Iron Heart Armament Iron Knight Self Propelled Howitzer:


Iron Heart Armament used the basic chassis of the Iron Fist light tank for a variety of different designs. These include the Iron Bolt missile launcher and the Iron Axe tank destroyer. While only produced in limited qualities, they also produced a self propelled howitzer based on the Iron First chassis. Most armies and mercenary companies prefer missiles over cannon style artillery. Still, the cannon style artillery has the advantage of payload in many cases and rounds are cheaper. The Iron Bolt carries a total of twelve long range missiles while the Iron Knight carries forty-five 155 mm artillery shells and has a special reloading system which allows the cannon to be fired while the cannon is still being fired. The howitzer is well liked with the mercenary companies who operate it but production has ceased with Iron Heart Armament being captured by the Coalition. Most parts which are used on the chassis of the Iron Fist light tank can also be used on the Iron Knight and so far parts are fairly available. Several other companies have started manufacturing rounds for the howitzer so there is no shortage of artillery rounds.


As previously listed, the Iron Knight shares the same frame and chassis as the Iron Fist. This allowed a large reduction in design and production. As well, the light tank frame makes for a good artillery platform. It also carries about the same amount of armor as the tank and can withstand a large amount of abuse. The engine and power train are also identical to those on the Iron Fist and the Iron Knight is available with a conventional power source, electrical propulsion powered by batteries, and by a small fusion reactor. Fusion reactors were not produced by Iron Heart Armament but were instead purchased from outside sources. About half of all Iron Knight howitzers which were produced used fusion reactors as their power supply. Conventional power source has a Gas Turbine engine because it can use a variety of different fuels and deals with fuel impurities better. While some source initially listed Iron Heart tanks as being gasoline fueled, all designs were in reality gas turbine powered. Weight of the self propelled howitzer is around 42 tons and the Iron Knight has a top speed of 55 mph on roads. The additional weight causes it to a slightly slower top speed than the Iron Fist but is equal to the Iron Bolt in speed. Electronics are identical to other Iron Heart designs and are limited compared to those carried on designs from other manufactures like Iron Armory and Northern Gun. Some crews have expressed a desire for better long range data link systems. A crew of five carried on the mobile artillery and the Iron Knight does not have space for any passengers.


The 155 mm howitzer is located in a large turret near the back of the chassis. It is believed that the designers at Iron Heart Armament purchased an old M109 Howitzer and used it as a basis for the main cannon. Even so, the howitzer is improved with a much greater rate of fire and a slightly extended range. Extended range and guided projectiles are available along with standard rounds. Unlike advanced Pre-Rifts artillery like the American Galahad and German Panzerhaubitze 2100, the cannon cannot fire high speed bursts. The Iron Knight has four feet which allow the vehicle to plant before firing artillery rounds. For self defense, the Iron Knight mounts a light laser near the front of the vehicle. Other than the main howitzer and the laser mount, the Iron Knight does not mount any weapons but also has smoke generators for self defense.


Model Type: IH-M8-H
Vehicle Type: Self Propelled Howitzer
Crew: Five (Driver, Gunner, two loaders and Commander).


M.D.C. by Location:

Forward-mounted Laser:25
Howitzer Turret:150
Howitzer Barrel:80
Support Feet (4)20 each
[1] Main Body450
Reinforced Crew Compartment (main body):100
[2] Track Treads (2):90 each


Notes:
[1] Depleting the M.D.C. from the main body will shut the tank down completely, rendering it useless.
[2] Depleting the M.D.C. of a tread will immobilize the tank until it is replaced: replacing a tread will take 1D6 X 10 minutes by a trained crew (2 replacements are carried aboard) this is only possible are the vehicle is not under attack at the time.


Speed:
Ground: 55 mph (88 kph); land only. 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%.
Maximum Effective Range: 400 miles (640 km) on conventional fuel or via electric motor before needing refueling; unlimited if nuclear (10 year life).


Statistical Data:
Height: 10.4 feet (3.2 meters)
Width: 10 feet (3.0 meters)
Length: 32 feet (9.8 meters)
Weight: 38.1 tons (33 metric tons) fully loaded
Cargo: Minimal storage space; about four feet (1.2 m) tor extra clothing, weapons, and personal items. Three Wilk's 447 laser rifles and two WI-23 missile launchers with five loads each are stored in a compartment behind the driver's seat.
Power System: Combustion, electric or nuclear fusion (10 year life span).
Black Market Cost: 3.5 million with combustion engine, 4.5 million for one with an electric motor, 23 million with nuclear engine (life-span of 10 years).


Weapon Systems:

  1. 155 mm /45 Caliber Howitzer: Very powerful and long range weapon that is capable of 360 degree rotation and the barrel can elevate up to 75 degrees and depress down 3 degrees. The Iron Knight must plant before firing its howitzer (takes one minute to set up). It fires standard artillery and is normally fired indirectly on the target but can be fired as direct fire if necessary. The cannon is partially automatic but uses a gunner so the gun fire will slow down eventually. The cannon uses modern Rifts artillery rounds and can use both non rocket assisted and rocket assisted rounds.
    Maximum Effective Range: 16.2 miles (26 km) for non rocket assisted and 23.6 miles (38 km) for rocket assisted projectiles.
    Mega-Damage: By artillery round type (Go to Battlefield Artillery for Rifts for details: Fragmentation 2D4x10, High Explosive 2D6x10, Armor Piercing 3D6x10, Plasma 4D6x10, and has a vast number of other type of rounds as well).
    Rate of Fire: Burst fire of 3 rounds in 15 seconds, 8 rounds per minute (2 per melee) for three minutes, 1 round per minute (4 melees) for 60 minutes, and 1 round per 3 minutes (12 melees) after that.
    Payload: 60 rounds but can be loaded from exterior to retain rate of fire.
  2. IH-34L Laser Turret (1): This weapon is mounted on the bow of the tank and can he fired by the driver or the tank destroyer's commander as a secondary weapon. The weapon consists of two laser cannons firing simultaneously at the same target. In vehicles without nuclear engines, the laser is powered by a rechargeable battery.
    Maximum Effective Range: 4,000 feet (1,200 meters)
    Mega-Damage: 6D6 M.D. per dual blast.
    Rate of Fire: Can shoot up to six times per melee.
    Payload: 1000 dual blasts if combustion or electrically powered. Unlimited if vehicle has a nuclear engine.
  3. Smoke/Gas Dispensers (2): A smoke/gas dispensing unit is attached to each side of the Light Tank. 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.
    Payload: 20 total; 10 charges each; typically all smoke.


Special Equipment:




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Writeup by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).


Copyright © 2003, Kitsune. All rights reserved.



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