Behemoth (DropShip class)
|Tech Base||Inner Sphere|
|Drive System||Sunburst M-200L Megadrive|
|Safe Thrust||1 g|
|Max Thrust||1.5 g|
|Fuel (tons)||600 tons|
|Fuel (days)||68 days|
|Armament||4x Large Lasers|
10x medium lasers
|Armor||210 tons Standard|
|Escape Pods/Life Boats||5/5|
While its finalized design was officially only launched in 2782, the Behemoth class of DropShips apparently had a complicated design history going back as far as 2650, with prototypes existing in 2658 (see Notes below). The Terran Hegemony had originally promised the designer, Krester's Ship Construction, in the planning stage that the Behemoth and Mammoth designs could be sold outside the Hegemony but reneged on the promise when the projects were in the prototype phase between 2650 and 2658. Two prototypes were stolen from their moorings above Keid in 2650 and sold off to the highest bidder, raising concerns that the designs could be reengineered; this made the Hegemony reconsider their stance and they allowed Krester's to sell the designs abroad after all. Although there was a lingering suspicion that Krester's had somehow been involved in the heist, nothing was ever proven. Sharing the design with foreign powers ensured that the Behemoth would stay in production and use even after the demise of Krester's Ship Construction.
Because of its sheer size, the Behemoth suffers from a number of drawbacks including a relatively weak structure, incapability of atmospheric operations, and occupying (or blocking) a second hardpoint on JumpShips (see Quirks and Notes below).
Because of the weak structure, most vessels rarely operate above half their maximum thrust to prevent structural damage. It was noted that its low thrust and resulting implied inability to land or take off again (except in low gravity environments; see Notes below) means the ship usually has to dock with cargo stations or use shuttles to load or unload its cargo, markedly increasing operating cost.
The internal layout of a Behemoth is such that the bridge deck is self-sufficient, with independent life support and power supply, and can easily be sealed off. Seizing control of a Behemoth is thus nearly impossible. The Behemoth is noted for comfortable individual rooms for its crew of fifty, a large hydroponic garden, a medical facility, an exercise room, a lounge, and a relatively spacious mess hall.
Due to its exceptionally poor fighting capabilities, the Behemoth class rarely partakes in combat. Consequently, few have been lost to combat action and a relatively large number remains in operation. The high cost of running a Behemoth ensures that only the largest trading companies can afford to operate them and they ply only the busiest trade routes, usually far from any conflict.
As a civilian cargo carrier, the Behemoth's armament is pitiful at best, consisting of 4 Large Lasers backed up by ten medium lasers. Intended as purely defensive, they are arrayed along the bottom/rear of the craft with the nose completely bare. Keeping the craft far away from any need to use these weapons because of the vessels' high cost has protected them far better than the lasers and 15 tons of standard armor.
The Behemoth's cargo capacity of 74,972 tons is split into twenty cargo decks linked by a central spire running the length of the vessel. Four heavy duty cargo lifts allow transit of cargo within the vessel. Due to the large degree of compartmentalization, the Behemoth can easily deal with both cargo that can and cannot be exposed to vacuum. Owing to its heavy reliance on shuttles for cargo transfers, the Behemoth features twenty small craft bays.
- Bay 1: Small Craft (20) - 4 Doors
- Bay 2: Cargo (37,486 tons) - 10 Doors
- Bay 3: Cargo (37,486 tons) - 10 Doors
(The cargo capacity changed slightly across various publications, owing to changes in the spacecraft construction rules: Initially, DropShips and JumpShips: ComStar Intelligence Summary gave a cargo capacity of 85,000 tons; Technical Readout: 3057 later changed it to 75,121 tons and Technical Readout: 3057 Revised finally gave the definitive stats given above.)
No variants of the Behemoth are known.
There is visual evidence of the Clans using the design as well, but it is unknown if the vessel in question was built by the Clans (it might have been captured during the Clan Invasion). The image of said vessel was captioned as "Clan Behemoth DropShip" and highlights several supposedly altered or upgraded features or components, including supposed upgrades of its laser suite to ER models. No further details about its configuration are known, however.
No Design Quirks are expressly mentioned in the write-up for the Behemoth (neither in the most recent write-up in Technical Readout: 3057 Revised nor in any previous publication), as all publications detailing the Behemoth class predate the introduction of the Quirk rules. The design's consistent descriptions imply that the following quirks should apply:
- Design Quirks#Large DropShip; this Quirk's description in Strategic Operations expressly mentions the Behemoth, and is apparently itself rooted in the design's write-up in DropShips and JumpShips (see also Notes below);
- Design Quirks#Un-streamlined; the Behemoth is explicitly described as "incapable of atmospheric operations or planetary landings" and the ship's entry in Technical Readout: 3057 even contained a note saying "May not operate in atmosphere".
- Weak structure - Operating at maximum thrust of 1.5g (or above 0.8g according to DropShips and JumpShips) is said to cause stress cracks in the ship's structure.
- There are contradicting dates for the introduction of the Behemoth. Most sources including the Master Unit List state that it was introduced in 2782. The write-up for Krester's Ship Construction in The Star League (p. 165) states that the first prototypes of the Behemoth and the Mammoth made their maiden flights in 2658, yet prototypes were stolen in 2650 already, causing fears of the designs being reverse engineered. What was stolen in 2650 were thus presumably unfinished hulls or preliminary design stage prototypes, and not yet complete vessels; the prototypes which made their maiden flights in 2658 may have been later prototypes that were built after the earlier prototypes were stolen. It would appear the design underwent further changes and was only properly finalized in 2782.
- When the Behemoth was introduced to the BattleTech universe, the construction/space travel rules postulated that a DropShip required two docking hardpoints for every 60,000 tons (or fraction thereof) of mass to dock with a JumpShip. Consequently, the Behemoth, the only DropShip massing over 60,000 tons, was said to take up the space for two vessels when docked to a JumpShip.
Under current rules (Strategic Operations), a hardpoint can dock DropShips up to 100,000 tons. From the context, it could be argued that the Behemoth does not actually need two hardpoints (and can thus be carried on a JumpShip with only a single hardpoint, in accordance with the rules), but would block an adjacent hardpoint on some JumpShips due to its sheer size.
- Similarly, the structural weakness of the Behemoth and the danger of stress cracks is not reflected in any actual game rules but might be represented by the Weak Structure quirk.
- Though the design cannot operate in a dense atmosphere nor endure high gravity, it is still technically able of landing on low gravity planetoids or installations in near-vacuum, and therefore includes landing legs. The deployed legs are clearly visible in the ship's picture on p. 64 of DropShips and JumpShips: ComStar Intelligence Summary.
- In German products, the unit's proper name was altered to Leviathan. This creates a potential mix-up with the Leviathan class of WarShips that was introduced later.
Original Behemoth from DropShips and JumpShips: ComStar Intelligence Summary
Behemoth from TRO:3057
- DropShips and JumpShips: ComStar Intelligence Summary, p. 17
- MUL online date for the Behemoth (DropShip class)
- AeroTech 2 Record Sheets, p. 263
- DropShips and JumpShips: ComStar Intelligence Summary, p. 64
- Technical Readout: 3057, p. 68
- Technical Readout: 3057 Revised, p. 66
- The Star League, p. 165
- DropShips and JumpShips: ComStar Intelligence Summary, p. 65
- Handbook: House Liao, p. 162: "Mówáng-class courier"
- Image captioned as "Clan Behemoth DropShip" on p. 71 of Technical Readout: 3057; compare to visually identical image of a regular Inner Sphere Behemoth captioned as built by Brigadier Corp. on p. 9 - both images remained unchanged in Technical Readout: 3057 Revised and the page numbers remained the same too
- Strategic Operations, p. 198: Large DropShip quirk