Golden Age Weaponsmiths M163 Vulcan Air Defense System (VADS):
The M113 Armored Personnel Carrier was adapted to a wide variety of different roles which has been equaled by few other designs. It was a simple and robust design. Some variants of the M113 include mortar vehicles, ammunition vehicles, missile platforms, communications, command and control, and a vast number of other roles. The M163 Vulcan Air Defense System, better known as the VADS, is an air defense variant of the M113. It was retired towards the end of the Twentieth-Century and beginning of the Twenty-First Century in United States Army Service but was retained in other military inventories far into the Twenty-First Century.
Even though retired, the vehicle was retained in storage yards. Some were used for spare parts for still operational M113 and variants. Eventually, most of these were virtually forgotten and sat quietly in tank yards as the years passed. A number of these vehicle found their way into various museums. Because of the out of the way places where these armored vehicle often sat, a surprising number survived the coming of the Rifts. Some of these have been discovered by adventures. A number of these adventurers had Golden Age Weaponsmiths refit these vehicles while others sold them to the company. Even so, the number of these having been refitted is nothing like the number of standard M113 Armored Personnel Carriers which have been refitted by the company. If Golden Age does produce a new built version of the M113, it is unknown if a version of the M163 would be produced as well.
This vehicle was originally designed for air defense although towards the end of its career, the weapon system's tracking systems was not considered adequate to track fast moving airborne contacts although still capable against helicopters. As such, the weapon system was most used against ground targets. There is actually a case during a war during the late Twentieth Century that one managed to sink a patrol boat. Some improvements to the VADS were developed by operators of the weapon system including improved fire control and radar as well as the addition of surface to air missiles.
Except for a very small number of newly produced vehicles, Golden Age's main refit is to replace or upgrade the armor with new composites and alloys. This allows the ancient designs to survive in the much changed combat environment after the coming of the Rifts. Still, the armor is not the equal of new built combat vehicle designs but is a lot better than the previously affording protection which was next to nothing. As well as refitting the vehicle's armor, the tracks are replaced with ones using new composites and alloys. Electronics are refurbished but are otherwise not upgraded, leaving the vehicle with the original weakness of being unable to track fast moving targets effectively. Of course most supernatural creatures are relatively slow flying targets, much slower than helicopters in many cases. Standard crew is four with includes a commander, driver, gunner, and loader.
The basic M113 is slightly slower than the M2 Bradley with a six cylinder diesel engine which produces 275 horsepower. This same engine is carried on the M163 and gives a top speed of around forty miles per hour. Most upgrades of the design for a new production vehicle include a diesel-electric hybrid with approximately double the range. Like the M113, the M163 amphibious with a maximum speed of around four miles per hour over water. Due to increased weight, floatation cells were fitted to retain boyancy.
Thre main weapon of the M163 is the M61 General Dynamics 20 mm Vulcan gun. The 20 mm cannon is a six-barreled, air-cooled, electrically fired Gatling-style weapon and has an extremely high rate of fire. This was the standard weapon carried on virtually all United States aircraft of the late Twentieth Century. The weapon is designed to fire in bursts of up to three thousand rounds per minute. The feed system in link-less and the weapon has a total payload of twenty-one hundred rounds. The standard model does not mount any additional weapon systems although the crew usually carries various small arms.
Most of the upgrades to this vehicle by purchasers is to improve the ability for the vehicle to engage aircraft and missiles. In some cases, the payload of 20 mm rounds is reduced. Common addition is a short range radar system to give better tracking capabilities. As well, many add additional missile launchers. Either four medium range missiles of six or twelve short range missiles are a common payload. Some purchasers have added side mounted Claymore Mine systems as defense against infantry.
Model Type: GAW M163A3
Vehicle Type: Air Defense System
Crew: Four (Driver, Gunner, Loader, and Commander)
M. D. C. by Location:
| Tractor Treads (2):||30 each|
|M61 General Dynamics 20 mm Vulcan Gun (Top):||50|
|Headlights (2):||5 each|
|Reinforced Crew Compartment:||40|
| Main Body:||200|
 Depleting the M.D.C. of a tread will immobilize the platform until it is replaced. Replacing a tread will take 1D6x10 minutes by a trained crew (2 replacements are carried on board) or three times as long by the inexperienced. Changing the tread is only advisable when the vehicle is not under attack.
 If all the M.D.C. of the main body is depleted, the vehicle is completely shut down and is unsalvageable.
Ground: maximum speed on land is 37.7 mph (61.7 kph.) The vehicle is designed to traverse virtually all terrain and can climb at up to a 60% grade although at a much slower speed (About 10% of maximum road speed). It can also climb barriers and ford trenches. The vehicle can also handle side slopes of up to 40%.
Water Capabilities: The M163 Vulcan Air Defense System is designed to be amphibious and can cross small bodies of water. It is not designed for deep water use. The M163 can travel in this manner at 3.6 mph (5.8 kph/3.1 knots).
Maximum Range: 298.25 miles (480 km)
Height: 6.00 feet (1.83 meters) to hull top and 8.976 feet (2.736 meters) overall
Width: 8.33 feet (2.54 meter) reduced and 2.789 feet (2.85 meters) overall
Length: 15.95 feet (4.863 meters)
Weight: 27,138.9 pounds (12,310 kg) combat loaded
Power Source: Conventional, Diesel (Detroit Diesel 6V53T - 275 hp)
Cargo Capacity: Minimal, enough for equipment with crew.
Black Market Cost: 125,000 Credits.
- General Dynamics 20 mm M-61 Vulcan Cannon (1): This is the
original cannon which is mounted on the top in a turret type mount. The
turret can rotate 360 degrees. It can elevate up to eighty degrees and
depress down five degrees. It is useful against both ground targets and
flying targets such as helicopters and flying creatures. Less useful against
fast moving fighters and missiles. Golden Age Weaponsmiths have replaced
the standard ammo with mega damage, armor piercing ramjet ammunition which
allows the vehicle to hold it own against other Rifts vehicles and aircraft.
The gun mount is controlled by gunner.
Maximum Effective Range: 4,000 feet (1,220 meters).
Mega Damage: 1D6x10 for a burst of 30 round, 2D4 for each round.
Rate of Fire: Equal to the combined hand to hand attacks of the gunner (usually 4 or 5).
Payload: 2,100 rounds (70 bursts)
- NBC Protection: While not full life support, the Armored vehicle is equipped with protection for the crew from most gas, radiation, and biological attacks.
- Nightvision Optics: Range: 2,000 ft (609 m). Uses light amplification to make a picture. Emits no light but will not work in absolute darkness. System can be dazzled by sudden bright lights but does not physically blind the pilot.
- Thermo-Imager: Range: 2,000 feet (609 meters). Finds the infra-red radiations of things that are warm. Also enables pilot to see in smoke, shadows and darkness.
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Writeup by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).
Copyright © 2009, Kitsune. All rights reserved.