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Manticore-Class System Defense Boat

design by Lewis Roberts

The Reformation Coalition Navy (RCN) has completed negotiations for the purchase of six Manticore-class system defense boats (SDBs) from the Aubani Navy, with an option for more to follow. These vessels are being purchased to give the RCN a battle rider capability when used with Aurora or Maggort-class clippers. These SDBs are modified versions of the standard Shukugon( Dragon) class TL-12 SDBs, manufactured for centuries in the Last Imperium. The Manticores are distinguished from the basic Dragons by the absence of the Dragon's missile barbettes and fuel purification plant.These are replaced by a spinal meson gun which gives the Manticore a powerful short-range punch, sufficient to disable much larger vessels.

The Manticores, which have been used up to now in the system defense of Aubaine, will be used as "battle riders," carried into combat one or two at a time by RCN clippers configured as "tenders." The battle rider concept is an old one, and reflects a permanent principle of interstellar combat. Given the fact that interstellar jump driver and their supporting systems make significant demands on the mass and volume of a starship, two spacecraft of equal size, one equipped with jump drives, and one without, will demonstrate vastly differing utilizations of space. The ship without jump drive will have a great deal of additional space that can be allocated to weapons, armor, defensive screens, fire control, ammunition, greater maneuverability, and fuel, and will therefore be a better warship, albeit unable to travel between star systems on its own. In a confrontation between these two ships, the nonjump-capable vessel should beat the jump-capable starship every time. This fact is the basis of the system defense boat. By extending this concept to include large jump-capable ships which carry these nonjump capable warships from star to star, the battle rider concept is born.

The jump-capable ships. called tenders, carry several nonjump-capable ships, called riders, or battle riders, into enemy star systems. The battle riders detach and engage the enemy, and are recovered by the tender following the battle. The drawback to the battle rider concept is the fact that a losing battle rider force has a very hard time withdrawing, as battle riders cannot simply jump out of the battle to a safe system. The requirement to rejoin the large, non-maneuverable, and poorly defended tender in order to escape creates a vulnerability that ensures that a defeated battle rider force is usually annihilated, where as a defeated jump-capable force is usually much less severely mauled.

from Challenge #74

Its impossible to build a TL-12 meson gun with the stats from Battle Rider, so John Macpherson designed a TL-15 meson gun. Aubaine salvaged these meson guns from pre-collapse submarines which patrolled the oceans of Vras.

Manticore-Class System Defense Boat

General Data

Displacement: 400 tons Hull Armor: 101
Length: 60.59 meters Volume: 5,600 m3
Price: 289.94 MCr Target Size: S
Configuration:Streamlined Slab Tech Level: 12
Mass (Loaded/Unloaded): 6,896.5 / 6,673.6

Engineering Data

Power Plant: 1.33 GW Fusion Power Plant, 0.5 year duration (99.5 m3 fuel)
Jump Performance: None
G-Rating: 4G HEPlaR (198.8 MW/G), Auxiliary High Efficiency CG (10 MW)
G-Turns: 96, 24.9 m3 fuel each
Maint: 217


Computer: 2xTL-12 Fibre-optic computer (0.8 MW)
Commo: Maser (Unlimited; 0.6 MW), Radio (Unlimited; 20 MW)
Avionics: Imaging EMS, IGS positioning, 160 km/h NOE
Sensors: AEMS (0.1 hex; 8 MW), PEMS (4 hex; 0.15 MW),
ECM/ECCM: EM Masking (5.6 MW)
Controls: Bridge with 8 bridge workstations, 15 normal workstations


Offensive: 2x 80 Mj Laser Turret (2.2 MW; 1 crew)
TL-15 1,600Mj Meson Gun ROF=100 (444.4 MW, 1 Crew)
Defensive: None
Master Fire Directors: 2xTL-12 (4 Diff Mods; 2 hex; 1.29 MW; 1 crew),
80 Mj Laser Turret2: 200 4: 89 8: 45 16: 22
800 Mj Meson Spinal Mount2-1414:718:351:18


Life Support: Extended (0.16 MW), Gravitic Compensators (4.03 MW)
Grav Compensation: 3 G.
Crew: 28 (1xManeuver, 1xElectronics, 15xEngineer, 5xGunnery, 2xMaintenance, 4xCommand)
Crew Accommodations: 14xSmall Stateroom (0.5 kW)
Cargo: 196 m3 (14 tons), 1 Large Hatches
Small Craft and Launch Facilities: None
Air Locks: 4


Total Fuel Tankage: 2,485.1 m3 (177.5 tons).
Fuel scoops (10% of ship surface), fills tanks in 1.11 hours.
Crew requirements are calculated by using 'Original FFS' crew model. 0.3 MW power shortfall.

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