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USA-M-7 Jackson class Main Battle Tank:

Many post Rifts historians are under the impression that the United States operated almost exclusively robot vehicles before the coming of the Rifts. This assumption is partially incorrect. Robots and power armors were popular but battle tanks were always an important element in the United States Army. The Jackson in many ways could be considered the ultimate in American tank designs. It is very likely that the Jackson was used as the basis for the post Rifts Iron Hammer main battle tank. The Russians preferred to keep upgrading their old tank designs because the leaders considered it far less expensive. The engineers that designed the Jackson main battle tank believed differently. They believed that the upkeep on the older design would actually equal the building cost of a new and more advanced design. There were extensive studies commissioned that when completed supported this view. The tanks that were initially constructed from low tech alloys and then refitted, such as the Russian converted M-80 Main Battle Tanks, were considered the worst as far as maintenance was concerned. The Jackson was designed specifically to minimize maintenance wherever possible and has many modular components. The armor is modular and can be replaced quickly. It was said that the Jackson could operate almost twelve months without any maintenance done to the tank. This may have been a bit of an exaggeration but the maintenance records of the tank are far better than any tank designs before or since it. This is not to say that the design was never upgraded and there were several important modifications to the tank design during its service with the United States Army.

The tank was named for Colonel Latisha Jackson. The Colonel was unusual in many ways. She was the commanding officer of one of the tank brigades during the war between India and the United States and was cited multiple times for bravery. She was awarded the Congressional Metal of Honor during the war. She came from an incredibly poor background yet succeeded remarkably. Her family had been poor share croppers in Georgia since they were freed after the Civil War and she was the first member of the family to leave the farms behind. She graduated West Point first in her class and many military historians consider her to be the best US Army tactician of the Twenty-First Century.

The American Army said an almost tearful goodby to their beloved M-1 Abrams. The Abrams had been upgraded continuously and had become virtually a new tank but still the design was seeing its age. The first Jackson class main battle tanks entered service just before the interest by the U.S. Government went to giant robots. Production of the Jackson was reduced for greater funding of giant robot designs but funding was continued. A few of the old Abrams had been converted to test the new alloys but even these were quickly put into storage or scrapped. Within a few years, the tank crews of the United States Army fell in love with the Jackson main battle tank. While many government leaders pressed for new robot designs, the seniors officers who had fought in the field worked for increased production of the Jackson main battle tank. While the Jackson is considered inferior by some to the later German Tiger tank, it is still an excellent design are a very dangerous opponent. As well, the Jackson is slightly faster than the German tank and is less expensive to manufacture.

In the end, the tank was produced in huge numbers in its various configurations and was also produced for the Marine Corp. The Jackson served in many actions and the tank was still in production just before the coming of the Rifts. Even the hover tank designs produced after the Jackson main battle tank did not replace the Jackson. It is not really known how many of these tanks survived the coming of the Rifts. Many were deployed in forward positions and so were likely destroyed when the Rifts appeared. From time to time, these tanks have been found in various caches and are popular with Mercenaries. Most mercenary versions no longer have special resistant materials.

The first large production model (M-7) of the tank was innovative. The Army was still having problems with the development of large rail gun designs so a 150 mm electro-thermal cannon was selected in its place. This cannon design was likely copied for use in the Sledgehammer tank produced by Northern Gun. The cannon was far more powerful than cannon designs manufactured around the same time although within a few years, more powerful weapons, in the form of hyper velocity rail guns, had entered service as the main guns of tanks. The tank carried several lighter weapon systems and missile launchers as well. Initially, the tank carried two eight-millimeter liquid propellant machine guns. These were later replaced with rail guns. The rail guns use the same system as those designed for the SAMAS power armor that was entering service as well. This allowed for the simplification of logistics for the tanks. The missile launchers, which were not changed through the career of the tank, included eight medium range missiles and thirty-two mini-missiles. The tank carried heavy armor which was about twice that of most converted tanks. The M-7 Jackson was faster than the M-1 Abrams had been and was powered by a fusion turbine reactor for virtually unlimited endurance. Unlike some designs that the marines were experimenting with, the Jackson was designed as a treaded tank ans is capable in all terrains. The crew of the Jackson was smaller than that of the Abrams and the Jackson has a pilot, gunner, and commander. Some of the older Jackson main battle tanks were converted for other purposes such as bridge laying, bull dozing, and mine sweeping.

The second large production model (M-7A1) of the tank had many improvements. It never replaced the older tanks but instead supplemented them. As well, the main weapon systems were not upgraded on the original Jackson main battle tanks although armor and secondary weapon systems were upgraded on many of them. The electro-thermal main gun of the tank was replaced by a powerful 100 mm rail gun which had several times the range of the original cannon. The cannon was built with naval assistance and is fundamentally the same cannon as was carried on the Darcey class frigate and several other naval vessels. The same gun was also later used of the Mackintosh Tank Destroyer and is considered incredibly effective. Initially, the light rail guns on the later M-7 models were carried. Later models replaced these with pulse laser weapons like were carried on most of the hovercraft designs as secondary weapons. The armor was upgraded and used a similar formula as the laser resistant armor carried on the Glitter Boy. This was later upgraded to use the same material as introduced for the Schwarzkopf Hover Tank.

Model Type:USA-M-7Original Model
USA-M-7A1Upgraded Model

Class: Main Battle Tank
Crew: Three: One driver, one gunner, and one commander. No room for passengers, although one extra human sized passenger could probably be squeezed in.

M.D.C. By Location:USA-M-7:USA-M-7A1:
Cupola on Turret:100120
[1] Light Weapon on Cupola:6090
Mini-Missile Launchers (2, sides of turret):60 each80 each
Main Turret:320360
Main Cannon:200240
[1] Forward Light Weapon Mount:6090
Medium Range Missile Batteries (2, Sides):120 each150 each
[1] Smoke / Gas Dispensers (2):15 each25 each
[2] Main Body:640720
[3] Track Treads (2):120 each150 each

[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] If all the M.D.C. of the main body is depleted, the vehicle is completely shut down and is unsalvageable. The main body of later tanks is constructed out of special materials. Early model USA-M-7A1 use laser resistant materials and take half damage from lasers. Later model USA-M-7A1 use laser and heat resistant materials and take half damage from both lasers and plasma weapons.
[3] 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 (two 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: 93.2 mph (150 kph) maximum road speed; 74.6 mph (120 kph) maximum off-road speed. 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: On the surface at 24.9 mph (40 kph) or underwater (Buttoned up) at 18.6 mph (30 kph)
Maximum Range: Unlimited (Nuclear Fusion power supply with 15 year duration)

Statistical Data:
Height: 12.5 feet (3.8 meters)
Width: 13.5 feet (4.1 meters)
Length: 38 feet (11.6 meters)
Weight: 78 tons (70.7 metric tons) fully loaded
Cargo: Minimal storage space; about four feet (1.2 m) for extra clothing, weapons, and personal items. Four Laser Rifles and three hand-held Missile Launchers with 5 loads each are stored in a compartment behind the driver's seat.
Power System: Nuclear Only (15 year life span)
Black Market Cost: 40 million credits for a new or fully operational USA-M-7 Jackson Main Battle Tank. Add 10 million for the USA-M-7A1 Model.

Weapon Systems

  1. Main Gun: Since the cannon is built into a turret, it can rotate 360-degrees and can aim upwards 60 degrees - allowing it to engage low-flying aircraft and creatures. The cannon is controlled by a gunner inside the turret compartment. The tank has a special fire control computer that helps to aim the cannon. Gives +2 to strike with the cannon and vehicle does not have minuses to fire when the tank is moving.
    1. 150 mm Electro Thermal Cannon (1): Carried on original USA-M-7 model. The projectile is loaded into the barrel, behind which there is a “propellant,” which is a dot of light metal. A powerful electromagnetic force is applied to the metal, which causes its atoms to “switch” directions. This happens so violently that the metal turns to plasma, and this expanding gas then drives the projectile forward.
      Maximum Effective Range: Direct fire range is 4 miles (6.4 km) and can fire indirectly out to 7.8 miles (12.5 km).
      Mega Damage: A single round inflicts 4D6x10+40 (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 does 2D6x10 M.D. with a blast radius of 30 ft (9 m). High Explosive Anti Tank does 3D6x10 M.D. with a blast radius of 12 ft (3.6 m).
      Rate of Fire:Maximum of three per melee.
      Payload: 50 rounds. Normally 25 rounds are of standard anti-tank slugs.
    2. Hyper Velocity 100 mm Heavy Rail Gun (1): Carried on upgraded to give increased range and a higher rate of fire. Carried on the USA-M-7A1 model. Copied from a Naval weapon design. 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 for softer targets and against aircraft.
      Maximum Effective Range: Direct fire range is 5 miles (8 km) and can fire indirectly out to 15 miles (24.1 km).
      Mega Damage: A single round does 5D6x10+20 M.D.C. (optional rule is that cannon gets a critical on a natural 18, 19, or 20 due to its high penetration). Can use Standard High Explosive rounds that do 1D4x10 with a blast radius of 16 ft (4.9 m). High Explosive Armor Piercing does 2D4x10 with a blast radius of 8 ft (2.4 m).
      Rate of Fire:Maximum of four per melee.
      Payload: 80 rounds. Normally 40 rounds are of standard anti-tank slugs.
  2. Secondary Non-Missile Weapons (2): The Jackson has two mounts. One is on top of the turret of the tank and the other is in front of the tank. The turret mounted weapon is controlled by the commander and the front mounted weapon is controlled by the tank’s driver/pilot.
    1. Liquid Propellant Gatling Gun: This weapon is carried on the original USA-M-7 Model but replaced on most tanks. 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 ft (914 m)
        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
      Rate of Fire: Equal to combined hand to hand attacks of pilot or commander.
      Payload: 6000 rounds each.
    2. USA-M31 Rail gun: Mounted on later USA-M-7 and early USA-M7A1 models and refitted on many earlier models. 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 pilot or commander.
      Payload: 4,000 round magazine for 100 bursts each.
    3. Pulse Laser Mounts: Original mounted in the later versions of the Jackson main battle tank and refitted into many earlier models. 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 tank. Each mount has two actual missile launch tubes. Both launchers are usually controlled by the gunner, but can be fired by the driver or 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), or four (4) missiles.
    Payload: 8 missiles, 4 in each launcher.
  4. Turret Mounted Mini-missile Launcher (2): Mounted on the sides of the turret are mini missile launchers. These launchers are designed for rapid fire use to engage heavy tanks and giant robots. These weapons are 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 missiles one at a time or in volleys of two (2), four (4), six (6), or eight (8) missiles.
    Payload: Each launcher carries sixteen (16) mini-missiles for a total of 32 Mini-missiles.
  5. Smoke/Gas Dispensers (2): A smoke/gas dispensing unit is attached to each side of the MBT. The dispenser releases a dense cloud of smoke that covers a 40 foot (12.2 m) area in front of the vehicle, It can also release tear gas. The dispenser can dispense prismatic aerosol for dispersing laser beams. This has the same effect as prismatic aerosol grenades. The effects of the prismatic aerosol is combined with the laser resistant materials that compose the armor if the later tanks when they are used together.
    Payload: 20 total; 10 charges each; typically 10 smoke, 5 prismatic aerosol, and 5 tear gas.

Sensory Equipment:

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

[ Altarain TM, Bandito Arms TM, Brodkil TM, Chipwell Armaments TM, Coalition States TM, Cyber-Knight TM, Federation of Magic TM, Free Quebec TM, Golden Age Weaponsmiths TM, Horune TM, Iron Heart Armaments TM, Kankoran TM, Kittani TM, Kydian TM, Larsen’s Brigade TM, M.D.C. TM, Mechanoids TM, Mega-Damage TM, Megaversal Legion TM, Millennium Tree TM, Mutants in Orbit TM, Naruni Enterprises TM, Naut’Yll, New Navy TM, New Sovietskiy TM, NGR TM, Nog Heng TM, Northern Gun TM, Phase World TM, Psyscape TM, Rifter TM, SAMAS TM, S.D.C. TM, Shemarrian TM, Splugorth TM, Stormspire TM, Sunaj TM, Tolkeen TM, Triax TM, Wellington Industries TM, Wilk’s Laser Technologies TM, Xiticix TM, and Zaayr TM are trademarks owned by Kevin Siembieda and Palladium Books Inc. ]

[ Beyond the Supernatural®, Heroes Unlimited®, Nightbane®, Ninjas & Superspies®, Palladium Fantasy®, and Rifts® are registered trademarks owned by Kevin Siembieda and Palladium Books Inc. ]

Image drawn and copyrighted by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune). & Mischa (E-Mail Mischa). Click on line drawing for a better view.

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Writeup by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).

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