Leopard (DropShip class)

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Leopard TRO3057r.png
Leopard
Production information
Manufacturer Bowie Industries[1]

Irian Technologies[1]


Federated-Boeing Interstellar[1]


Majesty Metals and Manufacturing[2][3]


Taurus Territorial Industries[4]

Production Year 2537[5]
Use 'Mech Carrier
Type Aerodyne
Tech Base Inner Sphere
Technical specifications
Mass 1,900[5][6] tons
Structural Integrity 7
Length 65.5 meters
Width 51.6 meters
Height 22.4 meters
Drive System Star League V84
Safe Thrust 2 g
Max Thrust 3 g
Fuel (tons) 137 tons
Fuel (days) 74.5 days
Armament
Armor 29.5 tons standard
Crew 9[6][7]
  • 2 Officers
  • 4 Enlisted
  • 3 Gunners

(Base Crew Type Requirement)[8][9]

  • 2 Pilots
  • 4 Engineers
  • 3 Secondary Engineers

Bay Personnel: 12

Escape Pods/Life Boats 2/0
Heat Sinks 80 single
BV (1.0) 2,579[6][10]
BV (2.0) 2,854[citation needed]

Description[edit]

A simple and easy-to-maintain design, the Leopard quickly became the standard lance-sized 'Mech carrier for the original Star League and the Great Houses. Its relatively low operating costs and abundant existing replacement parts (with the exception of the drive system)[7] have allowed it to not only survive the Succession Wars as a ship class, but also become the predominant entry vehicle for 'Mech recon, objective raid, planetary assault, and special operations missions.[6]

Four 'Mechs and two aerospace fighters constitute a so-called AirLance under SLDF doctrine, where one in three lances was an AirLance. Such Air Lances were often assigned a specific Leopard, useful in the low-level conflicts of the later Succession Wars. The fighter cubicles are often repurposed for cargo storage or other uses instead, and the small and easy to maintain class is the favorite of many Periphery Pirates.[7]

While an aerodyne-type vessel, the ability to manufacture curved "crystal-steel" armor only came about after the design of the class, which benefitted the related and 50-year subsequent Leopard CV.[11] In reference to its layout and allegedly also to its atmospheric handling, the Leopard is widely known by its nickname, "Brick."[7]

Armament[edit]

The Leopard has an impressive weapons loadout for such a small DropShip, most useful to defend against aerospace fighters. It can be easily overwhelmed, however, if swarmed. While it does count on three Long Range Missile racks for heavy hitting, two PPCs, five large lasers, and seven medium lasers give it more than enough combat capability when its munitions run out.[6]

Cargo[edit]

The Leopard can accommodate its regular crew of 9, plus pilots and techs for the vehicles carried. The standard vessel has only 34 tons of cargo space, not enough for extended operations.[7] Interior access is restricted to a pair of personnel-sized doors, which restricts movement between bays to only the smallest of parts, and repair equipment to lightweight platforms, cranes, and exoskeletons.[6]

Variants[edit]

The venerable Leopard, like many Succession Wars era survivors, has had numerous modifications made throughout the vessel's class, mostly minor differences owing to the numerous manufacturers throughout known space. Beyond production variants, it has been observed that the Leopard can be modified for a variety of purposes ranging from tanker craft to hospital ship.[12] Typical refits or modifications include a tank carrier version capable of carrying 12 light vehicles. Individual ships have also been known to carry an infantry complement, from the context presumably by turning one or both aerospace fighter cubicles into an infantry bay. It is also not unknown for Leopard owners to remove some or all of the 'Mech and aerospace fighter cubicles for 150 tons of cargo space each, to the point of simply using the Leopard as a cargo ship.

Some of the more notable standard variants include:

  • Leopard (3056) 
    Introduced in 3056, Irian Naval Systems and Federated-Boeing Interstellar have both released almost identical updated versions of the Leopard, leading to Federated-Boeing accusations of Irian engaging in industrial espionage (see the Floating Tower raid at Galax of 3053). The modern version features improved, though still cramped, crew berths and a more powerful air circulation and filtration system. The Leopard's weapon array has also been refitted, switching to ER and pulse energy weapon and adding Artemis IV FCS units to the Doombud LRM launchers, supported by switching to 70 Double Heat Sinks. BV (1.0) = 3,211,[6][13] BV (2.0) = 3,376
  • Leopard PA 
    A pirate-created custom variant of the standard Leopard which first appeared in 3075 over Repulse. Intelligence reports on the vessel have shown that the vessel was converted into an assault-type DropShip with Advanced Technology enhancements. The ship's principal weaponry includes 5 ER-PPCs mounted in the nose with a PPC Capacitor for each of them. Backing up the PPCs is an LRM 20 with Artemis IV and a pair of Small Pulse Lasers. Mounted in each of the broadsides and aft is a pair of Binary Laser Cannons. Additional LRM-20s are mounted in its broadsides. Mounted on each of the wings, the ship has a pair of Small Pulse Lasers. In addition to the Binary Lasers, four Medium Pulse Lasers are mounted to protect the ship's aft. The ship is covered in 38 tons of Ferro-Aluminum armor, which is concentrated more on the nose. It retains the standard fighter complement but also has been given two small craft bays that house Battle Taxis. As part of its marine complement, it has infantry bays for 4 platoons of Jump Troops. BV (2.0) = 6,220[14]
  • Leopard Pocket WarShip 
    Developed by the Word of Blake at Irian Naval Systems' Clipperton yards, the Pocket WarShip refit features a larger more powerful drive system and fifty-four tons of Ferro-Aluminum armor. The standard weaponry of the upgraded Leopard is retained, but the 'Mech and fighter bays have been replaced by a single teleoperated Killer Whale Capital Missile Launcher and an eleven-missile magazine, making the venerable design a considerable threat during the Jihad.[15] BV (2.0) = 6,607,[15] 7,674[16]

Apocryphal Content Starts

The information after this notice comes from apocryphal sources; the canonicity of such information is uncertain.
Please view the reference page for information regarding their canonicity.

  • Leopard-B 
    A modification of the classic Leopard, described as "uncommon" and with an introduction date of 2537 just as the Leopard, that simply reduces the total mass by ca. 470 tons by removing the PPCs, two 'Mech bays, and one fighter bay; all other parameters appear unchanged. This stripped-down Leopard version requires only five crew, carries two 'Mechs and one aerospace fighter (plus their respective pilots), and has a more streamlined, arrow-shaped appearance (it is in fact represented by the Minerva from the Crusher Joe IP). One such vessel was used for a covert Federated Suns deep reconnaissance mission into the Free Worlds League at some point during Hanse Davion's reign.[18]

Apocryphal Content Ends

Related Designs[edit]

Notes[edit]

  • Originally, the Leopard was stated to have 1,720 tons of mass (and 1,800 for the upgraded version). However, this does not comply with the most recent construction rules for DropShips. Technical Readout: 3057 Revised and the MUL established the mass of both the standard and the upgraded version as 1,900 tons, overruling earlier publications.
  • While the Leopard is among those Aerodyne DropShips to feature a bottom-mounted transit drive, many modern video games such as MechWarrior Online, the BattleTech video game and MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries—all of which use the same model for the Leopard—have conflated this to bestow the class with powerful helicopter-style VTOL capabilities, something impossible under the various tabletop rulesets.

See Also[edit]

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 DropShips and JumpShips: ComStar Intelligence Summary, p. 15: "JumpShip and DropShip Manufacturers"
  2. 2.0 2.1 Objective Raids, p. 152
  3. Objectives: Periphery, p. 17
  4. Objective Raids, p. 162: "Produced Taurus Territorial Industries Components on Taurus"
  5. 5.0 5.1 Master Unit List entry
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 Technical Readout: 3057 Revised, p. 12: "Leopard DropShip Profile"
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 Technical Readout: 3025 Revised, pp. 177-178: "Leopard"
  8. BattleSpace rulebook, p. 63
  9. DropShips and JumpShips: Operations Manual, p. 41
  10. AeroTech 2 Record Sheets, p. 202
  11. DropShips and JumpShips: ComStar Intelligence Summary, p. 38
  12. 1st Somerset Strikers, p. 87
  13. AeroTech 2 Record Sheets, p. 203
  14. Experimental Technical Readout: Pirates pp. 15, 27 - Leopard PA - ship info & record sheet.
  15. 15.0 15.1 Technical Readout: 3075, p. 106
  16. Record Sheets: 3075 Unabridged - The Cutting Edge, p. 223
  17. Leopard (PPC) MUL Entry
  18. TCI Model Set #12 - Leopard Class DropShip - Marauder - Crusader

Bibliography[edit]