Campaign of the Month: June 2014
Battletech : The Farscape Campaign
Type : Aerodyne (Military)
Tonnage : 1720 tons
Length : 65.5m
Height : 22.4m
WIdth : 51.6m
Crew : 9 (4e, 2p, 3se – 2 Gunners, 12 Cargo Bay Personnel)
Skeleton Crew : Bridge 1p/1se; Engine 1e
Cargo Complement : 5 tons, 6 passengers.
Bay 1 : Mechs (4) – 4 Doors
Bay 2 : AeroSpace Fighters (2) – 2 Doors
Bay 3 : N/A
Life Boats : 0
Escape Pods : 2
Armament : 2xPPCs, 3xLRM-20, 5xLLs, 7xMLs
Ammunition : 6 tons LRM Ammo
Drive System : Star League V84 :
Heat Sinks 0 + 80
Thrust : 4
Overthrust : 6
Structural Integrity : 7
Fuel : 5 Thrust-Points (1.84 tons per Burn-Day) : 123 tons
First Introduced : 2537
Armor Factor (16 points per ton) : tons
Nose – 100 : 2xPPCs, LRM-20, 3xMLs
Right Side – 90 : LRM-20, ML, 2xLLs
Left Side – 90 : LRM-20, ML, 2xLLs
Fuselage – 140 : 2xMLs, LL
Engine – 60 : None
The Leopard-Class DropShip is a small Mech transport vessel that has served the combat units of the Inner Sphere since the early days of the Star League. In addition to carrying a Mech lance into battle, the Leopard can deliver a pair of AeroSpace Fighters as part of a Mech unit, or as part of its own fighter cover force.
The Leopard is an aerodyne unit. Its blocky fuselage measures roughly 65m long and masses around 1700 tons. Powering the vessel is the reliable, but difficult to service, Star League V84 interplanetary drive. Aside from that, the vessel is easy to maintain and its operating costs remain low, making it one of the most popular vessels among mercenary units and Periphery Bandit Kings.
The DropShip has similar capabilities as its sister vessel, the Leopard CV. The most obvious differences are the types of cargo and the appearances of the two vessels. The Mech-carrying Leopard was designed in the days when crystal-steel armor could only be formed in plates,. The Leopard CV came out after a breakthrough in technology made curved armor plating possible, and so it uses the more advanced armor.
For its relatively small size, the Leopard is a well-armed DropShip. It mounts a pair of PPCs, an LRM-20 launcher, and three medium lasers in the nose. In each side-mounted weapons bay, the ship has a single LRM-20 launcher, one medium laser and two large lasers. Providing fire to the ship’s aft arc are two medium lasers and a single large laser. Protecting the ship’s hull are 30 tons of crystal-steel armor plating.
A pair of large doors flank the DropShip’s fuselage. Each door leads into one of the ship’s four individual Mech bays, which has little room for anything more than a single Mech cubicle. Because of the cramped conditions, the ship’s repair facilities are limited to repair platforms and small equipment cranes.
Located just forward of the Mech bays are the Leopard’s two AeroSpace Fighter bays. These are as cramped as the Mech bays, with a single Fighter cubicle in each. When no fighters are aboard, this space is often used to store extra equipment or vehicles. Each bay, minus the cubicle, is large enough to hold up to eight light vehicles at a maximum load of 150 tons. Because the Leopard’s internal space is so limited, this is the only way that the ship can carry any cargo aside from Mechs and AeroSpace Fighters. Indeed, when performing independent operations, the ship suffers from a lack of adequate repair stores for its Mechs, Fighters, and its own systems. If repairs must be made, Engineers and Techs must make so with whatever few supplies are on hand.
Personnel accommodations are similarly limited, with facilities for no more than 15 people. Though each person has their own private room, these simple quarters provide only a single bed, a fold-down desk, and a small wall locker. Each room also has its own, equally small, utilitarian washroom.
Though the Leopard crew capacity is nine, few of these vessels can be run efficiently with such a small staff. Most Leopard’s carry five or more crew members to simply perform standard daily maintenance, while Mech units bring along two or three Techs to handle maintenance issues of their own machines. All these extra crew make for an extremely crowded vessel.
The Leopard’s primary purpose is to provide flexible Mech transportation in support operations involving larger DropShips, such as the Union or the Overlord. A Leopard’s Mechs are often used to plug the breach’s in defending lines or to provide strategic strikes in support of larger-scale offensives.
During major operations, these ships support other combat DropShips and are normally deployed not far behind the main DropShip groups. Moreover, when assault DropShips are not readily available, Leopards are often used instead, though usually in larger numbers to make up for their smaller firepower.
The Leopard is also used extensively in raiding operations. Even though their limited supplies and repair parts are inadequate for such missions, the DropShip’s small size and high maneuverability make it useful in this role. When part of a raiding mission, most ships have little difficulty obtaining whatever supplies and repair parts they may need.