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|Armor||Forge 9 Flexweave|
|Speed||97 kph km/h|
|Communications System||DipCon III|
|Targeting Tracking System||DipTrak X|
The Hipparch cavalry tank is perhaps most notable for being commissioned directly by the First Consul of the Rim Worlds Republic, Gregory Amaris, in 2562. The vehicle's design was unpopular with the Rim Worlds Army - particularly with those who had to crew the Hipparch - but Amaris approved the prototype and ordered thousands of the vehicles to be produced. As a result, the Hipparch served during the Reunification War in large numbers - more than 7,000 were built in total, primarily by Diplass Technologies on Apollo - and vast sums of government money ended up in the pockets of Amaris' political cronies.
Whilst critics of the vehicle declared that the key factor in the Hipparch being approved by Amaris was the Hipparch's sleek looks, the specific vehicle requirements were defined as speed and endurance. Even though the Hipparch was fast, the decision to equip this ICE-powered vehicle with a weapons array that included energy weapons resulted in the required power conversion and heat dissipation equipment, reducing the Hipparch's already light armor even further. The Hipparch also suffered from poor quality control as a result of rushed production, a combination of factors that led to SLDF estimates that up to 10% of the Republican deaths during the Reunification War were due to malfunctions, rather than enemy fire. Anecdotes suggest that it was the Hipparch that led to the development of the J. Edgar by Star League technicians in an attempt to go with the "right" cavalry tank concept.
During the Reunification War the Hipparch proved to be an effective picket or scout vehicle and performed well when used offensively, but also suffered huge losses, with only 90 vehicles out of the 7,000 originally built surviving the war. A large part of these losses aside from malfunctions were the increasing use of the nimble Hipparch as the anvil in heavy tank maneuvers, a tactic that surprised the enemy but resulted in heavy casualties amongst the Republic cavalry forces.
Weapons and Equipment
The Hipparch is armed with three turret mounted weapon systems; a medium laser and a small laser, both from the Diplass Optimax range, and a Harvester SRM-2 missile rack with a single ton of ammunition. The Hipparch is also protected by 4 tons of Forge 9 Flexweave armor, with the armor reasonably distributed around the tank although with a slight bias towards the front and sides of the vehicle. The Hipparch uses a DipCon III communications system and a DipTrack X targeting and tracking system.
The Hipparch cavalry tank had a service life of barely 30 years and the production line was lost during the 2599 coup on Apollo; those variants of the Hipparch observed in the field were purely field modifications. Some field modifications removed some or all of the energy weapons to increase the size of the missile payload, while others mounted machine guns to turn the Hipparch into an anti-infantry platform. The only modified variant of the Hipparch to gain an identifiable name was the notorious Hellhorse variant, which replaced the vehicle armament and the turret itself with an explosive payload, turning the vehicle into a kamikaze platform capable of causing considerable damage when driven into enemy positions or camps.
- Historical: Reunification War, p. 205-6, "Hipparch Cavalry Tank"
- MUL online date for the Hipparch