Human Alliance Forces AS-4 Assault Shuttle (HAFN / CAF):

The commonly seen SAS-12 Assault Shuttle is yet the latest in a line of successful shuttle designs which was begun with the introduction of the AS-4 Assault Shuttle by the Human Alliance Military. The goal of an assault shuttle is to drop its troops on a hostile landing zone, little more. In the early days of the Human Alliance, tramp freighters were even used as assault shuttles but they lacked the ability to make rough landings. In some cases civilian cargo shuttles were also used for the role although they were not designed for true rough landings and many were unarmed designs. Still, cargo shuttles formed the basis for the initial designing of assault shuttles. There are still cases where cargo shuttles are modified to operate as assault shuttles by some reinforcements and the addition of jury-rigged weaponry.

The Human Alliance AS-4 Assault Shuttle design was based off of a common and successful cargo shuttle design at the time which it was introduced. The CHS-16 Cargo shuttle had the ability to haul huge amounts of cargo and was fairly rugged even though it was a civilian design. It still serves in many stations and ports today. Still, the AS-4 Assault Shuttle was a virtually complete redesign going through several stages before the final prototype was accepted. The design was carried on virtually all Human Alliance vessels which carried assault troops and the design was later carried on Consortium ships when much of the Human Alliance military became part of the Consortium Armed Forces. Several upgrades in the design were done to the Human Alliance shuttle design including tougher armor and improved weaponry. Later versions of the Human Alliance design are designated the AS-6 Assault Shuttle. There they served well until replaced by the SAS-12 Assault Shuttle. The Consortium had originally planned to replace the Human Alliance Shuttle with the SAS-10 design but problems with the prototype caused it to be canceled and the AS-4 to soldier on for several more years.

Many AS-4 Assault Shuttles were sold to smaller militaries, mercenary companies, and even private interests. Most were disarmed before being sold, especially those sold to private interests, although some purchasers has rearmed the designs. It is interesting that many disarmed versions of the Assault Shuttle operate beside the Cargo Shuttle which it was developed from. Several companies specialize in keeping the shuttles operating and a few companies specialize in upgrading military versions of the assault shuttle. It is expected that these upgraded versions will serve for centuries before being replaced by newer models.

Like many shuttle designs, both civilian and military, the AS-4 design is basically a box shape and not streamlined for atmospheric use. As in most assault shuttle designs, the shuttle is well armored and rugged although like the standard Consortium assault shuttle, it does not mount energy shields. The AS-6 version carries additional armor and is more crash survivable. The cargo bay is designed to be rapidly configured for a variety of different cargos and the capacity of the AS-4 is actually slightly greater than the Consortium Assault Shuttle. The crew is normally eight with a pilot, co-pilot, sensor officer / communications, and five gunners. Often, civilian versions of the shuttle are operated by two crew members and in some cases only one. Like most Assault Shuttles, the AS-4 does not carry any Faster than Light drives. It is fairly slow in normal space as well with the AS-6 model having upgraded engines for faster acceleration in space. Like most assault shuttles, power is provided by a fusion reactor due to anti-matter simply being considered too dangerous in an atmosphere. The power plant provides more power than the original civilian system and is more compact, having been adapted from a starfighter fusion reactor design.

Weaponry for the Assault Shuttle consists of a pair of twin laser turrets, two rail gun turrets, and a mini-missile launchers. Long range defense of assault shuttles is normally the role of escorting fighters. The laser turrets mount the same laser cannons as is carried in the Osprey medium starfighter and is equipped on several other Human Alliance fighters. The rail gun turrets are identical to those carried on the Puma heavy starfighter. The only other defense of the shuttle is a mini-missile launcher. Unlike on Rifts Earth, most mini-missiles are self guided and are extremely accurate. Each mount is controlled remotely but a separate gunner although the pilot and co-pilot have emergency controls. One of the upgrades to the shuttle is the addition of external missile racks to increase the shuttles firepower.

This starship design uses modified starship speed and weapon range rules. See Revised Starship Rules for Phase World / Three Galaxies for more details.

Model: AS-4 / AS-6
Vehicle Type: Heavy Assault Shuttle
Crew: Eight (Pilot, Copilot, Communication/Sensor Operator, and five Gunners).

Troops / Vehicles: Up to 550 tons (500 metric tons). This only lists two common troop loads, there are many other possible combinations.
Vehicle &; Troops:

10Tanks or APCs (up to 50 ft long)
120Troops in Body Armor (90 if in Power Armor)
Troops Only:
400Troops in Body Armor (300 if in Power Armor)

M.D.C. By Location:AS-4:AS-6:
Twin Laser Turrets (2):80 each100 each
10 mm Electromagnetic Rail Gun Turrets (2):60 each80 each
Mini-Missile Battery (1):100120
Reinforced Pilots Compartment:160200
Rear Door Ramp:300350
Landing Gear (3):80 each100 each
[1] Main Body:1,5001,800

[1] Depleting the M.D.C. of the main body will put the shuttle out of commission. All internal systems will shut down, including life support and internal gravity. The ship itself will be an unsalvageable floating wreck if in space and will crash to the planet if within the atmosphere.

Driving on the Ground: Not Possible.
Sublight: Has a special sublight engine that allows the ship to travel up to 40 percent of the speed of light. Star Ship can accelerate/decelerate at the rate of 0.45 percent of light per melee (AS-6 Version has a top acceleration of 0.55 percent of light per melee)
Atmospheric Propulsion: Maximum cruise speed is 320 mph (515 kph), can enter and leave an atmosphere because flight system is using contra grav.
Maximum Range: Effectively Unlimited by Drive system but only has supplies for crew members and troops for about three months (Emergency rations).

Statistical Data:
Length: 260 feet (79.2 meters).
Height: 55 feet (16.8 meters).
Width: 80 feet (24.4 meters)
Weight: 1,450 tons (1,315 metric tons)
Power System: Advanced Fusion with 20 year life span.
Cargo: Large cargo hold that can carry up to 550 ton of cargo in place of troops or vehicles but not including standard compliment of supplies and ammunition. The cargo hold is 30 x 60 x 120 feet in dimensions (9.1 x 18.3 x 36.6 meters).
Market Cost: 90 million credits for a fully armed AS-4 Assault Shuttle and 100 million credits for a fully armed AS-6 Assault Shuttle (Disarmed / Civilian versions of the shuttle cost around 40 to 50 million credits) Shuttle is no longer being produced.


  1. Laser Pulse Cannons Turrets (2): These weapons are mounted in turrets on the sides of the shuttle and are controlled by separate gunners. These weapons are identical to those carried on the Vixen, Osprey, and Puma star fighters although mounted in pairs in turrets. As well as being able to be combined, cannons can each be fired separately. Each Turret can rotate 360 and has a 180 arc of fire.
    Maximum Effective Range: 6 miles (9.7 km) through atmosphere and 600 miles (966 km) in space.
    Mega-Damage: 2D4x10+10 per single blast, or 4D4x10+20 per double blast (Each turret operates independently)
    Rate of Fire: Equal to the combined hand to hand attacks of the gunner (usually 4 or 5).
    Payload: Effectively Unlimited.
  2. 10 mm Electromagnetic Rail Gun Turrets (2): Mounted in turrets on the top of the shuttle. Unlike rail-guns mounted on most phase world star fighters, the rail guns work through the use of electromagnets instead of through gravity. The rail gun still fires projectiles at incredible velocities compared to rail guns on Rifts Earth and projectiles are fired from the rail guns at a significant fraction of the speed of light. They are used as an anti-starfighter and missile weapon and against targets that are impervious to energy. Rail Gun is in a turret that can rotate 360 and has a 180 arc of fire.
    Maximum Effective Range: 8,000 feet (2,440 meters) in an atmosphere and 150 miles (240 km) in space.
    Mega Damage: 20 round burst inflicts2D4x10+10 M.D.C., one round does 2D6+2 M.D. (Each turret operates independently)
    Rate of Fire: Equal to the Gunner's combined hand to hand (usually 4 or 5).
    Payload: 2,000 Rounds (100 Bursts)
  3. Mini-Missile Battery (1): Mounted above the shuttles engine pods, these missiles are normally for point defense against enemy fighters and missiles. Missile has a top speed of Mach 10 in an atmosphere and in space has an acceleration of 2% of light per turn (slightly faster than any starship except if it is exceeding it maximum safe acceleration). The battery can launch on multiple targets each at the same time.
    Maximum Effective Range: Mini-Missile range is 2 miles (3.2 km) in an atmosphere and 100 miles (161 km) in space.
    Mega-Damage: Varies with mini-missile type (See revised Phase World / Three Galaxies missile tables for details.)
    Rate of Fire: Can fire missiles one at a time or in volleys of four (4) or eight (8) missiles.
    Payload: 64 mini-missiles. Additional mini-missiles can be carried in the cargo hold of the shuttle but reloading launcher from cargo hold takes 1D6 minutes.

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Writeup by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).

Copyright © 2005, Kitsune. All rights reserved.