Metalworks Incorporated HH-04 “Redball” Heavy Hover Hauler:

Before even considering the design of combat vehicles based on hovercraft chassis, Metalworks developed a number of non-combat hovercraft designs. One of these is the Silhouette Hover Sport but hover vehicles designed for larger cargo loads. The largest of these is the “Redball” and the vehicle is designed with the ability to carry payloads up to ten metric tons of cargo in its cargo bed.

In many places on Rifts Earth, the roads simply do not exist for good wheeled vehicle operations and in other places there are no bridges across bodies of water. All wheel six and eight wheel drive vehicles are one option. Another option is the hovercraft. Such vehicles already operated in limited numbers before the coming of the Rifts. After the coming of the Rifts, the numbers exploded. Another advantage of most hovercraft designs is that they are fast, limiting the ability of bandits to capture them.

The Redball has been a great seller both to mercenary units and non-military purchasers. Generally, the Coalition does not see these vehicles as a threat even if lightly armed. There are also several designs similar manufactured by other companies including a few pre-rifts designs which makes it hard to distinguish one design from another.

Because purchasers of hovercraft tend to mostly rely on such designs, this vehicle does not generally compete directly with Iron Armory's various truck models. Also, hover designs do tend to be considerably more expensive than wheeled vehicles. Still, in their niche, hover vehicles are extremely popular. Some companies who specialize in shipping even charge extra with hover transports and many clients gladly pay the additional fees.

The Redball is available in four basic different power plants. One is powered by a gas turbine engine which will run most fuel types although most efficient on diesel and kerosene. The second is a strictly electrically powered model which has an extremely high capacity storage battery. The third is powered by a fusion reactor. This design has the advantage of virtually unlimited range but is much more expensive. Fusion reactor has a normal time between refitting is five years.

The fourth, which is comparatively new in production is a fuel cell model. Since the coming of the Rifts, the technology was virtually lost. Because it uses hydrogen cracked from water usually using a fusion reactor, fuel is cheap and plentiful. 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 release as water from the rear of the vehicle.

Top speed of the hover hauler is around two hundred kilometers per hour and the vehicle has a maximum altitude of around ten feet. This allows the vehicle to clear most terrain. It is not as fast as many combat hovercraft designs, it is faster than most wheeled designs. Extremely wide for greater stability, the design can also operate over water without problem except for extremely high seas. The design is not really meant for open ocean travel and can easily capsize.

The vehicle is available with a four or six person cab and the cab has full air conditioning for crew comfort although standard model lack full life support. It is available as an upgrade as purchaser's request. A skilled autopilot program allows the driver to easily operate the vehicle for extended periods. There is the option for the vehicle to be fitted with additional sensors and communications equal to those carried on most power armors. This is a must if the crew is expecting any serious danger.

There are several available options for the cargo bay module for the Redball. Cargo carrying ability is less than a wheeled vehicle of similar size but still considerable. The vehicle can have an open bed, an enclosed cargo area, or a tank. The tanker variant can carry fuels, water, and other liquids as required. It has a maximum capacity of eight thousand liters (2113.4 gallon.) In many places there are no cargo facilities and there is an available crane option on the vehicle. The crane has the ability to lift cargo loads of up to 1,250 kilograms (2755.8 lbs) at full boom extension of 20 feet (6.1 meters.) At a 10 foot (3.1 meter) extension, can lift 2,500 kilograms (5511.6 lbs). Some owners have converted their vehicles for various purposes including mobile workshops by operators. Some purchasers also have been converted by adventurers for travel vehicles with kitchen and sleeping quarters for up to eight.

Even though not a combat vehicle, the hover hauler is still lightly armored. The world after the coming of the Rifts can be a highly hazardous environment and even high speed is not always the answer. The vehicle can also be given additional armor at the purchaser's request. No weapons are standard but the vehicle is available with a number of optional systems. A single weapon mount can be mounted above the chassis. A pulse laser which is a modified version of the JA-12 Rifle is most common although the Northern Gun NG-202 Rail Gun and the Wellington WI-GL21 Automatic Grenade Launcher are also popular choices. Eventually Metalworks plans to replace the rail gun with their own model of rail gun. In addition to a top weapon mount, the vehicle can mount a pair of mini-missile launchers.

Metalworks does not make a combat version of the hover vehicle although some owners refit the vehicle with additional weaponry. These are nicknamed "Battle Wagons" by many. Metalworks does produce a combat support version of the hovercraft armed with long range missiles. A six missile type launcher, the missile launcher is identical to the launcher carried on the Husky produced by Iron Armory. These missiles have potentially over a thousand mile range.

For military roles other than a support missile platform, there are two additional support roles including one which is designed as a command and control vehicle. This has additional communication facilities and space for a crew of eight in addition to the normal crew. There is also an electronics warfare version which mounts the same communication facilities as the command and control version but adds a long range radar system as well.

Model Type:M.I. HH-04AOpen Bed Cargo Design
M.I. HH-04BEnclosed Bed Cargo Design
M.I. HH-04CTanker (8000 liter) Model
M.I. HLRM-04Long Range Missile Platform
Vehicle Type: Heavy Hover Transport
Crew: Two (Can carry four passengers in the crew compartment) - Can be operated by one.

M.D.C. By Location:

[1] Headlights (4):10 each
[1] JA-12 Pulse Laser Rifle Mount (Optional):40
[1] NG-202 Rail Gun Mount (Optional):75
[1] MI-RG-40-X Rail Gun Mount (Optional):75
[1] WI-GL21 Automatic Grenade Launcher (Optional):70
[1] Mini-Missile Launchers (2, Optional):30 each
Long Range Missile Launchers (Missile / Rocket Version):150
[2] Hover Thruster Units:125
Crew Compartment125
Cargo Compartment / Bed / Tank:125
[3] Main Body:225 (325)

[1] These are small and difficult targets to strike, requiring the attacker to make “Called Shot;” but even then the attacker is -4 to strike.
[2] Destruction of the hover unit will cause the vehicle to be no longer under the pilots control.
[3] Destruction of the main body will cause the vehicle to crash. All systems, including emergency parachute, will not function. Standard armor is 225 M.D.C. but can be upgraded in increments of 20 M.D.C. up to an addition 100 M.D.C.

Hover Speed: Can hover at ground level at from a hover to up to 124.3 mph (200 kph) over both land and water. Minimum hover height is 2 feet (0.6 meters) and maximum altitude is 10 feet (3.05 meters).
Maximum Range: With gas or electric, 600 miles (965.6 km), with fuel cells, 800 (1287.5 km), and with fusion, effectively unlimited.

Statistical Data:
Height: 9.19 feet (2.8 meters) for cab (does not include weapon mounts)
Width: 10.50 feet (3.2 meters)
Length: 33.46 feet (10.2 meters)
Weight: 27.56 tons (25 metric tons) empty and 41.89 tons (38 metric tons) fully loaded.
Power Source: Four versions. Nuclear with 5 year fusion reactor, Electric, Conventional liquid fuel that uses aviation gas / diesel, and Fuel cell version that uses Hydrogen as a fuel to produce electricity.
Cargo Capacity: 11.02 tons (10.0 metric tons) in cargo compartment. Crew can also carry basic equipment including weaponry in crew compartment.
Market / Black Market Cost:
Standard Model: 450,000 credits with Internal Combustion engine, 600,000 with Electrical engine or fuel cell power system, and 1.5 million for fusion with a 5 year life.
Long Range Missile Platform: 950,000 credits with Internal Combustion engine, 1.1 million with Electrical engine or fuel cell power system, and 2.0 million for fusion with a 5 year life.
Upgrades: Sensory / Communication upgrade (equal to a standard power armor) costs 12,000 credits. Fully contained life support system costs 50,000 credits. Cargo Crane costs 5,000 credits. Mini-Missile launchers costs 400,000 credits for a pair. Pulse Laser Mount costs 60,000 Credits. Wellington Automatic Grenade Launcher costs 150,000 credits. Northern Gun Rail Gun costs 70,000 credits. MI-RG-40-X Rail Gun costs 150,000 credits. Additional armor costs 50,000 credits per 20 M.D.C. Full Command / Control Facilities (with communication) costs 200,000 credits. Radar / Electronic Warfare Facilities cost 300,000 credits.

Weapons Systems: The vehicle can mount the following above the rear section of the crew compartment. Direct fire weapons are controlled by a gunner who sits behind the weapon mount. Missiles are controlled by a remote control system.

  1. Top Mounted Weapon Position (1): Mounted above the cab of the vehicle, a single weapon can be mounted for defense of the vehicle. Most common weapon mounts are rail guns, pulse laser mounts, or automatic grenade launchers.
    1. Pulse Laser Cannon: The mounts's laser cannons use the barrels and inner working of the JA-12 Assault Rifle. The laser cannons pull power directly from the fusion reactor of the vehicle on fusion powered models. On electric and conventionally powered models, there is a high capacity battery. On fuel cell models, the weapon has its own fuel cell.
      Weight: 13 lbs (5.85 kg)
      Maximum Effective Range: 4,000 feet (1,200 meters).
      Mega Damage: 4D6 for single shot and 1D6x10+10 for three round burst from cannon.
      Rate of Fire:Equal to the gunner's combined hand to hand (usually 5 or 6).
      Payload: Nuclear Reactor: Effectively Unlimited (Draws Power off the main engines). Electric or Conventional Fuel: Battery is good for 1200 shots (400 three shot bursts.) Fuel Cell Version: 600 shots (200 three shot bursts.) It takes approximately two minutes for a trained crew to change the hydrogen tank that powers the weapon, assuming that a spare tank is available. Untrained crews will take about six minutes to accomplish this task.
    2. NG-202 Rail Gun: These guns are set up like the NG-202 on the Samson power armor with a greater rate of fire. The vehicles used by Metalworks Incorporated uses APFSDS (Armor Piercing Fin Stabilized Discarding Sabot) ammo that increases damage
      Weight: Rail Gun: 210 lbs (94.5 kg), One Ammo-Drum: 150 lbs (68.05 kg).
      Maximum Effective Range: 4,000 feet (1200 meter)
      Mega Damage: Normal Ammo; 1D6x10 M.D.C. per burst of 60 rounds (Does not fire single shot.) APFSDS Ammo; 2D4x10 M.D.C. per burst of 60 rounds (Does not fire single shot.)
      Rate of Fire: Equal to the gunner's combined hand to hand (usually 5 or 6).
      Payload: 3000 rounds (50 bursts)
    3. MI-RG-40-X Rail Gun: Rail Gun is a modified version of the Coalition C-40R Rail Gun. While the weapon is widely duplicated, Metalworks has managed to improve the rail gun with the ability to fire either 40 round or 60 round bursts. While the 60 round burst uses ammunition far faster, it inflicts greater damage and is only slightly heavier. When not hooked up to a power armor or vehicle , the rail gun need a special power pack Previously, Metalworks Industries purchased NG-202 Rail Guns but plans to replace Northern Gun rail guns with their own model although it is twice the cost.
      Weight: 104 lbs (47.2 kg), One Ammo-Drum: 190 lbs (85.5 kg).
      Maximum Effective Range: 4,000 feet (1,200 meters)
      Maximum Effective Range: Normal Ammo; Can fire a burst of 40 rounds which inflicts 1D4x10 M.D. or can fire a burst of 60 rounds which inflicts 1D6x10 M.D. A single round inflicts 1D4 M.D. APFSDS Ammo;Can fire a burst of 40 rounds which inflicts 1D6x10 M.D. or can fire a burst of 60 rounds which inflicts 2D4x10 M.D. A single round inflicts 1D6 M.D.
      Rate of Fire: Equal to the gunner's combined hand to hand (usually 5 or 6).
      Payload: 2000 round drum, that's 50 bursts of 40 rounds or 33 bursts of 60 rounds.
    4. Automatic Grenade Launcher: Weapon is WI-GL21 Automatic Grenade Launcher mounted on a spindle mount. Extremely dangerous at close range although not as effective against airborne targets as the pulse laser.
      Weight: 130 lbs (58.5 kg) not including ammo belts. Ammo belt weighs 40 lbs (18.15 kg)
      Maximum Effective Range: 3,000 feet (914 meters)
      Mega-Damage: 4D6 for Fragmentation with a blast area of 12 feet (3.7 meters) and 1D4x10 for Armor Piercing with a blast area of 3 feet (0.9 meters), burst of 10 rounds does 2D6x10 for Fragmentation with a blast area of 40 feet (12.2 meters) and 3D6x10 for Armor Piercing with a blast area of 8 feet (2.4 meters).
      Rate of Fire: Equal to combined hand to hand attacks of gunner
      Payload: 400 Rounds.
  2. Mini-Missile Launchers (2 - Optional): The missile launcher systems are on either side of the cab / cockpit. Both launchers hold twelve mini-missiles for twenty-four total.
    Maximum Effective Range: Varies with mini missile types (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
    Mega-Damage: Varies with mini missile types (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. Can be fired equal to the pilots combined hand to hand (usually 5 or 6).
    Payload: 12 Mini-Missiles each launcher for a total of 24 mini-missiles.
  3. Long Range Missile (1, Missile / Rocket Version): Missile / Rocket version has one launcher that can fire missiles that are mounted on the sides of a rotating stand. The launcher can carry a total of six long range missiles for a total of twelve long range missiles. While normally guided missiles are used, the launchers will sometime launch unguided versions to reduce the cost of ordinance used. The launchers can rotate 360 degrees.
    Maximum Effective Range: As per long range missile type (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
    Mega Damage: Varies with long range missile type (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: Six (6) Long Range Missiles.

Sensory Equipment:

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Writeup by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).

Copyright © 2008, Kitsune. All rights reserved.