Campaign of the Month: June 2014
Battletech : The Farscape Campaign
Guardian (Talon) Fighter (20 tons)
Chassis : Mujika Aerospace Type 4
Power Plant : Rawlings 140 Air Turbine
Cruise Speed : 78.6 kph (7)
Flank Speed : 180.9 kph (11)
Armor : Mujika AeroShell Light (Armor Factor 16) : 1.0 tons
Front – 6
Right Wing – 3
Left Wing – 3
Aft – 4
One (1) Sian/Ceres Cougar SRM 6 (Nose)
Ammo (SRM) : 15 (Body)
Manufacturer : Mujika Aerospace Technologies, St. Ives (Capellan Confederation).
Communications System : XDuoteck 20
Targeting and Tracking System : Radcom T5
Note : This fighter needs only 50m of open space to land or take-off; Its design is very efficient, requiring only 1/2 the usual support costs for a VTOL Fighter, and requires 1/2 the usual repair and maintenance times.
Overview : In modern warfare the BattleMech is the most visible component of the cutting edge of military science. The AeroSpace Fighter, while older in design, has fallen behind these metal behemoths if only because of their relative scarcity. A space superiority fighter is far more difficult to salvage than a Mech. If a Mech’s movement is disabled, it remains on the battle field ready for salvage by technical crews, and made new once more. If an AeroSpace Fighter’s drive system is disabled, it disappears into the vastness of space, or spreads itself across several kilometers of debris. It is only the amazing value of air support for ground operations that keeps these vessels in the atmosphere at all. Any state that can support the scarce aerospace industrial facilities turns to fusion-powered AeroSpace Fighters to keep the skies under their control.
States that cannot support them, turn, instead to the conventional fighters, such as the Guardian Fighter.
First issued in 2831, the Guardian-class atmospheric fighter is exclusively designed for ground support operations. Although its speed id spectacular when compared to ground assets, against fusion-powered craft it is all but helpless. The real advantage the fighter has over other more advanced fighters, is its simplicity; man has been flying with jet turbines for more than a millenia, and the technology to build and repair these craft is very basic. Few worlds can’t maintain at least a token force of atmospheric fighters, and the Guardian is even more simple than most. Worlds that cannot maintain a single AeroSpace Fighter, can maintain a regiment of atmospheric fighters.
Capabilities : The Guardian’s airframe is wrapped around the powerful Rawlings 140 Air Turbine engine, which is equipped with four vectored-thrust nozzles to give it adequate very-short-take-off-and-landing (VSTOL) capabilities. When carrying its own integral weapons load, the Guardian can lift straight up, but even with a maximum bomb-load, only requires a short 50m of runway.
Logistically, the Guardian is a technician’s dream. Designed on the edge of obsolescence from the start, the Guardian is easily maintained from sparse equipment stocks. The electronics, avionics, and engine-fittings are of a semi-modular design, allowing easy replacement and adoption of local replacement parts. Every Guardian comes equipped with an integral computer fault tester, capable of diagnosing the vessel’s own flaws and suggesting a list of common replacements from pre-selected stores lists, which can be modified to reflect individual military’s own suppliers. When combined with its simplicity of design, the maintenance workload of the fighter is lower than almost any other vehicle in modern use.
The only downside to the vehicle, is the Guardian’s lack of protection. Although its impressive speed grants it a certain amount of safety, the airframe is not strong enough to carry a reasonable amount of armor protection. For this reason alone, it is rare to see pilots rated in fusion-powered aerospace craft switch to atmospheric fighters; even the lighter aerospace fighters carry far more protection, leading to bad piloting habits amongst Aerojocks that can be hard to break.
Aside form its bomb capacity, the Guardian also carries a standard Sian/Ceres Cougar SRM 6 in its nose as a strike weapon. Although detractors are quick to point out how much more valuable one or two lasers would be for strafing attacks, the role of the Guardian is to one-punch a barrage of missiles on ground targets, since the thin-skinned craft are not likely to conduct a series of strafing attacks and survive.
Deployment : The Guardian is most often found in Liao garrison forces across the Confederation. Davion forces have learned to fear packs of the Guardians, who typically employ bombing runs to disrupt line assaults on prepared positions. Unfortunately, the development of Davion AFFS RCTs has led to providing adequate AeroSpace cover. Fusion-powered Corsairs and Stukas tend to make short work among Guardian flights once they are encountered.
Variants : Popular demands have led to the development of the Guardian B, which reduces the vehicle’s speed and SRM-Rack with a medium laser. The weak armor and low speed, however, has led to many prototypes unable to compete with better-built air fighters.