Author Topic: Midge UAAV [AU: Vela Corridor]  (Read 1021 times)

Retry

  • Lieutenant
  • *
  • Posts: 1464
Midge UAAV [AU: Vela Corridor]
« on: 26 August 2023, 13:41:09 »
Code: [Select]
Midge UAAV (3056)
Mass: 10 tons
Chassis: Unknown
Power Plant: Fusion
Armor: BAR 5
Armament:
Communication System: Unknown
Targeting & Tracking System: Unknown
Introduction Year: 3056
Tech Rating/Availability: E/X-X-F-X
Cost: 70,238 C-bills
Mass: 10 tons
Frame: Unknown
Power Plant: Fusion
Armor: BAR 5
Armament:
Communication System: Unknown
Targeting & Tracking System: Unknown
Introduction Year: 3056
Tech Rating/Availability: E/X-X-F-X
Cost: 70,238 C-bills
Type: Midge UAAV
Technology Base: Mixed (Advanced)
Tonnage: 10
Battle Value: 18
Equipment Mass
Engine Fusion 2.5
     Safe Thrust: 3
     Max Thrust: 5
Structural Integrity: 0
Heat Sinks: 0 0
Fuel: 0 0
Cockpit: 1
Armor Factor (BAR 5): 14 0.5
Armor
Value
Nose 4
Wings 3/3
Aft 4
Fixed Equipment
Smart Robotic Control System (SRCS), Advanced Fire Control, External Stores Hardpoint, Chassis Mod (Prop-Driven), Chassis Mod (VSTOL), Chassis Mod (Omni)

Free Space
4 tons, 6 crits

The Midge UAAV (Unmanned Autonomous Aerial Vehicle) is a Crossroadian combat support drone loosely based on the Firefly and Hoverfly UAAVs.  Specialized for fighting insurgencies on the worlds of the former Gumerian Diktat, Midges have a peculiar set of traits rarely seen in either conventional combat fighters or support vehicles.

Background
The Gumerian Diktat, having had lost most of its military in the 1st Gumerian War and facing internal rebellions by strengthening independence movements and factions, attempted to retain control of its empire by striking one of its rebelling worlds, Aplana, with a Nuclear Weapon- an option they never used even when they were losing the 1st Gumerian War.  This shook the Velan community and the fear of potentially becoming their next target caused them to form a Grand Coalition to wipe out the Gumerian military and destroy their WMD stockpiles, sparking the 2nd Gumerian War.

The 2nd Gumerian war ended as abruptly as it began.  The Gumerian Diktat's nuking of Aplana had also triggered anger and fear of their leadership among other Gumerians, only strengthening the will of separatists.  A few weeks later, the Velan Entente engaged both the Gumerian fleet and internal security forces on Aplana, devastating both and also killing the ruling Gumerian Chancellor.  This created a power vacuum that separatist movements took advantage of to break away from the Diktat.  Besieged from within and without, the Gumerian loyalists were slaughtered.  Within a year, what used to be the Gumerian Diktat had balkanized into dozens of small states, many consisting of only a single world.

While this would initially seem to be a complete victory for the Velan Entente, their census of Gumerian worlds revealed that more than half of the stockpiled WMDs were unaccounted for.  Furthermore, the Gumerian breakaway states were not domestically stable and many of them hated each other and blamed other groups for their suffering during the Gumerian Diktat administration.  The Gumerian states began breaking out into revolutions, counterrevolutions, and interstate wars against each other often within just months of breaking away from the Diktat.

Thus, despite the rapid end of the 2nd Gumerian War in 3020, the Velan Entente (or more accurately, the two remaining great powers in the Vela Corridor: The Republic of Crossroad and the Mechani Alliance) were now stuck with an unenviable situation where dozens of states and radical splinter groups who all despised each other potentially had access to lost WMDs of various flavors, including nuclear, biological and chemical weapons.  The new Vela Corridor hegemons had little choice but to engage in constant counterinsurgency operations in the regions in an attempt to collect or destroy all the loose WMDs the Diktat's corpse had left them.  The operation was long and arduous, and reportedly still wasn't complete by the time of the Inner Sphere Blackout.

It was quickly apparent that the force setup that the Crossroadians and Mechani forces used for their pitched battles were less effective against small, scattered groups of insurgents they now encountered in the Gumerian worlds.  Constantly operating Aerospace Fighters for air cover proved to be far too expensive to operate in this low-intensity warfare, and most conventional fighter options available were only slightly better in operational costs.  The Firefly UAAVs seemed to work decently in this sort of environment, but their ICE turbines guzzled hydrogen fuel, making even their operation fairly pricey in the long term.  Insurgent groups would also sometimes camp near to Crossroadian-Mechani airbases and ambush the Fireflies with small arms fire, taking advantage of their low endurance.

There was clearly a need for a more specialized platform to deal with the new mission profiles in the region.  The Crossroadian military called for a new drone design that would be able to operate for very long periods of time in the air and engage small squads of insurgents equipped mostly with small arms and the odd MANPAD or vehicle technical.  By 3024, Crossroadian industry designed and began production of the Midge UAAV.

Capabilities
The Midge UAAV is a light VSTOL-capable fixed-wing aircraft.  Propulsion is provided by two civillian-grade fusion engines powering two propellers in a tiltrotor arrangement.  Combining the immense energy density of the fusion powerplant with the mostly-autonomous SRCS that requires no humans aboard the craft results in an aerial platform whose endurance is measured in months.  Despite devoting a full 40% of the vehicle's loaded weight to payload, the lightweight Midge possesses only meager combat capabilities in its counter-insurgency configurations.  Armor protects the craft from stray small arms fire and possibly lighter MANPADs, but little else.

In Crossroadian service, the Midge UAAV usually operates in a "man-in-the-loop" paradigm.  Particularly in counterinsurgency operations, the UAAV has to request permission from the drone operators to use lethal force against targets, and can only enter an attack run once approved.  On the occasions that the drones are pressed into high-intensity warfare instead of COIN, this requirement is usually relaxed, as the possibility of the Midge misidentifying a civilian as hostile is dramatically reduced.

The Midge's flexibility were sharply improved shortly after the Clans invaded the Inner Sphere.  The state-sponsored mercenary unit Vela Shield gathered salvage of working examples of Clan omni-technology, and sent them back to their nations in the Vela Corridor.  The Crossroadians and Mechani quickly reverse-engineered the technology and began experimenting with it on various testbeds.  The Midge UAAV was the first Crossroadian production unit to be modified with omni-capabilities in 3056.

Deployment
As the Midge is not intended for high-intensity operations, the vast majority of the Midge's service history has been on the worlds of the former Gumerian Diktat.  There the Midge's ability to remain available nearly 24/7 gives the Vela coalition a massive advantage against Gumerian terrorist groups.

A non-autonomous version of the Midge UAAV was created and approved for export in 3060.  Initially only served to other customers in the Vela Corridor, the Midge UAV (3060) saw a massive surge in purchases from Inner Sphere after the Jihad.  Most of the purchases were civilian variants like cargo carriages, surveillance platforms and firefighting UAVs, but the fact that their omni-technology would allow these UAVs to rapidly be converted into limited combat platforms at a time period where the Inner Sphere was supposed to be disarming undoubtedly was a factor Inner Sphere powers considered when making their purchases.

Midge UAVs (3060) were vital in the Federated Sun's counterinsurgency operations during the Dark Ages, especially on the border worlds near the Capellan Confederation.  The presence of these UAVs were able to spot and foil plots many plots of insurgents on recently reclaimed worlds, which were presumably but not verified to have been ordered by the Capellan government.

In one high-profile case, on June 18 a Fed Suns Midge UAV spotted a suspicious convoy heading into the capital city of New Syrtis; the operator notified the authorities who intercepted the convoy.  The confrontation led to a short shootout outside the city which ended with the (presumably) accidental detonation of a biochemical weapon, killing hundreds.  It is believed that if the biochemical weapon had reached the capital, the ensuing explosion could have killed anywhere from tens of thousands to millions of civilians.

Variants
Omni
COIN (E)- 1x Small Pulse Laser, (usually) 1x Recon Camera (Hardpoint), Booby Trap.
Mirrors the Original 3024 version.

COIN (L)- 1x Small Pulse Laser, (usually) 1x Recon Camera (Hardpoint), 2x RL10.
Began replacing the early versions in 3070 as Crossroadian drone technology advanced and the older SRCS variants consequently became less important to vigorously protect.  Much cheaper than the COIN E due to the removal of the booby trap.

Strike- 6x RL10, (usually) 1x Recon Camera (Hardpoint).
Typically capable of engaging and destroying a single technical per sortie.

Gunship- 2x SRM6 w/ 1t Ammo, (usually) 1x Recon Camera (Hardpoint).
Uncommon due to SRM pod costs, capable of engaging several vehicle technicals in the same sortie.

Cargo- 4t Cargo.
Further split into subvariants including liquid, refrigerated, or insulated cargo, but regular dry cargo is the most common.  Liquid Cargo drones have found some civilian use as firefighting UAAVs.

AutoKitchen- 1x Field Kitchen, 1t Cargo.
Rare.  Despite the name, the Field Kitchen itself is not automated and must be operated by human cooks after the Midge lands.

Minelayer- 2x Vehicular Mine Dispensers, 3t Cargo loaded with mines

Sensor Dispensor- 2x Remote Sensor Dispensers, 3t Cargo loaded with sensors

Troop Transport- 4t Infantry Compartment.
Uncommon and very unpopular; though the Midge UAAV is mechanically sound, the idea of riding in a machine driven without a pilot unnerves most Crossroadian personnel.

UAAV (3024): The original Midge.  Not Omni-capable, equipped with a Small Pulse Laser, while its hardpoint was almost always equipped with a recon camera.  A Booby Trap was installed to the drone to deny any insurgents salvage in the event that they managed a successful shootdown.  However, that system was frequently misused by drone operators to turn the Midge into an ad-hoc suicide bomb to kill groups of insurgents, truck technicals, and the occasional Industrialmech technical.
UAV (3060, RC): Export version of the Midge, heavily purchased by (and ubiquitous in) the Inner Sphere.  Replaces the Autonomous SRCS with a Remote Drone Operating System.  This more limited variant has only 3 tons of payload available, with the most common combat variant featuring a single small pulse laser as an armament with (usually) a remote camera on the hardpoint.