New Sovietskiy HT-281 Fast Attack Tank:

The HT-281 tank, first fielded in the year 2081, was a revolutionary design that was the world's FIRST Hover Tank; Using a system of high-powered jets for primary lift with a backup hover cushion, the high speed "hotrod" of a tank handled incredibly, and could cross virtually any type of known terrain . . . Including both ice and water.

This presented NATO with a serious problem, as these tanks could dash across the Bering Strait and establish a beach head for Soviet Amphibious Assault Ships to follow, or they could, should the USN successfully interdict the oceans (Still expected, despite the large Soviet surface navy), go "Over the top of the world," operating across the Arctic Ice safely and at high speeds to strike down through Canada into the USA.

Self-sufficient for up to two weeks of operations, the HT-281 had an excellent main gun, and the main problem was that there were not vehicles capable of following up on its exploits; Though there was an APC of similar design fielded, they couldn't possibly keep up supply lines, but the possibility of Hover Tank raids across the ice fields of the Polar North was an extreme concern for NATO throughout the New Cold War.

Initially produced in limited numbers, they proved in Soviet simulations to be capable of smashing their way through Robot units in a "Shock Charge" eerily similar to the way in which a regiment of cavalry or lancers might break through enemy infantry lines that hadn't formed into defensive squares.

Of course, America and Europe saw the design differently. Soviet simulations are often quite biased and do not take all tactical situations into account. The German considered their tracked tanks to be quite capable of holding the line against the high speed hover tanks. The United States was a bit more concerned about the high speed hover tanks but developed a series of high speed hover designs in response and actually had them in large scale service before the Soviets. These included high speed Glitter Boy transport and a Tank and Tank Destroyer design. While the main gun on the tank is on the light side, the main gun on the tank destroyer makes up for this easily. Considering that the American designs were even faster, the Americans considered that they could easily operate using their hover tanks in a running engagement.

Because the HT-281 and the SUH-86 are so different in operation, the two designs were never integrated into cohesive combat units. The SUH-86 is far faster, has a higher altitude, but is much lighter armed. One problem with the SUH-86 is that it is not as fast as a true VTOL but does not have the firepower expected from a tank. However, in post-holocaust Russia, the HT-281 and the SUH-86, no longer being used as fast strike units, do operate together in the New Sovietskiy Army where this is not as much of liability.

Still, the relatively small number of HT-281s compared with SUH-86s means that such units are comparatively rare.

Because of this rareness, the New Sovietskiy looked into manufacturing new HT-281s, but found their technology and industrial base not up to the task. Because of this, the SUH-88 was designed, with cheaper hover-jets based on the SUH-86's as overpowered design of the HT-281's and revolutionary, though complex dual units. However, the SUH-88 is slower, has a lower maximum altitude, less armor, and a less powerful main gun, and, is, in general, totally inferior in all respects to the HT-281. However, it can actually be built by the New Sovietskiy, and for the moment, that is what counts. There are still plans, however, should they ever enter into a technology exchange agreement with Triax and the New German Republic, to halt construction of the SUH-88 and begin construction of new HT-281s, but such an exchange is unlikely at the moment.

[Author Notes: See the New Sovietskiy section of the Mystic Russia Source book for write-ups on the SUH-86 and SUH-88.]

Model Type: HT-281
Vehicle Type: Fast Attack Tank
Crew: Four (Main gunner, commander, driver, mechanic/support gunner.)

M.D.C. by Location:

[1] Weapons Turret:400
Reinforced Crew Compartment:300
Main 85-mm Rail Gun:120
Secondary Plasma Cannon:80
Fire-suppression laser mounts (2):60 each
Medium Range Missile Launcher (2, sides of hull):100 each
Multi-Option Jammers (2):25
[2] Main Body:800
[3] Emergency Hover Cushion:100
[4] Engine intakes (4):50 each
[4] Engine vents (2):50 each.

[1] The Weapons turret is unmanned by the crew, and contains the main plasma cannon and heavy rail gun; Destroying it will knock the cannon out action.
[2] If all the M.D.C. of the main body is depleted, the vehicle is completely shut down and is unsalvageable; The crew can survive unharmed in the reinforced crew compartment.
[3] Made of lightweight, flexible M.D.C. materials, the hover cushion can be deployed when the jets have been knocked out to allow the tank to continue fighting, or during combat to increase the fire rate of the main gun by freeing up more power from the reactor, though altitude is limited. Once it is destroyed, the Tank will plow into the ground, though suffer no damage from doing so at the altitudes at which it operates. The tank is immobile, then, but can still function as a pillbox for the crew. When one of the rotors is knocked out, the hover cushion is automatically engaged, and is capable of cushioning the impact to the ground from any altitude at which the tank can operate without damage.
[4] The HT-281 has two small jet engines for thrust and two for lift. The intakes and vents are rather hard to hit, being of the smallest size possible; No less than -3 to strike, and requiring a called shot, when attempting to hit them. Destroying one intake or vent on one side of the vehicle reduces speed by 50% and adds +10% difficulty to piloting rolls; Destroying a second intake on the other side renders the tank unable to move, though it can still hover. Destroying one of the upper intakes (Only possible when at a higher position than the tank) will reduce maximum altitude by 50% and add +10% difficulty to piloting rolls. Destroying both will reduce the vehicle to operating with the hover cushion. The vents cannot be targeted.

Low to ground: 124.3 mph (200 kph) over virtually all terrain.
Minimum Altitude: 1.6 feet (0.5 meters) with hover cushion or jets.
Maximum Altitude: 6.6 feet (2 meters) with hover cushion; 65.6 feet (20 meters) with jets.
Maximum Range: Unlimited (Nuclear Fusion power supply; 15 years.)

Statistical Data:
Height: 9.8 feet (3 meters) to top of the gun turret.
Width: 14.8 feet (4.5 meters)
Length: 36.1 feet (11 meters) not including gun barrel.
Weight: 77.2 tons (70 metric tons) fully loaded
Power Source: Nuclear fusion reactor; Must be refueled every fifteen years, otherwise effectively unlimited.
Cargo Capacity: The hover tank has a small storage space for crew. Mostly survival gear and other equipment. The tank has enough supplies onboard for the crew for two weeks. The tank also contains 48 hours worth of oxygen for the crew for environments where the air is to contaminated even for the radiation/gas/germ filters to deal with it.
Black Market Cost: 35 million credits to build; Versions available currently sell for 50 to 80 million credits. If fitted, any extra weapons systems will add to the cost of the tank; HT-281 hover tanks are usually found very heavily modified, though they are relatively uncommon. Tank crews often personalize them with their pay in the armies of the assorted warlords to be considerably different from these Soviet-Era specifications. HT-281 hover tanks still in the service of the New Sovietskiy, however, follow these specifications to the letter. The northernmost warlords have HT-281 hover tanks, as does the New Sovietskiy, but the southern warlords have few if any. A few are also believed to be in possession of the secret Antarctica base.

Weapon Systems:

  1. High Velocity 85-mm Heavy Rail Gun (1): A powerful rail gun mounted on the right side of the plasma cannon mount on the main turret. The weapon is normally used against tanks and heavy armor. This rail gun normally fires a solid dart of ultra dense high strength materials that does massive damage to targets that it hits but can also use explosive warheads. The twin barrels can angle 45 degrees up and down and the turret has a 360 degree rotation. The weapon system is also gyro-stabilized and has an advanced fire control computer. The cannon does cause the hover tank to jerk when cannon is fired (-10% to pilot when cannon is fired)
    Maximum Effective Range: Direct fire range is 11,500 feet (3,500 meters) and can fire indirectly out to 41,000 feet (12,500 meters).
    Mega Damage: A single round inflicts 3D6x10+20 (optional rule is that cannon gets a critical on a natural 18, 19, or 20 due to its high penetration). Can use High Explosive rounds that do 1D4x10 with a blast radius of 20 feet (6.1 meters). High Explosive Anti Tank does 1D6x10+10 with a blast radius of 10 feet (3.05 meters)
    Rate of Fire:Maximum of four per melee.
    Payload: 60 rounds (smaller and require no propellent)
    Bonuses: Has a special fire control computer that helps to aim the cannon. Gives +2 to strike with rail gun and vehicle does not have minuses to fire when tank is moving.
  2. Plasma Bolt Cannon (1): The plasma bolt cannon was designed as a secondary weapon for the tank that does not require ammunition. The SPC-100 Plasma Cannon on the "Maelstrom" hover tank of the New Sovietski is based on this cannon although the copy does not have as good a cooling system. The Plasma Bolt cannon does not have the range of the high velocity rail gun but inflicts incredible damage. The cannon cannot be fired at the same time as the 85-mm rail gun.
    Maximum Effective Range: 4,000 feet (1,220 meters).
    Mega Damage: 2D4x10+20 per blast
    Rate of Fire: Equal to combined hand to hand attacks of the gunner.
    Payload: Effectively unlimited.
    Bonuses: Has a special fire control computer that helps to aim the cannon. Gives +2 to strike with rail gun and vehicle does not have minuses to fire when tank is moving.
  3. Fire Suppression Pulse Lasers (2): These Close-In Weapon Systems fire four rapid-pulse lasers against missiles or low-flying aircraft. The weapon is also useful against armor and infantry if targeted against them. The weapons are automated and track missiles with radar sensors (+4 to strike missiles and aircraft) They are mounted on the front and back of the vehicle. Laser is similar to the S-500 Cyclone Pulse Laser Rifle with extended range.
    Maximum Effective Range: 4,000 feet (1,220 meters).
    Mega-Damage: 1D6x10 MD for four shot burst.
    Rate of Fire: Each turret has 6 attacks per melee round.
    Payload: Effectively unlimited.
    Bonuses: +4 to strike flying targets with radar guidance.
  4. Medium Range Missile Launchers: (2) These missile launchers fires volleys of medium range missiles, principally anti-aircraft fragmentation. They can be used against a wide variety of targets. Missile launchers are mounted on the sides of the body of the tank.
    Maximum Effective Range: As per medium range missile type (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
    Mega Damage: As per medium range missile type (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
    Rate of Fire: The launcher can fire a volley of 1 to 4 missiles per melee round.
    Payload: 4 medium range missiles each launcher for 8 Medium Range missiles total. No reloads carried.
  5. Multi-Option “Shtora-8B” Jammers (2): These are multi-purpose jamming devices designed to stop incoming missiles and confuse an enemy targeting the HT-281
    Effect: Each firing launches two Chaff rockets, two Flare rockets, and the tank begins emitting a large cloud of smoke, both standard and Anti-Laser Prismatic Aerosol; The Chaff rockets detonate and spread Chaff over the area, the flare rockets floating down by parachute; Effects last for one minute (4 Melee rounds.) The Chaff rockets have a 20% chance of interfering with the course of enemy missiles each (40%, total) that are radar guided so that they miss the tank. The flares have the same percentages, except with IR-guided missiles. The Anti-Laser prismatic aerosol reduces damage by half for any laser beam striking the tank (With the exception of X-ray lasers but not variable frequency lasers; X-Ray lasers suffer no damage modifiers, and variable frequency lasers simply cannot compensate for the variables involved), and adds a +4 difficulty to targeting the tank with a laser guidance system or visually.
    Rate of Fire: Usually once every four melee rounds; Effects are not cumulative.
    Maximum Effective Range: Around tank only; Rough distance of 80 ft (24 m) around tank.
    Payload: Sufficient for twenty four (24) firings.

Sensory Equipment:
The tank carries all standard equipment of a robot vehicle plus this special equipment:

Special systems standard to all late-model Soviet Army vehicles:
As stated in the Mystic Russia Source book regarding New Sovietskiy equipment.

Combat Bonuses:

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

Image is based upon a Original drawing by Ron 'Shrike' Tracey.

Initial Writeup by Marina O'Leary ( ).

Reformatting and revisions by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).

Copyright © 2000, 2002, & 2003, Kitsune & Marina O'Leary. All rights reserved.