Mass: 40 tons Power Plant: 105 Fusion (Nissan/Lockheed) Cruise Speed: 75,6 km/h Maximum Speed: 118.8 km/h Jump capacity: 54 m Armor Type: Krupp 200 Ferro Fibrous Armament: 2 Blankenburg Medium ER Laser 1 ComStar Thunderbolt 15 1 Aldis CASE Manufacturer: Aldis Industries / Bergan Industries Location: Terra Electronics: Communications System: ComStar Rover Targeting & Tracking System: Blankenberg Trooper C3 Slave: ComStar Improved Electronics C3 Angel ECM: ComStar Improved Electronics Recon Camera: Leitz Camera
Overview: When the Clan invasion began in 3049 ComStar underestimated its dangerous nature for himself at first. With better informations available during 3050 about the technological advantage of the invaders ComStar decided to newly evaluate its own strenght. The ComGuards had still Star League era equipment which was regarded as Lostech throughout most of the Inner Sphere. But even compared with this stuff the Clan weapons had still an advantage in range, speed and armor. The Comguards realised that it would not be possible to devellop Battlemechs of equal qualities on a short call. Since the end of the Star League Comstar had secretly supported the cooperation of terran companies with several interstellar companies for manufactoring spareparts for the ComGuards. In 3050 the Comguards used this support network to start the devellopment of a new generation of support vehicles to bolster their Battlemech forces.
A secret branch of a joint venture between Aldis Industries and Bergan Industries which was officially set up to build and maintain Harassar Hovertanks in license became set up to make the new 40 ton hull. The 105 Fusion powerplant was a Lockhead design now build under license by Nissan. The Ferro Fibrous armor is a standard product from Krupp Armament Works made exclusivly for the ComGuards. The ER medium laser produced by Blankenburg Technologies are also made exclusivly for the ComGuards. The only weapon system not easily commercially available were the Thunderbolt launcher and missiles. Fortunately a surplus of this weapons was still in the ComGuard war stock. The majority of the electronic equipment (C3 System, Angel ECM, Comunications) is made by the Comstar Improved Electronics a subsidery of the ComStar oganisation. For budget reasons the standard targeting and tracking gear is made by Blankenburg Technologies. Unique on a vehicle are the Rawlings Jumpjets made by Krupp Armament Works. Without a Gyro (like in the Kanga) the Highwayman is not able to change the direction or turn around in flight. The Jumpjets are used to clear obstacles like roadblocks. The crew of three is located in an armored compartment inside of the hull left and forward of the turret. The crewcompartment is fully climatised and NBC protected. Airbags are keeping the crew alive in case of a crash. The workload during a mission is usually splited between the driver, Com/Electronics specialist and commander (gunner). However, the use of MFD's and dublicated controls allow for changing roles on short notice. The Ammo storage is placed on the right side of the Hull and partly under the turret. An Aldis CASE system is protecting the vehicle from fatal ammo explosions. The turret contains the T-bolt Launcher and both coaxial medium ER Laser. The turret and weapons are remotly controled by the crew. A recon camera mounted on one extractable 8 m mast can be used to gain Line of Sight over trees or buildings. The mast can be used only from a stationary vehicle.
Capabilities: The Highwayman is build with team play in mind. It can be teamed up with either mechs or vehicles. Every mech or vehicle with a C3 slave or C3 Master can feed the telemetry information necessary to launch its devastating missiles even on longer ranges with high accuracy. Therefore it can pick its targets even in a melee. And due to its advanced ECM it will not show up on the enemys sensors before beeing in range. Of course, such a vehicle will be the prime target for scout mechs by time the OpFor are taking notice from its presence. High speed and maneuverability are helping the Highwayman to avoid contact with heavier mechs and its tough hide of 7 tons of armor will help to survive a contact with lighter units. Very fast and light units will face themself on the recieving end of those twin medium ER Laser. Under these circumstances a capacity of 8 shots is not to small because the Highwayman will usually be forced to change position after firing once or twice with its main weapon. It also will retreat fast from battle for reloads. A certain specialty of the CASE system allows also a fast reload of ammunition.
Battle History: The Highwayman saw action first time during the battles of Tukayid wher it was able to destroy or cripple several Clan omnimechs from ambush positions. It was the only vehicle with nearly no casualty's. Due to its stealthy behavior the clans never found out what has hit them.
When WoB took over control on Terra the production of Highwayman Hoovertanks was already on hold due to a lack on missiles. Comstar does not produce Thunderbolt missiles and those in stock had been mostly used up on Tukayid. Safety procedures placed by ROM into the DataCore of Aldis Industries erased the data for producing the Highwayman. The Data are still available in copy for the Precentor Martialis but unless a new production line is established no new units will be made. Many Comstar units still have Highwayman Hoovertanks in stock but only those with access to the missiles can use them.
#2. "RE: 40 ton HWM-1 Highwayman Hoovertank" In response to Reply # 1 Wed Oct-04-06 01:38 AM by Jager
Now since you have reminded me.... I was wondering a bit why Thunderbolt missiles don't play a role in any kind of official or fan fiction. None of the more famous Battlemechs or Vehicles are equipped with Thunderbolts. They are equipment in the MC games and I have used them there. But the info for the board game is fishy. Sometime they are described as unguided. In other cases they are described as guided and praised for their accuracy but the guidance system is picking up after a minimum distance of 5 hexes (135 m). Anyway I was wondering how a vehicle that can explore the potential of such a weapon would look alike. I tried a Battlemech first but saw that such a machine would cost the double of a Hovercraft. I think that any kind of heavy (and expensiv) weapon makes sense only in a vehicle that is strong enough to protect it in battle, is quick enough to avoid close encounters and is able to support the fighting forces in the best possible way. Meanwhile I made a command vehicle version which is more Stygian alike (2xLRM5)with a C3 Master just because I think C3i wasn't available in 3050. It would certainly be a better force multiplier. Can't say more about the Stygian because I don't have that TRO. As far as I know the Stygian is faster but does not have this kind of electronics.
A mech in its bay is safe. But that's not what mechs are made for.
#3. "RE: 40 ton HWM-1 Highwayman Hoovertank" In response to Reply # 2
Thunderbolt missiles probably are avoided on the canon materials because they're "experimental" technology, being "Level 3" under the old schema. The first Thunderbolt missile as equipment was presented in the Mechwarrior adventure "Unbound" if I recall, which is set on Solaris post-Clan Invasion. The Unbound Thunderbolt was just a single missile, there were no variations like Thunderbolt-5, -10, etc.
It was again given coverage in The Tactical Handbook, which was a reference of optional rules and equipment, and the sequel to the Tac Handbook, Maximum Tech.