Campaign of the Month: June 2014
Battletech : The Farscape Campaign
Vulture-Class Air Skimmer
Military-Grade Air Skimmer
Air Skimmer “Vulture”-Class (5 tons)
Power Plant : GM 50 Fusion
Cruise Speed : 194.2 kph (18)
Flank Speed : 291.4 kph (27)
Armor : StarGurad Light (Armor Factor 8) : 0.5 tons
Front – 3
Right Side – 2
Left Side – 2
Rear – 1
Turret – -
One (1) Light Martell Small Laser (Front)
One (1) Purity O-Series Flamer (Rear)
Communications System : Recon Echo
Targeting and Tracking System : SoloStar Five HUD
Manufacturer : General Motors of Kathil, Kathil (Federated Suns)
Notes : 120,000 Cs. Unlike other hovercraft, an air skimmer allows their passengers to pass through Light Woods hexes though a Drive/Vehicle check is required to do so safely.
Overview : Air skimmers are small, one- or two-man hovercraft with a body shaped like a bullet. Highly maneuverable and fuel-efficient craft, they are popular among Scouts and other recon personnel.
Capabilities : The lightweight nature of the Vulture dates its origins as a hoversport racer. Originally designed by GMs civilian sport arm, the Vulture was originally known as the “Goshawk”. Drawing on advances in materials development, the nature of the car was such that it proved too expensive for “common” consumption, and the design was banked. In 2960, it fell under the attention of the military, who substituted simpler materials, light BattleMech armor for its hull, and the design was reborn as a recon craft.
The vehicle’s greatest strength is in its speed, and its amazing maneuver abilities. The controls are typically “bike” in nature, with handlebars for speed and basic maneuvers, but they are supplemented by a HUD interface that jacks directly into the helmet of the pilot. This allows slight “feathering” of the thrusters and hover jets, to improve fine motor control. This has also allowed direct controls of the weapons systems implanted through the HUDs, similar to a BattleMech, and indeed, the pilot’s helmet is essentially a scaled-down version of a neurohelmet.
The unit employs a small laser in its front for direct confrontation, even though the machine is meant to run away from danger. It’s rear-facing flamer assists in escaping from a dangerous situation, as well as using its ability to move through light woods as a means of spreading fires as it flees the scene.
The civilian unit is not meant for family use, having space for two though a third passenger can ride in the cramped space between the thruster units. The unit’s integral storage is barely capable of holding a pair of duffel bags for its crew.
Deployment : Built by the Federated Suns, the Vulture is often distributed to its scout and recon forces, though small numbers of them have made their way into garrison and independent Periphery commands for use among their elite “ranger” forces. Expensive (each unit costs 100,000 Cs without its weapons), the units remain difficult to acquire if only because of their cost. Finding more than a handful in any unit is rare, though they remain popular among striker forces in House Davion.
Variants : Obviously, some convert the weapons bays into storage for supplies and long-range communications equipment. These units are often modified by their pilots, and are not usually sanctioned modifications by command staff. Among civilian owners, the modifications are popular and common, especially when used by planetary prospectors.