DropShips and JumpShips

DropShips and JumpShips cover.png
DropShips and JumpShips
Product information
Type Sourcebook/Technical Readout
Author Clare W. Hess
Development Jordan K. Weisman
L. Ross Babcock III (Editor-In-Chief)
Donna Ippolito (Editor)
C. R. Green (Editorial Assistant)
Pages 80 + 64
Cover Artwork Steve Venters
Illustrations Dana Knutson
Jim Nelson
Publication information
Publisher FASA
Product code 1619
First published 1988
ISBN-10 0931787335
ISBN-13 978-0931787331
MSRP $15.00
Era early spaceflight history
Star League era
Succession Wars era
Agency ComStar
Universe Date 17 May 3025

Purportedly a declassified ComStar document, the DropShips and JumpShips book describes the various spaceships in use during the Succession Wars era of BattleTech. It covers the most common JumpShips in use at the time—Scout, Merchant, Invader, Star Lord, and Monolith—as well as the most common DropShip designs available, from the small Fury to the monstrous Behemoth, and finally assorted Small Craft.


The book is split into two sections, effectively comprising two separate books back-to-back with 80 and 64 pages, respectively.

The 80-page Comstar Intelligence Summary is presented in a style reminiscent of a Technical Readout, was almost the only early (pre–Fourth Succession War) source on BattleTech's large spacecraft (except for the three DropShips in Technical Readout: 3025), and it provided information on numerous DropShips, small craft, several space stations, and several JumpShips.

Operations Manual provides a great deal of information on BattleTech's history of spaceflight and extensive rules for an aerospace-intensive campaign, like crew skills, maintenance, JumpShip recharging, DropShip transit times, and more. The rules for recharging and system transit are the most extensive published in BattleTech, supporting transit times at accelerations other than 1G and detailed charts including flight distances rather than flight times. While the roleplaying rules have altered owing to the huge changes in BattleTech's roleplaying rules over time, the recharge and system transit rules are virtually identical to those of the latest rulebook publications (Strategic Operations).

Technical Readout: 3057 Revised (compiled by WolfNet in 3067) remarks in its preface that ComStar's declassified FB-60 document (i.e. DropShips and JumpShips) was found to contain numerous errors or possibly deliberate misinformation. This is a convenient explanation for deviations from this book's contents in later publications that had to be made because of rule changes.

From the back cover[edit]

Here is the definitive work describing mankind's method of transportation between the stars. Bound into this single volume are ComStar Intelligence Summary FB-60 and excerpts from the standard DropShips and JumpShips Operations Manual.

ComStar Intelligence Summary FB-60 discusses the five major types of JumpShips and 20 major types of DropShips as well as examples of small craft and even space stations. Each entry includes an illustration of the ship as well as detailed descriptions and statistics. Also included is a short history of humanity in space, from the construction of Crippen Station, through the work of Kearny and Fuchida and mankind's exodus from Terra, to the modern Succession War era.

The Operations Manual includes essays on the designs of DropShips and JumpShips, descriptions of the general components of each type of vessel, and extensive game rules covering all aspects of their operation and maintenance.

Table of Contents[edit]

Comstar Intelligence Summary (Book 1)[edit]


Space Travel in the Successor States

Rise of the Western Alliance
The Magellan Program
Vindication of Kearny and Fuchida
To Reach Tau Ceti
Formation of New States
The Modern Age


Star Lord


Troop Carriers
'Mech Carriers
Assault Ships
Fighter Carriers
Leopard CV
Civilian Ships

Small Craft

Escape Pod
Life Boat
ST-46 Shuttle
S-7A Class Bus
Mark VII Landing Craft
KR-61 Long-Range Shuttle
K-1 DropShuttle

Space Stations


Operations Manual (Book 2)[edit]

Space Vehicle Design

DropShip Design
Engine Section
Cargo Section
Command Section
JumpShip Design
Kearny-Fuchida Drive
Engine Section
Cargo Section
Command Section
Shipboard Details
Containment Door
Air Hook-Ups
Power Hook-Ups
Comm Panel
Emergency Lighting
Environmental Monitor
Fire Suppression System
Maneuver Warning
Combat Alert Warning
Pressure Indicator
Manual Hatch/Door Mechanism
Floor Panels

Ship Operations

DropShip Operations
Space Operations
Planetary Operations
Special Operations
Routine Operations
JumpShip Operations
Hyperspace Transit
Recharging Operations
Maneuvering Operations
Docking Operations
Routine Operations
Boarding and Repelling
Abandoning SHip

Ship Costs and Servicing

Purchasing the Space Vessel
Determining Leads
Ship Availability
Vessel Location
Personnel and Skills
Conducting Repairs
Time Factor
Component Replacement
Ship Maintenance
Other Costs

Making a Living

DropShip Revenues
JumpShip Revenues

Game Additions

AeroTech Additions
DropShip Combat
JumpShip Combat
Shipboard Gunners
Abandon Ship
BattleTech Additions
Fire Arcs
DropShip Damage
Ship Sizes
Drive Exhaust Blast
MechWarrior Additions
New Equipment
New Skills

Remarks on content[edit]

  • The title comprises (in book 1) descriptions of 33 units in total, all capital spacefaring designs and all previously unpublished. It contains:
  • The title contains (in book 2) a general description of spaceship construction and operations, as well as rulesets for use of capital ships in AeroTech, BattleTech and MechWarrior.
  • In-universe the title is presented by ComStar, sometimes after 17 May 3025, without naming a specific author, place or date.


Andurien Industries is listed as a DropShip manufacturer for the Capellan Confederation. [1] This was stated to be an error by the BattleTech Line Developer, Ray Arrastia. Production of the Triumph, Excalibur, and Avenger DropShips should be assigned to Rashpur-Owens Incorporated, as it was later in Objective Raids.[2]


An unofficial 16-page PDF exists. DropShips and JumpShips: Space Vehicle Design excerpts complete pages of Operations Manual and reuses the cover art.

Foreign-Language Editions[edit]


Product information
Language German
Contribution Reinhold H. Mai (translation & editing), Werner Fuchs, Robert Simon (editing), Thomas Römer (setting)
Pages 104
Publication information
Publisher Fantasy Productions
First published 1992
ISBN-10 3890649092

A German edition under the title Raumfahrthandbuch (Spacefaring Compendium) was released by Fantasy Productions in 1992. Unlike many other German editions from FanPro, this contains only minor alterations to the original content (see below). The German version is printed as DIN A4, a standard European paper size, which is a little larger then North American Letter.

From the back cover (translated from German)[edit]

Spacefaring Compendium:

The ultimate compendium on human spacefaring. Material on the state of spacefaring technology in 31st century compelled by ComStar-members.

This book contains:
History of spacefaring
Small Craft
Space Stations
Ship Operations

"For a space traveler The Spacefaring Compendium is, what a Technical Readout is for the MechWarrior - an indispensable reference!" Tharkad Tech Review, 28th August 3030


Fully compatible to:



The content largely matches the original, but there are some minor variations:

  • The back cover text is greatly reduced.
  • It contains an explanation box Sprung- und Landungsschiffhersteller (Manufacturers of Jump/DropShips) on page 15, which is listed in the Table of Contents.
  • The space stations are described in alphabetical order (Alliance, Bastion, Olymp)
  • The book's second part (rules) is organized as Annex 1 in Table of Contents.
  • The original chapter Game Additions is organized as Annex 2 in Table of Contents, containing 8 blank German record sheets (2x aerodyne DropShip, 2x spheroid DropShip, 4x JumpShip).

Spelling and Names[edit]

As with other German products prior to 1997 spelling and names (especially places and units) as well as most abbreviations were regularly adjusted. For instance the Mech unit Archer was renamed to Schütze, the planet Gotterdammerung was respelled to Götterdämmerung, the DCMS (Draconis Combine Mustered Soldiery) became VSDK (Vereinigte Streitkräfte des Draconis Kombinats) and so on.


  1. DropShips and JumpShips, p. 15
  2. Line Developer Ruling on Andurien Industries
  3. Raumfahrthandbuch: Das definitive Nachschlagewerk über die menschliche Raumfahrt. Von ComStar-Mitgliedern zusammengetragenes Material über den STand der Raumfahrttechnik im 31. Jahrhundert. Dieser Band enthält: Geschichte der Raumfahrt, Sprungschiffe, Landungsschiffe, Raumboote, Raumstationen, Schiffsunterhalt. "Das Raumfahrthandbuch ist für den Raumreisenden das, was das Hardware-Handbuch für den MechKrieger ist - ein unentbehrliches Nachschlagewerk!" Tharkad Tech Review, 28. August 3030. Battletech. Voll kompatibel zu: BattleTech, AstroTech, MechKrieger.