British Vickers AS100 Braveheart II Self Propelled Howitzer:
The AS90 was originally developed as a private venture with the first prototype being completed in 1986. In 1989, the new artillery system entered the competition for replacement for the aging system that were then in service. While the United States retained their M109 Howitzers, Great Britain wanted an updated and more modern self propelled howitzer. Some features of the new system were heavier armor, a higher rate of fire, and better electronics including an advanced fire control computer. Unfortunately for the United States, the replacement for the M109 was canceled and the M109 Howitzers were asked to soldier on for far longer than expected. The AS90 Howitzer were later upgraded to 52 caliber from the original 39 caliber weapon giving it an extended range although rate of fire was still less than the German PzH 2000.
When the "Mega-Damage Revolution" as it is sometimes called swept the world, Great Britain, like most of the world found themselves in need of new armored designs taking advantage of the new materials. The Germans developed the PzH 2100 while the United States finally ordered a modified version of the Crusader gun systems which had been developed at the turn of the Twenty-First century. The British followed the example of other nations and developed a new mobile artillery system based on their AS90 system with the new designation of AS100. There was some consideration given to simply purchasing United States Crusader Gun Systems but it was decided to use an indigenous design. Other designs which the British military had developed from older designs include the Challenger III tank which was developed from the Challenger II design but mounted a 140 mm cannon in the place of a 120 mm cannon. While the new British self propelled howitzer was being developed, a number of AS90 were refitted with the new armor but they were retired as soon as the AS100 reached operational levels although some were sold to allied nations.
It was well known that both the American Crusader and the German PzH 2100 would use fuel cell systems and the Challenger III was planned with a fuel cell system as well. Fuel systems had developed to be extremely safe and efficient since their first introduction. As a result, they have a longer range than the original diesel fueled AS90. The transmission allowed for a slightly greater top speed but there was no considerable increase in top speed. Top speed on the AS100 was increased to around 60 kilometers per hour compared to around 55 kilometers per hour for the AS90. The AS100 was constructed of the new high strength composites and alloys coming into service at the time and was much better able to withstand damage than its predecessors although still not anywhere near as tough as the new Challenger III Tank. The main weaponry was unchanged from the Long Barreled 52 caliber version with the exception that it now use advanced ammunition types. The 155 mm used standard artillery rounds which were identical to those fired from other mobile artillery. The AS100 retains the same amount of ammunition as the AS90 with a total of forty-eight rounds. The AS100 is fitted with an auto-loader system to retain a high rate of fire and does not require stabilizing spades to fire. The original AS90 mounted a .50 caliber machinegun on the roof of the turret for use against attacking troops and against aircraft. This was retained on the AS100. In the American Crusader the weapon was later replaced by a liquid propellant weapon but the AS100 retained the old style machniegun. The British military had problems with liquid propellant weapons and the AS100, as a support vehicle, was not seen as a high priority. In addition to the machine gun, the AS100 mounts two mini-missile launchers on the sides of the turret. These were designed as an emergency self defense weapon. Like most combat designs, the AS100 mounted smoke grenade launchers.
The British military began developing a replacement for the AS100 which featured a fusion reactor instead of a fuel cell system and an electro-thermal howitzer in place of the standard howitzer. The design was canceled in the early stages and it was decided that the British military would adopt the Galahad self propelled. There was much disagreement with the decision to adopt an American system but it was much less expensive. The AS100 was put into reserve status as the American design came over in large numbers but the AS100 was still considered very useful and was retained. Due to the use of high tech alloys and composites, the self propelled howitzers were virtually immune to stress and environmental factors. As a result, most of the howitzers were still operational when the Rifts effective devastated the world. Some of these survived the coming of the Rifts including a few which have been recovered by mercenaries. While many mercenaries prefer missiles over conventional artillery, conventional artillery is far less expensive to operate even with extended range projectiles. Many of these owners have had the machine gun replaced by either a pulse energy weapon or by a rail gun. Other crews have replaced the fuel cell system with small fusion reactors which give the design virtually unlimited endurance.
Model Type: Vickers AS100 Braveheart II
Vehicle Type: Self Propelled Howitzer
Crew: Five (Driver, Gunner, two loaders and Commander).
M.D.C. by Location:
| Tractor Treads (2):||50 each|
| 12.7 mm Machine Gun (right side of turret):||20|
|Mini Missile Launchers (2, turret):||30 each|
|Smoke Dispenser (2):||20 each|
| Main Body:||300|
 Depleting the M.D.C. of a tread will immobilize the Howitzer until it is replaced. Replacing a tread will take 1D6x10 minutes by a trained crew (2 replacements are carried on board) or three times as long by the inexperienced. Changing the tread is only advisable when the vehicle is not under attack.
 These are small and difficult targets to strike, requiring the attacker to make a "called shot," but even then the attacker is -4 to strike.
 If all the M.D.C. of the main body is depleted, the vehicle is completely shut down and is unsalvageable.
Ground: Cruising speed on land is 37.3 mph (60 kph) on roads and 28 mph (45 kph) off road maximum. 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 Range: 310 miles (500 km)
Height: 9.84 feet (3.0 meters) to top of turret.
Width: 11.15 feet (3.4 meters)
Length: 23.62 feet (7.2 meters) for main body and 36.75 feet (11.2 meters) with gun forward
Weight: 52.9 tons (48 metric tons) combat loaded
Power Source: Fuel Cell System
Cargo Capacity: Minimal storage space in pilots compartment; about three feet (0.9 m) in side dimensions for extra clothing, weapons, and personal items. Three carbines and one hand-held missile launcher with four loads each are stored in a compartment in the crew compartment.
Black Market Cost: 3 million credits to build. The mobile artillery usually double to triple that to buy one today. If fitted, any extra weapons systems will add to the cost of the tank.
- 155/52 caliber Howitzer: Very powerful and long range weapon that is capable of 360 degree rotation. The AS100 does not need to plant before firing its howitzer and can fire virtually immediately. It fires standard artillery shells and is normally fired indirectly on the target but can be fired as direct fire if necessary. The cannon is loaded by a automatic shell loading device, which is fed from a onboard magazine. The magazine is fully automated and keeps stock of the amount and type of rounds still available. It can switch between rounds at will. While the cannon is original, it uses modern Rifts artillery rounds and can use both non rocket assisted and rocket assisted rounds.
- 12.7 millimeter Machine gun: Located outside of self propelled howitzer. The gunner (The commander) must be outside of the turret of the Howitzer and be exposed to fire when using the machine gun. The machine gun's main purpose is against attacking aircraft but is also useful against infantry. Special Ram-Jet style rounds, similar to those developed by Wellington after the coming of the Rifts, were developed for the weapon in an attempt to keep the weapon effective.
- Mini Missile Launchers (2): One is mounted on either side of the turret. These look suspiciously like smoke grenade launchers, but the canisters are really mini missiles. These missiles are supposed to be used to protect the AS100 from enemy missiles, and as such fragmentation warheads are standard issue. Enterprising crews have been known to switch some or all of the fragmentation rounds for AP or Plasma rounds, giving the tank a considerably enhanced anti armor punch at the expense of defensive capability.
- Smoke Dispenser (2): Mounted on either side of the self propelled howitzer and launches smoke grenades. Some testing has been done using prismatic aerosol grenades to reduce the effect of lasers against the tank. As well, tear gas grenades can be used for special purposes.
Maximum Effective Range: 18.6 miles (30 km) for non rocket assisted and 24.9 miles (40 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 4 rounds in 15 seconds, 8 rounds per minute (2 per melee) for five minutes, 2 round per minute (2 melees) indefinitely. Payload: 48 rounds but can be loaded from exterior to retain rate of fire.
Maximum Effective Range: 3,000 feet (914.4 meters)
Mega Damage: Single shot does 1D4 and 40 round burst does 5D6.
Rate of Fire: Equal to combined hand to hand attacks of gunner (commander).
Payload: 1,000 rounds (25 bursts).
Maximum Effective Range: Varies with missile types, mini-missiles only (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
Mega-Damage: Varies with missile types, mini missiles only (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
Rate of Fire: Can fire missiles one at a time or in volleys of two (2), four (4), or six (6) missiles.
Payload: each launcher carries 6 mini-missiles for a total of 12 Mini-missiles.
Effect: Creates a cloud of smoke 40 ft (12 m) in diameter (see other grenades for their effects)
Maximum Effective Range: 1,200 feet (365 m)
Rate of Fire: Two per melee.
Payload: Carries 6 smoke grenades per launcher (12 grenades total).
- NBC Protection: While not full life support, the Armored vehicle is equipped with protection for the crew from most gas, radiation, and biological attacks.
- Datalink transmitters: A powerful battlefield management communications system. Allows the howitzer to use targeting data from scout vehicles for firing the artillery rounds, and to provide targeting data to other vehicles. Bonus varies on the quality of the data being provided, but all data would allow the tank to fire over obstacles if the scout vehicle is in the right position. The normal effective battlefield range is 20 miles (32 km).
- Combat Computer: Gives +2 bonus when targeting with main gun
- Nightvision Optics: Range: 2,000 ft (609 m). Uses light amplification to make a picture. Emits no light but will not work in absolute darkness. System can be dazzled by sudden bright lights but does not physically blind the pilot.
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Writeup by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).
Copyright © 2004, Kitsune. All rights reserved.