, for maximum chaos).  Only throw them at front-line forces as a last resort - the Guardian’s targets of preference are ‘soft’ targets like headquarters, supply depots/convoys, and infantry.  The system’s price, capability, simplicity and flexibility also make it a very good choice for militia units who need air-power to help knock back those raggedy-ass pirates who keep showing up but find that their sector command has ‘higher funding priorities’ (like completing the Duke’s new mansion and pool >:().
  I must emphasise the fact that the Guardian is a V/STOL system, which can operate from small clearings with minimal maintenance attention from the most half-assed of conscript mechanics - a textbook guerrilla machine, and indeed the type’s “Battle History” section in TRO3026 describes precisely such an operation.  If you’re hiding out in the boonies trying to harrass an occupier until reinforcements can show up, a couple of flights of Guardians are near-ideal as your aerial echelon - as long as you can keep their ICE’s fuelled.  This is perhaps the only drawback of the system; a fusion powerplant would have offered near-complete independence from support infrastructure.  (However, generally speaking if you can afford fusion powerplants in large numbers of conventional fighters you’re too rich to need CFs in the first place.  #P)
  Unfortunately, the advance of game-rules has left the Guardian with a minor flaw which must especially gall its Cappy creators, what with them being renowned for their dirty tricks: while its four bomb-pylons give it just enough room to carry a pair of Light AA Missiles for token air-to-air capability, the Guardian’s just a shade too small to carry an Arrow-IV missile (or its atomic equivalent).  [Nuke Nazi] ‘No Davy Crockets for you!’ [/Nuke Nazi]

  Countermeasures with ships this small and soft are pretty easy - keeping a ring or two of LRM-capable tanks (or even infantry!) around the medium-value ‘soft’ targets that are their preferred game will do much to blunt their efficacy, and of course defence in depth along likely axes of attack is even better.  If you can bring in some fusion-powered interceptors, it’s all over bar the crying: Guardians are too slow to evade, too under-gunned to consider fighting, and too flimsy to withstand even a single salvo from any ASF worth the name.  As an alternative for an RPG scenario, there’s also the measure taken by the Leaguers on Sappho: catch them on the ground while they’re refuelling/re-arming and take them out with a commando raid or a company of jump-infantry.

  As of TRO3026, only one canon variant of the Guardian existed: the [Guardian B, which downrates the engine to a 120T, trading its speed down to 6/9 and dropping the SRM launcher in order to onload a single medium laser (with all its necessary auxiliary equipment) and another fraction of armour (coming to a uniform 5/5/5 layout).  Obviating the need for ammunition resupply is a good (hell, great!) thing for a guerrilla machine, and being able to more-or-less shake off an ML hit from any angle isn’t all that bad either - but I’m not sure that it’s worth losing that point of speed.  The vanilla Guardian can carry a full bomb-load and still keep pace with most dogfighter ASFs, meaning that they have a (slim!) chance of evading destruction if intercepted by such; the Guardian B is too slow for even this thin hope.
  TRO3039 brought us two more variants of the Guardian, using newer missile systems.  The Guardian-C shifts from an SRM-6 to an SSRM-4, quite possibly investing a little cash up-front in the hopes of saving lifetime ammunition costs, but also losing the ability to use alternate SRM warheads.  Putting so expensive and monomaniacal a weapon in an airframe that’s designed to be cheap, flexible and expendable?  I think someone kind’a missed the point, here....  :(
  The other ’39 variant is a little more sensible about things, as the Guardian-D trades out the SRM-6 for a Combine-designed MRM-10, arguably the ‘low-cost’ missile-system this side of rocket-launcher packs.  With better reach than the SRM launcher (albeit a shade less maximum punch) and certainly a lot cheaper in terms of ammo reloads, this variant gives the Guardian family a modicum of stand-off capability and stays true to the type’s defining ‘budget’ mentality.  That it also slightly ups the Guardian’s ‘Itano’ factor is an OOC bonus, too.  O0
  The recent release of Handbook: House Liao has brought us an entire family of airframes derived from the baseline Guardian, the Katya (and ain’t no way that name ain’t deliberate, either IC or OOC!), but that type is new enough, different enough, and fun enough that it needs its very own FotW, which it will get in a few weeks’ time.  ;)


  [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,5379.0.html


  Be advised: the attached .txt transcript of the previous run of this thread may contain numerous reader-proposals for variants.  I’ll try to change it out for a ‘sanitised’ version of that threads when I can, but I can’t promise it’ll be soon - that’s a lot of ground to cover.  ;)

Wrangler

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #066 (repost) - Guardian
« Reply #1 on: 04 May 2011, 22:05:11 »
Nice write up Trace.  You may want to add the “Bullet” Suicide Drone to the variant from XTRO: Mercs.
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Moonsword

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #066 (repost) - Guardian
« Reply #2 on: 05 May 2011, 07:25:24 »
I would note that special ammo rules under TW have removed the option for Infernos.  That said, it's still a decent clout to get slapped with off of a design that can't pack in energy weapons and the capabilities as a cheap bomber as respectable.

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #066 (repost) - Guardian
« Reply #3 on: 05 May 2011, 15:25:07 »
I would note that special ammo rules under TW have removed the option for Infernos.

Incorrect. While fighters cannot use such special rounds in air-to-air engagements, they can still use them in an air-to-ground role.
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Moonsword

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #066 (repost) - Guardian
« Reply #4 on: 06 May 2011, 08:16:10 »
Under AT2R, certain munitions were allowed for that role, but that changed under TW (unless someone's errata'd that when I wasn't looking).  Artemis and ATM rounds are the exceptions to that rule.

Quote from: Total Warfare, page 238
NARC and TAG: Neither TAG nor NARC play a role in aerospace combat, and they confer no advantage to the user when targeting his opponents. Aerospace units may use such equipment against non-aerospace units.

Special Munitions:  Aerospace units may not use special munitions.
« Last Edit: 06 May 2011, 08:27:08 by Moonsword »