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Author Topic: [AU: Vela Corridor] VTOLs of the Crossroad Republic  (Read 373 times)

Retry

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[AU: Vela Corridor] VTOLs of the Crossroad Republic
« on: 01 December 2019, 00:09:12 »
(This is another mini-TRO in the style of the CR-mod thread, this time focusing on the Crossroad Republic's VTOLs after the introduction of the Mirage Multipurpose Helicopter.  As will be seen, the groundbreaking Mirage massively influenced every Republic VTOL design afterwards.  The Mirage can be found here: https://bg.battletech.com/forums/index.php?topic=67167.0 )

CROSSROAD REPUBLIC VTOLS

BACKGROUND

The Crossroad Republic's Mirage VTOL was put on the production line in 3074 and placed in combat squadrons to a limited extent in 3075.  The Mirage was an exceptionally rugged and overbuilt airframe, incorporating the 100XL Standard Fusion Turbine, an advanced ferro-lamellor armor plating, omni-technology, and a small chin-turret to carry most of its firepower.  While not the fastest helicopter ever made, Roadie VTOL pilots would come to appreciate the Mirage's other traits.

In 3081, on the outset of the 1st Jade Falcon - Crossroad Republic war, Clan Jade Falcon vessels intruded into Crossroad Republic space, fully loaded with Dropships and Battlemechs.  The Roadie VTOL units equipped with older VTOLs converted for Republic use, including Warriors, Vectors, and Rippers, were rapidly shot down by the invading Clans and the VTOLs were forced to be held in reserves, operating on the very edge of the battlefield while making an occasional raid on a Clan scouting party.  Even after the changes, the VTOL (and VTOL pilots, especially) took significant casualties when the Roadie VTOLs did not outnumber the Clan opponents or when the Scouting force had any sort of effective AA weaponry.

In contrast, the VTOL units equipped with Mirages were capable of holding their own and continue to provide vital fire support to the Roadie ground troops despite enemy AA presence, and could almost always be repaired after battle even in the event of a rotor loss in flight.  The Mirage VTOL pilots frequently survived their encounters, learned from their mistakes and became more and more effective at their job through the course of the war.  After which, the surviving Mirage veterans taught the next generation Roadie VTOL pilots with what they had learned.

The difference between the performance of the Mirages and the other Roadie VTOLs was not missed by the Crossroadian Army's top brass.  Shortly after the 1st war, an effort was made to phase out the older, more vulnerable VTOL types with the Mirage.

However, the effort was not quite feasible.  While a daunting and effective helicopter in itself, it was a bit on the slow side for replacing all the other VTOLs, and the base chassis cost around 3.5 Million C-Bills without armament, around the cost of an effective light or medium battlemech.  It was quickly found impractically expensive to replace the entire Republic's VTOL fleet with Mirages.

The plan was changed slightly to develop a few more, lighter, cheaper VTOL types to supplement the Mirage and quickly phase out the older, obsolescent VTOL types from the Republic's inventories.  These VTOLs took full advantage of many of the lessons learned from the Mirage helicopter; Many feature omni-technology, Ferro-Lamellor armor, a chin turret, or a combination of the three.  All of them are faster and cheaper than the venerable Mirage, often without sacrificing much or any in the way of combat effectiveness.



ILLUSION NAVAL OMNI-VTOL
Code: [Select]
Illusion Naval Omni-VTOL Base
Mass: 25 tons
Movement Type: VTOL
Power Plant: 110 XL
Cruising Speed: 108 kph
Maximum Speed: 162 kph
Armor: Ferro-Lamellor
Armament:
Communication System: Unknown
Targeting & Tracking System: Unknown
Introduction Year: 3145
Tech Rating/Availability: F/X-X-X-X
Cost: 3,346,788 C-bills
Type: Illusion Naval Omni-VTOL
Technology Base: Mixed (Experimental)
Tonnage: 25
Battle Value: 414
Equipment Mass
Internal Structure 2.5
Engine 110 XL 3
     Cruising MP: 10
     Flanking MP: 15
Heat Sinks: 10 0
Control Equipment: 1.5
Lift Equipment: 2.5
Power Amplifier: 0
Turret: 0.5
Armor Factor (Ferro-Lamellor): 98 7
Internal
Structure Armor
Value
Front 3 20
R/L Side 3/3 20/20
Rear 3 16
Rotor 3 2
Turret 3 20
Fixed Equipment
CASE
Flotation Hull

Omni-Space:
8 slots
8 tons (5 Chin turret)

VARIANTS
Code: [Select]
Prime
2x ERML (Chin Turret)
2x iATM-3 (Chin Turret), 3t ammo

A
2x ERML (Chin Turret)
4x LRM-5 (front), 2t ammo

A-T
As A, but w/ LRTs

B
2x ERML (Chin Turret)
4x SRM-4 (front), 2t ammo

B-T
As B, but w/ SRTs

C
1x ERLL (Chin Turret)
1x Targeting Computer
1x ECM suite

D
2x ERML (Chin Turret)
5x SSRM-2 (Front), 1t ammo

E
1x ERMPL (Chin Turret)
1x SPL (Chin Turret)
2x SLRM-5 (Front), 1t ammo

F
1x Plasma Cannon (Chin Turret), 1t ammo
1x MPL (Chin Turret)
Targeting Computer

G
2x ERML (Chin Turret)
6t Infantry Compartment

H
1x ERMPL (Chin Turret)
1x SPL (Chin Turret)
Targeting Computer
ECM Suite
3t Infantry Compartment

I
2x MPL (Chin Turret)
1x SPL (Chin Turret)
Targeting Computer
Light Active Probe
1.5t Infantry Compartment

J
1x ERMPL (Chin Turret)
1x SPL (Chin Turret)
Bloodhound Active Probe
Angel ECM Suite
TAG (Chin Turret)

The Illusion was the first helicopter designed after the Mirage, and by the same company.  The Illusion has a striking visual similarity to the AH-1Z Viper, but a bit "beefier".  It also shares a similar chin turret design to the Mirage.

The Illusion was designed to satisfy the requirements of the Crossroadian Navy.  The Crossroad Republic, owning several planets with significant bodies of water and also some important assets underneath the waves, had a larger navy than usual which was placed in charge of brown water, blue water and black water (Space) assets.  The Navy (and Marines) is of such a size that they are sometimes considered to be the Crossroad Republic's second army.

The Illusion is optimized for operating over blue waters and has some variants with torpedo launchers and active probes optimized for detecting submarines.  While not boasting the ridiculous levels of the Mirage's durability, the Illusion is fairly rugged itself, and it's especially suited to blue-water operations, as infrequent as they are.

Compared to the Mirage, the armor is not as gratuitously thick but it's still considered to be sufficient, capable of withstanding at least one UAC/20 shell on any location and rated to withstand heavy LB-X and HAG fire.  The Illusion also has a slightly heavier, more powerful engine than the Mirage, increasing the speed and rate of climb by about 25%.  Despite the heavier engine and lighter frame, only 1 ton of pod space is lost in relation to the Mirage, leaving a still-healthy 8 tons of pod space left over.

Mirage pilots from the Crossroadian Army Air Service and Illusion pilots from the Crossroadian Navy have a friendly rivalry on which service has the better helicopter, and the better pilots.

The Illusion saw its first combat during the 2nd Jade Falcon - Crossroad Republic war.  The helicopter served with distinction in the Republic's navy and racked up its own share of kills.  Some Illusion pilots even became Aerial Aces, shooting down Clan VTOLs.



PHANTOM OMNI-HELICOPTER

Code: [Select]
Phantom Omni-VTOL Base
Mass: 21 tons
Movement Type: VTOL
Power Plant: 115 XL
Cruising Speed: 129.6 kph
Maximum Speed: 194.4 kph
Armor: Ferro-Lamellor
Armament:
Communication System: Unknown
Targeting & Tracking System: Unknown
Introduction Year: 3145
Tech Rating/Availability: F/X-X-X-E
Cost: 2,098,438 C-bills
Type: Phantom Omni-VTOL
Technology Base: Mixed (Experimental)
Tonnage: 21
Battle Value: 265
Equipment Mass
Internal Structure 2.5
Engine 115 XL 3
     Cruising MP: 12
     Flanking MP: 18
Heat Sinks: 10 0
Control Equipment: 1.5
Lift Equipment: 2.5
Power Amplifier: 0
Armor Factor (Ferro-Lamellor): 63 4.5
Internal
Structure Armor
Value
Front 3 20
R/L Side 3/3 16/16
Rear 3 9
Rotor 3 2
Fixed Equipment
CASE

VARIANTS

Code: [Select]
Prime
2x ERML
4x SRM4, 1t ammo

A
2x ERML
2x SLRM5, 1t ammo

B
1x ERLL
Targeting Computer

C
1x ERMPL
1x ERSPL
Targeting Computer
3t infantry compartment

D
2x ERML
2x iATM-3, 2t ammo

E
1x Plasma Cannon, 1t ammo
1x ERSPL
1.5t infantry compartment

F
2x ERML
1x TAG
Bloodhound Active Probe
Angel ECM Suite

G
2x ERML
1x SPL
Active Probe
ECM Suite

H
1x LPL
ECM Suite

I
2x MPL
1x SPL
Targeting Computer
ECM Suite

Designed as a lighter, cheaper, and much faster alternative to the Mirage by a rival company, the Phantom is a lighter design that cuts off much of the fat to achieve its goals.  The VTOL is aesthetically similar to the Ka-50 attack helicopter.

The armor, while still made up of an advanced Ferro-Lamellor type, is significantly less than either the Illusion or the Mirage, although removal of the chin turret helps concentrate the armor it does have.  The engine is slightly more powerful than the Illusion's propelling the craft to 50% higher speeds than the Mirage, very good for even for VTOL standards.

The lack of chin turret made aiming the weapons more difficult in comparison to VTOLs with chin turrets, such as the Mirage and Illusion.  Phantom pilots take that point with pride and consider themselves the best VTOL pilots in the Crossroadian Air Service.

Phantoms served during the 2nd Jade Falcon - Crossroad Republic war.  The most common configurations were in heavily armed reconnaisance versions such as the F & G, long-ranged fire support versions like the B & H, and Scout-hunting configurations like the I.

The Phantom proved to be a particularly fierce scout and VTOL hunter.  One famous Phantom nicknamed "Dark Shark", piloted by Jacques "The Ripper" Francis, was particularly reportedly knocked out 50+ vehicles and light Battlemechs throughout the 2nd Falcon-Crossroad war during raids with his squadron-mates, at least 10 of which were VTOLs like the Donar, making Jacques an aerial ace.



WRAITH ATTACK HELICOPTER

Code: [Select]
Wraith Attack VTOL Mk.I
Mass: 21 tons
Movement Type: VTOL
Power Plant: 115 XL
Cruising Speed: 129.6 kph
Maximum Speed: 194.4 kph
Armor: Ferro-Lamellor
Armament:
     1 Small Pulse Laser
     2 Medium Pulse Laser
Communication System: Unknown
Targeting & Tracking System: Unknown
Introduction Year: 3145
Tech Rating/Availability: F/X-X-X-E
Cost: 1,875,950 C-bills
Type: Wraith Attack VTOL
Technology Base: Mixed (Experimental)
Tonnage: 21
Battle Value: 1,130
Equipment Mass
Internal Structure 2.5
Engine 115 XL 3
     Cruising MP: 12
     Flanking MP: 18
Heat Sinks: 10 0
Control Equipment: 1.5
Lift Equipment: 2.5
Power Amplifier: 0
Turret: 0.5
Armor Factor (Ferro-Lamellor): 70 5
Internal
Structure Armor
Value
Front 3 16
R/L Side 3/3 15/15
Rear 3 10
Rotor 3 2
Turret 3 12
Weapons
and Ammo Location Critical Tonnage
Targeting Computer BD 1 1
Small Pulse Laser Turret 1 1
2 Medium Pulse Lasers Turret 2 4

The Wraith is a cheaper, non-Omni variant of the Phantom with a chin turret.  The cockpit is revised to fit two people with one of them controlling the weapon system of a dual MPL array with a coaxial SPL mated to a targeting computer.  Despite having a bit more armor compared to the Phantom, the Wraith's overall coverage is a bit thinner in most locations due to the introduction of the bulky chin turret.

The Wraith is effective as an economy attack VTOL, with enough protection to preserve the craft from moderate AA fire, and plenty of firepower and speed, if fairly limited in range.  Wraiths were first produced as part of a phase-out plan for the older obsolescent VTOL models in 2nd-line units and garrisons.  Production of Wraiths picked up again in 3102 to help fill out the VTOL fleets of the Crossroad Republic's allies, the Amethyst Legion and the Mechani Alliance, after the Republic became a signature of the Vela Pact.



SPOOK LIGHT RECON VTOL

Code: [Select]
Spook Light Recon VTOL Mk.I
Mass: 11 tons
Movement Type: VTOL
Power Plant: 70 XL
Cruising Speed: 162 kph
Maximum Speed: 248.4 kph
Armor: Ferro-Lamellor
Armament:
     2 ER Medium Laser
Communication System: Unknown
Targeting & Tracking System: Unknown
Introduction Year: 3145
Tech Rating/Availability: F/X-X-X-E
Cost: 1,002,906 C-bills
Type: Spook Light Recon VTOL
Technology Base: Mixed (Experimental)
Tonnage: 11
Battle Value: 910
Equipment Mass
Internal Structure 1.5
Engine 70 XL 1.5
     Cruising MP: 15
     Flanking MP: 23
Heat Sinks: 10 0
Control Equipment: 1
Lift Equipment: 1.5
Power Amplifier: 0
Armor Factor (Ferro-Lamellor): 35 2.5
Internal
Structure Armor
Value
Front 2 12
R/L Side 2/2 8/8
Rear 2 5
Rotor 2 2
Weapons
and Ammo Location Critical Tonnage
2 ER Medium Lasers Front 2 2
Active Probe Body 1 1

SPECTRE RECON VTOL

Code: [Select]
Spectre Recon VTOL Mk.I
Mass: 15 tons
Movement Type: VTOL
Power Plant: 115 XL
Cruising Speed: 151.2 kph
Maximum Speed: 226.8 kph
Armor: Ferro-Lamellor
Armament:
     2 ER Medium Laser
     1 Light TAG [Clan]
Communication System: Unknown
Targeting & Tracking System: Unknown
Introduction Year: 3145
Tech Rating/Availability: F/X-X-X-E
Cost: 2,051,250 C-bills
Type: Spectre Recon VTOL
Technology Base: Mixed (Experimental)
Tonnage: 15
Battle Value: 913
Equipment Mass
Internal Structure 1.5
Engine 115 XL 3
     Cruising MP: 14
     Flanking MP: 21
Heat Sinks: 10 0
Control Equipment: 1
Lift Equipment: 1.5
Power Amplifier: 0
Armor Factor (Ferro-Lamellor): 49 3.5
Internal
Structure Armor
Value
Front 2 16
R/L Side 2/2 12/12
Rear 2 7
Rotor 2 2
Weapons
and Ammo Location Critical Tonnage
2 ER Medium Lasers Front 2 2
Light TAG Front 1 0.5
Bloodhound Active Probe Body 3 2

The Spook and the Spectre are Taneli Industry's entry for dedicated reconnaisance vehicles of the Crossroadian VTOL fleet.  The Spook is visually similar to the Gazelle VTOL, and the Spectre is similar to a modernized version of the OH-58 Kiowa.

Both are actually quite well armed for mere scout helicopters, with twin front-mounted ER Mediums to dissuade any confrontations.  Both are exceptionally swift helicopters, and their armor is acceptable and designed to primarily withstand chance cluster LB-X shells and the odd infantry rifle shot.  Their primary difference is with their sensor suites.  The smaller Spook carries a normal Active Probe which is perfectly sufficient for most applications, and so the Spook is the more common platform to find in the Crossroadian VTOL fleet.  The Spectre carries an advanced Bloodhound probe with a superior sensor suite which can dig up all but the best concealed hostiles on the battlefield.  The price of this capability was, well, price: The Spectre was more than twice as expensive as the Spook.

While the Omni-VTOLs do have scout variants, and those variants are often used when resistance is expected to be heavy, the Spook and Spectre are often the scouts selected for the jobs for the simple reason that they are significantly cheaper than the much-larger multi-purpose helicopters.



REVENANT ULTRALIGHT ATTACK VTOL

Code: [Select]
Revenant Ultralight Attack VTOL Mk.I
Mass: 15 tons
Movement Type: VTOL
Power Plant: 100 XL
Cruising Speed: 140.4 kph
Maximum Speed: 216 kph
Armor: Ferro-Lamellor
Armament:
     1 Small Pulse Laser
     1 ER Medium Pulse Laser
Communication System: Unknown
Targeting & Tracking System: Unknown
Introduction Year: 3145
Tech Rating/Availability: F/X-X-X-E
Cost: 1,205,250 C-bills
Type: Revenant Ultralight Attack VTOL
Technology Base: Mixed (Experimental)
Tonnage: 15
Battle Value: 760
Equipment Mass
Internal Structure 1.5
Engine 100 XL 2.5
     Cruising MP: 13
     Flanking MP: 20
Heat Sinks: 10 0
Control Equipment: 1
Lift Equipment: 1.5
Power Amplifier: 0
Turret: 0.5
Armor Factor (Ferro-Lamellor): 56 4
Internal
Structure Armor
Value
Front 2 12
R/L Side 2/2 12/12
Rear 2 8
Rotor 2 2
Turret 2 10
Weapons
and Ammo Location Critical Tonnage
Targeting Computer BD 1 1
Small Pulse Laser Turret 1 1
ER Medium Pulse Laser Turret 2 2

The Revenant is a VTOL designed again by Taneli Industries.  The VTOL bears a resemblance to the HAL Light Combat Helicopter with a bulky chin turret.

The Revenant is significantly lighter than most proper combat helicopter designs.  While the armor plating is still Ferro-Lamellor, the armor is thin enough that a Revenant pilot should pause if the OPFOR's AA coverage is heavier than a few LB-X cannons.  The chin turret possesses an ERMPL for anti-tank purposes and a SPL for anti-infantry purposes, tied to a targeting computer.  The combination is fairly multi-purpose, if a bit light.  The Revenant often carries ordnance in the side stub-wings to augment its firepower, though this slows down the craft a bit.

The Revenant was designed to quickly replace older, obsolescent Crossroad Republic attack VTOLs in 2nd line and garrison units.  To do this, it used a lot of components that were common with other Roadie VTOLs, including the 100XL Standard Engine that's used by the Mirage VTOL.  After the Vela Pact was signed in 3102, Revenants were also supplied to the Republic's close allies such as the Mechani Alliance and the Amethyst Legion.



GHOST TRANSPORT VTOL

Code: [Select]
Ghost Transport VTOL Mk.I
Mass: 21 tons
Movement Type: VTOL
Power Plant: 70 Fusion
Cruising Speed: 108 kph
Maximum Speed: 162 kph
Armor: Vehicular Stealth
Armament:
Communication System: Unknown
Targeting & Tracking System: Unknown
Introduction Year: 3145
Tech Rating/Availability: F/X-X-X-E
Cost: 1,120,300 C-bills
Type: Ghost Transport VTOL
Technology Base: Mixed (Experimental)
Tonnage: 21
Battle Value: 338
Equipment Mass
Internal Structure 2.5
Engine 70 Fusion 3
     Cruising MP: 10
     Flanking MP: 15
Heat Sinks: 10 0
Control Equipment: 1.5
Lift Equipment: 2.5
Power Amplifier: 0
Armor Factor (Vehicular Stealth): 72 4.5
Internal
Structure Armor
Value
Front 3 20
R/L Side 3/3 20/20
Rear 3 10
Rotor 3 2
Weapons
and Ammo Location Critical Tonnage
ECM Suite Body 1 1
Infantry Body 1 6

SHADOW TRANSPORT VTOL

Code: [Select]
Shadow Transport Helicopter Mk.I
Mass: 30 tons
Movement Type: VTOL
Power Plant: 100 Fusion
Cruising Speed: 86.4 kph
Maximum Speed: 129.6 kph
Armor: Vehicular Stealth
Armament:
Communication System: Unknown
Targeting & Tracking System: Unknown
Introduction Year: 3145
Tech Rating/Availability: F/X-X-X-E
Cost: 1,630,000 C-bills
Type: Shadow Transport Helicopter
Technology Base: Mixed (Experimental)
Tonnage: 30
Battle Value: 366
Equipment Mass
Internal Structure 3
Engine 100 Fusion 4.5
     Cruising MP: 8
     Flanking MP: 12
Heat Sinks: 10 0
Control Equipment: 1.5
Lift Equipment: 3
Power Amplifier: 0
Armor Factor (Vehicular Stealth): 80 5
Internal
Structure Armor
Value
Front 3 25
R/L Side 3/3 20/20
Rear 3 13
Rotor 3 2
Weapons
and Ammo Location Critical Tonnage
ECM Suite Body 1 1
Infantry Body 1 12

The Ghost and Shadow are transport VTOLs whose blueprints actually predate the Mirage's.  The Ghost is visually similar to the Blackhawk helicopter, and the Shadow is visually similar to the Chinook helicopter.  The Ghost was designed to carry a 6-man squad of Medium BA suits, while the Shadow was designed for a 6-man squad of Assault BA suits.

These VTOLs, originally designed before the advent of Ferro-Lamellor armor utilized a different strategy to increase the survivability of the helicopters.  Instead of building the craft to withstand light LB-X blasts more effectively, why not design them to make them harder to hit?  Both craft incorporate a version of stealth armor which hides its electronics and heat signature, making the craft more difficult to hit at long ranges.  The effects of the armor does diminish at short ranges, but the VTOLs, designed as pure troop transports, were not intended to get that close at all.

Despite being designed earlier than the Mirage, there was some difficulties in getting the stealth armor to work properly.  The protracted development period prevented the helicopters from being ready in time for the first Falcon-Crossroads war, and it would be shortly afterwards that the first fully-functional Ghosts and Shadows would roll off the production lines.

The VTOLs proved to be effective infantry transports, and surprisingly inexpensive relative to the Ferro-Lamellor armored VTOLs that the Republic uses for combat.  Shadows were involved during an infamous incident known by Roadies as the "Ghost Bear Rebellion", where a rogue Clan Ghost Bear battleship appeared above a Crossroadian outer planet and launched dropships full of invaders on the poorly defended planet.  A few Shadows carried a few squads of Commando-Marines close to one of the dropships, clandestinely taking control of the vessel.  The Dropship took off and returned back to the Battleship, docking with it to unload the Commando-Marines, where they took control of the Battleship and ended the invasion.



SHADE ASSAULT VTOL

Code: [Select]
Shade Assault VTOL Mk.II
Mass: 25 tons
Movement Type: VTOL
Power Plant: 85 Fusion
Cruising Speed: 97.2 kph
Maximum Speed: 151.2 kph
Armor: Ferro-Lamellor
Armament:
     1 ER PPC
Communication System: Unknown
Targeting & Tracking System: Unknown
Introduction Year: 3145
Tech Rating/Availability: F/X-X-X-D
Cost: 1,309,306 C-bills
Type: Shade Assault VTOL
Technology Base: Mixed (Advanced)
Tonnage: 25
Battle Value: 1,095
Equipment Mass
Internal Structure 2.5
Engine 85 Fusion 4
     Cruising MP: 9
     Flanking MP: 14
Heat Sinks: 15 5
Control Equipment: 1.5
Lift Equipment: 2.5
Power Amplifier: 0
Armor Factor (Ferro-Lamellor): 49 3.5
Internal
Structure Armor
Value
Front 3 15
R/L Side 3/3 12/12
Rear 3 8
Rotor 3 2
Weapons
and Ammo Location Critical Tonnage
ER PPC Front 2 6

SHADE II

Code: [Select]
Shade II Assault VTOL Mk.0
Mass: 30 tons
Movement Type: VTOL
Power Plant: 160 XL
Cruising Speed: 108 kph
Maximum Speed: 162 kph
Armor: Ferro-Lamellor
Armament:
     1 ER PPC
Communication System: Unknown
Targeting & Tracking System: Unknown
Introduction Year: 3145
Tech Rating/Availability: F/X-X-X-E
Cost: 3,840,000 C-bills
Type: Shade II Assault VTOL
Technology Base: Mixed (Experimental)
Tonnage: 30
Battle Value: 1,424
Equipment Mass
Internal Structure 3
Engine 160 XL 4.5
     Cruising MP: 10
     Flanking MP: 15
Heat Sinks: 15 5
Control Equipment: 1.5
Lift Equipment: 3
Power Amplifier: 0
Turret: 1
Armor Factor (Ferro-Lamellor): 56 4
Internal
Structure Armor
Value
Front 3 12
R/L Side 3/3 12/12
Rear 3 8
Rotor 3 2
Turret 3 10
Weapons
and Ammo Location Critical Tonnage
ER PPC Turret 2 6
Targeting Computer BD 1 2

The Shade Assault Helicopter, despite not being the most high-tech of the Roadie VTOLs, is among the most feared.

The Shade was a simple platform first designed in its original configuration in 3062 and undoubtedly inspired by the Hawk Moth and Yellow Jacket.  Similarly to those VTOLs, the Shade Mk.I chassis was built around a big gun, in this case a large ERPPC, capable of cleanly blowing the head off a Timberwolf in a single, well-placed shot.  The cost, gun and armor protection were all roughly comparable to the Yellow Jacket, while the Shade benefit from negligible fuel and ammunition costs in addition to a large speed advantage owing to its lighter weight and more powerful 85 Standard Fusion Engine.

Shades were strictly kept within the Crossroad Republic until 3080, when the Republic began to replace the Mk.I model with the Mk.II, which replaced the standard armor with Ferro-Lamellor in accordance to the new Crossroadian Army doctrine.  The Mk.IIs were built on entirely new frames rather than refits of an earlier model, which left the Army with a glut of spare Mk.Is hanging around in storage.  Since the Crossroad Republic viewed these older, Lamellor-less frames as being obsolescent, the excess frames were sold away to Inner Sphere powers.

The old frames were bought up exceptionally quickly by the Inner Sphere.  Sensing an economic opportunity to expand their markets, the company producing the Shades re-opened their Shade Mk.I factories for export purposes.  The design quickly proved to be a far more effective design than either Hawk Moth or Yellow Jacket while not being significantly more expensive than either.  Shade Mk.Is proved to be an immediate commercial success, crowding out both designs in the Inner Sphere's marketplace, much to Michaelson Heavy Industry's frustration (which designed and produced both Yellow Jackets and Hawk Moths).  The Shade Mk.Is even received some buyers from the IS-based Clans (notably Clan Hell's Horses and Clan Diamond Shark).

Shade Mk.IIs were produced a bit late to arrive to the 1st Falcon-Roadie War to be of any significance, but they served in the 2nd war with distinction, easily coring the likes of Zorya light tanks and demanding the respect of even the heaviest Battlemechs on the field.  Foreign-fielded Shade Mk.Is also saw immense success in their campaigns.

In 3120, the basic Shade chassis was heavily redesigned and developed into the Shade II.  The new chassis was heavier and used a substantially more powerful engine to slightly increase the speed.  The Shade II is still designed around its ERPPC, but the extra weight goes into improving the overall weapon system, installing the ERPPC into a chin turret with 360* angle of traverse instead of the nose mount, and integrating an improved targeting computer to increase accuracy.  The VTOL does lose a bit of armor thickness due to splitting extra armor with the turret mount, which has prevented the Shade II from being mass produced.  Roadie Engineers are currently trying to create a VTOL frame out of endo-steel for the Shade to get the spare weight needed for extra armor, which would be a first in VTOL aviation history.
« Last Edit: 03 December 2019, 01:02:29 by Retry »

kaliban

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Re: [AU: Vela Corridor] VTOLs of the Crossroad Republic
« Reply #1 on: 03 December 2019, 16:04:35 »
The small engines and high speed of the VTOLs make them very good missile/laser bots. 

I am more used to pre-Clan equipment and always get amazed by the c-bill cost of more advanced technology. If you compare the models on a BV/c-bills ratio, most probably the cheaper designs are a better choice.

kaliban

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Re: [AU: Vela Corridor] VTOLs of the Crossroad Republic
« Reply #2 on: 03 December 2019, 19:09:57 »
The small engines and high speed of the VTOLs make them very good missile/laser bots. 

I am more used to pre-Clan equipment and always get amazed by the c-bill cost of more advanced technology (4M c-bill for a chopper?!). If you compare the models on a BV/c-bills ratio, most probably the cheaper designs are a better choice.

Retry

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Re: [AU: Vela Corridor] VTOLs of the Crossroad Republic
« Reply #3 on: 03 December 2019, 22:07:07 »
The small engines and high speed of the VTOLs make them very good missile/laser bots.

I am more used to pre-Clan equipment and always get amazed by the c-bill cost of more advanced technology (4M c-bill for a chopper?!). If you compare the models on a BV/c-bills ratio, most probably the cheaper designs are a better choice.
I think you intended to edit your last post instead of quoting yourself?

Yeah, the price tag on some of these can get a bit extravagant, at least for a VTOL.  Combining XLEs, Ferro-Lamellor, and Omni-technology does not do good things to the price tag.  My general idea is that as the advanced stuff like XLEs and F-L armor get used more, the equipment itself would eventually start lowering and the price of the overall vehicles would decrease, economies of scale and whatnot.  Probably not to the level of a regular Fusion engine and armor but perhaps, say, the XLE becomes only 2x the price of a standard fusion engine instead of the current 4x(?) the price.  (Not that any of this is reflected in the nominal cost ATM, as I strictly followed the canonical formula.)

These are all post-Mirage helicopters so they'd be developed post-3075 (except the Shade Mk.I, which isn't shown).  At this point in the timeline the Crossroad Republic's technology base is chugging along, military technology's on the level of the Clans and their civilian technology has kept pace (which can't really be said for the Clans).

Yeah, the choppers are significantly more expensive than Cavalries and Warriors, but part of the thing is that the Crossroad Republic is simply too small of a nation to simply swarm their invaders to death with a bunch of cheap birds.  So they have to rely on their high technology base (and crewmen), and they also can't fill their main ranks with a bunch of Assault and Heavy designs either, so they end up with smaller designs like Helicopters, medium and light tanks, and some tankettes.

 

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