Octopus Hovertank Technology Base: Inner Sphere Era: Age of War Rules Level: Era Specific Production Year: 2317 Equipment Rating: C/C-X-X-X Mass: 50 tons Power Plant: Nissan 215 Fusion Engine Movement Type: Hover (Medium) Cruise Speed: 97.2 km/h Maximum Speed: 151.2 km/h Armor: RHA Heavy Carbon-Duranium Armament: 1 Magna Large Laser Cannon 2 20mm Machine Guns 3 Hydra 55mm Rocket Launcher 10 Manufacturer: Grumman Industries Primary Factory: Terra Communications System: TransComm 10 Targeting and Tracking System: TransComm DLW BV: 569 Cost: 1,022,375 C-bills ======================================================= Equipment Type Mass ------------------------------------------------------- Chassis/Controls: 12.5 Engine/Trans: Fusion 17.0 Cruise MP: 9 Flank MP: 14 Fuel: 0.0 Heat Sinks: 8 8.0 Power Amplifier: 0.0 Turret: 1.0 Armor Factor (BAR 7): 54 2.5 Internal Armor Structure Factor Front 5 14 R/L Side 5/5 10/10 Rear 5 8 Turret 5 12 ======================================================= Weapons & Equipment Location Mass ------------------------------------------------------- 1 Large Laser Turret 5.0 2 Machine Guns Turret 2.0 3 P Rocket Launcher 10 Turret 1.5 Ammo (Machine Gun) 100 Body 0.5 Advanced Fire Control Body 1.0 Crew: 1 officers, 2 enlisted, 2 gunners Cargo: None Notes: None
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Overview: When Admiral James McKenna intervened to stop the Terran Alliance Civil War, his colonial marines deployed a few prototypes of a frightful new weapon, a so- called "laser cannon." Vehicular-scale laser weapons had been introduced several years earlier but previous models had limited range and were only capable of moderate damage. They were viable secondary weapons but had not seen widespread adoption. The new laser cannon could compromise even the heaviest armor of the day in one shot and had an effective range of 450 meters. It was a fearsome weapon for its time, and one that would continue to see use, largely unchanged, for centuries. Nearly a decade prior to the Civil War, the colonial marines had attempted to fit prototype laser cannons on a handful of Merkavas. The new weapons proved effective, but several limitations were noted. First, while the laser cannon did not require ammunition, it did require an immense power discharge. The only way to build up enough power to fire was to install complex, and temper- mental, power amplifiers. Next, while the weapon itself was much lighter than the Heavy Cannon it replaced, the massive heat dissipation system required meant the Merkava's missile launchers also had to be removed, reducing overall firepower. The laser cannon also had a slightly shorter effective range than the Merkava's traditional main gun; a bad combination with the Merkava's low top speed. The need for a combat vehicle dedicated to taking full advantage of the new weapon was obvious. Just prior to the Civil War, Grumman Industries was hard at work on a new prototype or just such a vehicle. The first of these prototypes would see action in the Civil War and proved quite effective. After the Civil War, when the Hegemony Armed Forces was formed, Grumman completed development on the new vehicle. Learning from data recorded during the Civil War engagements, several improvements were incorporated into the final production models, making the Octopus Hovertank a true battlefield terror. Capabilities: Grumman Industries had produced the first Octopus prototypes on a very modest research budget. However, with the notable performance of the prototypes and with the new Director-General's massive increase in military spending, Grumman found itself with a massive grant to finish development on the Octopus. With these new resources, Grumman was able to improve almost every aspect of the hovertank. The most important improvement was on the laser cannon itself. Early prototypes of the weapon threw off an intense burst of thermal radiation when fired, requiring a massive heat dissipation system to prevent the crew of the firing vehicle from roasting alive. Through improvements in the optical resinator and shielding, the waste heat generated was reduced by a third, allowing the heat dissipation system to be similarly scaled down. Otherwise, the laser cannon functioned just as well as the early prototypes. Practically the first decision Grumman made when developing the Octopus was to utilize a fusion power plant to avoid installing complex power amplifiers to charge the laser cannon. However, the early prototypes used age old fusion technology. Working with few constraints in their final phase, Grumman invested in fitting the Octopus with a state of the art power plant. The mass saved from downsizing the cooling system combined with the more efficient fusion technology resulted in more than a 50% increase to top speed. Able to reach a top speed over 150 kph, the new Octopus could outmaneuver almost any other combat vehicle and run circles around traditional main battle tanks like the Merkava. Probably the least appreciated feature of the Octopus is, ironically, the very source of its name. Early on, Grumman knew that the new vehicle would have to be quick and agile in order to compensate for the shorter range of the laser cannon when compared to the heavy ballistic cannons of the day. Grumman spent most of their early efforts on developing a motive control system that would provide both speed and stability. Ultimately they devised a system of articulated repulsors that could flex away from the body of the tank for extra stability, or be retracted to provide more inline acceleration. Many observers of the system in motion found it reminiscent of an octopus darting away underwater, which earned the new hover tank its name, despite the fact there were only four of the articulated repulsor "limbs." In the final phase of development this system was retained, but further refinements made the system a bit lighter. The final result was a fierce and aggressive hover tank. Its brutally effective main gun could fire with impunity and its prodigious top speed and agility meant it could strike without warning. Unlike many other tanks of the day, the Octopus had no difficulty engaging foes at close range. In addition to the laser cannon, it also carried a pair of machine guns to engage infantry. Also, with the weight savings of the final chassis improvements, the production model also carried an array of 30 rockets. While these were single-use weapons and not particularly accurate, they could deliver a devestating blow if used in an opportune moment. Virtually unlimited travel range and an ammunition-free main gun might have given the Octopus phenomenal endurance. However, it turned out to be something of a glass cannon. Even though armor improvements were made with the final version, there was a limit to how much armor as its frame could bear. Ultimately, it could only shake off a few hits before needing to retreat. It also remained vulnerable to kill shots by the heavy cannons of the day as well as its own laser cannon. Still, no combat vehicle of the day was able to completely shake off hits by those weapons. Octopus crews would need to rely on its prodigious speed and agility to avoid taking damage. Variants: The original Octopus prototypes utilized older, less efficient technology. With a heavier chassis and a much heavier cooling system for the prototype laser cannon, the prototypes fell just short of a 100 kph top speed. This was still good for a combat vehicle of the day, but not sufficent given the limited armor coverage. The prototypes also lacked the rocket launchers of the final production version.
so do fusion engines from that era not include heat sinks? Otherwise, love the design. (oh, and that's a legit question, I haven't used the support rules very often for vehicles like this). I can imagine finding an old dropship stuffed with your designs, and selling them to a world or worlds that could field nothing better at the time. Finding a few of these along with the rifle tanks might just make their day.
Yeah, support vehicles never get free heat sinks (from any engine). This thing hails from the days before "real" combat vehicles were developed, so it uses support vehicle rules.