|Manufacturer||Pinard Protectorates Limited; Perdition, Sterope|
|Armor||5.5 tons Standard|
|Speed||106kph cruise, 162kph flank (10/15)|
|BV (1.0)|| V1 480
After the Fourth Succession War The TDF took steps to upgrade its forces, one of which was to provide secondary militias with enough quality units to allow frontline troops to be removed and concentrated. This step was a bid from the Quartermaster's office for a swift durable light tank. Though not even in business a decade, Pinard Protectorates Limited saw an opportunity to turn a little loved relic into a cash cow. By taking the ancient J. Edgar and reducing the engine size and removing the turret, PPL designers were able to free up mass to revamp the weapons. Several tweeks and adjustments had the massive armor reduced slightly as well. Taking the Medieval French name for muskets, PPL submitted the CUL-N1 Culverin for the Quartermaster's consideration. The Comptrollers were vastly impressed by the high speed and heavy hitting power. However, the tank was simply too expensive for the secondary role the bid called for, and so was rejected in favor of Vandenberg Mechanized Industries 's Dirk.
PPL was not, however, left empty handed. The Ministry of Defense informed PPL that their design had exceeded the original bid, but the TDF was now offering PPL the opportunity to improve the design for frontline service and contract. The specifications called for improvements in communications and electronic systems. Back at the drawing board the design team took a radical step in not only overhauling the electronics, but created a whole new variant before even getting a contract for the first model. The CUL-V1 would be the same as the N1, but when paired with the V2 model, they opened up the eyes of the Quartermaster inspection teams and, most importantly, their checkbooks. Contracts for both models as well as funds to upgrade and heavily expand PPL's assembly lines on Perdition were signed by the end of 3030 and the first Culverins roared into service less than a year later.
The Culverin was one of the vehicles Jeffrey Calderon specifically intended to share as part of his attempt to integrate the Periphery nations. Several Comptrollers did not want what was to them the pride of the TDF's ground forces being handed out to potentially slippery allies (i.e. the Magistracy of Canopus). Thus, under the cover of 'expansion' delays and 'lost' orders they were able to slow the spread of the Culverin outside of the Concordat for nearly a year. The Protector finally caught wind of the foot-dragging and had a face to face meeting that provided ample proof to all that he WAS the Protector and they WILL obey his policies, or their resignations will be forthcoming. A month later the MAF took delivery of its first fresh battalion of Culverins in nearly 15 years. To make up for the stalling tactics, The Protector also offered assistance with re-tooling factories on Canopus IV and Alpheratz so as to asure his allies they could have as many Culverins as they might need.
The first model Culverin (V1) was armed with only a forward mounted Donal PPC. Rugged and swifter than most hovertanks of the 3030's and '40's, The V1 could close rapidly, strike hard and survive any scattered return fire. The broad range of the PPC gave it excellent command of the battlefield. The Donal did have problems acquiring lock on targets inside 90 meters, but the speed of the V1 allowed its crews to dictate the range of engagements most of the time. The V2 model carries even more firepower at the expense of range. With 3 Diverse Optics Type 18 Medium Lasers AND a Harvester 20K SRM-6 forward the V2 is a truly superior ambush tank that can cripple or kill many light and even medium Mechs with a single barrage. Tactical doctrine usally places one lance of V1's to strike and sieze the attackers attention forward while a lance of V2's maneuver to get a shot at the rear of the enemy formation. Concentration of fire is drilled into each lance and their crews.
By 3040 the Culverin had replaced the various Harasser, Saladin and Scimitar hovertanks in the TDF line forces. Many small formations have been created within planetary garrisons. Thomas Calderon briefly allowed Pinard Protectorates Limited to sell V1's to the MAF, but eventually rescinded that order. The Capellan Confederation was given permission in 3048 to purchase Culverins in exchange for technical assistance and aid restoring the Taurian Concordat's battered Mech production lines. Several Mercenary units have made both small and large purchases of Culverins. Jeffrey Calderon heavily promoted expanded sales much to PPL's delight, and has generated interest in buyers from as far away as the Draconis Combine and Chaos March for the design.
After Jeffrey Calderon ordered the TDF to finally share the Culverin, variants abounded. Unlike the smaller Dirk, the Culverin was built to handle ammunition bays and had a much roomier weapon bay to work with. By 3060 there are two major factory modification in addition to the first 2 models, and two common field upgrades in service to the Periphery armies and other forces. There are many other less (and more) sophisticated 'caliber' of Culverin scattered thinly among the armies of 3060.
- CUL-V3-OA: The first factory modification, the V3-OA is produced by the Outworlds Alliance at Alpheratz and drops the V1's PPC and 2 tons of armor to mount a TharHes Reacher 15 LRM-15 with 2 tons of ammunition. But even with the switch to Ferro-Fibrous the 3.5 tons of armor is very thin. It is used as high speed ground support to the Alliance Military Corps's ASF squadrons. Many of the crews/drivers are often given a chance to become ASF pilots because of the high G maneuvers the V3-OA undergoes.
- CUL-V3-EW: The second factory mod, the V3-EW is an electronic warfare platform that utilizes the V2 frame. The design is produced on Perdition for the Taurian Defense Forces exclusively with the assistance of the Capellan Confederation in the form of technicians from Ceres Metals Industries. Carrying both a Beagle Probe and Guardian ECM Suite linked to a set of TAG the V3-EW is the TDF's premier scout/spotter. A pair of Ceres Arms ER Medium Lasers sit aside paired Rocket Launcher 10's mounted forward to complete the weapon load out.
- CUL-V1-L: A very common field upgrade seen throughout the Magistracy of Canopus, Capellan Confederation and even into Marik line forces, this variant simply replaces the Donal PPC with whichever ER Large Laser is popular, using the extra free weight to mount 2 more heat sinks. This variant has no problems with pointblank ranges and can snipe targets across huge distances.
- CUL-V2-P: Seeing more infantry attacks of various equipment levels from stone throwing mobs to full up Battle Armor units, various forces in and around the Chaos March take a V2 frame and mount 2 Medium Pulse Lasers and 1 Flamer forward with a Machine Gun on both left and right sides. CASE protects the two ammo bins. The 5 tons of armor is upgraded to Ferro-Fibrous. Ceres Metals Industries has expressed an interest in licensing this variant for factory production.
- The CUL-N1 prototype was essentially the same as the V1, but had a more primitive electronics suite and a less advanced comms system. All four N1's were striped out and the frames/drives used in V1 models.
A Deeppockets Production/Imagination