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Author Topic: Fighter of the Week, Issue #071 (repost) - Aquarius gunboat  (Read 2504 times)

Trace Coburn

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Aquarius gunboat - 200t, TRO3026R
Originally posted 9 Aug. 2006.

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

AFAICT: Aquarius in the foreground, with the Lyonesse beyond.

  Like the slightly smaller Lyonesse, the Aquarius was originally intended for the surface/space escort of early DropShips during their passage through atmo - arguably the most hazardous phase of flight - and was eventually rendered obsolete by the advent of heavy ASFs like the Thunderbird and Stuka.  Why exactly that was, I’m not sure - perhaps the jokers with egg on their hats decided that the small-crafts’ endurance wasn’t a winner when compared to the ASFs’ demonstration of better tactical performance in a smaller package, not to mention lower crewing and support requirements.  That being said, the Aquarius is so eye-openingly potent that that one has to wonder at that decision just a little; were those long-ago generals/admirals actually paid off by the nascent heavy-ASF industry?  We’ll probably never know... but of such things are born myriad conspiracy theories and raising the question was probably enough to keep the kooks busy (and out of our way) for quite some time, so we’re all good.  ;D

  Topping the SC mass-bracket at the full two hundred tons, the Aquarius turns out a relatively blistering 5/8 thrust curve that actually lets it turn-and-burn with the very same heavy ASFs which supposedly rendered it obsolete, and its five-ton fuel allocation means that it enjoys a similar amount of fuel-endurance to boot.  Its SI of 8 is mandated by its engine performance, but also allows a heavy dose of armour - some thirty-six tons of conventional composites, in fact, laid out 183/162/101; it is interesting to note that this is precisely the maximum amount of protection permitted by its SI, suggesting that First Star League-era WarShip designers probably would’ve done well to take a few pages out of the small-craft industry’s design manual.  ::)

  The Aquarius’ internal mass allocations are gratifyingly compact, though the proportions are a little curious.  The pilot gets only two tons of accommodations-space, with each of his two enlisted crewmen getting three(!) tons and the two gunners only getting 1.5 tons; a single ton allocated to food-and-water provides far more space than is needed, but there isn’t much you can do on that score, and I doubt the crew really mind having that capacious on-board beer-cooler anyway.  :P  But the warload... well, while an Aquarius isn’t likely to run down a Stuka, it could make a pretty good go at killing and eating the thing.  }:)
  Twin large lasers in the nose give the Aquarius a nice, solid introductory clout, and offer good ‘getting-home’ capability when/if the ammunition stocks are depleted.  Each wing mounts an LRM-15 and an SRM-6 forward, with a ton of ammunition per launcher per wing, and a single ML aft; coupled with twin MLs in the tail, the aft sector of an Aquarius isn’t all that much safer for an attacker than the forward.  And the heat-capacity?  Well, though ‘only’ singles, 35 HS nonetheless gives the Aquarius enough capacity to use all of its forward ordnance at once!  :o  That’s a hair more throw-weight than an old-school Stalker can generate, which is no mean achievement, and unlike the STK- an alpha-strike is a viable combat option for those who want/need/just plain like to break out the economy-sized beating stick.  >:/!

  Like its stablemate the Lyonesse, the Aquarius is suitable for most escort operations which require a little more endurance than the (arbitrarily) limited life-support of starfighters would normally permit - and for picquet duty off the flanks of WarShips with lacklustre point-defence fits.  However, the Lyonesse mounts only a single LRM-20 for Long-range punch and bulks up the rest of its arsenal with Short-range MLs; the Aquarius complements that Short-range hitting power with primary systems which reach into Medium range and beyond, including half-again as many LRMs, rather making it a sword to the Lyonesse’s shield.  Such a barrier of Archer-like Lyonesse and Stalker-like Aquarius can give a WarShip enough defensive oomph to take it ‘fighter-bait’ to ‘tough nut to crack’.  [legal]
  They also have enough of a speed advantage over most capital ships to range ahead of them and act as a light forward screen/reconnaissance element (neoBSG fans: think Raptor), keep pace with the notoriously fleet-of-foot Kimagure pursuit cruisers as added defences to free the fighters for offensive assignments - or to run down and hammer some of the faster ’Ships out there in a customs-enforcement or pirate-hunting context.  Unfortunately, they don’t carry Marines themselves, but then again, that’s when you make a few judicious called shots to the engines and a radio-call for some Mk.7s, right?  ;)  Their armour would certainly stand them on good stead in such unfriendly skies: few things short of a capital missile are going to seriously inconvenience an Aquarius without chewing through all of that protection the hard way, so I wouldn’t expect combat damage to take an Aquarius out of action too soon.

  Are there any serious faults in the Aquarius?  Given what it’s designed to be, not really.  Okay, a Stuka or a T-bird will generate more one-point tactical striking power, and carry external ordnance to boot; on the other, the SCs have the ASF(s) beat cold on operational loiter-time.  Other than the curiosity of its accommodations (wish fulfillment by an ex-non-com, perhaps?  Since when do ossifers sleep in roughter conditions than the guys who actually do the work?  ???  :P), there’s no real cause for complaint, especially under IS1 rules.  Of course, if you want to see how much IS2 tech can do for the thing, as always the Workshop awaits....


  [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,6377.0.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 thread 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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Aquarius gunboat – TRO3075
Originally posted 29 May 2011.

  A hard debut date for the Aquarius - 2515, making it the same age as the venerable and legendary Warhammer BattleMech! - is perhaps the prime benefit of the revised fluff on the type, but a comment about how its size and combination of thick armour and daunting firepower made it popular with its purchasers and respected by its opponents certainly lends the entry credibility.  ;)

  In some ways TW and associated revisions didn’t do the Aquarius many favours, but they didn’t cripple it outright either, which is a better outcome than we could have seen.  :-\  With a six-man crew, the expansion of the accommodations into Steerage-class cost the Aquarius a point of Safe Thrust (now developing 4/6), three heat-sinks, and the down-grade of its LRM-15s to LRM-10s.  The latter hurts the main point of the type, its ability to punch out to Long Range - I’d’ve been happy to see the SRM-racks vanish instead - but ‘all-range missile-spam’ was part of the Aquarius feel, so I suppose TPTB didn’t have much choice on that one; the lost heat-sinks are a little more concerning, removing your ability to deliver a no-heat ‘all-forward alpha-strike’, but for a platform meant for Medium- to Long-range fighting, having to leave an SRM-6 silent isn’t so bad (see above).  The shift to heavy ASFs, rather than escort SCs, is legitimised by the SCs’ lower speed, though 4/6 means you can still keep pace with most ‘tin cans’ like the Vinnie, the Lola family, and the Riga/York, and considering that the type picked up an additional(!) ton of fuel in the conversiuon process, this ‘point-defence parasite’ has slightly better legs for its role than before.

  Without the aerospace record-sheets to go with TRO3075, I can’t get too much into hard details about the two updated versions of the Aquarius that the fluff mentions, but the Aquarius-M1 is attributed DHS and ER lasers, and uses the weight-savings from those technologies to get back the 5/8 thrust-curve it lost in translation from AT2R to TW.  Assuming that it starts by using twin nose-mounted ERLLs, I’d be ready to treat the -M1 with respect if I ever saw it on the game-board.
  The Blaker remodelling, on the other hand, regains its speed by using (adding?) ferro-aluminium armour to its technologies, but turns into a flying artillery-missile platform by deleting much of its arsenal in favour of an Arrow-IV launcher.  It wouldn’t be my first choice of change to the type, but then I’m not as nuke-happy as the Blakers, and it does offer a degree of rapid reployability that most ground-bound artillery platforms can’t hope to match.

Weirdo

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #071 (repost) - Aquarius gunboat
« Reply #2 on: 29 May 2011, 01:31:17 »
Definitely my favorite of the Aquarius/Lyonesse pair. Fast enough to stick with its charges, and dangerous at all ranges, so it has no need to leave said charge behind. Definitely looking forward to the M1.
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