Stirling Industries CHS-16 Heavy Cargo Shuttle:

Most large cargos are carried between systems by massive starships but many of these large ship cannot land on a planet and it is not practical for even many of the smaller ones to land. Only really small cargo ships such as tramp freighters normally land on a planet to unload their cargo. The role of transporting cargo from orbit to planet side is normally performed by cargo shuttles. Other roles for cargo shuttles are to carry cargo from various parts of a star system. There are a variety of different sizes and classes of shuttles. There are cargo shuttles, passenger shuttles, and container shuttles to name a few of the most common roles for shuttles.

One of the most common classes of large cargo shuttles is the CHS-16 Heavy Cargo Shuttle. The basic design is several centuries old yet is still in production. The design was originally produced by Stirling Industries but it was licenced to several companies over the years and Stirling Industries itself has been out of business for eight decades. The basic design of most models is very similar although a wide variety of different engines, power plants, and electronic suites can vary greatly. Due to the shuttle design being fairly basic and quite easy to produce, the design is likely to remain in production for the foreseeable future.

The CHS-16 was the basis for the Human Alliance AS-4 Assault Shuttle. Unlike container shuttles, standard cargo shuttles like the CHS-16 design are readily adaptable as assault shuttles. Many of these old assault shuttles have been converted back to cargo shuttles as serve alongside CHS-4 cargo shuttles. Also, many smaller militaries, not able to afford true assault shuttles will used armed varieties of cargo shuttles as assault shuttles. They are generally not as durable as true assault shuttles but are far cheaper.

Stirling Industries shuttle design is extremely blocky and while this reduces the aerodynamics of the shuttle, it allows for much lower production costs. The design of the shuttle is also such that basic maintenance costs are reduces. While not as heavily armored as most military shuttle designs, cargo shuttles often find themselves in primitive facilities and must be extremely tough as a result. The design is slightly smaller than the AS-4 Assault Shuttle although they have the same cargo capacity. Power for the CHS-16 is provided by a single fusion reactor which is more designed for ease of maintenance and ruggedness than power output. As a result, most military shuttles use fighter type fusion reactors because of their much higher output for their mass. Anti-Grav propulsion allows the shuttles to operate in an atmosphere even though not designed for extremely high speed while in a planet's atmosphere. While a variety of different power plants and contra-grav systems are mounted on the heavy cargo shuttles, most outputs are similar. Electronics are also extremely similar and are relatively short ranged. The shuttles are designed to be able to operate for extended periods and has a small but well equipped stateroom. It has several bunks, a small kitchen unit, and normally some entertainment features as well. While the shuttle is designed to be able to be operated by a crew of two, the shuttles often only have a single pilot. These ships can be run fully computer controlled but in many areas, the systems are not properly equipped for this.

As mentioned previously, some cargo shuttles are converted for military use. Of course some are virtually unaltered but just pressed into military roles where in most cases they serve adequately if not spectacularly. Some are converted to have better combat abilities although almost all are not as capable as purpose built assault shuttles. Most upgrades concentrate on weaponry and a vast variety of different weapon arrays can be found on converted cargo shuttles. The most common weaponry is a pair of point defense lasers and a mini-missile launcher. Most assault shuttle's job is not to attack before landing and instead the weaponry is designed to fend off fighter and missile strikes. With the additional weaponry, a pair of gunners is usually carried who normally control the laser cannons. The mini-missiles are usually controlled by the pilot or co-pilot. Actual ground strikes is mostly performed by fighters. In some cases, sensors are replaced by military sensors although many cargo shuttles converted to assault shuttles retain a civilian sensor array. The ability to carry cargo in military converted cargo shuttles is unaltered with the shuttle able to carry around 400 troops or a variety of larger vehicles.

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

Model: CHS-16
Vehicle Type: Heavy Cargo Shuttle
Crew: Two (Pilot and Co-pilot), can be operated by one or even without a pilot via automatic flight system.
Most military versions carry a two gunners in addition to the pilot and co-pilot.

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:Cargo ShuttleAssault Shuttle
Twin Laser Turrets (2):N.A.60 each
Mini-Missile Batteries (2):N.A.80 each
Reinforced Pilots Compartment:120120
Rear Door Ramp:200200
Landing Gear (3):50 each50 each
[1] Main Body:1,0001,000

[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 20 percent of the speed of light. Star Ship can accelerate/decelerate at the rate of 0.35 percent of light per melee.
Atmospheric Propulsion: Maximum cruise speed is 300 mph (483 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 for about four weeks.

Statistical Data:
Length: 255 feet (77.7 meters).
Height: 55 feet (16.8 meters).
Width: 80 feet (24.4 meters)
Weight: 1400 tons (1,270 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: 30 to 40 million credits for a standard CHS-16 Heavy Cargo Shuttle depending on age and condition of shuttle (Unarmed). Military converted models are around 50 million with civilian grade sensors and 55 million with military grade sensors.

WEAPON SYSTEMS (Armed Versions):
Weapon systems can vary wildly on armed versions of the shuttle

  1. Two (2) Laser Batteries: Weapon system is used as an anti-missile, anti-power armor, and anti-star fighter. Weapons system has no minuses to hit fighters and small targets and each laser turret can rotate 360 and has a 180 arc of fire. Each mount is controlled by a separate gunner who controls the weapons by remote.
    Maximum Effective Range: 200 miles (322 km) in space and 4 miles (6.4 km) in an atmosphere.
    Mega Damage: 3D6x10 M.D.C. each.
    Rate of Fire: Equal to the combined hand to hand attacks of the gunner (usually 4 or 5).
    Payload: Effectively Unlimited.
  2. Mini-Missile Batteries (2): 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. The weapon mounts are normally controlled by the pilot or co-pilot.
    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 (both launchers combined)
    Payload: 24 each launcher for forty-eight (48) mini-missiles total. 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).

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