Iron Armory MA-2000 Gladiator Self Propelled Howitzer:
Iron Armory specializes in producing advanced combat vehicle based on Pre-Rifts designs including the M1 Abrams Main Battle Tank. They produce some of their own designs as well including an advanced tank destroyer design. The company does not produce any robot vehicles, considering them to be inferior to ground vehicle in most cases. Initially, the did not produce any support vehicles but later they began producing an upgraded version of the M-270 Multiple Launched Rocket System as competition for Iron Heart Armament “Iron Bolt” design. Iron Armor was in direct competition with Iron Heart Armament in armored designs until the latter company was taken over by the Coalition using direct military force. Before Iron Heart Industries was taken over by the Coalition, it had begun producing a self propelled howitzer designer based on the chassis of the “Iron Fist” light tank. While only produced for a comparatively short time, the “Iron Knight” sold very well and was produced in large numbers. There are several reasons for this including the fact that cannon projectiles are far cheaper than missiles and that a much larger number can be carried. Iron Armory decided to take advantage of the market and produce their own design.
Iron Armory looked at several chassis to use a basis for their design. The designers wanted a superior product to the Howitzer produced by Iron Heart. Some specific goals were to produce a fast howitzer, to increase the range of the cannon, and to increased payload if possible. For the reasons of payload, a large tank type design was considered and the Storm Tiger was not quite as fast as the Abrams. This left the Abrams chassis or designing a new chassis as options. To save development costs, the chassis from the Abrams was selected. At first, Iron Armory was considering simply copying the 155 mm main cannon from the Iron Heart design and making improvements to the design. Instead they found an intact advanced artillery system from a pre-Rifts American howitzer. While still a 155 mm mount, it was far superior and it was adopted for the new artillery vehicle. The power train system of the pre-Rift howitzer was destroyed but the weapon and electronics were intact. The prototype design was based on the M1A12 Abrams chassis but it was decided that later models would be based on the slightly larger M1A15 Abrams chassis. This allowed for both an increase in payload for the Howitzer and in armor. Finally, the top speed of the M1A15 is slightly faster than the previous model. The design is very popular with mercenary companies although the manufacture of self propelled howitzers is limited due to sharing the same chassis with the main battle tank and a tank destroyer. The present plan is to vastly enlarge the production line for Abrams chassis. There is also some consideration to building a larger howitzer design using a 200 mm howitzer with the chassis based on the Mammoth super heavy tank design.
As previously described, the "Gladiator" uses the basic frame of the M1A15 Abrams tank except the prototype which uses the M1A12 Abrams frame. The tank’s hull lines can clearly be seen but the turret is far larger than the standard Abrams turret to house the 155 mm howitzer. The drive train is identical to the drive in the Abrams and top speed is around seventy miles per hour on roads and sixty miles per hour off-road. The prototype was slightly slower. Most mobile howitzers use a fusion reactor as a power plant but the mobile howitzer is available with a fuel cell system as well. Other than in range, the performance of the two versions are identical. The fuel cell version operates by pulling the electrons off of an H2 molecule, splitting it into 2H+ molecules and 2 electrons. The electrons pass through the “load” (engines, weapons, avionics, etc.) creating current and powering the systems. Meanwhile, the 2H+ molecules pass from the anode to the cathode through the electrolyte. At the other “End,” the electrons then recombine with the 2H+ molecules and Oxygen (from the air) and are released as water from the rear of the vehicle. Due to automation, crew of the "Gladiator"is only three compared to five for the “Iron Knight.” The Gladiator design has the full sensor system and life support systems as most Iron Armory designs. A key addition compared to most Iron Armory design is a powerful data link copied from the advanced pre-Rifts design uses as a basis for the cannon. This system allows to link to other vehicles for fire control and targeting purposes.
The main gun of the Self Propelled Howitzer is a long barreled 155 mm cannon. Because of the huge mass of the vehicle, it does not need to plant when if is firing. The Howitzer has a very efficient automatic reloading system and can fire at a rate of up to ten rounds per minute until ammunition runs out. In the back of the turret is a hatch with an additional reloading system which allows the Gladiator to be reloaded from outside the vehicle. Both convention rounds and rocket propelled rounds can be fired from the howitzer. The prototype had a capacity for fifty-six rounds but production models carry sixty-four rounds. For protection against heavily armored attacks as well as attacks from aircraft and missiles, the Gladiator mounts one of three different missile launchers on either side of the turret. Available launchers include mini-missile launchers, short range missile launchers, and medium range missile launchers. The launchers are identical to those carried by other Iron Armory designs. As a final weapon, a light pulse laser is mounted above the turret and is controlled by the howitzer's commander. While not considered effective against other armored vehicles, it is considered effective against both infantry, aircraft, and missiles. There is some consideration given to replacing the pulse laser with a more powerful Vulcan laser cannon or an automatic grenade launcher. On either side of the turret are smoke dispensers which anti-laser prismatic aerosol can be used as well.
Model Type: MA-2000 "Gladiator"
Vehicle Type: Self Propelled Howitzer
Crew: Three (Driver, Gunner, and Commander).
M.D.C. by Location:
|155 mm / 56 Caliber Howitzer Barrel:||200|
|Variable Missile Launchers (2, Turret):||50 each|
| Rapid Fire Laser Cannon Mount||40|
| Smoke / Gas Dispensers (2):||20 each|
| Main Body:||650|
| Track Treads (2):||120 each|
 These are small and difficult targets to strike, requiring the attacker to make a “called shot,” but even then the attacker is -4 to strike.
 If all the M.D.C. of the main body is depleted, the vehicle is completely shut down and is unsalvageable.
 Depleting the M.D.C. of a tread will immobilize the tank until it is replaced. Replacing a tread will take 1D6x10 minutes by a trained crew (two 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.
Ground: Cruising speed on land is 70 mph (112.6 kph) on roads and 60 mph ( 96.6 kph) off road maximum.
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 30%.
Underwater: Can be equipped with snorkel to run underwater down to 15 feet (4.6 meters)
Maximum Range: Fuel cell versions have a maximum range of 600 miles (1126.5 km). Fusion powered versions are effectively unlimited in range.
Height: 10.2 feet (3.1 meters)
Width: 10.8 feet (3.3 meters)
Length: Main Body: 27.2 feet (8.3 meters) and with Gun Forward: 43.8 feet (13.4 meters).
Weight: 74.5 tons (67.6 metric tons)
Power Source: Fuel Cell System or Nuclear (Should have an average lifespan of 10 years)
Cargo Capacity: Minimal, enough for equipment with crew.
Black Market Cost: Fuel Cell System version sells for 8.5 million credits and fusion with 10 year life sells for 40.2 million credits.
- 155 mm / 56 Caliber Howitzer: Very powerful and long range weapon
that is capable of 360 degree rotation and up to 75 degree elevation. The
Gladiator does not need to plant before firing its howitzer and can fire
within 15 seconds. It fires standard artillery shells and is normally fired
indirectly on the target but can be fired as direct fire if necessary.
The cannon is loaded by a automatic shell loading device, which is fed
from a onboard magazine. The magazine is fully automated and keeps stock
of the amount and type of rounds still available. It can switch between
rounds at will.
Maximum Effective Range: 18.6 miles (30 km) for non rocket assisted and 24.9 miles (40 km) for rocket assisted projectiles.
Mega-Damage: By artillery round type (Go to Battlefield Artillery for Rifts for details: Fragmentation 2D4x10, High Explosive 2D6x10, Armor Piercing 3D6x10, Plasma 4D6x10, and has a vast number of other type of rounds as well).
Rate of Fire: 10 rounds per minute (2.5 per melee) for a maximum of 6 minutes (effectively until its ammunition runs out). Can fire at a rate of fire of 4 rounds per minute after that.
Payload: 64 rounds in a automated magazine. Can be loaded from exterior to retain rate of fire. Reloading 1 round costs 1 melee, or 12 minutes for the entire supply.
- Rapid Fire Machine gun Style Laser Cannon: A light laser designed
mainly for anti-infantry use that allows for all the bursts available to
a machine gun except full melee. Weapon is controlled by the commander
and is mounted above the main 155 mm howitzer turret. Is useful for other
targets as well including against aircraft. It also has the advantage of
being able to be controlled from within the tank.
Maximum Effective Range: 3,000 feet (914 meters)
- 2D6 for single shot (Costs 1 attack)
4D6 for ten round burst at one target (Costs 1 attack)
2D6 for ten round burst at 1D4 targets (Costs 1 attack)
1D6x10 for thirty round burst at one target (Costs 1 attack)
2D6 for thirty round burst at 1D8 targets (Costs 1 attack)
Payload: Effectively unlimited shots.
- Variable Missile Launchers (2): Mounted on either side of
body. Vehicle can be constructed with one of three different type of missile
launchers. The type of launcher is normally built onto the vehicle at the
factory and would take a mechanic about 8 hours to switch from one launcher
- Medium Range Missile Launchers: Longer ranged than the other
launchers but less missiles are carried. Usually used for long range bombardment
or anti-aircraft roles.
Maximum Effective Range: Varies with missile types, medium range missiles only (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
Mega-Damage: Varies with missile types, medium range missiles only (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
Rate of Fire: Can fire missiles one at a time or in volleys of two (2), four (4), or six (6) missiles.
Payload: each launcher carries 3 medium range missiles for a total of 6 medium range missiles. Carries 6 medium range missiles as reloads inside vehicle.
- Short Range Missile Launchers: More commonly carried for
use against incoming missiles and aircraft with a shorter range than medium
range missiles but more can be carried.
Maximum Effective Range: Varies with missile types, short range missiles only (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
Mega-Damage: Varies with missile types, short range missiles only (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
Rate of Fire: Can fire missiles one at a time or in volleys of two (2), four (4), six (6), or twelve (12) missiles.
Payload: each launcher carries 6 short range missiles for a total of 12 short range missiles. Carries 12 short range missiles as reloads inside vehicle
- Mini Missile Launchers: Mostly used for short range bunker
busting and against other armored vehicles. Much shorter range and not
independently guided although more mini-missiles are carried than short
Maximum Effective Range: Varies with missile types, mini-missiles only (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
Mega-Damage: Varies with missile types, mini missiles only (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
Rate of Fire: Can fire missiles one at a time or in volleys of two (2), five (5), ten (10), or twenty (20) missiles.
Payload: each launcher carries 10 mini-missiles for a total of 20 Mini-missiles. Carries 20 mini-missiles as reloads inside vehicle
- Medium Range Missile Launchers: Longer ranged than the other launchers but less missiles are carried. Usually used for long range bombardment or anti-aircraft roles.
- Smoke Dispenser (2): Mounted on either side of the tank and
launches smoke grenades. While other types of grenades can be used, they
have been rarely carried. Recently, there has been consideration for the
use of prismatic aerosol grenades to help protect the vehicle against lasers.
Effect: Creates a cloud of smoke 40 ft (12 m) in diameter:
Rate of Fire: Two per melee
Maximum Effective Range: 1,200 feet (365 m)
Payload: Carries 12 smoke grenades per launcher.
- Radio/ Video Communications: Long range, directional, has a range of 500 miles with short range directional radio of 5 miles.
- Datalink transmitters: A powerful battlefield management communications system. Allows the howitzer to use targeting data from scout vehicles for firing the Anti-Tank missiles or Sabot rounds, and to provide targeting data to other vehicles. Bonus varies on the quality of the data being provided, but all data would allow the howitzer to fire over obstacles if the scout vehicle is in the right position. The normal effective battlefield range is 20 miles (32 km).
- Laser Targeting System: Range is 2 miles and gives +1 to strike with long range weapons. Not applicable to hand to hand
- Combat Computer/ Targeting Computer: Assist in the tracking of targets.
- Radar: 50 miles, can identify 96 targets and track 48 as low as 500 ft. Same as robots Maxi-Radar.
- Full Life Support: Protects pilot and tank from heat and radiation and gives a breathable atmosphere inside the tank.
- Spotlight: Range: 600 feet (182.9 meters)
- Thermo-Imager: Range: 2,000 ft (609 m). Finds the infra-red radiations of things that are warm. Also enables pilot to see in smoke, shadows and darkness.
- 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.
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Writeup by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).
Copyright © 2004, Kitsune. All rights reserved.