USA-GPA-01 Ground Assault Power Armor:

This power armor is one of the oldest designs know from before the Rifts and some people consider it to be origin for all the combat power armor in existence on Earth. For all this, the design was almost lost in history. It is unknown but very likely that the design remains in the Libraries of Chi-Town but they would likely not share the design. It also seems that at least some part of the armor survived in that due to the design of internal systems, the Northern Gun Samson appears to be based on the design. Other than this a few faded pictures is all that remained of what was the most common power armor before the coming of the Rifts. It had become dated and was only serving within National Guard units within the Old American Empire but had been sold to many other nations. It was only recently that the full design was unearthed. It is interesting that it was discovered in two places almost simultaneously. Models of the armor and blueprints were discovered by a team from Golden Age Weaponsmiths in the area in Alabama and by an Iron Armory team in Wyoming. Both companies have sold the design for the power armor to other companies and Metalworks Incorporated, Southern Cross Manufacturing, Zilkia Industries, and Northern Gun have begun production of this new design in small quantities to test the market. The armor is priced very reasonably and has been selling pretty well and orders have slowly been increasing. It is also suspected that this armor is where Northern Gun got the design for the main cannon on their new tank design.

The story of how this armor came to be began with one women around the year 2020. This woman was Yacharo Umekio and she learned advanced robotics in Japan. She was of half Korean decent, which genetically is the same as Japanese, and she was raised in Japan and had a Japanese name. Because of her descent and due to the fact the she was a women, she was unable to get a job in the field of Advanced Robotics beyond that of an assistant technician. As might be expected, she became disgusted with living in Japan and moved to the United States and brought her ideas to the American side of the Pacific Ocean. In many ways her ideas were revolutionary and when she received support from Tomlinson Industries, an up and growing United States weapon and high tech equipment firm, and with a support team from the company was able to construct the first working prototype. This prototype, which she had painted a dark blue and nicknamed "Blue Vengeance" did not have many of the features of the later production version of the armor but was considered excellent and accepted by the United States Army for testing the effectiveness of the new technology. Umekio made it a requirement that she would be the test pilot for the armor. This original version was armed with a 30 mm discarding sabot cannon for hard targets and a 7.62 mm mini-Gatling Gun for soft targets. The 30 mm cannon required both hands to use and was stored on the back and used a round similar to that used for the A-10 Thunderbolt and an A-10s ammunition could be used for the rifle. The 7.62 mm Gatling Gun was designed to operate similarly to a sub-machine-gun and was short barreled. The ammunition for the armor is carried in a small backpack style unit. The top speed was 80 mph, had about two thirds of the present version's ability to withstand damage, and unlike the later USA-PA-04 SAMAS was not capable of flight.

After two years of testing, the armor entered production and soon became an important component of armored infantry forces. The armor went through many models and was steadily improved. The protective value of the armor was steadily increased, ground speed was increased as well. Weapon systems have also changed a great deal. An Ion beam weapon was added to the left arm, the 30 mm discarding sabot cannon was replaced by a 32 mm Electro-Thermal Cannon, and the 7.62 min-Gatling Gun was replaced by an 8 mm liquid propellant Gatling Gun. This upgraded design are the models that have been copied by the various Power Armor manufactures and while some individual components have been changed, the essentials have been retained.

There have been many variants of this armor and while only one design is presently being copied, it is worth noting some of the variants. First there is the prototypes and first run construction that has already been discussed. Most of these have been sold to other nations and could show up in places like South America. The second common version removed the Ion cannon on the left arm and the armor carries two mini missiles on each forearm to give it longer range firepower in the form of mini-missiles. The final variant that is known to have been produced in reasonable numbers replaced the standard armor material with Glitter Boy armor material and were prototypes to test the new armor composites. These Glitter Armors have about 50% greater ability to withstand damage. All of these are believed to have been scrapped and were prototypes to test the armor for the Glitter Boy.

Model Type: USA-GPA-01-D (Has been re-designated by the various companies producing the armor)
Class: Armored Infantry Assault Suit
Crew: One

M.D.C. by Location:

USA-ETG-32 Electro-Thermal Cannon: 75
USA-LPG-8 Liquid Propellant Gatling Gun:45
Forearm Ion Beam Blaster:30
Ammunition Backpack:50
Arms (2):70 each
Legs (2):100 each
[1] Head:80
[2] Main Body:300

[1] Destroying the head of the power armor will eliminate all forms of optical enhancements and sensory systems. The pilot is forced to rely on his own human vision and senses. Furthermore, all power armor Combat bonuses to strike, parry, and dodge are lost! Note: The head is a small and difficult target to hit, shielded by an exhaust tube, wings, and shoulder plating. Consequently, it can only be hit when a character makes a called shot and even then the attacker is - 4 to strike.
[2] Depleting the M.D.C. of the main body will shut the armor down completely, making it useless.

Running: 120 mph (193.1 kph) maximum. Note that the act of running does tire out its operator, but at 10% of the usual fatigue rate thanks to the robot exo-skeleton. [Original version's top speed was 80 mph / 128.7 kph]
Leaping: The powerful robot legs can leap up to 25 feet (7.6 m) high or across.
Underwater Capabilities: The USA-GPA-01 can also walk along the bottom of the sea at about 25% of its normal running speed.
Maximum Ocean Depth: 1,000 feet (305 meters).

Statistical Data:
Height: 10 feet (3.05 meters)
Width: 4 feet, 6 inches (1.4 meters)
Length: 4 feet, 3 inches (1.3 meters)
Weight: 715 lbs (324.3 kg) fully armed
Physical Strength: Equal to a P.S. 30
Cargo: None
Power System: Nuclear, average energy life is 12 years.
Black Market Cost: 950,000 credits for a new or fully operational USA-GPA-01-D Power Armor. Older models will cost around 500,000 credits.

Weapon Systems:

  1. USA-ETG-32 Electro Thermal Cannon (1): This weapon is designed to use against targets such as other armors. This weapon is carried on the right side of the back when not in use and requires both hand to use but does not have as much recoil as a Glitter Boy Boom Gun due to having power recoil suppression systems and muzzle breaks and the armor can just handle the recoil but if fired with less than a robotic strength of 20 is at -4 and -2 with a strength less than -2. The weapon is set up in a "bullpup" configuration with the trigger in front of the magazine to reduce the length of the weapon but it is still six feet long. The projectile is loaded into the barrel, behind which there is a “propellant,” which is a dot of light metal. A powerful electromagnetic force is applied to the metal, which causes its atoms to “switch” directions. This happens so violently that the metal turns to plasma, and this expanding gas then drives the projectile forward. The weapon has a direct power feed from the Amror to power the weapon. The actual projectile is a 33 mm discarding sabot penetration round. [The original prototype cannon used a standard 30 mm depleted uranium discarded sabot round but the weapon was similar in appearance.]
    Weight: 112 lbs (50.8 kg) [30 mm Cannon: 96 lbs (43.5 kg)]
    Maximum Effective Range: 8,000 feet (2438.4 meters) [30 mm Cannon: 5,000 feet (1524 meters)]
    Mega Damage: 2D4x10 [30 mm Cannon: 5D6]
    Rate of Fire:Maximum of four per melee.
    Payload: 10 Round Magazines (Carries 5 extra magazines)
  2. USA-LPG-8 Liquid Propellant Gatling Gun: This weapon is in a sub-machine-gun style configuration and when not in used is carried on a pistol style holster on the right side of the power armor. This weapons primary purpose is use against infantry and other lightly armored targets. The weapon can fire all types of burst available to machine guns except extended bursts. The weapon uses a special liquid propellant which delivers about four times the force of nitro-cellulose propellant and the weapon fires an 8 mm round. [The original Gatling Gun used a conventional 7.62 NATO round but may used special explosive rounds in later service]
    Weight: 45 lbs (20.4 kg) [7.62 Gatling: 43 lbs (19.5 kg)].
    Maximum Effective Range: 3,000 ft (914 m) [7.62 Gatling: 3,000 ft (914 m)].
      Single Shot (Costs 1 attack): 1D6 [7.62 Gatling: 6D6+3 S.D.C. Conventional / 2D6x10 S.D.C. Explosive)].
      Ten Round Burst on One Target (Costs 1 attack): 5D6 [7.62 Gatling: 3D6x10 S.D.C. Conventional / 1D6 M.D.C. Explosive)].
      Ten Round Burst on 1D4 Target (Costs 1 attack): 1D6 [7.62 Gatling: 6D6+3 S.D.C. Conventional / 2D6x10 S.D.C. Explosive)].
      Thirty Round Burst on One Target (Costs 1 attack): 1D6x10 [7.62 Gatling: 6D6x10 S.D.C. Conventional / 2D6 M.D.C. Explosive)].
      Thirty Round Burst on 1D8 Target (Costs 1 attack): 2D6 [7.62 Gatling: 2D6x10 S.D.C. Conventional / 1D4 M.D.C. Explosive)].
    Rate of Fire: Equal to combined hand to hand attacks of pilot
    Payload: 90 round magazine (Carries 6 extra magazines).
  3. Forearm Ion Beam Blaster: Mounted on the left Forearm, this weapon was added after the initial design to give the armor a weapon system that does not rely on ammunition. The weapon system inflicts fairly good damage but has a relatively short range. The weapon is used for a variety of different targets. The weapon can fire single shot or three round bursts.
    Maximum Effective Range: 1,600 feet (1,200 meters).
    Mega Damage: 2D6 for single shot and 6D6 for three round burst.
    Rate of Fire:Equal to the pilots combined hand to hand (usually 5 or 6).
    Payload: Unlimited (Draws Power off the main engines).
  4. Energy Rifles or Light Rail Gun and other hand-held weapons can be substituted in an emergency or used as a back-up weapon. Space limitations and the bulk of the armor limit additional weapons to one physically carried externally. The power armor also has a compartment the size of a small footlocker for additional weapons.
  5. Hand-to-Hand Combat: Rather than use a weapon, Pilot can engage in mega-damage hand to hand combat. See Power Armor Combat Training in Robot Combat section of Rifts. All abilities are the same as those on page 45 of Rifts except the armor has a -1 penalty to dodge due to being bulky and +1 bonus to long range combat due to targeting systems (bonuses for high prowess and Power Armor Combat skills still get added in).

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Image drawn and copyrighted by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).

Writeup by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).

Copyright © 2000, Kitsune. All rights reserved.