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> DropShip "Liberty", Submitted by Benjamin Maxwell
post Dec 21 2005, 11:54 AM
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Source: Technical Readout 3025
Mass: 3,500 tons
Drive System: Star League V250
3 Particle Projection Cannons
6 Long Range Missle 20 Racks
6 AC/5s
5 Large Lasers
12 Medium Lasers
Manufacturers: Various
Weighing in at 3,500 tons, the Union Class DropShip is the standard medium DropShip throughout the Successor States, small enough to easily transport a 'Mech raiding party and large enough to support part of.a full-scale invasion.

The Union can carry a full company of twelve 'Mechs, plus two aerospace fighters. A single Union Class DropShip is often associated with a specific company; for example, the Union DropShip Sweet Chariot is exclusively assigned to transport Sinclair's Company of the St. Ives Armored Cavalry.

The Union's impressive weapons array includes six Class 5 autocannons, twelve medium lasers, and five heavy lasers, along with three PPCs and six 20 rack LRM launchers. Though the ship cannot fire at low altitudes, its assortment of weapons can deliver massive amounts of firepower in space, making the Union a terrifying opponent.

Because so much space is taken up by weapon bays and the like, the crew's quarters are spartan. The fourteen crewmen and twelve to fourteen MechWarriors and fighter pilots must cram themselves into a single, tiny bunkroom with neither viewports nor recreational facilities. The ship's two officers share another microscopic bunkroom, while the captain's private quarters take up an area just large enough to accommodate a single bed and washbasin. Sanitary facilities are extremely limited, and the air recirculation system is as small and unsophisticated as possible. Frequent breakdowns are typical, often creating an atmosphere redolent of sweat and dirty socks. Despite these difficult living conditions, Union crews accomplish their missions ably, defending against aerospace fighter attacks with calm efficiency and delivering their BattleMech cargoes to drop points.

While the spherical shapes of Union and Overlord DropShips make space travel and atmospheric entry easier, the ships are unstable, and are most vulnerable when descending through an atmosphere. A single hit to one of the Union's four attitude jets can make it tumble out of control and crash-land. During a Liao invasion of the Marik-held world of Van Diemen IV, Marik fighter squadrons destroyed several Union Class DropShips in just such a fashion.

The shortage of replacement parts for the Union's complex interplanetary drive system, and the lack of the heavy industry needed to construct them may imperil the future of the Union and the Overlord. Even now they are produced in small numbers, and only a handful of people are familiar with these ships' exotic technology. If the Succession Wars drag on much longer, they may eventually cause this magnificent vehicle and its larger cousin to disappear from Successor State armies altogether.

Union Class DropShips served throughout Star League's stormy later history, moving into battle escorted by the Star League's awesome star cruisers and delivering their armored cargoes. The star cruisers vanished with the Star League Defense Forces, and the Union Class DropShips that remain are often badly in need of maintenance and crippled by the lack of reliable technicians.

Falling between the light Leopard and the superheavy Overlord DropShips, the Union can accompany either one, as a lighter adjunct to the Overlord or as a powerful central coordinator for a raid by Leopards. When fuel is sufficient, the Union may drop its 'Mechs from high altitude at different locations, one lance at a time, and then land at a central rendezvous point. This tactic is especially useful during raids, when speed and surprise are essential. The Union also carries spare parts and ammunition for its 'Mechs, and will occasionally remain on the ground as a support base.

Use of the Union Class dates back well into the Star League era, when the vessel was first built as a replacement for the older Lion Class DropShip. The Union continues in the service of every Successor State military, and well-established pirate bands even own a few. Because Overlord Class DropShips are relatively rare and extremely expensive, Union DropShips often form the bulk of an invasion force.

Maintenance is beginning to cause a real problem for this class of DropShip, however. The difficulties of manufacturing and obtaining parts are beginning to affect the Union's performance; though it remains the standard DropShip in the Successor States thus far, its days may be numbered.
Type: Union

Type: Military Spheroid
Use: 'Mech carrier
Tech: Standard
Introduced: 2708
Mass: 3,500 tons

Length: 81.5 meters
Width: 81.5 meters
Height: 78 meters

Fuel: 209 tons (1,254)
Tons/Burn Day: 2.82
Safe Thrust: 3
Maximum Thrust: 5
Heat Sinks: 90
Structural Integrity: 11

Fore: 18
Side: 18
Aft: 10

Weapons Range Values

Arc Type Heat S M L Extreme

Nose PPC 10 1 1 - -
Nose AC 2 1 1 - -
Nose LRM 12 2 2 2 -
Nose Laser 6 1 - - -
FL PPC 10 1 1 - -
FL AC 2 1 1 - -
FL LRM 12 2 2 2 -
FL Laser 14 2 1 - -
FR PPC 10 1 1 - -
FR AC 2 1 1 - -
FR LRM 12 2 2 2 -
FR Laser 14 2 1 - -
AL Laser 14 2 1 - -
AR Laser 14 2 1 - -
Aft Laser 14 2 1 - -

Cargo: 25 tons
Bay 1: 'Mechs (4) 2 Doors
Bay 2: 'Mechs (8) 2 Doors
Bay 3: Fighters (2) 2 Doors

Escape Pods: 7
Life Boats: 0

Crew: 14

Cost: 160,000,000 C-bills
Revenue/Mission: 150,000 C-bills

3 PPCs
6 LRM-20s
6 AC/5s
5 Large Lasers
12 Medium Lasers
9 tons LRM ammunition
12 tons AC/5 ammunition
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