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Rhino Hunter Scout

design by Nick Bradbeer

Southern Ring Nebula

Nebula Award Winner


+++ PRESS RELEASE +++++++++++++++++++++++++
Space Technology Reverse-Engineering Agency
Capital, Cyrinia, 12-4-1188
Subject: Successful recovery of ISS General Sir Michael Rose
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Ongoing operations at Korinall Fleet Yards continue to reap rich rewards for the people of the Korinall Cluster.

STREA announces the successful recovery of an Ex-Navy Assault ship, the ISS General Sir Michael Rose. A three-week board, capture and make-safe operation was completed last Sunday by STREA engineers and marines, operating alongside CERCES computer-empaths. While the Michael Rose herself is no longer jump-capable, shuttles are already bringing back relic equipment from on board, including four small craft constructed at the Imperial state-of-the-art.

It is hoped that at some time in the future, it will be possible to construct a jump frame of sufficient size to transport the ship to a Cluster mainworld.

+MESSAGE ENDS


+++ SPECIAL REPORT ++++++++++++++++++++++++
EOC Commercial News Services
Capital, Cyrinia, 28-5-1188
Subject: Relic troop landers to be converted to scout ships
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

At 11:45 this morning the Assembly passed a bill authorising a Request To Tender to convert the four Rhino class dropships recovered from the ISS General Sir Michael Rose last month into long-range jump capable scout vessels. AnraTech, Moorsyth Design Yards and Cluster Munitions are all expected to submit bids for this lucrative contract.

The four craft, each displacing fifty tons, were constructed with cutting edge Imperial technology shortly before Collapse. Highly manoevrable and heavily armed, many analysts expressed surprise that STREA was content to allow them released for an ostensibly non-military purpose.

Jaglom Pulver, defence correspondant for Capital Citizen, said "While this decision has surprised many, I'd bet my grandmother STREA won't let go of those boats' ECM suites."

Time will tell.

+MESSAGE ENDS


Moorsyth Design Yards Presents: The Rhino Hunter-Class Extended-Range Scout Ship.

The ship comprises 21.71 MCr of TL-15 relic components (recovered from Korinall Fleet Yards) and 45.65 MCr of TL-9/11 components.

Four ships of the class may be built with the four recovered Rhinos (86.84 MCr), which will cost an additional 182.60 MCr in TL-11 locally-produced components. We can save 46 MCr by cannibalising the fusion rockets from the recently retired Crossbow (www.nickb.ndirect.co.uk/tneships/SDB_Cros.html) KCS Mangonel. (A Crossbow SDB uses 6x3500 kN fusion rockets, allowing one per jump frame and two spare units to allow for Upkeep-by-Exchange.)

Overview

The Rhino Hunter scout is a 100-ton ship constructed from a relic TL-15 Rhino class Dropship (http://www.nickb.ndirect.co.uk/tneships/ST_Rhino.html) grappled to a 50-ton jump frame constructed at TL-11. While the combination is unstreamlined, the two halves are capable of seperation in order to allow fuel scooping or planetary landings.

Upon docking, the jump frame's airlock aligns with the Rhino's tail lock, allowing through passage between the two ships. Data systems and ship's services are also shared. The combined vessel is controlled from the jump frame's flight deck, which has a redundant pilot's station to allow manoevre while plotting jump when two pilots are aboard.

Docked, the vessel is capable of 3G and jump-2, with each G-turn requiring 8.9 m3 of LH2. Both HEPlaR and Fusion rocket drives were considered for the Jump Frame, but the more expensive fusion rocket was eventually settled on, partly to offer a cross-system 'trek home' capability and partly since fusion is a much more reliably proven technology than HEPlaR. The Fusion drive offers a back-up for the HEPlaR drive, as well as for the fusion reactor. The fusion drive can power life support for something like eight months if jump fuel is available to burn.

Runing purely off the Jump Frame's fusion rocket, the combination can accelerate at 0.25G constantly for 319 days (a delta vee of 0.25c, ignoring relativistic effects). In the event of a broken jump drive, the craft can comfortably cross intra-system distances to reach a habitable zone.

The ship also carries a variety of missiles and a manually controlled PD laser, as well as a high powered plasma gun (normally fired from the Rhino's engineering station) should anything stray into spitting distance.

Seperated, the Rhino is capable of 5.7G. The jump frame is restricted to a rather more sedate 0.5G but carries between 100 and 950 G-hours of reaction mass for its fusion rocket.

Missions

The Rhino Hunter is an extremely versatile ship, capable of a wide range of missions. Its capacity to split into two totally independant craft increases that versatility in ways other designs cannot hope to duplicate.

Initial Survey - while the sensor fit would be considered rudimentary on a higher TL scout, for TL-11 it's not to be sneezed at. While neither a densitomiter or neutrino sensor are carried, they measure qualities unlikely to have changed over seventy years since the last survey data was recorded. The 20 metre (4 hex) folding passive array is more than capable of filling in what blanks will exist in the charts, and doubles as a combat-capable space sensor. The 5 metre (2 hex) array gives the Rhino its own long-range sensor capability and allows two locations to be surveyed at once, should the need arise.

Extended Survey - it is quite possible for the ship to arrive in-system and have the Rhino descend to the planets surface for an extended duration (in the region of six months), possibly with pre-fab-labs set up in the cargo bay. The jump frame may remain to provide an orbital sensor platform, or may return to friendly space.

Diplomatic Contact - in split configuration the Rhino Hunter creates a very safe environment indeed. In the event of trickery or ambush the contact team are mounted in an extremely fast (and heavily armed) military dropship with stealth capabilities, while watching over them is an orbital platform carrying two dozen 100-kiloton cruise missiles.

Space Combat - the Rhino Hunter is only minimally equipped for combat, designed not to attack enemy ships but to escape intact. If the ship jumped with a full fuel load (less than six G-turns expended) then it will have enough to perform an emergency Jump-2 immediately upon arrival. This capability may be extended by carriage of ballute fuel tankage. In extreme circumstances, the Rhino may be jettisoned to allow a jump home on less fuel (105 m3 vice 210 m3). In the event of encountering a hostile target, evasion will be the normal tactic. While useful armament is limited to three missiles and a point defence laser, the Tacoma cruise missiles may usefully be employed as a nukescreen, deployed behind the ship and detonated to interfere with enemy sensor locks. Twenty four warheads should be enough to allow the Hunter to reach the safe jump limit. Note that while the Rhino is EM-Masked, the frame (and thus the joined ship) is not.

Cold Relic Recovery - should recovery of artifacts be required, the Rhino is well equipped to comply. Almost anywhere is accessible to the airframed, CG-equipped lander. Even underwater sites may be visited, simply by pumping 60 cubic metres of water in through the fuel scoops to act as ballast. (Still allowing 75% of the tanks to contain LH2.) The 14-ton cargo bay may be increased by a further 2-tons by removal of the two low berths, mounted on quick-detach floor pallets for this very reason. In addition, breaching walls (or vaults) is quite easy with the plasma cannon.

Hot Relic Recovery - difficult against a well-defended target due to the lack of troop capacity, but the Rhino is capable of destroying a small force with the plasma cannon and/or deadfall ordnance. Use of the Orbit-to-Ground tactical nukes is usually considered excessive.

Cleansing of Severe Viral Infections - In the event of a malignant infection being located on a plantary surface, each of the twenty-four Tacoma cruise missiles carried will utterly destroy a circle nearly a kilometer across. While the Assembly has thankfully never yet had to order a CSVI mission, STREA's vessels and crews remain ready to perform that grim task.

Search and Rescue - the ship has a maximum capacity of nineteen passengers by hotbunking, plus four in coldsleep. If speed is paramount to reach a stricken ship, the Rhino may be seperated since it is considerably faster than the docked configuration.

Operations

The Rhino Hunter has a crew of nine, comprising two pilots, two engineers (electronics and power), one gunner, and four mission specialists. During seperation, one pilot, one power engineer (who doubles as a gunner) and the mission specialists normally ride in the Rhino, leaving one pilot with the electronics engineer and the gunner in the jump frame.

The Rhino has been converted from its original configuration. While the 120-MJ fusion gun and missile stub wings have been left in place, the EW suite and one of the TL-15 computers has been removed and allocated for military use. The fusion gun may be fired from any of the workstations; in the original dropship role the gunner was responsible for both fusion gun and launched ordnance, so the fusion gun was also tied into the EW and pilot's stations. In the scout configuration the gunnery station is normally not manned and the gun fired from the engineering station. The pilot has no control over the turret and can only fire the gun in boresight mode by steering the whole craft.

The Rhino's cargo space has been reduced from 29 tons to 13.5 by the installation of three staterooms and two low berths in the bay, plus some repositioned control electronics. A decrease in mass means that the original drive can now accelerate the craft at 5.7G, to which end the internal bracing has been strengthened.

The Hunter Jump Frame is constructed at TL-11, an unstreamlined crystaliron hull designed to wrap around the back end of a Rhino, while leaving the HEPlaR exhausts clear. The key capabilities provided by the jump frame are jump drive (obviously), a long-range sensor array, fuel purification facilties, and armament.

The armament is served by a single gunner, and comprises a combination laser/missile turret, and a cluster of 24 launch tubes for orbit-to-ground missiles. The turret is a custom-built TL-11 design containing a workstation, an 18-MJ 400-ROF PD laser and three launch canisters for detlaser missiles. Normally only TL-11 EaPlaC missiles are made available to scout vessels, although there are a number of recovered TL-15 HEPlaR missiles in circulation.

Orbit-to-ground capability is provided by launch tubes for Vesper Tacoma cruise missiles (http://www.nickb.ndirect.co.uk/weapons/Tacoma.html) carrying the Block-3Y 100kT tactical nuclear warhead. The orbit-to-ground version of the Tacoma has an added 8 G-turn EaPlaC solid boost rocket which burns for 10 minutes at up to 20G to provide the correct entry profile. These tubes cannot be reloaded from inside the ship.

The jump frame's flight deck has two pilot's stations, although only one is normally manned when seperated.

Design Note - Following a house design rule, I multiplied the volume of the grapple by 0.1 since it only works on one specific hullform. That's my compromise between full size (which is supposed to be able to hold anything up to that size) and no volume at all (a la pods in the RCEG).

Deckplans - Deckplans are under construction - bear with me.

Design Requirements

Volume - The ship only displaced 100 tons, equal to a Type-S.

Cost - Four units may be built. While the ships are expensive, 13MCr comes from the Fusion Drive, which utilises off-the-shelf and proven TL-9 technology.

Transport - The ship can transport the required four specialists, plus another four in coldsleep if needbe. Cargo capacity exceeds the stated requirement by 60%, and incorporates handy clamshell loading doors big enough to fit a Trepida through (should you ever want to).

Jump - By utilising state-of-the-art drives, the Rhino Hunter can cover 2 parsecs in a single jump. In fact, it will often be able to perform an emergency jump upon arrival, if required.

Combat - While not a combat ship, the Rhino Hunter has a lot of options for evasion and is in our opinion eminently survivable.

In conclusion, while partially constructed at TL-9/11, the Rhino Hunter compares favourably to the standard Type-S Scout/Courier. The increased expense is a direct result of using lower tech (especially that damn fusion rocket. With HEPlaR the two ships cost almost the same.) The Type-S has better range on its sensors, but the Rhino Hunter is far more versatile.

And, of course, it carries firepower equivalent to eighteen hundred times its own weight in TNT.

Moorsyth Design Yards. Where peace of mind is self-guiding.



Rhino Dropship

General Data

Displacement: 50 tons Hull Armor: 75
Length:24.96 meters Volume: 700 m3
Price: 21.71 MCr Target Size: VS
Configuration: AF Cylinder Tech Level: 15
Mass (Loaded/Unloaded): 628.6 / 416.0


Engineering Data

Power Plant: 212 MW Fusion Power Plant, 0.5 year duration (10.6 m3 fuel)
Jump Performance: None
Jump Fuel: 0 m3
G-Rating: 5.7G HEPlaR (31.5 MW/G), High-Efficiency CG Lifter (5 MW)
G-Turns: 50 4.5 m3 fuel each
Maint: 57

Electronics

Computer: TL-15 Standard computer (0.55 MW)
Commo: Maser (1000 AU; 0.6 MW), Radio (1 hex; 1 MW)
Avionics: Imaging EMS, inertial/gravitational positioning, 190 km/h NOE
Sensors: AEMS (300 km; 4 MW), PEMS (2 hex; 0.04 MW)
ECM/ECCM: EM Masking (0.7 MW)
Controls: No bridge, 3 normal workstations, Standard Automation

Armament

Offensive 120-MJ Turreted Fusion Gun
Defensive: None
Master Fire Directors: None

Name Short Medium Long Extreme Short Range
120 MJ Fusion Gun 328 328 164 33 1.5

Accommodations

Life Support:
Grav Compensation: 6G (2.23 MW)
Crew: 6 (1xManeuver, 1xEngineer, 4x Mission Specialists)
Crew Accommodations: 3xSmall Stateroom (0.5 kW)
Passenger Accomadation: None
Other Facilities: 2xLow Berth (1 kW)
Cargo: 189 m3 1 Large Cargo Hatch
Small Craft and Launch Facilities: None
Air Locks: 3

Notes

Total Fuel Tankage: 237.1 m3 (16.9 tons).
Fuel scoops (8% of ship surface), fills tanks in 1.06 hours.
Crew requirements are calculated by using 'Standard FFS' crew model.
16.4 MW power surplus


Hunter Jump Frame

General Data

Displacement: 50 tons Hull Armor: 5
Length: 44.06 meters Volume: 700 m3
Price: 45.65MCr Target Size: VS
Configuration: USL Open Frame Tech Level: 9/11
Mass (Loaded/Unloaded): 678.5 / 631.3


Engineering Data

Power Plant: 40 MW Fusion Power Plant, 0.5 year duration (3.0 m3 fuel)
Jump Performance: 2
Jump Fuel: 210 m3
G-Rating: 0.5G Fusion Rocket (Generating 14 MW/G) (3.5 when combined with Rhino
G-Turns: 200 (J1: 1057; 1914 using all jump fuel), 0.1 m3 fuel each
Maint: 119

Electronics

Computer: 2xTL-11 Standard computer (0.35 MW)
Commo: Maser (1000 AU; 0.6 MW), Radio (1 hex; 1 MW)
Avionics: IGS positioning
Sensors: PEMS Folding array (4 hex; 0.2 MW)
ECM/ECCM: None
Controls: No bridge, 3 normal workstations, High Automation

Armament

Offensive TL-11 18-MJ Laser/Missile Turret (ROF=400) (Loc:0-Arcs:0;20 MW;1 crew) 24 x 0.2m3 Tacoma Cruise Missiles carried in docking rings, Turret also carries 3xStandard 7m3 missiles in non-reloadable bins.
Defensive: None
Master Fire Directors: None

Name Short Medium Long Extreme
18 MJ Laser Turret 1:1/3-11 2:1/2-5 4:1/1-3 8:1/0-1

Accommodations

Life Support: Extended (0.08 MW)
Grav Compensation: 2G (2.09 MW)
Crew: 3 (1xManeuver, 1xElectronics, 1xGunnery)
Crew Accommodations: 3xBunk
Passenger Accomadation: None
Other Facilities: 2xLow Berth (1 kW)
Cargo: 28 m3 1 Small Cargo Hatch
Small Craft and Launch Facilities: 50-ton USL grapple for Rhino
Air Locks: 1

Notes

Total Fuel Tankage: 274.3 m3 (19.6 tons).
Fuel purification machinery (2.24MW), 5.14 hours to refine 274.3 m3.
Crew requirements are calculated by using 'Standard FFS' crew model.
19 MW power surplus, plus 7MW when Fusion Drives running.


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