Triax XM-400 “Cheetah” Armored Reconnaissance Vehicle:

"I applaud the men who designed this one ingenious stroke they HALVED my logistical problems with the Biberach garrison vehicle pool....Even with Munich so close, our 'Terrors' were constantly in need of repairs and replacements with the close-quarters fighting around 'der Schwarzwald', and our technicians were rapidly running out of curse words, as well as patience, with the 'Terrors'.

"But when we started getting the XM-400s, we discovered that our parts supplies effectively TRIPLED....Using the civilian 'Little Badgers' as the basis of the Cheetah...well, it meant we could draw upon the garage supplies for Biberach's own civil service WR-5054s...The transmissions and power trains are completely compatible, as well as so many other parts....We can also use equipment from the power armor squads and parts stripped from our junked 'Terrors'.....(laughs) One of our patrols was disabled, broke an axle, out in the forest, but one of the crewmen remembered that his brother-in-law had a nearby farm and owned a 'Badger' as a farm truck...They made a midnight call, borrowed some of his spares, and were up and running by morning! How's THAT for good design!"

---Oberst Luther Volkner, Biberach Regional Defense Corps, New German Republic Panzer Grupen.

This design originally began as an independent project by several field technicians who wanted a more effective combat vehicle than the “Terror” mini-tank. The Terror is not well liked by many crews and there has been pressure to replace it for many years. The Terror is considered not very well armed and does not have the ground clearance that many would like. Many other combat vehicles can be operated in mountainous or extremely rocky terrain while the Terror cannot. The technicians decided to use the Six wheeled WR-5054 Mini-Cargo Hauler as a basis for the design and use tried and tested weapon systems from designs already in service. The resulting design was field tested by the soldiers and was preferred by virtually all personnel over the “Terror” Mini-Tank. The design was capable of extremely high speeds over flat and level terrain and the name “Cheetah” or “Gepard” in German was stuck on it.

Instead of going through the civilian portion of government bureaucracy, the technicians decided to go through the military chain of command and enlisted their officers to help to push the project through. Previous groups attempting to get the “Terror” replaced had gone through the Civilian research and development and had been blocked by Triax officials. The project eventually found its way to the General in charge of NGR Logistics and he stated flatly that they needed the new design. As final proof of its superiority, the Cheetah was tested in a head to head test in simulated combat conditions against the Terror and was found to be far superior to the Mini-Tank. It still took more wrangling but eventually the Government agreed to begin manufacture the Cheetah. When Triax got the contract under the designation XM-400, they did make some minor changes to the design but it is still very close to the design that the technicians first developed. So far only a small number of Cheetahs have entered service but they are already far preferred to the design that they are replacing.

As stated in the background, the Cheetah is based on the WR-5054 Mini-Cargo Hauler and retains many of the same features. Still, the design looks quite a bit different with the rear cargo doors eliminated and a very different body style. The six larger wheels give the Cheetah far better ground clearance than the ten smaller wheels carried on the Terror. The Cheetah is well armored and carries more armor than the Terror. The booster jet is retained and allows for the extremely high speed achievable over flat terrain. On production models of the Cheetah, the wheels are reinforced compared to the wheels on the cargo hauler. While the Mini-Cargo Hauler is available with a variety of power systems, all Cheetahs use a fusion reactor. This gives them virtually infinite range and is a huge advantage in most combat conditions. None of the weapon systems carried on the Mini-Cargo Hauler are retained. The main weapon of the Cheetah is fairly innovative and allows for a large amount of flexibility. Instead of carrying a traditional turret or a fixed mount, the Cheetah carries an Interchangeable mount which is designed to mount the weapon systems designed for the X-535 Hunter Power Armor. The interchangeable weapon mounts are in large supply and are perfect in most respects. Due to the greater power and weight of the six wheeled vehicle, the weapon mounts do not reduce the top speed of the vehicle like they do the power armor. Among the weapons most preferred are the Flack Cannon and the Combination Ion Cannon and Medium Range Missile Launchers. The Flack Cannon has very good range and excellent damage (many crews consider it to be almost as effective as a Glitter Boy boom gun) while the Medium Range Missiles can be used as medium range missile artillery. The weapon system is controlled from inside by the gunner. Of course, all of the standard mounts can be carried if called upon. The one weakness of the weapon system is that it is external and not protected by a turret. As partial compensation, the weapon mount is design to be able to partially retract into the hull to make it a smaller target when not in use. Originally the prototype carried the forward rail guns carried on the Terror Mini-Tank but these were replaced later on the prototype and carried on all production models are two pulse laser mounts which were designed to be able to operate by computer control to reduce the amount of work for the pilot. The one weapon system which is the same as the Terror Mini-Tank are mini-missile launchers and the Cheetah carries a total of twenty mini-missiles. This can be boosted with a mini-missile drum in the interchangeable mount but other weapons are generally preferred. Smoke grenade launchers are mounted on either side of the vehicle. Prismatic Aerosol and Gas grenades may be carried as substitutes for smoke grenades.

The Cheetah only has a crew of two but is designed to be able to carry two passengers. All weapon systems are manned by the gunner or are under computer control. Generally, two soldiers are carried to help support the vehicle. They sit behind the pilot’s compartment but are in a separate compartment with a door on either side. Each side door is split with firing ports so that the troops can engage enemies while in the vehicle. The compartment is equipped with power connections so that the troops can fire their weapons without using all of their energy magazines. Like most troop transport vehicles, the compartment is also equipped with an E-Clip recharger which is plugged into the main power supply. Each compartment is environmentally sealed.

Model Type: XM-400
German Name: Gepard
Vehicle Type: Armored Reconnaissance Vehicle
Crew: Two (Driver and Gunner).
Troop Carrying Capacity: 2 soldiers in full gear

M.D.C. by Location:

[1] Side mounted TX-41 CIWS Lasers (2):50 each
Dual Mini-Missile Launcher:100
Optional: TX-843P Particle Beam Cannon:170
Optional: TX-862FC Anti-Aircraft Cannon:210
Optional: TX-871MM Missile Drum:200
Optional: TX-884I Ion Cannon:290
[1] Smoke Grenade Launchers (2):10 each
Reinforced Pilots Compartment:100
Reinforced Troop Compartment:100
Side Doors (2):100 each
[1] Forward / Side Video Cameras (4):10 each
[1] Forward Headlights (2):5 each
[2] Main Body:400
[3] Giant Wheels (6):75 each
Rear Booster Jet:80

[1] 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.
[2] If all the M.D.C. of the main body is depleted, the vehicle is completely shut down and is unsalvageable.
[3] If one tire on a side is destroyed, the vehicle is reduced in top speed by 20% and has a -25% to piloting rolls when being operated off-road. If two tires on a side are destroyed, the vehicle will be immobilized. The vehicle does not float due to the tires but the tank itself is water tight.

Ground: Without Jet Thruster: Cruising speed on land is 100 mph (160.9 kph) on roads and 80 mph (128.7 kph) off road maximum. With Jet Thruster Engaged: While Thruster is engaged, vehicle rockets to a maximum speed of 150 mph (241.4 kph). The Jet Thruster should only be engaged in flat and level terrain. A burst of the truster can be used to break the vehicle through thick mud though.
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%.
Water Capabilities: Without Jet Thruster: Using just the wheels as a means of propulsion, the vehicle can travel on the surface of the water at up to 8 mph (12.9 kph / 6.9 knots). With Jet Thruster Engaged: Top speed is vastly increased to 50 mph (80.5 kph / 43.4 knots)
Maximum Effective Range: Effectively unlimited (Nuclear Fusion power supply with 10 year duration) and fusion reactor does not overheat. Vehicle carries about two weeks worth of supplies emergency rations onboard.

Statistical Data:
Height: 7.5 feet (2.3 meters) without weapon mount, 9.4 feet (2.86 meters) with weapon mount retracted, and 11.8 feet (3.6 meters) with weapon mount extended
Width: 8.5 feet (2.6 meters)
Length: 22.8 feet (6.9 meters)
Weight: 8.5 tons (16.7 metric tons) without Interchangeable weapon mounted. Weapon mounts weigh 3 tons (2.7 metric tons) to 6 tons (5.4 metric tons) each
Cargo Capacity: Minimal storage space in pilot and troop compartments; two storage spaces (one each compartment) about three feet (0.9 meters) in side dimensions for extra clothing, weapons, and personal items. In each compartment there is a space which stores two carbines (total of four) and one hand-held mini-missile launcher (Total of two) with four loads each.
Power Source: Nuclear Only (10 year life span)
Black Market Cost: Not available but manufacturing cost is around 25 million credits not including weapon systems. Each weapon mount costs around 8 million credits. On the black market, the vehicle could likely sell for twice as much as manufacturing cost.

Weapon Systems:

  1. Interchangeable Weapon Mounts (1): The Cheetah is designed with a special interchangeable mount which can mount the same weapon systems which are carried on the Hunter power armor. The mount can rotate 360 degrees and the weapon system has full mobility. The mounts are also designed to partially retract so that they are less of a target when they are not in use. Many weapon systems have their own independent power supplies and tracking systems. Unlike on the X-535 Hunter, the weapon mounts do not reduce the vehicle's top speed.
    1. TX-843P Interchangeable Particle Beam Cannon (1): This weapon is rarely carried on the Cheetah and is considered to be of limited use by most crews. It is designed as a short range anti-armor and infantry weapon. Most crews do not like the weapons comparatively short range and it inflicts less damage than the flack cannon. The cannon can be aimed up or down 80 degrees.
      Overall Weight: 3 tons (2.7 metric tons), but comes with its own energy supply.
      Maximum Effective Range: 3000 feet (914 meters)
      Mega-Damage: 2D4x10 M.D. per single blast!
      Rate of Fire: Equal to number of combined hand to hand attacks (usually 4-8).
      Payload: Effectively unlimited.
      Special Feature: Independent power supply.
    2. TX-862FC Interchangeable, Recoilless, Anti-Aircraft Flak Gun (1): This double-barreled, rapid-fire cannon shoots explosive rounds which are used against flying enemies and is also effective as short range artillery. It is the most popular weapon with crews due to the ability to inflict damage and long range of the cannon. The flak cannon can be aimed up or down 80 degrees.
      Overall Weight: 4.5 tons (4.1 metric tons), but comes with its own energy supply.
      Maximum Effective Range: 10,000 feet (3048 meters)!
      Mega-Damage: Single round 4D6 M.D., two rounds 1D6x10 M.D., or a rapid fire volley of six rounds 3D6 x 10 M.D.
      Rate of Fire: Equal to number of combined hand to hand attacks (usually 4-8).
      Payload: Total 800; 400 rounds in each giant ammo-drum. That's 133 rapid fire volleys of six rounds or 400 two round volleys.
      Special Feature: The flak cannon has an independent power supply and its own laser targeting and radar tracking system (the large round cylinder on top). The secondary sensor system can be especially useful if the sensor head of the hot is destroyed. The secondary sensor array also enables the big gun to track and automatically fire two round volleys at aerial targets while the pilot concentrates on enemy ground troops. Sensor Range: 11,000 feet (3353 in). Bonus: +1 to strike when set on automatic aerial attack, or + 2 to strike when fired by the pilot.
    3. TX-884I Interchangeable Ion Cannon & Missile Launcher: The big cannon fires devastating ion blasts. Six medium range missiles are housed in a launcher above each shoulder. This weapon system is also quite popular because of the ability to engage targets at long range with the medium range missiles and the Ion cannon gives both the ability of close support and defense against aerial attack. Both launchers are capable of 180 degree upward rotation.
      Overall Weight: 6 tons (5.4 metric tons)
      Ion Cannon:
        Maximum Effective Range: 4,000 feet (1,200 meters)
        Mega-Damage: 1D6x10 per blast
        Cannon Rate of Fire: Equal to number of combined hand to hand attacks (usually 4-8).
        Cannon Payload: Effectively unlimited.
        Special Feature: The cannon has its own laser targeting and radar tracking system built into the weapon itself (the large round cylinder on top). Range: 6000 feet (1828 meters). Bonus: +1 to strike.
      Medium Range Missile Launcher:
        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.)
        Missile Rate of Fire: One at a time or in volleys of two or four.
        Missile Payload: 12 medium range missiles total; six in each launcher.
    4. TX-871MM Interchangeable Rotary Missile Drum Launchers (2): Forty Eight Mini Missiles are housed in a launcher in two drums. The Mini-missile launcher system is not as popular are the flack cannon and the combination medium range missile and ion cannon weapon systems. Both launchers are capable of 180 degree upward rotation. Some sources list this mount as a medium range missile launcher or a short range missile launcher but is in reality a mini-missile launcher.
      Overall Weight: 6 tons (5.4 metric tons)
      Maximum Effective Range: Varies with mini-missile type; Usually armor piercing or fragmentation are carried (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
      Mega Damage: Varies with mini-missile type; Usually armor piercing or fragmentation are carried (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), eight (8), sixteen (16), thirty-two (32) or forty-eight (48) missiles.
      Payload: 96 Mini-Missiles total! 48 in each launcher. A typical combat mix is 48 armor piercing, 40 plasma, 4 fragmentation and 4 smoke.
      Special Feature: The rotary missile drum has its own laser tracking, radar, targeting, communications and all the sensor systems standard to robots. This can be especially useful if the sensor head is destroyed or it can track targets independent of the Jager's sensor head. Range: 6000 feet (1828 in). Missile Bonus: +2 to strike.
  2. CIWS TX-41 Pulse Lasers (2): Mounted in two turret near the front of the vehicle, these are simply TX-41 pulse laser mounted in a small automated turrets, and connected to the vehicle's power supply. This is a variable frequency laser with 12 different light frequencies. The frequency can be changed by the operator, or can be selected by the computer when it is in automatic (reaching optimal setting against laser refractive armor takes 1D4 rounds on automatic). Setting No. 7 counters the USA-10 Glitter Boy armor. The pulse laser turret moves independently from the main turret, and has a 360 degree swiveling fire-arc and is capable of tracking aerial targets even directly overhead the Cheetah. Being linked into the fire control system of the Cheetah gives the laser an improved chance to strike.
    Maximum Effective Range: 4,000 feet (1,200 meters)
    Mega Damage: 3D6 per single shot or 1D6x10 per rapid-fire triple pulse (counts as one attack).
    Rate of Fire: Equal to combined hand to hand attacks of gunner or 4 attacks each when on automatic.
    Payload: Effectively unlimited
    Bonuses: +2 to strike when manually controlled, or +3 when on computer control.
  3. Mini-missile Launcher (1): Mounted on the rear of the Armored Reconnaissance Vehicle is a high capacity mini-missile launcher. These launchers are designed for rapid fire use to engage heavy tanks, giant robots, and gargoyles. These weapons are designed to be able to destroy enemy vehicles and supernatural creatures quickly.
    Maximum Effective Range: Varies with mini-missile type; Usually armor piercing or fragmentation are carried (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
    Mega Damage: Varies with mini-missile type; Usually armor piercing or fragmentation are carried (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
    Rate of Fire: Can fire missiles one at a time, or in volleys of two (2) or four (4) missiles.
    Payload: Each side carries 10 mini-missiles for a total of 20 Mini-missiles.
  4. Firing Ports (2): The Cheetah has two firing ports that allow soldiers in the troop bay to fire their guns out of the vehicle. There is one firing port on each side of the vehicle. Firing ports can be closed in order to make the vehicle a sealed environment. Firing ports are fairly small and grenade launchers and missile launchers cannot be fired from firing ports. The Cheetah has power connectors so that troops can fire energy weapons without draining their energy clips.
  5. Smoke Grenade Launchers (2): Mounted on either side of the turret and launches smoke grenades. Gas Grenades, Fragmentation, and Stun flash grenades can be theoretically substituted. See Flanker Urban Defender for details. The dispenser can dispense prismatic aerosol for dispersing laser beams. This has the same effect as standard prismatic aerosol grenades.
    Effect: Creates a cloud of smoke 40 ft (12 m) in diameter. Effects are obscures vision, Infrared sensors cannot penetrate smoke cloud, and those without environmental protection will have trouble breathing (-5 to strike parry, and dodge). Passive thermal equipment will work inside of smoke cloud.
    Rate of Fire: Two per melee
    Maximum Effective Range: 25 to 150 feet (7.6 to 46 meters)
    Payload: Carries 8 smoke grenades per launcher.

Special Equipment:
The Tank has all the standard features of a standard robot (including long range communication, radar, and radar tracking) plus these special features listed.

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Introductory Quotes by Talis D. Merrill (

Writeup by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).

Copyright © 2002, Kitsune. All rights reserved.