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permission to host this article on my web site. To quote him, "I was looking
for a new home for DGP's 2300 AD articles, and naturally I picked the best fan
sites on the Web for that purpose. Kudos to Pentapod's World! Enjoy!"
- Kevin Clark
- January 24th, 2000.
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The LC-20 is one of the older series of vessels in the ASF inventory, first introduced in early 2240 to be used by the American Space Forces to transport troops and equipment into hostile planetary areas. Since its introduction, each ship of the class has gone through a major overhaul and has been refitted to its current design. Measuring 36 meters long and 10.2 meters wide, and massing roughly 370 ton, the landing craft is one of the largest vessels to be classed as a small craft. The vessel is capable of transporting up to four armored vehicles or a completely equipped Marine rifle company with plenty of room to spare.
The designation LC-20 is actually the hull number of the first craft
in the series. Presently, the ASF employs twelve of these small vessels
for use in general military landing operations. These ships bear
no official names and are normally referred to simply by their hull numbers
LC-20 through LC-31. Built by Bremerton Aerospace Industries, the
design of the vessel was approved for export, with several sold to Australia,
and a few to various other nations. A number were also sold to the
The LC-20 bears a specialized hull design, well streamlined to allow for efficient atmospheric travel. As an interface craft, the vessel is equipped with a powerful set of thrusters linked directly to its MHD turbine power plant. It is also equipped with a set of six thrusters mounted on the underside, providing the craft with a very useful VTOL ( Vertical Take-Off and Landing) capability, which allows the craft to be used in landings with or without an atmosphere.
An interesting feature of the craft, though one seldom used, is its ability to land in water. The LC-20 cannot deploy its cargo while sitting in water as its cargo compartment would flood. Any water taken on by the craft can easily be pumped out through the use of a gravity-dependent water draining system. The craft is also equipped with a small auxiliary propulsion system using jets of water to propel it at speeds of up to ten knots when sitting in calm seas. However, this system is seldom used and is often in disrepair.
The LC-20 normally carries a crew of four, though in non-combat situations it can easily be manned by a lone pilot. Each crewmember mans one of four cockpit stations located at the top of the craft. Each station contains an acceleration couch, a computerized control station, an individual access hatch, and enough normal life support to last for 16 hours, though recirculation pumps and filters can stretch this to almost two days.
The pilot and copilot sit side by side in a single cockpit with a separate armored exit hatch for each. The copilot's station has a full set of operating controls for the ship's turret-mounted mass driver gun and auto cannon. Aft of the pilots' cockpit are two gunnery stations, each operating one of the two remote antipersonnel weapons turrets. These stations are individual cockpits again with heavily armored exit hatches. A narrow crawlway connects each of the cockpit stations, leading from between the pilot and copilot all the way back and down to the ceiling of the cargo bay. Access hatches along the way open into the two gunnery cockpits.
The function of each of the four stations is quite flexible as each is actually a computer station with a built-in capability to act as any one of the other three stations aboard the lander. Control over station programming is controlled by the pilot who carries a small access key that allows him to select and assign the stations. Normally, however, stations are assigned as described above, with reassignment taking place only in case of damage or malfunction.
The craft is primarily a transport for carrying military cargo into a hostile or potentially hostile zone. As such, it is equipped with a large cargo bay 8.5 meters wide, 20.7 meters long, and 4 meters high. This allows the LC-20 to carry two sections of M-9s, M-17s, or M23s, for a total of four armored vehicles. Vehicles load and exit through a front mounted door/ramp which seals airtight when closed. Vehicles and other cargo are fastened to the floor by grapples which recess into the floor when not in use. The grapples and the door/ramp are controlled from the pilots station and from a panel at the back of the bay.
The vessel is equipped with a small stutterwarp allowing the craft to travel relatively short distances with an efficiency rating of 1.77 unloaded. As the crew only has enough standard life support for 16 hours within their cramped accommodations, the vessel is not very useful for interstellar or even interplanetary jaunts. It is not impossible, however, for the craft to do this. Carrying additional life support, some sort of accommodations in the cargo bay, and possibly enough extra crew for a complete shift change, it can be done. However, this is somewhat dangerous as the vessel has no onboard maintenance facilities for its drives and powerplant.
There are as yet no major variants of the LC-20 in the American Space Forces arsenal. However, several unarmed versions were sold to private corporations for us. as well-protected landers. Some of these have had their cargo bays modified to include survey sensors, labs, full-sized crew accommodations, extra fuel, and so on. other craft are used by colonies such as Ellis for duties such as short-ranged armored supply transports.
Of the ships in service with the ASF, six are currently located at Vogelheim in the French Arm in preparation for military operations being staged there. The remaining six are rotated between basic duty stations at L-4, Mars, Ellis, and King. These are commonly transported by military cargo carriers or escorted between stations by fleet tenders.
Hayward-Callahan Corporation ( HCC) has developed a prototype lander using advanced composite hull material, improved electronics, and third-generation stutterwarp and powerplant designs, and is presently courting military officials in hopes of convincing them to replace the LC-20s with the newer class of landers. No plans are in the works, however, and the LC-20s are expected to remain in service until well into the 2310s.
Sensor Package: Navigation only.
Crew: Main Cockpit: 2; Port Gunnery Cockpit: 1; Starboard Gunnery Cockpit: 1.
Performance Characteristics: Warp Efficiency: 2.03 unloaded (
1.87 when carrying 100 tons of cargo); Power Plant: 1 MW MHD turbine;
Fuel: 9.6 tons, sufficient for 16 hours of operation plus 100 tons of
thruster fuel; Range: 7.7; Mass: 364.7 tons unloaded; Cargo
Capacity: 449 cubic meters; Comfort: 0; Total Life Support: 4
persons for 16 hours; Price: Lv11,040,000.
The LC-20's main cockpit seats the craft's pilot and copilot in a side by side arrangement. Armored hatches over their heads have a hydraulic assist that helps to move these massive plates. Without some sort of assistance the crew would have a difficult time opening the hatches when the craft is in a gravity environment. Between the hatches is a hatch jettison control which uses small explosives to blow the hatch off.
In the event of an emergency, the pilot's and navigator's couches can be jettisoned. Both positions have the ability to seal themselves completely in a self-contained environment shell, providing limited life support and protection from high-speed air. The shells contain chutes, braking rockets, and flotation devices.
The arrangement of consoles is normally pilot station to the left and copilot/main gunnery station to the right. Changing this is an easy task, taking one action and requiring the pilot's computer access key. Possession of this key may also allow a skilled programmer to alter the crew stations' programming.
The pilot's station has full flight controls, nav radar and engineering readouts and full cargo bay controls for the door/ramp and cargo grapple release switches. The copilot's station can switch quickly between full piloting controls and gunnery controls.
This set of electronic control systems is the heart of the ship's single tight-beam and broad-band communications systems. The unit is located behind the copilot's cockpit station and is easily accessed from there.
The ship's main computer subsystem is primarily the control center for the four cockpit computer control stations. It contains the configuration programming for the four stations. The unit contains a basic access terminal which any experienced programmer can use to communicate directly with the computer system. This unit is normally locked, with access requiring the use of the pilot's computer access key.
Gunnery Cockpit (2):
The gunnery cockpit is a small cubicle containing a single acceleration couch surrounded by a large control panel. A small access hatch near the floor leads to an access passage connecting the cockpits and the cargo bay. A sliding hatch is positioned in the ceiling over the gunner's head. As with the main cockpit stations, the gunnery cockpit uses a computer station which is programmed to act like any one of the craft's four cockpit stations, at the selection of the pilot. A gunnery station normally controls one of the two point defense turrets located on the sides of the ship. These stations also eject with a support shell, as do the pilot's and copilot's.
This passage is no more than a narrow tunnel roughly 0.75 meters in diameter connecting the main cockpit and the gunnery cockpits together and to the rest of the craft. At the aft end is an access panel leading to the main turret housing and a floor hatch leading into the cargo bay. This passageway has an airtight hatch at all exits. It is difficult to crawl through in a space suit; It is mostly intended for use by repair and maintenance technicians, and is not normally used by the ship's crew except in emergencies. Powered handholds are fitted into tracks along the tube's wall. By grasping these, the crew can be quickly transported through the tube's length -- an especially useful feature during emergencies.
Main Turret Mechanisms:
This room is open to space and contains the driving mechanisms for the single jack turret which contains the LC-20's main weapons. There is little room inside this compartment as weapons access is always made from outside the craft. However, the compartment is big enough for a small person to squeeze into, though major movement could seriously injure a person attempting this. It is a difficult task to reload ammo from inside the turret compartment.
The ship's navigational radar system is located within this compartment which is accessible only from outside the ship. The entire nose section is a tough, radar-transparent material which must be completely removed in order to access the nav radar's components.
Each point defense tactical armament turret is a basic ball turret mounting a single Type-12 autocannon and a 30mm auto grenade launcher. This is located just outside the gunners cockpit. The design of these is such that the weapons can be replaced by a single Quinn-Darlan Mk2-A2 plasma gun. An access hatch behind the turret allows the gunner to access the weapons if the need arises to make minor repairs or reload the weapons. However, there is little room to store extra ammo and the weapons can seldom be repaired on the battlefield, so these hatches normally stay shut.
The ship's fuel supply of 9.6 tons for its MHD drives and 100 tons for its thrusters is compartmented separately. However, the two systems are linked together and the pilot or copilot can remotely operate a pump which will transfer fuel between the two systems. A series of fuel baffles run through the tanks, in a rib-like structure.
The LC-20 is powered by a small MHD turbine located in this compartment near the rear of the ship. It is generally inaccessible from within; the only way to get to the unit to conduct normal maintenance and repair is by removing a large armored panel on the top of the ship. However, a small half-meter wide access panel leads from the ceiling of the craft's cargo bay into the power plant compartment. Thruster ducting extends from either side of the power plant, travels aft around the stutterwarp drives, and to the exhaust ports at the stern of the craft. A second set reaches down through the ship to six exhaust ports mounted on the craft's underside.
The ship's small stutterwarp system is located in two small compartments just aft of the power plant. Access to the stutterwarps is either through access panels leading from the vehicle bay or by the removal of heavy armor plates on the top and bottom of the craft.
The landing craft is equipped with only a single, small airlock. This is located at the back of the cargo bay with an exit hatch at the back of the ship.
The cargo bay is by far the largest compartment in the ship with a total volume of 703.8 cubic meters. The floor of the bay contains an array of magnetic grapples, organized into four groups. The craft's pilot can release any set using controls at his station. A second set of controls is located on a panel at the back wall of the bay. The grapples themselves are actually hooks which are normally closed onto an object. When power is applied, the hooks open, release, and retract into a recess in the floor. This means that if there is a loss of power, the cargo is trapped. The front wall of the cargo bay is a large sloped door/ramp 8.5 meters wide and 5.7 meters long. The door is operated by controls at the pilot's station and on a panel at the back of the bay. This panel also controls pressurization of the bay, as well as a set of heavy-duty pumps for evacuating water from the bay. These pumps are electrically powered with inlets at each of the grapple recesses. Water is ejected through the craft's water propulsion system.
Air for the bay and crew-accessible ship areas is contained in a bank of tanks aft of the cargo bay. A fully charged set of tanks will fill the bay to a pressure of 1 atmosphere up to four times.
The LC-20 is a combat lander, and as such it is armed exclusively with anti-personnel and antivehicle weapons, carrying nothing that can be used against spacecraft or missiles. The craft is equiped with a single jack turret with enough internal space to mount twin lasers, or a particle beam weapon, with room to spare. However, the craft's power plant does not have a high enough output to provide sufficient energy for such additions and the craft would still need TTAs, sensors, and such. There are plans being considered to make these modifications to one of the craft in the series, the LC-30. This vessel is scheduled for a refit to serve as a new prototype with an estimated modification cost of approximately Lv2,000,000.
Existing unmodified LC-20s are equipped with a single 12cm mass driver gun and a three-barreled 30mm autocannon in the jack turret mount. The ship's co-pilot normally operates the weapons in the main turret.
The mass driver gun is an Australian design mounted on a high-angle capable carriage and is equipped with special fire control gear allowing it to serve as a light duty indirect fire weapon. The computerized system allows the gunner to switch from indirect fire mode to direct fire mode and back to indirect fire mode again, automatically returning to the exact elevation and traverse that it had been set to previously. The computer will even keep track of the LC-20's movements so that the weapon can stay on target in either fire mode while the craft is in motion. The weapon itself is fed from a single 60-round internal hopper.
The M491 30mm autocannon is an Emerson-Betker design incorporating a 30mm firing mechanism with a rotating three-barrel unit, allowing a very high rate of fire. The autocannon is fed from a 1,000-round hopper and is mounted inside the jack turret, next to the mass driver gun. Though the two weapons are not normally linked together, the gunners controls allow the two weapons to fire simultaneously at a single target.
Close antipersonnel defense is provided by remote ball turrets located
on either side of the hull with a single turret covering an arc of approximately
120 degrees. Each turret contains one 25mm autocannon and a 30mm
auto grenade launcher which is fed from a pair of 40-round magazine clips.
One of the clips is normally loaded with high explosive fragmentation grenades
while the other is loaded with concealment grenades. The type of
round fired is switch-selectable by the gunner.
Main Turret Armament
PDTAT Armament (2):
Burlington Mk20 12 cm mass driver
Type: 12 cm mass driver
Aimed Fire Range: 4,500 m
Indirect Fire Range: 9,000 m
Range Finder: +3
Rounds Carried: 60
DP Value: 80 ( + fragmentation burst radius = 10 m)
M491 Emerson-Betker (EB-30) three-barreled autocannon
Type: 30 mm three-barreled vehicle mounted autocannon
Mass (Empty): 90 kg less filled mount
Length: 240 cm
Action: Single shot or bursts
Ammunition: 30 x l70 mm fixed cartridge APHE
Muzzle Velocity: 1,250 mps
Magazine: 150-round drum and 1,000-round hopper
Magazine Mass: 60 kg drum, 350 kg hopper
Aimed Fire Range: 1,200 meters
Area Fire Burst: 10 ( AFV=1)
Area Fire Range: 900 m
DP Value: 8 ( + fragmentation burst radius = 5 m)
Price: Lv2,700 ( Lv50 for case of 100 rounds; Lv10 for empty drum; Lv25 for empty hopper)
M120 Auto Grenade Launcher (GW-120)
Type: 30 mm vehicle mounted auto grenade launcher Ammunition: Any 30mm propelled grenade
Magazine: 2 x 40-round internal hoppers (gunner can select from either magazine at will)
Aimed Fire Range: 500 m
DP Value: dependent on grenade used.
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