U.S. M270A4 Multiple Launched Rocket System:
In the third decade of the Twenty-First Century, there was a major revolution in military hardware. Two of the most important was the introduction of new armor materials and ammunition types. Vehicle could take damage far in excess of what they could previously. There were two basic solutions. That was to use previously existing vehicles and refit them with the new materials. This was the solution favored by the Russian military. The second was to build new combat designs. The second was chosen by the United States military as much as possible although there were protracted fights with Congress for funding the new design.
The Army wanted all new designs which took advantage of other improvements but it was decided that for development reasons that the designs would be based on already existing vehicles. They were considered for the most part transitional designs until new designs could be introduced. Like many designs developed during this transition period, many remained in service far longer than expected. Budgets often were shrinking during this time and funds for new designs were greatly restricted.
Two extremely important armored vehicle designs were an updated M1 Abrams design and an M2 Bradley design. The original M270 MLRS was based on the Bradley fighting vehicle. With the updated M2 Bradley, it was decided than an updated version of the M270 MLRS would be produced using the new M2 Bradley as a basis. Eventually it was replaced by the Morgan missile vehicle although large numbers remained in service. They were later transferred to Reserve and National Guard units. Some of these remained in almost forgotten armories until the coming of the Rifts.
Few Bradley fighting vehicles were purchased by other nations. The upgraded version had the same problems and few were purchased by other nations. The M270 was a very different situation and was operated by over a dozen nations. Several of these also adopted the upgraded version of the M270. The situation with the Middle Eastern nations was such that with the crash of oil prices that they no longer could afford these designs. Even when many of these designs became surplus, they could not afford the vehicles. In some cases they bought surplus Russian designs but in general most Middle Eastern nations' militaries were in sad shape.
Some of the updated M270 vehicles survived, both in the United States and with other nations, and have found their way into the hands of mercenary units as well as small defense forces. Golden Age Weaponsmiths have upgraded a number of old M270 and Iron Armory also produces a version of the M270 which is based on the original Bradley. As well, several companies produce armored missile vehicles. Conventional mortars and artillery are still in use but many forces prefer missiles over more conventional weapon systems.
The biggest change in the design is the introduction of high strength composites and alloys but there were many other changes. A second important one was in the automotive system with the replacement of the diesel engine with an extremely efficient fuel cell system. Large scale cracking of water into hydrogen and oxygen had revolutionized such systems. Range of the fuel cell system was also improved compared to the original diesel engine. Unlike the Bradley, the M270 is not amphibious. Some owners after the coming of the Rifts have replaced this with fusion power plants. Other improvements in the upgraded M270 included the upgrade of sensor systems and the introduction of a more complete life support system.
The software is upgraded to control fully guided missiles for better accuracy and longer range. Standard load is twelve long range missiles but can also carry two cruise missiles. Rate of fire with long range missiles is greater than with the original M270. Missiles were usually guided by GPS before the coming of the Rifts although such systems were mostly useless after the coming of the Rifts. Radar guided and optic guided missiles are the most common. When first put into service, the M270A4 were armed with a 7.62 machine gun. Even with new ammunition types, the weapon was of limited use. They were replaced by an 8 mm liquid propellant weapon. Later these wear again replaced, this time with a rail gun mount. Some mercenaries have replaced by a variety of weapons including energy weapons.
Model Type: M270A4
Vehicle Type: Missile Launching Platform
Crew: Three (Driver, Gunner, and Commander).
M. D. C. by Location:
|Long Range / Cruise Missile Launchers (2):||120 each|
| 7.62 Machine Gun (1, Coaxial - Early Model):||10|
| 8 mm Liquid Propellant Gatling Gun (Replaces Machine-gun):||45|
| USA-M31 Rail Gun (Carried on National Guard Versions):||50|
| Smoke / Gas Dispensers (4):||15 each|
| Headlights (2):||10 each|
|Reinforced Crew Compartment:||100|
| Main Body:||270|
| Tractor Treads (2):||60 each|
 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.
 If all the M.D.C. of the main body is depleted, the vehicle is completely shut down and unsalvageable, but crew and troops may survive in their reinforced compartments.
 Depleting the M.D.C. of a tread will immobilize the tank until it is replaced. Replacing a tread will take 1D6x10 minutes by a trained crew (2 replacements are carried on board) or three times as long by the inexperienced. Changing the tread is only advisable when the vehicle is not under attack.
Ground: Cruising speed on land is 70 mph (112.6 kph) on roads and 60 mph ( 96.6 kph) off road maximum. 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: Unlike the Bradley, the M270 is not amphibious
Maximum Range: 700 miles (1126.5 km)
Height: 10.0 feet (3.05 meters)
Width: 10.7 feet (3.26 meters)
Length: 23.1 feet (7.04 meters)
Weight: 57,320 pounds (26,000 kg) fully loaded
Power Source: Fuel Cell System
Cargo Capacity: Minimal, enough for equipment with crew
Black Market Cost: 2.2 million for a new or fully operational M270 MLRS. Reduce cost by 200,000 if an early model and increase by 300,000 if equipped with rail guns or grenade launchers instead of liquid propellant weapons.
- Missile / Rocket Launchers (2): Has two launchers that can
fire missiles. The launcher designs were originally fitted to carry two
missiles or twelve rockets. The launchers have bee refitted to either carry
a total of twelve long range missile or two cruise missiles. Before the
coming of the Rifts, most missiles were GPS Guided. In many cases, long
range missiles will be unguided to reduce the cost of ordinance used. The
launchers can rotate 360 degrees.
Maximum Effective Range: As per long range / cruise missile type (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
Mega Damage: Varies with 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 (Long Range Missiles)
Payload: Twelve (12) Long Range Missile or Two (2) Cruise Missiles
- Coaxial Secondary Mount (1): Mounted above driver's compartment.
The original 7.62 weapon was considered badly underpowered and was replaced
by Liquid Propellant Weapons soon after the tank entered service. Weapons
are mostly used for anti-personnel purposes. The driver controlled weapon
mount is designed to be able to be controlled from within the tank itself.
- 7.62 mm M240 Medium Machine-gun: Carried on the original
M270 but was quickly replaced on most tanks by liquid propellant weapons.
Engineers developed Ramjet rounds for the 7.62 machine-gun but they were
found to be ineffective.
Maximum Effective Range: 2,000 feet (609.6 m)
Mega Damage: One round does 1 M.D.C. to M.D.C. targets or 3D6x10 S.D.C. to soft targets. Twenty round bursts do 2D4 M.D.C.
Rate of Fire: Equal to combined hand to hand attacks of gunner
Payload: Carries 800 rounds (40 bursts) in mount.
- USA-LPG-8-B Liquid Propellant Gatling Gun: Replaced the 7.62
mm machine-gun on virtually all tanks. On most M270 that were in National
Guard Armories, the liquid propellant weapons were replaced by rail guns.
This weapon is similar to the sub-machine-gun carried on the USA-GPA-01-D.
This weapon's 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.
Maximum Effective Range: 3,000 feet (914 meters)
- Single Shot (Costs 1 attack): 1D6
Ten Round Burst on One Target (Costs 1 attack): 5D6
Ten Round Burst on 1D4 Target (Costs 1 attack): 1D6
Thirty Round Burst on One Target (Costs 1 attack): 1D6x10
Thirty Round Burst on 1D8 Target (Costs 1 attack): 2D6
Payload: 1,200 rounds (40 bursts) in mount and an additional 2,400 rounds of ammunition in the main section of the Bradley.
- USA-M31 Rail gun: Replaced Liquid Propellant Weapons on most
National Guard Armory models of the M270. It is simpler as far as ammunition
and operation than the liquid propellant weapon. From the original Pre-Rifts
SAMAS design. The rail gun has fewer bursts and is heavier but the rail
gun inflicts more damage than the post Rifts C-40R.
Maximum Effective Range: 4,000 feet (1,200 meters).
Mega-Damage: A burst of 40 rounds does 1D6x10.
Rate of Fire: Equal to combined hand to hand attacks of gunner.
Payload: 1,600 round magazine (40 bursts) in mount and an additional 3,200 rounds of ammunition in the main section of the Bradley.
- 7.62 mm M240 Medium Machine-gun: Carried on the original M270 but was quickly replaced on most tanks by liquid propellant weapons. Engineers developed Ramjet rounds for the 7.62 machine-gun but they were found to be ineffective.
- Smoke Dispenser (4): Mounted on either side of the tank and
launches smoke grenades. Some testing has been done using prismatic aerosol
grenades to reduce the effect of lasers against the tank. As well, tear
gas grenades can be used for special purposes.
Effect: Creates a cloud of smoke 40 ft (12 m) in diameter (see other grenades for their effects)
Range: 1,200 feet (365 m)
Rate of Fire: Two per melee
Payload: Carries 6 smoke grenades per launcher (24 grenades total).
Sensory equipment is mounted on a retractable mount that can be extended 6.6 feet (2 meters) to extend sensors when hull down. The tank carries all standard equipment of a robot vehicle plus this special equipment:
- Radio/ Video Communications: Long range, directional, has a range of 500 miles with short range directional radio of 5 miles (8 km).
- Laser Targeting System: Range is 2 miles (3.2 km) and gives an additional +1 to strike with long range weapons.
- Combat Computer/ Targeting Computer: Assist in the tracking of targets.
- Full Life Support: Protects crew, troops, and vehicle from heat and radiation and gives a breathable atmosphere inside the tank for up 48 hours in vacuum and three weeks with scrubbers.
- Spotlight: Range: 600 feet (182.9 meters)
- Thermo-Imager: Range: 2,000 ft (609 m). Finds the infrared radiations of things that are warm. Also enables pilot to see in smoke, shadows and darkness.
- Nightvision Optics: Range: 2,000 ft (609 m). Uses light amplification to make a picture. Emits no light but will not work in absolute darkness. System can be dazzled by sudden bright lights but does not physically blind the pilot.
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Writeup by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).
Copyright © 2008, Kitsune. All rights reserved.