Campaign of the Month: June 2014
Battletech : The Farscape Campaign
Type : Military JumpShip
Use : Military DropShip Carrier
Tech : Inner Sphere (Primitive : Age of War)
Introduced : 2461
Mass : 203,000 tons
Length : 505 m
Sail Diameter : 1650 m
Fuel : 300 tons
Turns/Burn-Day : 39.52
Station-Keeping Thrust : 0.1G (0.2 Thrust)
Sail Integrity : 4
KF Drive Integrity : 5
Heat Sinks : 114
Structural Integrity : 1
Armor : Standard Armor (60 tons)
Fore : 7
Forward Sides : 7
Aft Sides : 5
Aft : 5
Bay 1 : Small Craft (2) : 2 Doors
Bay 2 : Cargo (566.5 Tons) : 2 Doors
DropShip Capacity : 4
Grav Decks : 1 (45 m diameter)
Crew : 65 : 7 Officers, 38 Enlisted, 2 Small Craft Pilots, 20 Bay Personnel, 22 Steerage Passengers.
Base Crew : 45 – 2p, 5e, 38se (Bridge – 1p,2se : Engine – 1e,2se).
Escape Pods : 4
Life Boats : 5
Armament : None
Notes : 160.3 Million Cs.
Difficult to Maintain : The unit in question is harder to repair and maintain than the average unit of its kind. In-game, there is a penalty to the target number modifier for repair, salvage, and maintenance actions.
Loading Arms : Vessels and stations with the Docking Arms Quirk grant a bonus to piloting rolls made by DropShips and Small Craft attempting to mate with a docking collar attached to the unit.
Obsolete (2570) : This Quirk identifies when this unit went out of production, and from this date onwards obsolete units become increasingly difficult to maintain. Rolls to repair the unit, obtain replacement parts or even locate replacement parts become increasingly difficult and the resale price of that unit drops substantially.
Overview : Created by Blue Nose Interstellar Technologies of Mars, the Liberty-Class JumpShip was the first “modern” JumpShip, considered the first such class of vessel designed to make use of the newly developed hardpoint/docking collar technology which has since become a defining feature of JumpShip construction.
The Liberty’s creation was due in part for the need for a more economic design. The JumpShips being produced at the time were bulky and fragile primitively built ships, which required so-called “DropShuttles” of up to 5,000 tons to be docked inside the hull of the vessel. An example of this early technology includes the Aquilla-Class Transport JumpShip and the Cartel-Class IceShip.
Blue Nose’s efforts, with aid of Mars University’s Department of Theoretical Physics, resulted in the development of the external docking hardpoint and the K-F Boom. By allowing a JumpShip to carry its DropShips externally and cutting its hull size down, these measures would result in a reduction in the overall cost of interstellar travel. The prototype vessel, the BNC Olympus, made its first jump across the Terran system in 2458 with the DropShip Nimbus III attached, the very first example of a “modern” DropShip as well, built by Deimos Clipperships.
Full-scale production of the Liberty-Class did not begin until 2461, though the class is said to have been introduced only in 2469; Blue Nose initially built a dozen (12) Liberty hulls for the Terran Hegemony as a test production run. The ship’s success led the company to merge with its partners and form the Blue Nose Clipperships corporation (later known for its massive shipyards orbiting Mars).
The Liberty remained in production until the end of 2550; by then the design had been updated and revised many times and had become the template of the modern JumpShip. Its follow-up is considered the Invader-Class, which very closely resembles the Liberty at least superficially, until the unit is carefully scanned and observed.
Capabilities : The original Liberty design included 60 tons of Standard Armor protecting its hull. The vessel’s lack of weaponry is considered a standard factor in today’s battlefield tactics, but was initially seen as a liability because of its inability to defend itself while floating helpless at a system’s jump-point.
The Liberty’s grav deck is fairly small, almost half the size of the Invader, but it has dedicated space for twenty passengers, initially viewed as holding a couple squads of marines, but usually modified to passenger service when acquired by merchant interests. Its crew quarters are fair-sized and have sufficient water recycling and other services available.
The Liberty served for generations as the standard JumpShip for the Terran Hegemony, and greatly influenced future designs of interstellar space vessels. The hundreds produced served primarily as a military hauler, as the introduction of the Merchant-Class in 2503 quickly became the standard of most commercial Inner Sphere forces.
What kept it in service, was its larger DropShip capacity of four (4) vessels, despite a much larger crew requirement due to its fairly primitive sensors and navigational equipment (by today’s standards), as well as a much simpler drive system, which was notorious in its fuel consumption. Many carried extra fuel in internal bladders to extend their service, but most found themselves dependent on frequent in-system refueling services. These factors made the vessel unpopular in the inventories of the Great Houses and particularly in the Periphery, largely because of their smaller population base, and the vessel was generally not purchased as surplus by those nations. Most vessels were simply mothballed into various reserve fleet yards, and largely forgotten.
Deployment : Today, the vessel’s large crew requirements and the obsolete nature of its equipment, make it an infrequent and rare sight in the Inner Sphere. Some minor Periphery powers still have a handful in operation, usually taken from a forgotten shipyard or cache, but they tend to break-down frequently and acquiring repair parts makes them distinctly expensive to maintain. There are perhaps fewer than half-a-dozen of these vessels still in operation by smaller periphery independent merchants, and they are typically scrapped and abandoned when they break down.
Variants There are no known variants of the Liberty-Class.
Little is known of the origins of the “Cutter”, beyond its ancient history of use by many Periphery haulers well before the Reunification Wars.
The Cutter was recovered from System – Montour‘s 309th AeroSpace Maintenance and Regeneration Group “The Boneyard” in late-3028. The vessel was found intact, though mothballed, in the yard’s widespread wreckage, and brought on-line with a skeleton crew set aside for the purpose. The vessel was brought back to System – Dumassas in early-3029 with the intent to repair the vessel, and overhaul its drives, eventually to provide a support hauler for local traffic under the Iron Dingoes control of their small periphery empire of landholds. Repairs and maintenance were completed in late-3029, and the vessel began serving under the Whippet Transport Lines brand in early-3030.
The Cutter is commanded by the youngest member of the Iron Dingoes command, Space Master Amy Smarthouser “Stack” and her rather young crew of pilots and engineers, recruited from Filtvelt Academy in the Federated Suns periphery. The vessel has a single KR-61 Class Long-Range Shuttle acquired second-hand from a trader in Dumassas.
The vessel serves largely as the primary interstellar transport between the Iron Dingoes landholds on System – Dumassas and System – Gollere, making a regular transit between these two systems every few weeks, usually transporting shuttles and cargo between the two systems, but also has “Meteor” attached to its service, switching off with “Buenaventura” on trips between the two systems. Once per season (every three months or so), the vessel makes a trip into System – Hawktor, in support of the burgeoning colony of Hawkport, instead of its usual run into Gollere.
The Cutter’s ability to haul passengers has also helped assist in transferring Iron Dingoes personnel and civilian passengers between the two systems. The bulk of its income, is hauling these passengers, or a rare DropShip seeking transport between the two systems; often one or two K-1 Class Dropshuttles from the planetary navies of both systems seek small package courier duties of select luxury goods between the systems.