Union (DropShip class)

This article is about the original Union class. For its later variants, see Union-C and Union-X.
Union TRO3057.png
Union
Production information
Manufacturer Boeing Interstellar[1]

Bowie Industries[2]


Earthwerks Limited[2]


Falcon's Roost Orbital Assembly Plant[3]


Federated-Boeing Interstellar[2][4]


Irian Naval Systems[2][5][6][7]


Matabushi Incorporated[2][8]


Taurus Territorial Industries[9][10]

Production Year 2708[11]
Use 'Mech/ASF carrier
Type Spheroid
Tech Base Inner Sphere
Technical specifications
Mass 3,600[1] tons
Structural Integrity 11
Length 81.5 meters
Width 81.5 meters
Height 78 meters
Drive System Star League V250
Safe Thrust 1.5 g
Max Thrust 2.5 g
Fuel (tons) 215 tons
Fuel (days) 116.8 days
Armament
Armor 37.5 tons standard
Crew 14[1]
  • 3 Officers
  • 5 Enlisted
  • 6 Gunners

(Base Crew Type Requirement)[12][13]

  • 2 Pilots
  • 4 Engineers
  • 8 Secondary Engineers

Bay Personnel: 28

Escape Pods/Life Boats 7/0
Heat Sinks 90 single
BV (1.0) 3,259[1][14]
BV (2.0) 3,962[11]

The Union is the archetypical DropShip, widely used in military and civilian roles and described as the yardstick against which all other DropShips are measured.[1] The vessel's official mass, originally 3,500 tons, was retconned to 3,600 tons (see Notes below).

Description[edit]

The ubiquitous example of the company-sized BattleMech combat transport, the Union class is a venerable and capable member of the DropShip unit type. Capable of carrying twelve 'Mechs and two aerospace fighters (a standard 'Mech company including one air lance under classic SLDF doctrine), it is among the smaller dedicated military deployment vehicles, dwarfed by its larger cousin Overlord and especially the massive troop transports such as the Excalibur, Lee, or Colossus. The smaller but much more numerous, and implicitly also more cost-efficient and easier to manufacture, Union class weathered Lostech throughout the Succession Wars era better than the much larger vessels, and has been in continuous production ever since its inception, though shortages of drive system replacement parts at the end of the Third Succession War nearly ended the class's dominance.[15]

As with most other spheroid DropShips, the Union is susceptible to destruction while performing atmospheric maneuvers. Any loss of its four exhaust jets can lead to a catastrophic tumble and crash, as shown during the invasion of Van Diemen IV by the Capellan Confederation in 2905.[15][16]

The ship was designed as a 'Mech deployment vehicle, not for prolonged comfortable travel. The single bunkrooms are small, without viewports or recreation areas. Remodeling of the interior after centuries of problems with the components has led to the Union being known for very cramped, spartan accommodations, and the air circulation system is often attributed a "stale" odor shared by the Overlord.[15] While the wealthiest of operators are able to refurbish to the original posh layout, about half of the Succession Wars-era vessels in use are still found lacking in these areas.[1][17]

The command and control facilities aboard Unions consisted of a Tactical Operations Room (TOR) sufficient to operate as a coordination point for smaller lance-sized combat transports partaking in company- or larger-sized operations. Likewise, it operates well in larger operations, where it may conduct missions of a surprise, diversionary, or raiding role. Several Unions became assigned to certain 'Mech companies throughout the Succession Wars as the Union became such a popular vessel, able to transport a raiding force perfect for the low-intensity warfare so common in that era.[15]

Armament[edit]

The Union, while not as heavily armed as Assault DropShips, carries a formidable array of weapons. The semiautomated weaponry is significant enough to defend the ship from light ground forces and give single and paired aerospace fighters pause.

The bulk of its firepower is provided by six LRM-20s backed up by six large lasers and three PPCs. Six AC/5s and twelve medium lasers round out the normal weapons loadout. The Union also features good armor protection, allowing it to deliver or retrieve its payload while under fire.

Cargo[edit]

The Union's Mech facilities are divided into three areas. Four drop chutes at the bottom of the vessel can deploy a lance of 'Mechs into hostile territory in space or the atmosphere. The first bay directly above the chutes contains a lance of 'Mechs, while the next bay holds the other eight 'Mechs. This larger bay has a 50-meter circular walkway and multiple cranes for more extensive repairs if needed, which can also reach the lower bay through a massive deck hatch.[1]

Variants[edit]

A common design in use across the Inner Sphere, there are many variants of the Union, customized or as factory variants. Common variants include:

  • Cargo Hauler 
    Due to the availability of the design and spare parts, the Union has proven a popular choice for merchants and traders, who strip out all twelve 'Mech cubicles to free up more than 1,500 tons of cargo space.[1]
    (It should be noted that the civilian Danais-class cargo vessel is visually very similar to the Union, to the point where they could be confused; this in turn might have created the impression that cargo hauler Unions are much more common than they actually are.)
  • Combined-Arms 
    An uncommon variant that removes the two fighter cubicles and drastically upgrades the life support system, enabling the ship to carry a company of infantry.[1]
  • Fighter Carrier (also colloquially known as "Union CV")
    Unions have been known to be refitted into aerospace fighter carriers, implicitly removing their 'Mech cubicles.[18]
  • Command Union 
    A "Command" version of the Union was mentioned that features a sophisticated and well-equipped command center, in a similar fashion to the Intruder or the "Command" version of the Overlord.[19]
  • 3055 Upgrade 
    First launched in July 3055 by Federated-Boeing Interstellar, the upgraded modern Union boasts a return to Star League-era facilities with comparatively luxurious double and single occupancy berths and an improved air-filtration unit. The weaponry is also upgraded, trading the six autocannons for three Gauss rifles, switching to ER PPCs and ER Large Lasers and adding Artemis IV FCS to the LRM launchers. 85 Double Heat Sinks are used, the cargo capacity is reduced to 72.5 tons, and armor is also reduced slightly. BV (1.0) = 5,091;[20] BV (2.0) = 4,977.
  • Jihad Era Upgrade 
    Introduced during the Jihad and deployed by 3070, this version of the Union seems to be an evolution of the 3055 upgrade. The changes are comparatively minor, restoring armor to previous levels and exchanging the LRM launchers for MML-9 launchers with Artemis and AMS.[21] BV (2.0) = 5,094.
  • Pocket WarShip 
    A refit developed by the Word of Blake, the Pocket WarShip variant of the Union attracted infamy for its shock appearance during the Jihad. Based on the upgraded model, the medium lasers have been replaced by ER medium lasers and the armor switched to thirty-three tons of Ferro-Aluminum plating, but the design appears otherwise visually identical. It's only when the two bow-mounted AR-10 launchers fire that the differences become apparent. The 'Mech bays were gutted to provide the space required for the Capital Missile Launchers and four Killer Whale, six White Shark, and ten Barracuda missiles. The fighter bays are retained while two Small Craft bays have been added to carry four squads of battle armor troops for boarding operations.[22] BV (2.0) = 7,935[22] or 6,450[23]

Related Designs[edit]

  • Danais / Trojan 
    The Danais was based on the Union-class DropShip, albeit slightly smaller. It was originally designed as a civilian freighter that disarmed Periphery nations were allowed to build to haul cargo during the Star League Era. A militarized variant of the ship was the Trojan blockade runner. The Danais/Trojan is visually similar enough to be mistaken for a Union, and some vessels even deliberately pretend to be Unions to scare off potential attackers.
  • Union-X 
    Called the "Extended Union" (Union-X), this evolution of the Union design was developed in 3065 as part of a diversification effort by Shipil Company of Skye. The slightly heavier Union-X strips out four 'Mech cubicles in favor of two additional fighters and berths for five squads of battle armor troops, its revised weapon array consisting of six ER PPCs, two Gauss Rifles, six Artemis enhanced LRM-20's, ten ER Large Lasers, fourteen ER medium lasers, and four Ultra AC/5s.

Named Vessels[edit]

(See List of named Union-class DropShips)

Notes[edit]

  • Earlier sources described the Union as massing 3,500 tons, but Technical Readout: 3057 Revised changed that to 3,600 tons, stating in its preface on p. 4 that previous sources, namely DropShips and JumpShips: ComStar Intelligence Summary (aka ComStar's FB-60 file) and Technical Readout: 3057, contained numerous errors that Technical Readout: 3057 Revised corrected.[1] (Changes to the spacecraft construction rules had necessitated new stats for several established spacecraft designs.)
  • The name of the Union may have been inspired by the (nonfictional) Soviet Soyuz ("Union") spacecraft/rocket system, one of the premier ground-space transfer vehicles of its time around when BattleTech was created.

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 1.9 Technical Readout: 3057 Revised, pp. 28-29
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 DropShips and JumpShips: ComStar Intelligence Summary, p. 15: "JumpShip and DropShip Manufacturers"
  3. Objectives: The Clans, p. 14, "Falcon's Roost Orbital Assembly Plant"
  4. Handbook: House Davion, p. 181
  5. Objectives: Free Worlds League, p. 12: "Clipperton"
  6. Handbook: House Marik, pp. 131–132: "Irian Technologies (IrTech)"
  7. Objective Raids, p. 122: "Produced Irian Technologies Components"
  8. Objectives: The Clans, p. 25, "Matabushi Inc."
  9. Objective Raids, p. 161: "Produced Taurus Territorial Industries Components on Sterope"
  10. Objectives: Periphery, p. 10
  11. 11.0 11.1 entry for the Union (DropShip class)
  12. BattleSpace rulebook, p. 63
  13. DropShips and JumpShips: Operations Manual, p. 41
  14. AeroTech 2 Record Sheets, p. 221
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 Technical Readout: 3025 Revised, pp. 180-181: "Union"
  16. Technical Readout: 3025, p.154 F-90 Stingray
  17. DropShips and JumpShips: ComStar Intelligence Summary, p. 38
  18. Technical Readout: 3025, p. 136: CSR-V12 Corsair entry: "Battle History"; Fourth Succession War Atlas Vol. 1, p. 25
  19. Technical Readout: 3057, p. 26, and Technical Readout: 3057 Revised, p. 24: Intruder DropShip entry
  20. AeroTech 2 Record Sheets, p. 222
  21. HexPack Promotion 1, p. 16
  22. 22.0 22.1 Technical Readout: 3075, p. 108
  23. Record Sheets: 3075 Unabridged - The Cutting Edge, p. 224

Bibliography[edit]