British Aerospace / Vickers Gypsy Moth Flying Power Armor:

At the same time that the United States was developing the SAMAS (Strategic Armor Military Assault Suit) power armor, the other major powers in the world were also attempting to develop light weight flying power armors. These groups included China, Germany, Japan, France, Israel, Russia, and the United Kingdom. Several smaller nations were working on flying power armor designs but lagged behind.

Just a few years after the Americans fielded the PA-04 SAMAS, the British fielded their own flying power armor. The Gypsy Moth is very similar in most respects to the SAMAS although might be expected the British power armor's appears is quite different. It is believed that some of the systems were gotten through British interests within the United States but at the time there was also rumor of trade between the American and British governments. The US Government also shared designs of the SAMAS with the Japanese government.

The Gypsy Moth power armor formed the core of British flying power armor forces until the introduction of more advanced German Power armor designs replaced the Gypsy Moth. As might be expected, the Gypsy Moth was produced in large numbers and was found on Naval vessels and ground forces. The armor was modified so it can be operated underwater with a special thruster pack. The New German armor was both better armored and carried heavy weaponry. The Gypsy Moth was not exported to other nations due to most of them preferring the American SAMAS over the British Gypsy Moth. The power armor was carried on most of the vessels in the British Ark Royal task force when it was attacked by the Argentinian bombers armed with nuclear weapons. Even when the Rifts came, the Gypsy Moth formed part of the British reserve forces. A few Gypsy Moth power armors survived the coming of the Rifts and are operated by mercenaries. Although the power armor is popular with pilots, no manufactures seem presently interested in producing the British armor.

The main engines of the power armor are manufactured by Rolls Royce and while the Gypsy Moth is not as fast as the SAMAS, the engines give the British power armor better maneuverability. One interesting feature is that the flight pack can be easily detached and replaced with an underwater propulsion pack. The armor carried on the British power armor is about equal to that carried on the American design although some areas are better protected on the Gypsy Moth. Sensors were considered very advanced at the time of introduction but would be considered standard by Rifts Earth standards. The power armor does not carry any internal energy weaponry but instead relies on hand held weaponry. The British had problems developing a rail gun or heavy energy weapon so initially they were armed with a lightweight version of the tried and true .50 caliber machine-gun using special ammunition. This ammunition is very similar to the ammo develop by Wellington Industries after the coming of the Rifts. Later, a powerful rail gun was developed to replace the machine-gun. While not as powerful as the rail gun carried on the SAMAS, it is still a very powerful weapon. One advantage the rail gun has after the coming of the Rifts is its usefulness against targets that are impervious to energy. Of course, the was unknown at the time of its introduction. After a pulse laser was developed to fill the role of squad automatic weapon (light machine-gun), several power armor troops experimented with the weapons and found the weapon to be quite useful. Even though the weapon has a shorter range, the unlimited ammunition and ability to fire different bursts makes it extremely useful. The laser rifle is normally carried when the power armor is used underwater. The Gypsy Moth carries two mini-missile launchers on each arm instead of just one arm like the SAMAS. When the power armor is equipped for underwater roles, the mini-missiles and replaced by mini-torpedoes.

Model Type: BA-V FPA-05D
Class: Strategic Armor Military Assault Suit
Crew: One

M.D.C. by Location:

Ammo Drum (rear):20
Machine-gun / Rail Gun / Laser Rifle:45
[1] Shoulder Wings (2):40 each
Main Rear Jets / Thrusters (2):70 each
Forearm Mini-Missile Launcher (2, both arms):50
[2] Head:80
[3] Main Body:250

[1] Destroying a wing will make flight impossible; however, even with no wing(s) the Gypsy Moth can make jet powered leaps and hover in a stationary position above the ground.
[2] Destroying the head of the power armor will eliminate all forms of optical enhancement and sensory systems. The pilot must then rely on his own human vision and senses. No power armor combat bonuses to strike, parry, and dodge. Note: The head is a small and difficult target to hit, requiring a called shot at -3 to strike.
[3] Depleting the M.D.C. of the main body will shut the unit down completely, rendering it useless.

Running: 60 mph (96 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 exoskeleton.
Flying: With Flight Pack: The rocket propulsion system enables the Gypsy Moth to hover in a stationary position up to 200 feet (61 m) or fly. Maximum flying speed is 300 mph (483.8 kph), but cruising speed is considered to be 150 mph (241.4 kph). Maximum normal altitude is limited to about 650 feet (195 meters) but can reach altitudes as high as 6,000 feet (1,829 meters; a little over one mile/1.6 km). The Gypsy Moth operates primarily in nap of the earth flight.
Flying Range: With Flight Pack: The nuclear power system gives the Gypsy Moth decades of life, but the jet rockets get hot and need to cool after a maximum of ten hours of flight when traveling at speeds above cruising, and twenty hours at cruising speed, but can fly indefinitely with rest stops.
Leaping: The powerful robot legs can leap up to 15 ft (4.6 m) high or across unassisted by the thrusters. A jet thruster assisted leap can propel the unit up to 100 ft (30.5 m) high and 200 ft (61 m) across without actually attaining flight.
Underwater Capabilities: Swimming: The Gypsy Moth can swim by using the same types of paddling leg and arm movements as a human at a maximum speed of roughly four mph (6.4 km/3.4 knots). It can also walk along the bottom of the sea at about 25% of its normal running speed.
With Flight Pack: Using the jet thrusters, the Gypsy Moth can travel on the surface of water at 50 mph (80 kph/42.5 knots), underwater at 40 mph (64 kph/34 knots) or fly above the water surface an normal speeds.
With Underwater Thruster Pack: Using the water thrusters, the Gypsy Moth can travel on the surface of water or underwater at 60 mph (96.6 kph/52 knots)
Maximum Ocean Depth: 2000 feet (610 meters).

Statistical Data
Height: 8 feet (2.4 meters)
Width: Wings down: 3.6 feet (1.1 meters) Wings extended: 10 feet (3 meters)
Length: 4.4 feet (1.3 m)
Weight: 330 pounds (150 kg) without rail gun or other weaponry.
Physical Strength: Equal to a P.S. of 38.
Cargo: None.
Power System: Nuclear, with an average life of 20 years.
Market Cost: Not commonly available. When found on the black market will commonly cost around 1.5 million credits. Underwater thruster pack costs 600,000 Credits.

Weapon Systems:

  1. Hand Held Weaponry: In addition to listed weaponry, the power armor can use any hand-held weaponry. The hands of the power armor are small enough that hand held weapons can be used with no penalties.
    1. 12.7 millimeter Machine-Gun: Uses Ram-Jet style rounds similar to those developed by Wellington after the coming of the Rifts. Rifle is constructed from lightweight alloys and is surprisingly effective for a conventional weapon although has a limited payload. Rifle cannot be fired by a normal human without the use of a tripod.
      Weight: 76 lbs (34.5 kg) for Rifle and 210 lbs (95.3 kg) for ammo drum
      Maximum Effective Range: 3,000 feet (914.4 meters)
      Mega Damage: Single shot does 1D4 and 40 round burst does 5D6.
      Rate of Fire: Equal to combined hand to hand attacks of gunner
      Payload: 800 rounds (20 bursts).
    2. British Aerospace / Vickers BAV-20 Rail Gun: With the pulse laser rifle, the Rail Gun replaced the heavy machine-gun. While not quite as powerful as the rail gun carried on the American SAMAS, it is still quite powerful and long ranged. In damage, the weapon is effectively equal to the C-40R rail gun carried on the SAMAS power armor but is slightly heavier.
      Weight: Rail Gun: 104 lbs (47.2 kg), One Ammo-Drum: 190 lbs (85.5 kg).
      Maximum Effective Range: 4000 feet (1200 m)
      Mega-Damage: A burst is 40 rounds and inflicts 1D4x10 M.D.,one round does 1D4 M.D.
      Rate of Fire: Equal to number of combined hand to hand attacks (usually 4-6).
      Payload: 3000 round drum, that's 75 bursts. A second drum can be hooked to the undercarriage of the rocket jets, but first the used drum must be manually removed by another power armor or character with a strength of 26 or higher before it can be replaced with the new one. Reloading a drum will take about five minutes for those not trained, but a mere one minute by somebody trained in the use of power armor.
    3. Enfield / Solaris LMG-60 Squad Automatic Pulse Laser Rifle With the Rail Gun, the pulse laser rifle replaces the heavy machinegun. Which weapon is carried depends on mission. The weapon has the advantage of not needing ammo but is shorter ranged. It is also much lighter weight than either the heavy machine-gun or the rail gun. The pulse laser rifle is normally carried when the power armor is used underwater.
      Weight: 21 lbs (9.5 kg)
      Maximum Effective Range: 2000 feet (610 meters).
      Mega-Damage: 2D6 per single shot, 6D6 for a rapid fire three shot burst, or use machine gun burst rules for higher burst setting.
      Rate of Fire: Equal to number of combined hand to hand attacks (usually 4-6.) Single Shot, Three Round Burst, and Extended Bursts (See Machine Gun burst rules). are all available.
      Payload: Effectively Unlimited when plugged into power armor's main power supply (40 shots short E-Clip, 50 Shots each long E-Clip if not plugged into the power armor)
  2. Mini-Missile Launchers (2): These launchers are similar to those carried on the original American SAMAS with the exception of there being a launcher on each forearm. Each launcher carries two mini-missiles for a total of four mini-missiles. Preferred mini-missiles are armor piercing and plasma. When the power armor is outfitted for underwater missions, the launchers carry mini torpedoes.
    Missile Type: Any mini-missile / mini-torpedo can be used.
    Maximum Effective Range: Varies with mini missile (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.) / mini-torpedo type (See revised Rifts torpedoes for details.)
    Mega-damage: Varies with mini missile (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.) / mini-torpedo type (See revised Rifts torpedoes for details.)
    Rate of Fire: Missiles can be fired singularly or in pairs.
    Payload: Two mini-missiles per launcher for four total
  3. Hand to Hand Combat: Rather than use a weapon, the pilot can engage in mega-damage hand-to-hand combat. See Power Armor Combat Training in the Robot Combat section.
    Special Bonuses:
      With Flight Pack: +1 to Initiative, +1 to Parry, +1 to Dodge, and +2 to roll with punch, fall, and impact while flying due to being lightweight and having excellent response times. These are in addition to other bonuses.
      With Underwater Thruster Pack: +1 to Initiative, +1 to Dodge, and +1 to roll with punch, fall, and impact while underwater due to special thrusters.

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Drawing by Talis D. Merrill (

Writeup by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).

Copyright © 2002, Kitsune. All rights reserved.