USA-M-23 “Wolfe” Hover Scout:

With the introduction of the M-22 Mackintosh tank destroyer, it was decided that the army had enough firepower but a high speed scout was needed. From the beginning it was decided that the scout vehicle would be a hover type design and would only be lightly armed. The work on previous hover designed helped make the construction of the hover scout relatively straight forward. When the Rifts came, the scout vehicle had just finished prototype testing and only a small number were in service. The test pilots had loved the scout vehicles and if they had entered service in larger numbers, it is likely that the scouts would have made a huge difference in any battle that they were used in. In addition to being adopted into the Army, the Marine Corp was planning to operate the scouts but they had received none before the coming of the Rifts. An interesting practice was that the pilots of the scouts were naming their individual scout vehicles using the names of famous Indian scouts.

The Schwarzkopf class hover tank was described as incredibly fast and the Wolfe is even faster and is capable of speeds over 350 kilometers per hour. Like most high speed hover vehicles, the Wolfe hover scout was designed around powerful nuclear engines that are very similar to those carried on nuclear jet aircraft. The high speed of these scouts actually created problems for air support because the scouts could travel almost as fast as many of the aircraft. Of course, the advantage was that any airborne ground support for the enemy would have trouble intercepting them as well. A whole line of faster ground support aircraft were under development to support the hover scouts. The design also used radar absorbent materials and the scout was designed with a low radar cross signature and heat masking systems. The prototypes were not designed using laser resistant materials but the idea was discussed for later models.

The weaponry carried on the Wolfe was light but still quite effective and might be able to be considered a light tank. The main weapon was an ion cannon that was originally carried on the Iwo-Jima hover troop transport and was carried as a secondary gun on the Schwarzkopf class hover tank. The Ion cannon is mounted in a turret that has 360 rotation and the barrel can elevate up to 85 degrees for use against aircraft. Mounted on the front of the hover scout is a pulse laser mount. The pulse laser is used against light vehicles, infantry, and missiles. Like virtually all American combat vehicles built in the years prior to the coming of the Rifts, the hover scout carries medium range missile launchers and mini missile launchers. The medium range missile launchers are mounted on the sides of the hull of the vehicle and the mini-missile launcher is mounted on the top of the turret. Many of the mini missile warheads carried are often smoke for concealing the hover scout and experiments were done using prismatic aerosol mini-missile warheads for use against lasers.

Because the vehicles were only constructed in very limited numbers, it is unknown if any actually survived the coming of the Rifts. Several mercenary companies or weapon manufactures would pay large sums of money to get a working model of the hover scout. Recently, the New Navy discovered blueprints for the design along with those for the Mackintosh tank destroyer. There is strong pressure in the marines to build these hover scouts due to dissatisfaction with the present combat vehicles.

Model Type: USA-M-23 Wolfe
Vehicle Type: Scout Vehicle (Hover)
Crew: Two (Pilot and Gunner). The hover scout can carry two passengers in a cramped rear compartment.

M.D.C. By Location:

Ion Pulse Cannon (In turret):100
Mini-Missile Launcher (Top of turret):75
Main Weapons Turret:200
[1] Pulse Laser Mounts (Front):50
Medium Range Missile Batteries (2, Sides):75 each
[1] Headlights (4):8 each
Reinforced Crew Compartment150
[2] Hover Thruster Units:200
[3] Main Body:350

[1] 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.
[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 will not function. Damage to the main body will also reduce the hovercraft's stealth, for every 10% of damage to the main body, reduce the hovercraft's stealth by 10% of its total.

Hover Speed: Can hover at ground level at from a hover to up to 220 mph (354.1 kph) over both land and water. Minimum hover height is 2 feet (0.6 meters) and a maximum altitude is 35 feet (10.7 meters).
Maximum Range: Effectively unlimited.

Statistical Data:
Height: 7.5 feet (2.3 meters) including turret mounted mini-missile launchers.
Width: 10.5 feet (3.2 meters)
Length: 23 feet (7.0 meters)
Weight: 17 tons (15.5 metric tons)
Power Source: Nuclear with 25 year fusion reactor.
Cargo Capacity: The hover scout has a small storage space for crew. This includes weapons, armors, and emergency supplies.
Market / Black Market Cost: 22.5 million credits for a new or fully operational USA-M-23 Wolfe Hover Scout.

Weapon Systems:

  1. Ion Pulse Cannon: A powerful weapon mounted in the hover scout's turret. Mainly designed to be used against tanks and heavy vehicles but is also capable against aircraft and missiles. Turret is capable of 360 rotation and the barrel can be elevated up to 85 degrees. The Ion Pulse cannon is controlled by the gunner.
    Maximum Effective Range: 6,000 feet (1,830 m)
    Mega Damage: 3D4x10 per blast
    Rate of Fire:Four times per melee round.
    Payload: Effectively Unlimited
    Bonuses: Has fire control system that gives +2 to strike with Ion cannon and cannon does not have minuses to fire when the scout is moving.
  2. Pulse Laser Mount (1): The pulse laser is mounted on the front of the hover scout and is normally fired by the driver. The weapons' primary purpose is use against infantry but is effective against missiles and to a lesser extent both aircraft and other armored vehicles.
    Maximum Effective Range: 4,000 feet (1,200 meters)
    Mega-Damage: 1D6x10 per pulse.
    Rate of Fire: Equal to combined hand to hand attacks of pilot or commander.
    Payload: Effectively Unlimited.
  3. Medium-Range Missile Launchers (2): Two medium range missile launchers are mounted on the sides of the main body of the scout. Each mount has only one actual missile launch tube. Both launchers are usually controlled by the gunner, but can be fired by the driver 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 scout 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) missiles.
    Payload: 4 missiles, 2 in each launcher.
  4. Turret Mounted Mini-missile Launcher (1): Mounted on the top of the turret is a mini missile launcher. The launcher is designed for rapid fire use to engage heavy tanks and giant robots. The weapon is designed to be able to destroy enemy vehicles quickly. Smoke warheads are often carried.
    Maximum Effective Range: Varies with mini-missile type; Usually armor piercing or fragmentation are carried (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
    Mega Damage: Varies with mini-missile type; Usually armor piercing or fragmentation are carried (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
    Rate of Fire: Can fire mini-missiles one at a time or in volleys of two (2), three (3), or four (4) mini-missiles.
    Payload: 16 mini-missiles.

Sensory Equipment:
Sensory equipment is mounted on a retractable mount that can be extended 6.6 feet (2 meters) to extend sensors when hull down.


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

Writeup by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).

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