|Mission||Cavalry/Local Air Support|
|Crew||3 (2 enlisted, 1 gunner)|
Named for a predator on Johnson-Aldis' homeworld of Thorin, the Thorizer was an ambitious hybrid between a jet and a hovercraft, intended to provide additional air cover in a pinch. The craft was built in response to a very real need of the Terran Hegemony at the time; while they had large numbers of hovercraft, they were sorely lacking in the area of Aerospace fighter support. The premise of a vehicle that could fulfill both roles, and even switch between roles during operations, was intriguing to HAF officials, and they agreed to back the project.
To allow for the change between hover and flight modes, the Thorizer utilized a unique chassis that allowed it to deploy wings and a landing gear for flight use, as well as collapse them for ground use. The mechanisms necessary to make the transformation work took up a large amount of the vehicle's mass, leaving enough room for only one main centerline weapon. Instead, Johnson-Aldis chose to use an array of smaller weapons to cover the front and rear arcs of the craft. Despite the lacking armament, Johnson-Aldis was confident that the armament in the prototypes could be rectified after further testing to streamline and lighten the transformation system.
As it turned out, the armament was only one of the Thorizer's many problems. During the maiden test flight, observers were puzzled as to why the pilot was being so conservative with the thrusters, as the craft seemed to be having trouble leaving the ground, and its fastest maneuvers were no better than those of the most sluggish Hegemony fighters. Debriefing revealed that the pilot was, in fact, pushing the craft to its limits, and that the engines fell far short of their projected output. Further testing determined that the acceleration issue was a part of the basic design, inherent to the trade-off between the Thorizer's two modes of transport.
Despite the prototype's lack of maneuverability, the Hegemony Armed Forces purchased the initial production run to bolster their lacking Aerospace assets. What they got was a craft that was nearly useless in the air thanks to a sluggish top speed and a tendency to stall. After several crashes resulting in the deaths of crew, the Hegemony disabled the flight transformation equipment and converted the fuel tanks to cargo stores. These units were distributed to reserve forces, where it quickly earned the nickname of "Gooney Bird" from its crews. The Thorizer survived only two decades in reserve forces before being sold for scrap.
Weapons and Equipment
The equipment needed for the transformation between the two modes of transport severely limited the weight of the weaponry that was feasible for the Thorizer, resulting in it carrying a mere three SRM-2 launchers, one of which is rear-mounted. Since the craft was never intended to be used in the air for long periods of time, only three and a half tons of reaction mass were added for fuel. This left only enough space for three and a half tons of armor. This light armament and meager armor meant that the Thorizer could not put up much of a fight against most aerospace or ground assets.
- Bad Reputation
- Difficult to Maintain
- Hard to Pilot
- Illegal (Support Vehicle with Bimodal LAM equipment)
- Non-Standard Parts
- Poor Performance
- MUL online date for the Thorizer
- Experimental Technical Readout: Boondoggles, p. 8, "Thorizer Profile"
- The Star League, p. 24