In BattleTech, the term iceship is not well defined. It is broadly concerned with the transportation of large amounts of (implicitly frozen) water to supply potable water to dry worlds.

In this context, there seem to be at least three different "iceship" concepts:

Tanker JumpShip[edit]

Cargo JumpShips configured as tankers were already in existence prior to 2177,[1] though it was noted that individually, these so-called Tankers were not commercially viable (at least at the time) to supply bulk amounts of water to dry worlds.

In at least one instance,[2] iceships are described as "huge vessels capable of transporting millions of gallons of water across interstellar distances" around the year 2600. These iceships seem to be larger and/or considerably more profitable to operate than their early 22nd century forebears,[3] with several new vessels built between 2778 and 2784 despite the iceship technology being considered outdated at the time in the face of more advanced water purification technologies. As of 3025, Curtiss Hydrosystems was said to operate 37 active iceships, the sole lifeline to over a dozen League worlds including Jubka and Ayn Tarma.[3] As of 3067, they manage 51 of the "fragile" vessels.[4]

No detailed technical information was published about these iceships.

Ryan Cartel[edit]

A revolutionary new approach was presented by entrepreneur Rudolph Ryan in 2177, and would give rise to the Ryan Cartel. It entailed fleets of sixteen JumpShips (described as "tankers", and apparently referring to iceships in the aforementioned Tanker JumpShip sense) that would cooperate in forming a very large jump bubble by engaging their jump drives in unison, thereby pulling a slab of ice "about two kilometers square" [sic] through hyperspace without the need to employ DropShips, and thus without the size and cargo limitations usually associated with DropShips.[1]

"Iceship" may describe any single one JumpShip that was part of such a formation (be it a Tanker JumpShip or any other type of JumpShip), or possibly refer to the entire formation as a whole as it had to travel together like a single ship.


Finally, the term "iceship" may refer to the spaceborne iceberg itself, if turned into a spaceship of sorts. It would be made primarily from frozen water with thrust engines attached for interplanetary travel (typically from a system's jump point to the destination planet). Technically, such a construct could arguably be called a DropShip, though it would not feature a docking collar to connect to a JumpShip hardpoint; instead, such icebergs would either be harvested within a given system and then moved to a destination planet (or moon) in that same system, without need for a hyperspace jump in the first place, or they could be jumped between systems by means of the aforementioned Ryan Cartel iceship formation.

One named (albeit apocryphal) example of this kind of iceship would be the Paradise Hope.


  1. 1.0 1.1 House Kurita (The Draconis Combine), p. 14
  2. House Marik (The Free Worlds League), p. 63: "Camlann vs. Free Worlds" sidebar
  3. 3.0 3.1 House Marik (The Free Worlds League), p. 128: Curtiss Hydrosystems description
  4. Handbook: House Marik, p. 137