Author Topic: Gnat UAAV [AU: Vela Corridor]  (Read 1139 times)

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Gnat UAAV [AU: Vela Corridor]
« on: 30 August 2023, 20:46:25 »
Code: [Select]
Gnat Recon UAAV (2765)
Mass: 0.971 tons
Chassis: Unknown
Power Plant: Fusion
Armor: BAR 2
Armament:
Communication System: Unknown
Targeting & Tracking System: Unknown
Introduction Year: 2765
Tech Rating/Availability: D/E-F-F-X
Cost: 19,500 C-bills
Mass: 0.971 tons
Frame: Unknown
Power Plant: Fusion
Armor: BAR 2
Armament:
Communication System: Unknown
Targeting & Tracking System: Unknown
Introduction Year: 2765
Tech Rating/Availability: D/E-F-F-X
Cost: 19,500 C-bills
Type: Gnat Recon UAAV
Technology Base: Inner Sphere (Advanced)
Tonnage: 0.971
Battle Value: 2
Equipment Mass
Engine Fusion 0.5
     Safe Thrust: 6
     Max Thrust: 9
Structural Integrity: 0
Heat Sinks: 0 0
Fuel: 0 0
Cockpit: 0
Armor Factor (BAR 2): 4 0.052
Armor
Value
Nose 1
Wings 1/1
Aft 1
Weapons
and Ammo Location Tonnage Heat SRV MRV LRV ERV
Recon Camera NOS 0.5 - - - - -
SV Chassis Mod (Ultralight) BOD 0 - - - - -
SV Chassis Mod (VSTOL) BOD 0 - - - - -
SV Chassis Mod (Propeller) BOD 0 - - - - -
Smart Robotic Control System BOD 0 - - - - -

The Gnat Unmanned Autonomous Aerial Vehicle (UAAV) is a Star League era drone designed to provide the Star League with a cheap, light, and available aerial reconnaissance assets to units and remote areas where more sophisticated aerial recon assets (such as Aerospace fighters or sattelites) were either unavailable or not desirable to use due to risks posed to the aerospace asset.

The UAAV was developed directly as a response to the New Vanderberg uprising and was rapidly prototyped in record time, owed in part to its simple construction.  Completely unarmed and weighing in at just under a ton, more than half of its weight is taken up by a sophisticated reconnaissance camera in what can loosely be described as the UAAV's nose.  Another quarter is devoted to the powerplant, which drives a propeller to provide thrust to the aircraft and together with the Smart Robotic Control System allows the UAAV to feed intelligence to its ground crew for indefinite periods.  The Gnat owes its name to its propeller, which emits a quiet but annoying hum while idle.  Such a light craft has necessarily negligible armor, suitable only for protecting the Gnat from rough handling or taking the rare lucky shot from small arms fire.

The Gnat had some teething issues, most notably with the propeller sometimes randomly shaking itself loose while on patrol due to vibration.  These issues were solved relatively quickly and the final production versions were coming off of assembly lines by early December 2766; its Terra-based manufacturing plant was interrupted later that month by the onset of the Amaris coup.  Emperor Amaris, seeing no use of these unarmed toys, ordered its production ceased in favor of "actually useful" aircraft.  On Kerensky's side, not enough Gnats had made their way to his forces, and the ones that did were pre-production UAAVs with the propeller vibration issues, so they did not meaningfully contribute to the war effort.

Still, a surprisingly large number of Gnats had been produced over its short production run, now scattered everywhere from military reserve stockpiles to garbage bins.  Aleksandr Kerensky took hundreds of tons of later-model Gnats with his Exodus Fleet, the bulk of which continued with him to the Pentagon worlds while a small number went with Gen. Aaron DeChavilier's detachment to the Vela Corridor.  Kerensky's group became the Clans, which were not believed to still use the UAAV until Operation SERPENT spotted them during the Battle of Huntress, apparently integrated into Huntress's SDS.  DeChavilier's group became the Republic of Crossroad, which continues to use and produce the Gnat UAAV with only minor modifications.

Daryk

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Re: Gnat UAAV [AU: Vela Corridor]
« Reply #1 on: 31 August 2023, 18:30:05 »
I'm not sure you can have a 6/9 thrust profile with a prop, but nice idea! :)

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Re: Gnat UAAV [AU: Vela Corridor]
« Reply #2 on: 31 August 2023, 20:05:15 »
It's that way because the minimum weight of a support vehicle fusion engine is 250 kg - or at least it was when I was inputting it into MegaMekLab - so the thrust on such a tiny aircraft ends up being 6/9 before you break that point.  Otherwise I would've made it 2/3 thrust and even smaller/cheaper.

If I recall the propeller aircraft rules correctly, it can't use anything past 1G of thrust without actually losing control and crashing (so 2 points), so that would mean almost 80% of the thrust is actually useless.  Ah well!

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Re: Gnat UAAV [AU: Vela Corridor]
« Reply #3 on: 31 August 2023, 20:20:12 »
That minimum weight is a result of an errata I submitted a while back... Fusion Engines can only be so small...

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Re: Gnat UAAV [AU: Vela Corridor]
« Reply #4 on: 01 September 2023, 17:23:46 »
That's unfortunate.

I mean, I don't disagree in principle.  But, there are currently rules-legal ways to get units with powerplants lighter than 250kg, and one canonical example of one as light as 40kg (admittedly not a vehicle powerplant).  By the current Protomech rules, you can make one with an engine as light as 100 kg (not that it would be useful, as that'd be a 2-tonner with 1/2 speed), so it's at least possible in-universe to get that light on certain vehicles.  The Star League had 40kg fusion Power Pack Rechargers at a surprisingly accessible D tech level (The IS lost them after 1SW but the Clans retained it).  Obviously the recharger doesn't power vehicles but that by its very existence it yields a floor of how light fusion plants can be in-universe.

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Re: Gnat UAAV [AU: Vela Corridor]
« Reply #5 on: 01 September 2023, 18:58:13 »
The rules before the errata allowed fusion engines lighter than standard power packs.  That's what tripped Herb's trigger at the time.  The thing is that a "fusion engine" can power an infinite number of energy weapons.  I've also submitted errata for the Fusion Recharger, but it hasn't been accepted yet.  I'm still working on Paul...

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Re: Gnat UAAV [AU: Vela Corridor]
« Reply #6 on: 01 September 2023, 21:19:52 »
There's a wide gap between the current 250kg minimum and the 250g of a standard power pack, or even just the 40kg of a fusion recharger.  And there's still the Protomech thing...

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Re: Gnat UAAV [AU: Vela Corridor]
« Reply #7 on: 02 September 2023, 04:46:00 »
The nightmare scenario I pointed out was creating a fusion powered sub-kilo roller skate and plugging a laser rifle into it for effectively infinite ammo.

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Re: Gnat UAAV [AU: Vela Corridor]
« Reply #8 on: 02 September 2023, 07:39:22 »
Again, there's a wide gap between that and the current 250kg minimum.  There's plenty of cutoff points that could be chosen (or better yet, have the cutoffs determined by tech level, ex: 250/100/40 kg for D/E/F) that would prevent killer roller skates without preventing support vehicles from using the sizes of fusion power plant sizes that can be legally used by other unit classes (Protos) or sizes that already canonically exist (fusion recharger).

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Re: Gnat UAAV [AU: Vela Corridor]
« Reply #9 on: 02 September 2023, 07:43:14 »
I think 250 kg was a reflexive response at the time.  Feel free to submit further errata! :)

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Re: Gnat UAAV [AU: Vela Corridor]
« Reply #10 on: 02 September 2023, 07:54:39 »
Unfortunately I'm prioritizing other AU designs, and that (+ real life stuff) means I don't have time to learn how to navigate that area of the forum and submit errata.  I'll just have to cancel the luxury fusion motorbikes for the time being.