French Lafayette Multi-Purpose Power Armor:


At the same time that the United States was developing the SAMAS (Strategic Armor Military Assault Suit) power armor, the other major powers in the world were also attempting to develop light weight flying power armors. These groups included China, Germany, Japan, France, Israel, Russia, and the United Kingdom. Several smaller nations were working on flying power armor designs but lagged behind.


It was over 15 years after the Americans fielded the PA-04 SAMAS that the French successfully fielded their own flying power armor. The Lafayette is actually more similar to the American APA-15 Semper Fi than the PA-04 SAMAS. It is believed that some of the systems were obtained through French interests within the United States, but there was a significant amount of trade going on between the United States and France.


The Lafayette was the primary, and only, power armor used by the French armed forces throughout the Twenty-First Century. There was some thought of replacing the design with more advanced Triax power armor designs that were being introduced near the end of the century, but these plans were never accomplished because of the Great Cataclysm. Although many units survived the Great Cataclysm, almost all were lost in the battles that took place shortly afterward against the emerging Gargoyle Empire. Those few that are still in use today are used by traveling gypsy tribes or mercenary groups.


The reason that the Lafayette was so versatile was because of its modular design. The entire armored suit was designed to accomplish a number of tasks. Because the French government was funding so many different arms programs at once, there simply was not funding for several different power armor designs to full different rolls. The French armed forces required a ground assault armor (possible with amphibious capabilities), an airborne assault armor (like the American SAMAS and British Gypsy Moth), a stealthy reconnaissance armor (with advanced sensors and communications), and a multi-purpose space-based unit capable of assault, defense, and exploration (like the USA-PA-8 Space SAMAS). At first the engineers designing the armor tried to incorporate all of the requirements of the French military into a single static design. However, this impossibility became apparent very quickly in the design stage. Instead, the engineers began designing a sturdy, mobile power armor capable of being augmented with specific equipment packages to fulfill whatever role was required of it. This has lead many critics to believe that this "Jack of all trades, Master of none" mentality would produce an inferior power armor design that really would not be worth the money put into it. Within the first few years of its deployment, the Lafayette proved them wrong.


To overcome the concept that a modular armor system would not be sturdy enough of combat, the engineers designed the Lafayette to be a blur on the battle field. Although it was armored and powered by a small fusion reactor, it was not as heavily armored as either the American or British units. However, the Lafayette followed the course of French thinking of the time. The Lafayette was extremely fast and agile. Depending on its mission, several weapon, sensor, and communication systems were added to the armor. These systems were not easily installed and required several hours to attach and integrate into the suit. Though time consuming, this allowed the "modular" parts of the armor to be heavily integrated into the armor and made it tougher overall.


Three types of propulsion pack were created for the Lafayette power armor. The first was a flight pack manufactured by Rolls Royce. This unit was the same type used by the British Gypsy Moth. The lighter weight of the Lafayette gave it speed equal to the SAMAS and better maneuverability than the British power armor. The second was an underwater propulsion pack similar in nature to the one used by the American APA-15 Semper-Fi. The third propulsion unit was for use in space and consisted of two main jet thrusters that required no air to operate, so intakes are not needed. Attached to the either side of the thruster pack are two fuel tanks. The thruster pack also had a dozen small navigation thrusters for articulate maneuverability. Much of the design was stolen from the design of the USA-PA-8 Space SAMAS. In addition, both forearms were fitted with a universal collar that could accept several different equipment options, depending on its mission. Sensors were considered very advanced at the time of introduction but would be considered standard by Rifts Earth standards.


Listed is the formula to allow player and game masters to calculate the Power Armors velocity and distance traveled:


Model Type: Lafayette Power Armor
Class: Multi-Purpose Military Assault Suit
Crew: One


M.D.C. by Location:

Ammo Drum (rear):20
Machine-gun / Rail Gun / Laser Rifle:45
[1] Shoulder Wings (2):40 each
Flightpack Propulsion System:120
Underwater Propulsion System:110
Space Propulsion System:140
Forearm Modular Attachments (2, both arms):75
[2] Head:80
[3] Main Body:200


Notes:
[1] Destroying a wing will make flight impossible; however, even with no wing(s) the Lafayette can make jet powered leaps and hover in a stationary position above the ground.
[2] Destroying the head of the power armor will eliminate all forms of optical enhancement and other sensory systems. The pilot must then rely on his own human vision and senses. No power armor combat bonuses to strike, parry, and dodge. Note: The head is a small and difficult target to hit, requiring a called shot at -3 to strike.
[3] Depleting the M.D.C. of the main body will shut the unit down completely, rendering it useless.


Speed:
Running: 68.2 mph (110 kph) maximum. Note that the act of running does tire out its operator, but at 10% of the usual fatigue rate, due to the robot exoskeleton.
Leaping: The powerful robot legs can leap up to 19.6 ft (6 m) high or across unassisted by the thrusters. A jet thruster assisted leap can propel the unit up to 130 ft (40 m) high and 261 ft (80 m) across without actually attaining flight.
Flying, Atmosphere: With Flight Pack: The rocket propulsion system enables the Lafayette to hover in a stationary position up to 200 feet (61 m) or fly. Maximum flying speed is 341 mph (550 kph), but cruising speed is considered to be 186 mph (300 kph). Maximum normal altitude is limited to about 667 feet (200 meters) but can reach altitudes as high as 6,561 feet (2000 meters). The Lafayette operates primarily in nap of the earth flight.
Flying, Space: The power armor does not have an effective top speed but is limited by acceleration. The power armor can reach a top acceleration of 0.6 G.
Maximum Effective Range: With Flight Pack: The nuclear power system gives the Lafayette decades of life, but the jet rockets get hot and need to cool after a maximum of eight hours of flight when traveling at speeds above cruising, and sixteen hours at cruising speed, but can fly indefinitely with rest stops.
With Space Pack: Conditionally unlimited, while the fusion reactor gives power for two decades of service, when the power armor is using thrusters, it is limited by the power armor reaction mass. The reaction mass consists of mainly Deuterium (Hydrogen 2) and Helium 3. The power armor can be refueled at ground based facilities, space stations, and star ships as long as they have the refueling equipment. The tanks are on either side of the thrusters and can be replaced in two minutes each. The power armor carries 4 hours of reaction mass for travel at 0.6 G of acceleration. If the power armor uses more than half of its reaction mass when accelerating, the power armor will be unable to decelerate fully and the power armor will normally only use a third or less of its fuel on accelerating so it does not run into a problem. If the power armor runs out of fuel then it must be recovered by another vehicle traveling faster or be lost. The power armor can operate with engines on standby to increase engines range.
Underwater Capabilities: Swimming: The Lafayette can swim by using the same types of paddling leg and arm movements as a human at a maximum speed of roughly four mph (6.4 km/3.4 knots). It can also walk along the bottom of the sea at about 25% of its normal running speed.
With Flight Pack: Using the jet thrusters, the Lafayette can travel on the surface of water at 60 mph (96.6 kph/52 knots) or fly above the water surface an normal speeds.
With Underwater Thruster Pack: Using the water thrusters, the Lafayette can travel underwater at 74.5 mph (120 kph/64.6 knots)
Maximum Ocean Depth: 1,000 feet (305 meters).


Statistical Data
Height: 8 feet (2.4 meters)
Width: Wings down: 3.6 feet (1.1 meters) Wings extended: 11 feet (3.35 meters)
Length: 4.7 feet (1.4 meters)
Weight: 309 pounds (140 kg) without rail gun or other weaponry.
Physical Strength: Equal to a P.S. of 30.
Cargo: None.
Power System: Nuclear, with an average life of 20 years.
Market Cost: Not commonly available. When found on the black market will commonly cost around 1.2 million credits. Flight Pack would bring an additional 300,000 credits. Underwater thruster pack would cost 500,000 Credits. Space thruster pack would be 750,000 credits.


Weapon Systems:

  1. Modular, Interchangeable Forearm Units: Each arm can be equipped with a special weapon or tool. These units are interchangeable and tailored to the power armor's mission. Both units do not have to be of the same type, and most often are not to allow for diversity of tools and weapons in the field. It takes an hour to exchange one type of unit for another. The arrangement on the units on the forearms does not block the use of handheld weapons nor in any way impedes the power armor's dexterity. Available systems included the following:
    1. Vibro-Blade: This standard weapon uses a double edged saber like blade that is surrounded by a high frequency energy force field and extends from the forearm ½ meter.
      Maximum Effective Range: Close combat only (Hand to hand)
      Mega-Damage: Slash; 1D4, Punch; 1D6, or Power Punch; 2D4 [Counts as 2 attacks].
      Number of Attacks: Equal to number of combined hand to hand (Usually 5 or 6).
      Payload: Tied to power supply so duration is effectively unlimited.
    2. Mini-Missile Launcher: This mini-missile launcher is similar to those carried on the original American SAMAS. Each launcher carries two mini-missiles. Preferred mini-missiles are armor piercing and plasma. When the power armor is outfitted for underwater missions, the launchers carry mini torpedoes.
      Missile Type: Any mini-missile / mini-torpedo can be used.
      Maximum Effective Range: Varies with mini missile (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.) / mini-torpedo type (See revised Rifts torpedoes for details.)
      Mega-damage: Varies with mini missile (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.) / mini-torpedo type (See revised Rifts torpedoes for details.)
      Rate of Fire: Missiles can be fired singularly or in pairs.
      Payload: Two mini-missiles per forearm launcher
    3. . Spear Gun: Short-range pneumatic weapon that uses compressed gas for use underwater.
      Maximum Effective Range: 200 ft (61 m).
      Mega Damage: 2D6 S.D.C.
      Rate of Fire: One (1) spear at a time only.
      Payload: One, additional spears can be carried and loaded by hand.
    4. Single-Barreled Forearm Laser: Blue-green laser.
      Maximum Effective Range: 1200 feet (366 m)
      Mega-Damage: 2D6 MD.
      Rate of Fire: Equal to number of combined hand to hand
      Payload: effectively unlimited
    5. Double-Barreled Utility Laser: One barrel is a blue-green weapon laser. The second, smaller barrel is a precision laser tool that can be adjusted to inflict several different levels of damage.
      Maximum Effective Range: Blue-green Laser: 1200 feet (366 m), Precision laser tool: 20 feet (6 m) maximum
      Mega-Damage: Blue-green Laser: 2D6 MD, Precision laser tool: 1,2, or 1D6 MD or 4D6, 6D6, or 1D6x10 S.D.C.
      Rate of Fire: Equal to number of combined hand to hand
      Payload: effectively unlimited, tied to armor's fusion reactor
    6. Plasma Torch: A cutting tool that resembles a pistol. The large nozzle is the plasma torch. The second, smaller barrel is a precision laser tool that can be adjusted to inflict several different levels of damage. A light is built into the handle.
      Maximum Effective Range: Plasma Torch: 10 feet (3m) maximum; Precision laser tool: 20 feet (6 m) maximum
      Mega-Damage: Plasma Torch: 2D6 or 4D6 MD cutting power; Precision laser tool: 1,2, or 1D6 MD
      Rate of Fire: Equal to number of combined hand to hand
      Payload: effectively unlimited, tied to armor's fusion reactor
    7. Forearm Grapples (2): Used exclusively in space, this grapple is used for docking with vehicles that do not have landing bays and to grab items. The grapples top is specially designed so it also acts as a powerful electromagnet. The Grapple is fired at a target and can either use the claw to grab the target or the electromagnetic to attract the object if it is metal. The grapple has a breaking strain of 10 tons and the electromagnetic on each can support up to 1 ton of strain. The grapple is standard to all space units unless the mission calls for other units to be fitted.
      Maximum Effective Range: 164 feet (50 m)
      Mega Damage: None (S.D.C. Targets will take 1D4x10 S.D.C.)
      Rate of Fire: Once per two melees rounds
      Payload: 1 shot each but may be retracted an used again
  2. Hand Held/Arm Mounted Weaponry: In addition to listed weaponry, the power armor can use any hand-held weaponry. The hands of the power armor are small enough that hand held weapons can be used with no penalties. Ammunition drums for the railgun or grenade launcher are fitted to the back of the power armor below whatever propulsion unit is attached. Energy weapons have two power cables that attach to the power armor's nuclear power plant.
    1. FA 12.7 millimeter Machine-Gun: Uses Ram-Jet style rounds similar to those developed by Wellington after the coming of the Rifts. The rifle is constructed from lightweight alloys and is surprisingly effective for a conventional weapon although has a limited payload. It cannot be fired by a normal human without the use of a tripod.
      Weight: 76 lbs (34.5 kg) for Rifle and 210 lbs (95.3 kg) for ammo drum
      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
      Payload: 800 rounds (20 bursts).
    2. FA AA-66 Squad Automatic Pulse Laser Rifle With the Rail Gun, the pulse laser rifle replaces the heavy machinegun. Which weapon is carried depends on mission. The weapon has the advantage of not needing ammo but is shorter ranged. It is also much lighter weight than either the heavy machine-gun or the rail gun. The pulse laser rifle is normally carried when the power armor is used in underwater amphibious operations.
      Weight: 18 lbs (8.2 lbs)
      Maximum Effective Range: 2000 ft (610 meters) in atmosphere, 1500 ft (458 meters) underwater, and 16,000 ft (6,080 meters) in space
      Mega Damage: 2D6 per single shot, 6D6 for a rapid fire three shot burst, or use machine gun burst rules for higher burst setting.
      Rate of Fire: Single Shot, Three Round Burst, and Extended Bursts (Use Machine Gun burst rules).
      Payload: Effectively Unlimited when plugged into power armor's main power supply (40 shots short E-Clip, 50 Shots each long E-Clip if not plugged into the power armor)
    3. FA AA-131 Rail Gun: Basically this is a licensed copy of the American USA-M31 rail gun fitted to the PA-04A SAMS. The power armor computer has special software that fires the main thrusters just as the cannon is fired to compensate for the cannons recoil. This is the standard weapon for flight operations.
      Weight: 110 lbs (50 kg) for the Rail gun and 190 lbs (86.2 kg) for the ammo drum.
      Maximum Effective Range: 4,000 feet (1,200 m) in an earthlike atmosphere and 32,000 feet (9,600 meters) in space
      Mega-Damage: a burst of 40 rounds does 1D6x10, a single round does 1D4+1.
      Rate of Fire: Equal to number of combined hand to hand attacks (usually 4-6).
      Payload: 2000 round drum for 50 bursts. When reloading, the used drum must be manually removed by another power armor or character with a strength of 26 or higher before it can be replaced with the new one. Reloading a drum will take about five minutes for those not trained, but a mere one minute by somebody trained in the use of the Lafayette power armor.
      Special Features: Due to construction has +1 bonus to strike in atmosphere.
    4. Fusil Automatique FA-440 Automatic Grenade Launcher: Weapon is very similar to the American AGL-40 Automatic Grenade Launcher. This weapon was used in the Chevillon Light Tank as well as being used on tripod mounts and the Lafayette power armors. It can fire single shot or bursts of ten rounds and can inflict heavy damage when burst fired. If weapon is not tripod mounted, the person using the weapon needs strength of 24 and is at -1 to strike. The grenade launcher can use either a 40-round magazine or 200-round belt.
      Weight: 64 kg (141.1 lb). Each magazine weighs 2 kg (4.4 lbs) and each belt weighs 10 kg (22 lbs)
      Maximum Effective Range: 3,000 ft (914 meters)
      Mega-Damage: 3D6 for Fragmentation with a blast area of 12 ft and 5D6 for Armor Piercing with a blast area of 3 ft, burst of 10 rounds does 2D4x10 for Fragmentation with a blast area of 40 ft and 2D6x10 for Armor Piercing with a blast area of 8 ft. Other special rounds are available.
      Rate of Fire: Single Shot or Ten round bursts
      Payload: 40 Round Magazine or 200 Round Belt.
  3. Modular, Interchangeable Backpack Systems: Instead of a propulsion pack, the Lafayette power armor can be fitted with one of several optional backpack systems. These systems were initially purchased from the American Stoner Arms Manufacturing Company, but were modified to fit the Lafayette power armor and use the armors power system. Only one type of pack can be worn at a time with enhanced armor.
    1. Detachable Flight Pack: This unit was the same type used by the British Gypsy Moth. The lighter weight of the Lafayette gave it speed equal to the SAMAS and better maneuverability than the British power armor. The flight pack is locked onto the armor but has a special quick release system to be ditched quickly. In addition to flight pack, special thrusters are mounted in the boots of the armor.
      Flight Pack Weight: 55.1 lbs (25 kg)
      Maximum Speed: The rocket propulsion system enables the Lafayette to hover in a stationary position up to 200 feet (61 m) or fly. Maximum flying speed is 341 mph (550 kph), but cruising speed is considered to be 186 mph (300 kph). Maximum normal altitude is limited to about 667 feet (200 meters) but can reach altitudes as high as 6,561 feet (2000 meters).
      Maximum Effective Range: The nuclear power system gives the Lafayette decades of life, but the jet rockets get hot and need to cool after a maximum of eight hours of flight when traveling at speeds above cruising, and sixteen hours at cruising speed, but can fly indefinitely with rest stops.
      Cost: 60,000 Credits for flight pack
    2. Detachable Underwater Thruster Pack: An underwater propulsion pack similar in nature to the one used by the American APA-15 Semper-Fi. The flight pack is locked onto the armor but has a special quick release system to be ditched quickly. In addition to flight pack, special thrusters are mounted in the boots of the armor.
      Underwater Thruster Pack Weight: 55.1 lbs (25 kg)
      Maximum Speed: Using the water thrusters, the Lafayette can travel underwater at 74.5 mph (120 kph/64.6 knots)
      Maximum Effective Range: Unlimited.
      Cost: 70,000 Credits for flight pack.
    3. Detachable Space Pack: For use in space and consisted of two main jet thrusters that required no air to operate, so intakes are not needed. While the engines are powerful enough for some limited flight ability even in an atmosphere, the engines are far more efficient in space than in an atmosphere.
      Space Thruster Pack Weight: 77.2 lbs (35 kg)
      Maximum Speed: The power armor does not have an effective top speed but is limited by acceleration. The power armor can reach a top acceleration of 0.6 G
      Maximum Effective Range: Conditionally unlimited, while the fusion reactor gives power for two decades of service, when the power armor is using thrusters, it is limited by the power armor reaction mass. The reaction mass consists of mainly Deuterium (Hydrogen 2) and Helium 3. The power armor can be refueled at ground based facilities, space stations, and star ships as long as they have the refueling equipment. The tanks are on either side of the thrusters and can be replaced in two minutes each. The power armor carries 4 hours of reaction mass for travel at 0.6 G of acceleration. If the power armor uses more than half of its reaction mass when accelerating, the power armor will be unable to decelerate fully and the power armor will normally only use a third or less of its fuel on accelerating so it does not run into a problem. If the power armor runs out of fuel then it must be recovered by another vehicle traveling faster or be lost. The power armor can operate with engines on standby to increase engines range.
      Cost: 60,000 Credits for flight pack
    4. AA-2047 Detachable Mini-Missile Pack: Mini-Missile pack carries a total of ten mini-missiles and is controlled through linkages from the armor. The launcher is locked onto the armor, but has a special quick release system to be ditched quickly. The mini-missile launcher can be reloaded in 30 seconds with practice.
      Launcher Weight: 33.1 lbs (15 kg) empty and 52.9 lbs (24 kg) fully loaded with ten mini-missiles. Each mini- missile weigh about 2 lbs (0.9 kg)
      Maximum Effective Range: As per mini-missile type (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
      Mega Damage: As per mini-missile type (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
      Rate of Fire: Can fire mini-missiles one at a time or in volleys of two (2), four (4), or six (6) mini-missiles.
      Payload: 10 Mini-Missiles
      Penalties: -2 to dodge , -10% to prowl skill if on land
      Cost: 50,000 Credits for launcher
    5. Detachable Life Support Backpack: Addition tanks of atmosphere to increase amount of time the wearer can survive without a breathable atmosphere. Useful for underwater, toxic atmosphere, and space use. Gives an additional eight hours of atmosphere. Like other packs, this pack cannot be used with other packs. The Sensor and Communication pack is locked onto the armor but has a special quick release system to be ditched quickly.
      Life Support Pack Weight: 33.1 lbs (15 kg)
      Life Support Capacity: Gives an extra 8 hours of life support (20 hours with life support pack and internal capacity). Can be attached and detached while in hazardous atmosphere without interrupting life support.
      Penalties: -10% to prowl skill if on land, -10% speed if on land
      Cost: 15,000 Credits
  4. Camouflage Stealth System: Planned future system for the Lafayette power armor for ground operations for use by the Commandement des Opérations Spéciales ( French Special Operations Command, COS). System is similar to that on the British ER-7 Stealth Body Armor. Special systems causes the armor to blend into its surroundings with color and patterns. The suit works by blending into its surroundings by changing colors and patterns. When moving the system does not have the ability to change fast enough, so all that is achieved is a blurring of the outlines of the suit. This is slightly disconcerting for someone who watches this for the first time. While nowhere near as effective as the Naruni camouflage suit, it is still quite effective. The system was not fully developed and only a few dozen prototypes were known to exist at the time of the Great Cataclysm.
    Bonuses: -15% to other to detect ambush and detect concealment, +1 to Initiative, +5% to prowl skill, 30% even if no prowl skill if not moving, also reduces thermal signal by 40%.
    Cost: 200,000 Credits (Manufacturing Cost). If a Camouflage system was found, the cost would probably be worth over 2 million credits.
  5. Hand to Hand Combat: Rather than use a weapon, the pilot can engage in mega-damage hand-to-hand combat. See Power Armor Combat Training in the Robot Combat section.
    Special Bonuses/Penalties:
    • With Flight Pack: +1 to Initiative, +2 to Parry, +3 to Dodge, and +2 to roll with punch, fall, and impact while flying due to being lightweight and having excellent response times. -2 to Dodge on ground, -10% to prowl skill, -15% running speed if on land. These are in addition to other bonuses.
      With Underwater Thruster Pack: +1 to Initiative, +2 to Dodge, and +1 to roll with punch, fall, and impact while underwater due to special thrusters. -2 to Dodge on ground, -10% to prowl skill, -15% running speed if on land. These are in addition to other bonuses.
    • With Space Pack: +1 to Initiative, +4 to Dodge, and +2 to roll with punch, fall, and impact while in space due to small mass and having excellent response times. -2 to Dodge in an atmosphere. -2 to dodge on ground, -10% to prowl skill, -15% running speed if on land. These are in addition to other bonuses.



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Drawing by Talis D. Merrill (taalismn@pop.tiac.net).


By Kamikazi (kamikazi_gm@hotmail.com).

Minor Revisions by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).


Copyright © 2006, Kamikazi. All rights reserved.



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