Merkava Industries Masada class Battle Barge / Star Fortress:


The United Israeli Planets is a relatively fair sized minor power, with nineteen systems that contain habitable planets, a former member of the Human Alliance that left the Human Alliance when it became part of the CCW.


They had historically only joined the Human Alliance because of the need to defend against the Trans-Galactic Empire, and when the CCW was formed, the bulk of it between the UIP and the TGE, the United Israeli Planets, traditionally highly reclusive, chose to pull out of the Human Alliance and hence the CCW, believing the bulk of the far more tempting target would protect them from attack. They were wrong, though it has protected them from being conquered, after a fashion.


The UIP is renowned for a small but highly effective defensive force, and appears to be descended in some obscure way from the state of Israel on one Earth or another in the Megaverse.


They have stayed free of the Trans-Galactic Empire by being very far in the Corkscrew Galaxy from the TGE, though even distance hasn't stopped no less than eight full-scale invasions by the TGE against the United Israeli Planets.


Every single one failed miserably, as the TGE simply couldn't devote the resources to a campaign to crush the small star nation so far from it's borders while dealing with other, more major threats and targets and at the same time increasing internal unrest.


Ties between the UIP and the Human Alliance have strengthened over time again, with numerous trade agreements, and if the CCW does collapse as some predict it will, the UIP will almost undoubtably rejoin the Human Alliance, as it cannot survive on it's own without the bulk of a united CCW between it and such threats as the TGE and now the Dartrok.


Though their fleet consists largely of castoffs from the major powers and the core of old HAN vessels, their defensive platforms and fighters/power armors are some of the best available.


Though their fighters and power armors are not available in the Three Galaxies openly, Merkava Industries, a principle arms manufacturer for the UIP, is famous for it's excellent asteroid bases and orbital defense platforms, usually built to custom specifications for it's customers.


Merkava Industries, unlike the government owned Starfighter/Power Armor manufacturers, does convert asteroids and build orbital defense platforms for virtually anyone with the money, the exception being the TGE. The UIP largely ignores the activities of Merkava Industries unless it appears to be directly threatening the UIP, as it provides an important source of revenue and is a major employer of citizens.


However, they also recently delved into the field of starship repair and modification, agreeing to a major contract; The complete rebuilding of the Free Worlds' Council ship Hopebringer, the Kreeghor Doombringer class Dreadnought the FWC had captured. In addition to fully repairing it's initially believed permanent hull damage and giving the ship a full overhaul in record time, numerous other modifications were incorporated, mainly in the area of improved missile armament, automation, some armor, and engines.


As part of the payment, the FWC allowed Merkava industries to copy the designs for the shield generator and Horn Laser Cannons of the Hopebringer.


Roughly a year later, the first of the Masada class "Battlebarges" was unveiled and put up for sale to the public. This was a rush job of a ship, completing the monstrous vessel, and then offering it for sale, though several governments have expressed interest in it.


Following on it's heels is a Cruise Missile Variant, of which a Masada can be modularly converted into quite easily (By replacing the turrets), and an "Air Defense Cruiser", along with a so-called "Spinal-Mount Cannon Cruiser," a design which is believed to be a minimalist platform for a single Horn Laser. The later two designs still have their prototypes building, and the CMV already has turrets available, which can easily be switched into the Masada for demonstrations.


The Masada class Battlebarge is a unique unit in terms of design and intent; With the fastest contra-gravity FTL drive possible, it still has a painfully, ridiculously slow sublight contra-gravity drive. Uniquely, the two are separate drives, though this saves money with a ship with such a slow acceleration, while, if it had a faster sublight acceleration, it would be more expensive to have dual drives (Most ships have the same basic unit for FTL and sublight speeds). However, with such slow sublight speeds compared with the FTL speeds, the dual drives are a better option, and cheaper.


The reason for this is to cut down on cost and size. The energy of this massive vessel is devoted towards powering no less than FOUR Horn Laser Cannon of the type of which a Doombringer carries two.


Basically a saucer 800 meters in diameter, with a forward wedge extending out 100 more meters, and an aft engine block extending out another 100 meters, and two turrets, each 100 meters high, mounted in the center of the saucer, ventral and dorsal, the design is menacing if purely functional.


Combined with separate reactors, the turrets are incredible marvels, and these Horn Cannons can fire just as fast as the ones on a Doombringer; With double the cannons, this makes the Masada an impressive foe against anything that enters range.


Alternatively, the Cruise Missile Variant of the Masada can have two HUGE cruise missile box launchers, heavily armored, in place of each turret, for massive salvoes of Cruise Missiles.


Finally, one turret can be a Cruise missile turret, while another could be a Horn Laser turret. The modular nature of the design allows this.


The Battlebarge has shielding equal to a Kreeghor Dreadnought, and though the hull is inferior to a Protector class Battleship, it's only by size, and then not by much.


The Masada class also totally lacks in onboard craft; It simply has none, and is totally reliant on docking tubes for personnel/cargo transfer.


For point defense, twelve pulse lasers are mounted for close-in work, while for the primary work, twelve launchers for Medium Range Missiles are carried.


These are the only other weapons systems carried by the Masada class Battlebarge.


Because of the slow acceleration, lack of carried craft, and lack of many secondary weapons, the Masada class seems like a waste of money. However, it's far from that.


First of all, the principle intention of the Masada class Battlebarge is not to fight in a naval battle. Rather, it is essentially the ultimate expression of the defensive platform: The mobile defensive platform. For small governments with multiple systems that can't afford sufficient platforms for all of them, a Masada class Battlebarge is an ideal solution.


With it's very high FTL speed for a craft of it's size, it can quickly transit between systems, then set it's self up in orbit as a mobile fortress of sorts, it's awesome shielding and batteries of either lasers or cruise missiles, and compartmentalized design allowing it to function as an orbital defense station and repel a massive invasion force.


Likewise, it can also be used as the core of a massive invasion force, or even a relatively small one, as long as it can provide defense from enemy light ships, to pummel enemy defensive platforms and ground installations down to fine dust with the four massive cannons of it's main battery, or the huge hordes of cruise missiles it can launch.


It can also be used to essentially stake a claim to systems, etc, by moving in and settling down, acting as a covering station for mining and colonization activities until funds for a fixed defensive platform for that system can be appropriated and such a platform built there.


Finally, it appeals to the need of some dictators and some governments to have a "Battleship" sized vessel to show off in starship parades when they cannot afford a true Battleship and a Pocket Battleship simply won't cut it; Image can be everything, both with yourself, and as an intimidation factor against some enemies.


Properly supported by planet-based fighters, power armors, and attack craft, or those from nearby platforms or ships, the Masada class Battlebarge is the ultimate in defensive or planetary bombardment technology.


When used in it's designed role, it can be an excellent craft, but taking it into a starship to starship battle is not advisable.


In a sense, it is rather like later, Great War era versions of the "Monitor" concept. Instead of the non-FTL capable Monitors popularized in the Three Galaxies, which are based on the coastal defense concept of the original Monitor, the Masada class is like the World War One Monitors of the Terror class, intended both for coastal defense AND Shore Bombardment, or, more precisely, planetary bombardment in this space-setting.


The orders that have come in so far have largely been for Battlebarges with Turret Option three, meaning one turret of each type, allowing for the greatest flexibility.


This starship design uses modified starship speed and ranges. See Revised Starship Rules for Phase World for more details.


Model: Merkava Industries Masada class Battlebarge.
Class: Heavy Bombardment Platform with modular turret options.
Crew: 1,800 (200 Officers, 1,600 enlisted)
Troops: 200 marines for shipboard defense.


Vehicle, Robots, and Power Armors:
Absolutely none. Docking tubes are used for transferring supplies and personnel aboard from shuttles or transports, but none can be accommodated onboard, nor any fighters or power armors.


M.D.C. By Location:

[1] Twin Laser Super Heavy Turrets (2 - optional):100,000 each
Main Horn Laser Cannons (Two per laser turret):6,000 each
Cruise Missile Super Heavy Turrets (2 - optional):80,000 each
Cruise Missile Batteries (Twelve each missile turret):800 each
Point-Defense Pulse Laser Turrets (12):300 each
Medium Range Missile Launchers (12):800 each
[2] Forward Wedge Section:100,000
[3] Main Engine Section:100,000
[4] Main Body:200,000
[5] Variable Force Field:15,000 a side (90,000 Total)


Notes:
[1] These massive turrets have their own power cores and are totally self-contained. Even if the rest of the ship is basically destroyed, the turrets can continue to fire, either missiles or lasers, depending on type, until the main body section of the ship catastrophically explodes. Only the destruction of the actual turret or the catastrophic explosion of the main hull will take these turrets out of action. If the main hull is depleted and wrecked, they will also have their own backup sensors for targeting, at 25% of standard, or, if the engine section or forward section is still intact, those sensors can be used by the turrets.
[2] Destroying this forward wedge section destroys the main bridge, two of the medium range missile launchers, and two of the Point-Defense Pulse Laser Turrets. Destroying the main bridge means that control is transferred to either primary control in the main body or engineering in the aft engineering section, with no penalties, however. It also forces the sensors to be switched to the backups in the after section, but again with no penalties.
[3] Destroying the engine section takes out engineering, and if the forward wedge is also destroyed, forces control to be transferred to central control, though still at no penalties for piloting/fighting the Battle barge. With the engine section destroyed, the sublight and FTL engines are destroyed, but the Battle barge is still capable of carrying on the fight, as each turret is independently powered with it's own integral reactor. If both the forward wedge and the engineering section are destroyed, then the main body has backup sensors at 25% of the normal capacity of the main sensors. The central control station can operate the Battle barge with no penalties. Destroying the engineering section also takes out two of the Point Defense Pulse Lasers and two of the Medium Range missile launchers.
[5] Depleting the M.D.C. of the main body leaves the Battle barge a floating wreck in space; However, because each turret is fully self-contained and has it's own power source, the turrets can continue to fight until they are destroyed, unless the main body is depleted by -20,000 M.D.C., at which time it would explode violently enough to take the turrets with it. The eight pulse laser turrets on the main body would cease to function if the main body's M.D.C. is depleted.
[6] Shields positions can be varied and all could be combined in one shield. Shields regenerate at the rate of 5% (4,500 M.D.C.) per melee round.


Speed:
Driving on the Ground: Not Possible.
Sublight: Has a special sublight engine that allows the ship to travel up to 60 percent of the speed of light. Battlebarge can accelerate/decelerate at the rate of 0.1 percent of light per melee.
Atmospheric Propulsion: It is impossible for the Battlebarge to enter the atmosphere of any planet; If it attempted to do so, it would break up and be destroyed.
Stardrive: Uses a Gravitonic Drive system that allows the ship to reach a maximum of 6.5 light-years per hour.
Maximum Range: Effectively Unlimited by either Drive system. Carries about a month of supplies onboard.


Statistical Data:
Length: 3,280.8 feet (1,000 meters) overall for all hull sections not counting horn laser cannon barrels.
Main Hull Diameter: The main hull is a saucer 2,624.7 feet (800 meters) in diameter.
Height: 656.2 feet (200 meters) for the main hull, 328.1 feet (100 meters) for each turret, 1,312.3 feet (400 meters) overall.
Width: 2,624.7 feet (800 meters) at widest point; diameter of saucer.
Weight/Mass: 22 million tons (20 million metric tons).
Power System: Anti-Matter with a 25 year life span. The Battlebarge is designed to go only 5 years between refueling and refitting.
Cargo: Cargo holds are at a bare minimum. Each enlisted crew member has a small locker for personal items and uniforms. ship’s officers have more space for personal items.
Market Cost: 30 billion credits for sale; Production cost less than 25 billion credits (Exact production cost is not revealed by Merkava Industries). This cost is the same for the Cruise Missile Variant. Turrets from the two are interchangeable. Individual turrets without the Battlebarges are not yet available, though plans to sell a set of two turrets of each type with the Battlebarge, for increased cost, are in the works.


WEAPON SYSTEMS:

  1. Modular Main Turrets: These are the massive mounts for the modular main turrets of the Masada class Battle barge. The star ship can mount two laser mounts or two cruise missile launchers. As a n additional option, one turret of each type can be mounted, instead of two of each. This will probably become the standard version of the Masada, as it presents the most options for the user of the Battlebarge. The prototype may be refitted as such; Changing turrets only takes a little over two standard days in the proper facilities, anyway.
    1. Super Heavy Horn Laser Turrets (2): These massive weapons are direct copies of the ones used on the Kreeghor Doombringer class; However, they have a greater available power source, allowing the same rate of fire to be maintained with twice the number of guns. They are copied off the design specifications for the Hopebringer as part of the rebuild agreement between Merkava Industries and the Free Worlds Council. There are two mounted in each of the massive turrets on the Masada class Battlebarges. The two turrets allow at least two guns to bear on any target in any direction. The turrets have their own reactors and self-contained power supplies so that they can continue to operate even when the entire rest of the ship has been wrecked.
      Maximum Effective Range: 120,000 miles (192,000) in space and 120 miles (192,000 km) in atmosphere.
      Mega Damage: 4D4x1000 per single gun, or 8D4x1000 for both guns in a turret. The two turrets CANNOT fire-link, only the two guns of each individual turret.
      Rate of Fire: Maximum of one (1) time per melee per Horn Laser, or per turret when fire linked.
      Payload: Effectively Unlimited.
    2. Cruise Missile Battery Turrets: The Battle barge can carry two huge turrets, each of which has 12 Cruise Missile launchers with a vast array of reloads carried. These turrets are rather more vulnerable than the gun turrets, but still very hard to knock out. The missiles themselves are standard Cruise Missiles. Missiles have a top speed of Mach 25 in an atmosphere and in space has an acceleration of 10% of light per turn (far faster than any starship) in space. Whether weapons can be shot down is calculated from the speed of target, launcher, and missile. When drive goes dead, missile will continue to travel in a straight line unless set to self destruct but has very low odds of hitting other starships (Great for hitting bases and planets because target does not move and missile when dead at -25% to detect.) Cruise missiles have minuses to hit small targets but are all considered smart missiles. Each battery can be used to launch against multiple targets but is rarely used that way; Instead, the massive twelve launcher battery of one turret is usually focused at a single ship for an awesome salvo that can annihilate virtually any ship in the stars.
      Maximum Effective Range: Cruise Missile range is 8,000 miles (12,875 km) in an atmosphere and 4,000,000 miles (6,437,376 km/ 21.5 light seconds)
      Mega-Damage & Properties: See Phase World Missile Chart (See revised Phase World Missiles for details.)
      Rate of Fire: Volleys of 4, 8, or 16 cruise missiles per launcher, per melee round, for a total of 384 missiles per melee. After a volley, the half of the missiles stored ready that are used up can be reloaded in the next round, meaning, that with 32 ready missiles, a constant rate of fire of 16 cruise missiles per melee round can be sustained.
      Payload: 8,448 cruise missiles total, 4,224 cruise missiles per turret, with 32 cruise missiles in each launcher ready to fire, and ten reload groups of 32 each, for a total of 352 missiles per launcher.
      Special Notes: Reloading a turret is a VERY complicated process, and it takes 24 hours, one day, to fully reload a turret with cruise missiles, though both turrets can be reloaded simultaneously. This means that after the missiles have been expended, the Battlebarge is essentially out of the fight for a whole day. This cruise missile option on the Battlebarge is potentially devastating, but of limited use once the missiles are exhausted.
  2. Medium Range Missile Launchers (12): Weapons system is used for hitting enemy robots, fighters, and against incoming cruise missiles. Like other Phase world systems, weapon system range and speed has been greatly increased compared to Rifts Earth systems. Missile has a top speed of Mach 15 in an atmosphere and in space has an acceleration of 6% of light per turn. Launchers can launch on multiple targets each at the same time.
    Maximum Effective Range: Medium Range Missile range is 160 miles (257.5 km) in an atmosphere and 80,000 miles (128,750 km/0.43 light seconds)
    Mega-Damage: Varies with medium range missile type (See revised Phase World missile tables for details.)
    Rate of Fire: Can fire missiles one at a time or in volleys of 4, 8, or 16 missiles per launcher, for a total of 192 missiles per melee round from all launchers.
    Payload: 320 per launcher for a total of 3,840 medium range missiles split between the 12 launchers.
    Notes: Reloading, because of the heavily armored areas these launchers are in, requires one day per launcher, as it is an exceptionally complex process and requires the partial removal of the launcher, just like the cruise missiles on the cruise missile turrets, though all can be done simultaneously. No reloads are carried onboard nor could they. There isn't enough room.
  3. Twelve (12) Pulse Laser Turrets: These pulse laser turrets are the emergency close-in defense of the Battle barge against fighters and incoming missiles that the Medium Range Missiles cannot intercept.
    Maximum Effective Range: 2,240 miles (3,600 km) in space and 2.2 miles (3.6 km) in an atmosphere.
    Mega Damage: 3D6x10 for a three pulse burst from one laser; lasers can only fire three pulse bursts.
    Rate of Fire: 6 three pulse bursts per melee round per laser turret.
    Payload: Effectively Unlimited.
    Note: These are standard lasers, and suffer from all the penalties of laser resistance armor, spells, beings, prismatic aerosol clouds, etc.
    Bonus: +3 to strike all targets.




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Initial Writeup by Marina O'Leary (LusankyaN@aol.com ).


Minor reformatting and revisions by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).


Copyright © 2001, Marina O'Leary. All rights reserved.



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