Metalworks Incorporated M-320-HSPA “Tempest” Hover Artillery:

Originally it was planned that Metalwork Industries would produce a third prototype of the Typhoon Hover Tank but it was decided to finish it to a new design. This was as a hover artillery platform and would allow for a design which would be fast but be able to give artillery support. The prototype is still under construction but should be ready for testing within a few months. There have been some minor bugs with the design which have held up the completion of the design. The company is beginning a massive increase of their facilities. Within the year, Metalwork Incorporated plans to begin production of this vehicle. Several groups are already showing interest in both the Typhoon Hover Tank and Tempest Hover Artillery.

There is a rumor that the first series of both Typhoon Hover Tanks and Tempest Hover Artillery will not be placed for sale but instead that Metalworks plans to form a new high speed unit based on these vehicles. If the rumor is true, if this is going to be a part of Vixen’s Pride or a whole new company is unknown. Likely all vehicles will be fusion for effectively unlimited range. Numbers suggested are two dozen hover tanks and half a dozen hover artillery. There would likely be another dozen Thunderball Hover Scouts for scouting. As long range support platforms would be another half dozen Redball hover transports mounting long range missile batteries. All logistics would also be hovercraft of various types as well. This would make for an extremely rapid combat unit with the Tempest being part of the units long range support batteries. There would be no infantry vehicles with the unit and the only troops would be flying power armors for covering roles.

The first prototype is planned as fusion although Metalworks plans to produce all four of their standard models. The fusion design has virtually unlimited range and should be able to go up to fifteen years between refueling. The vehicle uses two medium size power armor fusion plants to provide enough power for the vehicle. The electrical version will share most of the systems as the fusion version but replace the fusion reactor with a high efficiency battery. The most conventional version is the gas turbine version with is designed to use a variety of fuels. Most common is diesel, especially bio-diesel, but can run on kerosene, gasoline, and even alcohol. All but kerosene reduce range and increase wear and tear on the engine.

The most unusual type of system is the fuel cell system. Before the coming of the Rifts, fuel cell systems were quite common but the technology was virtually lost after the collapse of most of civilization. Metalworks Incorporated purchased the technology for the fuel cell design from Archangel Heavy Industries who got the designs of fuel cells from pre-rifts records. The fuel cells operate by pulling the electrons off of an H2 molecule, splitting it into 2H+ molecules and 2 electrons. The electrons pass through the “load” (engines, weapons, avionics, etc.) creating current and powering the systems. Meanwhile, the 2H+ molecules pass from the anode to the cathode through the electrolyte. At the other “End,” the electrons then recombine with the 2H+ molecules and Oxygen (from the air) and are release as water from the rear of the hovercraft.

Most of the performance characteristics are identical to the Typhoon hover tank. Top speed on all versions is around two hundred and forty kilometers per hour. The hovercraft can clear obstacles of up to six meters but normally hovers at around one and a half meters feet above the ground. When it rises to full altitude, the hover vehicle is a much easier target for the enemy and most crews will avoid that as a result. The sensors are planned as being identical to those carried on the Tempest. The crew is planned as three with a completely environmental crew compartment. There are no space for additional crew. The original plan was to retain the armor of the hover tank but in the end the armor had to be reduced to compensate for the additional weight of weaponry. The vehicle is still designed to be able to withstand heavy combat.

The biggest change in the appearance of the design is a larger turret to mount a 155 mm howitzer mount in place of the 80 mm rail gun. The weapon is the same mount which is carried on the Iron Armory Gladiator Self Propelled Howitzer. One of the delays in development has been balancing the thrusters to allow the howitzer to fire. Even so, the design will need to come to a hovering stop in order to fire. There is an automatic loader which allows the howitzer to fire rapidly. Payload is forty rounds, enough for four minutes of rapid fire. There is no provision for rapid reloading from an external support vehicle so the most likely tactic will be to drop back from combat to reload and rearm.

Above the turret, the Vulcan laser is retained although it is mounted in a separate mount which allows for operation independent of the howitzer. This weapon is powerful enough that it can easily wreck light armored vehicles and is useful against attacking aircraft as well. Power in the prototype will be provided by the fusion reactor but other models will use either a high capacity battery or the weapon will have its own fuel cell. The front mounted ion cannons are also retained although some engineers on the program consider them of limited use and wish to remove them from later production runs. Still, the mounts are relatively light weight and the removal would not increase vehicle performance by any significant margin. The medium range missile and mini-missile launchers are also retained but both have their payload greatly reduced. Medium range missiles are reduced by half. The mini-missile launchers also reduce payload by half but rate of fire is also reduced. These reductions were needed for space for additional howitzer rounds.

Model Type: M.I. M-250-HSPA Tempest
Vehicle Type: Hover Artillery
Crew: Three (Pilot, Gunner, and Commander).

M.D.C. By Location:

Howitzer Turret:240
155 mm / 56 Caliber Howitzer Barrel:100
Vulcan Laser Cannon (Above Turret):75
[1] Forward Ion Mounts (2):40 each
Side Medium Range Missile Launchers (2, 3 cells each):50 each
[1] Mini-Missile Launchers (2, sides of cockpit):30 each
[1] Headlights (4):8 each
Pilots Compartment225
[2] Hover Thruster Units:225
[3] Main Body:600

[1] These are small and difficult targets to strike, requiring the attacker to make “Called Shot;” but even then the attacker is -4 to strike.
[2] Destruction of the hover unit will cause the vehicle to be no longer under the pilots control.
[3] Destruction of the main body will cause the vehicle to crash. All systems, including emergency parachute, will not function.

Hover Speed: Can hover at ground level at from a hover to up to 150 mph (241.4 kph) over both land and water. Minimum hover height is 2 feet (0.6 meters) and maximum altitude is 20 feet (6.1 meters).
Maximum Range: With gas or electric, 800 miles (1,288 km), with fuel cells, 1000 miles (1,610 km), and with fusion, effectively unlimited (15 year duration)

Statistical Data:
Height: 10.8 feet (3.3 meters) including turret, 8.5 feet (2.6 meters) not including turret
Width: 16 feet (4.9 meters)
Length: Main Body: 29.5 feet (9.0 meters) and with Gun Forward: 34.5 feet (10.5 meters)
Weight: 68.3 tons (62 metric tons) fully loaded
Power Source: Four versions. Nuclear with 15 year fusion reactor, Electric, Conventional liquid fuel that uses aviation gas, and Fuel cell version that uses Hydrogen as a fuel to produce electricity.
Cargo Capacity: The hover howitzer has a small storage space for crew. This includes weapons, armors, and emergency supplies.
Market / Black Market Cost: 7.5 million credits with Internal Combustion engine, 11.2 million with Electrical engine or fuel cell power system, and 40.5 million for fusion with a 15 year life.

Weapon Systems

  1. 155 mm / 56 Caliber Howitzer: Very powerful and long range weapon that is capable of 360 degree rotation and up to 75 degree elevation. The Tempest does not need to plant before firing its howitzer and can fire within 15 seconds. Thrusters are programmed to stabilize the vehicle while firing although it does need to come to a complete stop to fire. It fires standard artillery shells and is normally fired indirectly on the target but can be fired as direct fire if necessary. The cannon is loaded by a automatic shell loading device, which is fed from a onboard magazine. The magazine is fully automated and keeps stock of the amount and type of rounds still available. It can switch between rounds at will.
    Maximum Effective Range: 18.6 miles (30 km) for non rocket assisted and 24.9 miles (40 km) for rocket assisted projectiles.
    Mega-Damage: By artillery round type (Go to Battlefield Artillery for Rifts for details: Fragmentation 2D4x10, High Explosive 2D6x10, Armor Piercing 3D6x10, Plasma 4D6x10, and has a vast number of other type of rounds as well).
    Rate of Fire: 10 rounds per minute (2.5 per melee) for a maximum of 6 minutes (Runs out of ammunition after four minutes).
    Payload: 40 rounds in a automated magazine. Cannot be loaded from an external ammunition source while firing. When not in firing mode, can be loaded at the rate of one round every thirty seconds or twenty-minutes to completely reload.
  2. MI-44L Vulcan Laser (1): This is a direct copy of the Iron Heart cannon and is quite powerful although used mainly in a support role. Designed for both ground targets and against aircraft. The mount has a 360 degree rotation and can angle at up to eighty degrees. Controlled usually by the vehicle's commander. The weapon consists of six rotating laser cannons, cycling through bursts of six blasts per second. Maximum Effective Range: 4,000 feet (1,200 meters)
    Mega-Damage: 3D4 x 10 M.D. per instantaneous burst (counts as one blast/attack).
    Rate of Fire: Can shoot up to six times per melee!
    Payload: Nuclear Reactor: Effectively Unlimited (Draws Power off the main engines). Electric or Conventional Fuel: Battery is good for 500 bursts. Fuel Cell Version: 200 bursts total. It takes approximately two minutes for a trained crew to change the hydrogen tank that powers the weapon, assuming that a spare tank is available. Untrained crews will take about six minutes to accomplish this task.
  3. Twin Ion Cannons: These ion cannons are fairly powerful but have a moderate range and are based on standard energy rifles. They can be fired together to inflict greater damage. These light ion cannons are mounted on the nose of the Tempest in front of the cockpit.
    Maximum Effective Range: 2,000 feet (609.6 meters)
    Mega-Damage: One ion cannons: 2D6 per single blast and 6D6 per triple. Both ion cannons: 4D6 per double blast and 1D6x10+6 per six shot blast.
    Rate of Fire: Equal to number of combined hand to hand attacks (usually 4-6).
    Payload: Nuclear Reactor: Effectively unlimited. Other versions: 200 shots (bursts use 2, 3 or 6 shots)
  4. Medium-Range Missile Launchers (2): Two side-mounted missile launchers add to the Tempest's main armaments. Each has three actual launch tubes. Both launchers are usually controlled by a gunner, but can be fired by the driver or tank commander if the gunner is injured. They are usually outfitted with High-Explosive, Fragmentary or Plasma missiles. The launchers can engage air and ground targets. This tank uses an automatic loading system and additional missiles for reloads.
    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.)
    Rate of Fire: Can fire missiles one at a time or in volleys of two (2), four (4), or six (6) missiles.
    Payload: 12 missiles, 6 in each launcher.
  5. Mini-Missile Launchers (2): The missile launcher systems are side by side in the nose of the hovercraft on either side of the cockpit. Both launchers hold twelve mini-missiles or twenty-four total.
    Maximum Effective Range: Varies with mini missile types (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
    Mega-Damage: Varies with mini missile types (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. Can be fired equal to the pilots combined hand to hand (usually 5 or 6).
    Payload: 12 Mini-Missiles each launcher for a total of 24 mini-missiles.

Sensory Equipment:

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Writeup by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).

Copyright © 2009, Kitsune. All rights reserved.