|MBT-01 Cerebrese main battle tank|
Schematic diagram of several MBT-01 Cerebrese variants.
|Type||Main battle tank|
|Place of origin||New Free Planets Alliance|
|Used by|| Free Planets Ground Force|
Free Planets Marine Corps
|Wars|| Reaper-Omega War|
Heroin Civil War
Marsalian Civil War
Ineran War of Liberation
Cambrian Civil War
|Designer||Hanzen Dynamics Land Combat Systems|
|Manufacturer||National Defense Armor Plant|
|Variants||MBT-01A1, MBT-01A2, MBT-01A3, MBT-01A4T|
|Length||10.10 meters (12.30 meters gun forward)|
|Crew||4 (commander, gunner, driver, engineer) + 8 passengers|
|Armor|| Sixth-generation composite armor|
Electric reactive armor
Depleted uranium mesh plating
Arzorium energy dissipation layer
Active trans-phase armor
AMAP-ADS active defense system
United Defense Industries SDL-23 shield generator
| 150 mm L/55 M1312 high-velocity rail-gun|
25 mm M1300 coaxial rapid-fire rail-gun
| 1 x Remote weapon turret w/8.36 mm machine gun/25 mm automatic grenade launcher|
3 x 8.36 mm machine gun (2 pintle mounted, 1 coaxial)
1 x 20-cell micro-missile launcher
1 x High-power microwave emitter
1 x 40 mm "Redback" projectile interceptor
1 x 400 kW laser array
|Engine|| Patriochev Motors AM-343S ultracompact fusion reactor|
|Transmission||Hailerd Engineering TCD-806|
|Suspension||In-arm electromagnetic suspension unit|
|Ground clearance||0.10-0.70 meters (variable)|
|Speed|| 120 km/h on road|
80 km/h off road
400 km/h repulsor lift
|Sensors|| Wide-band optical tracker|
Gunshot location detector
Short-range subspace sensor
Unattended ground sensors
M1201 Small Unmanned Ground Vehicle
|Communications|| UMN direct interface|
Tight-beam laser transceiver
|Other systems|| Self-healing nanoweave support system|
Magnetic modular attachment hardpoints
Cyberbrain direct interface
Passive color-shift coating
Space-time driver coil
MQ-21 Scryer UAV
- "The landing operation wasn't faring very well until the M21s arrived. They just tore through the enemy defenses. Not even a Scrin forcefield can stop a 144 mm slug travelling at 9,000 m/s."
- ―Lietenant Vlatko Pero, Ground Force infantry commander
The MBT-01 Cerebrese is a main battle tank produced and operated by the Confederation of the New Free Planets Alliance. Despite its use by the Free Planets Ground Force and Marine Corps, it is named after Star Fleet Admiral Robert Cerebrese, who is best remembered for his logistical wizardry and defense of a supply base on a planetary moon in the Van-Fleet system. After a few initial stumbles, the MBT-01 is now a modern, well-armed and well-armored battle tank designed for modern armored warfare. Notable features of the tank include its designed flexibility and high level of technology designed to allow it to operate both independently as well as part of an integrated battle group. Early designs were also notable for their great weight, although the most recent design revision has greatly reduced this.
The MBT-01 Cerebrese entered service in 2001 C.E., relieving the IST-02 Bucock from battle tank duties for which it was not designed. The MBT-01 is the first main battle tank designed in the NFPA and has no true predecessor in terms of combat role, although it traces its role lineage millennia back to the age of armored warfare on Earth. It is anticipated to remain in service for at least the next twenty years depending on need and technological progression.
Five main versions have been deployed, beginning with the first production model MBT-01, and continuing with the updated MBT-01A1, MBT-01A2, MBT-01A3, and the current MBT-01A4T. and the current All three updated designs bring modifications to the base design, with the MBT-01A1 focusing on defensive upgrades and the MBT-01A2 bringing improved offensive capabilities. The MBT-01A3 was a more pervasive overhaul, drastically modifying almost every feature of the tank to a degree that has caused some to lobby for the MBT-01A3's reclassification as a new tank, although since the base chassis design remains the same, the Defense Force retained the MBT-01 designation. The current MBT-01A4 is a further modification, the major changes being a rearrangement of the active protection system, as well as modifications to the engine plant to allow troops to be carried internally.
The design impetus for the MBT-01 stretches back several decades to the experiences of the Great War of the old Free Planets Alliance. The Great War was traditionally a space conflict, and as a result, the FPA had little reason to develop a large ground force aside from light infantry vehicles for security purposes. Continued ground combat against the Empire convinced the Alliance to take some steps toward improving its ground force, and a series of infantry fighting vehicles and light tanks were developed to provide greater firepower for ground engagements. Even these vehicles, however, proved to be too lightweight when compared to Imperial forces, who were required to maintain a large ground force due to the large number of uprisings and riots they often faced. This inadequacy was clearly demonstrated at the Battle of Van-Fleet 4-2, when a relatively small Imperial armored force was able to cripple an Alliance supply base despite the best efforts of the Rosenritter infantry division, swatting aside the M17 Armstrong tanks assigned to protect the base. Although a relatively small skirmish, the Battle of Van-Fleet 4-2 forced the Alliance to abandon one of its offensives against Iserlohn Fortress, essentially forcing a 60,000-ship offensive to grind to a halt.
Work began immediately to design a more capable series of vehicles, but this work was abandoned following the disastrous invasion of the Galactic Empire, after which all available resources were focused toward rebuilding the Star Fleet and research budgets across the board were slashed. Hopes for a new vehicle series were further quashed when the Empire forced the Alliance to sign the Treaty of Barlat, which heavily restricted military development and spending in addition to completely eliminating military expansion. No further efforts to develop a heavier combat vehicle were to be undertaken until the era of the New Free Planets Alliance, some 100 years later.
Early conditions in the New Free Planets Alliance did not permit the design or construction of a new vehicle series; in addition to lacking infrastructure and resources, the fledgling NFPA lacked the expertise required to develop and field new weapons. Thus, the M17 Armstrong and its stablemates were pressed into service again during the Unification Wars, with their superior technology allowing them to survive against heavier foes, although their flexibility and suitability for field battle was still limited. The Unification Wars however did provide the Alliance with sufficient experience in field battle and armored warfare to begin developing their own series of tanks from the ground up.
DevelopmentEditWork on the new vehicle design started in 1998 C.E., alongside a series of sweeping new defense projects aimed at transforming the Defense Force from a hodgepodge of second-hand equipment and holdovers from the old FPA to a new and fully integrated fighting force. Originally, the M20 Bucock and MBT-01 Cerebrese were to share the same basic chassis, but demonstrations early in the design process showed this to be an inefficient proposition and the requirement was dropped. Nonetheless, the early XMBT-01 retained the same four-bogey layout as the XM20, and initially maintained the signature high-mounted, unmanned turret. This layout was abandoned when it was decided the design was unnecessarily complex and provided no real benefit for open-terrain operations. A conventional tank layout was selected, with a two-bogey track system and a large hull with slim turret.
Initial tests were conducted on the hull with a conventional explosive cannon mounted while the vehicle's electronics and railgun were tested separately. In field combat exercises, the hull acquitted itself well, proving sufficiently rugged for good off-road performance and with good reliability for a long service life. Electronic integration, however, would prove to be an engineering challenge as more and more features were added. The railgun armament and supporting electronics were installed successfully, but the addition of more sensors as well as a new armor active armor package began to push the vehicle's weight up from the original 70 tonnes to closer to 80 tonnes. Several attempts to reduce the weight were undertaken, but in the end none were deemed to be sufficiently developed and instead the track system was redesigned for greater surface area to at least counter average ground pressure.
Production began in February 2001 C.E. at the primary National Defense Armor Plant in Tantalus, with additional plants coming online in Orestes and Phoenicus later that year. The initial production batch called for some 15,000 units, and all were delivered within two years. Development work continued on the tank, however, as the MBT-01 was itself also considered a work-in-progress as new technology and expertise was developed.
Three years after the debut of the MBT-01 and only a year after its first deployment, the MBT-01A1 specification was put into production. All existing MBT-01s were sent back to the factory for refurbishing to the MBT-01A1 standard, and some 50,000 new units of the MBT-01A1 were ordered to bolster the MBT-01 force. Improvements included a redesigned armor system for greater efficiency as well as the addition of new active defense systems and a more efficient power plant. Three years after that the MBT-01A2 standard was released, and the previous models were again refurbished and supplemented with additional orders. With the massive expansion rate of the Ground Force and Marine Corps coupled with greater resource availability, orders were switched from a set-unit order to constant production at a set-rate to keep pace with the growing strength of the Defense Force.
First CombatEditThe MBT-01 first entered combat during the Reaper-Omega War, when it was deployed to assist coalition ground troops assaulting the Omega Central Gateway. Combat performance was considered satisfactory, with 40 tanks lost out of 1,000 tanks deployed, and many Omega weapons demonstrated difficulty in penetrating the improved defenses of the MBT-01A2 variant. Additional tanks were deployed planetside to defend Earth from possible invasion, although this never came to pass. The Reaper-Omega War left the Alliance confident in the strength of its armored forces, although development continued with the goal of meeting the 70 tonne weight target.
The Scrin War in particular would prove the necessity of a lower weight and more mobile vehicle. Strong Scrin air defenses around their hive fortresses in the Pacific Islands forced an amphibious landing by sea, and the MBT-01A2 variant proved to be unsuited to beach combat with its heavy chassis prone to sinking in the wet sands. Mobility was not so much of an issue due to the tiny size of the atolls being contested, but the weight made the tank vulnerable to counterattack when fouled on the beaches.
The largest overhaul in the history of the MBT-01 was carried out shortly after the conclusion of the Cambrian Civil War and during the Chousin War. The MBT-01A3 update was a sweeping modification that changed everything from the main armament to the suspension, electronics, armor package, and chassis components. In the intervening years since the MBT-01 first entered service, engineers had been able to model and test more viable weight-saving features including lighter chassis components and more weight-effective armor, providing for a major reduction in mass while retaining the tank's survivability. In addition, the development of an ultracompact space-time driver coil allowed for weight to be reduced even further when the tank's reactor is powered up, significantly increasing mobility when needed.
The main gun was changed from a 144 mm L/54 rail-gun to a larger and much more powerful 150 mm L/55 rail-gun to take advantage of the extra energy afforded by the main reactor over the original MBT-01 design, and the secondary armament was modified to give greater coverage while removing parts of the tank that were believed to be not worth the extra space or weight, namely the 75 mm mortar. The reconnaissance drone that had been added in the MBT-01A2 was removed and replaced with a heavier MQ-21 drone capable of launching missile attacks as well as scouting and reconnaissance.
Subsequent ServiceEditThe MBT-01 saw service during the Chousin War, during which time it proved to be much more effective against the lighter and more agile Juraian forces than the previous MBT-01A2 had. The terrestrial segment of the Chousin War proved to be mostly an infantry engagement, however, and the MBT-01A3 would not have a chance to prove itself against armored forces until the Drakan Wars, where it was key to staving off a Drakan assault on the Italian mainland from Sicily. The Cerebrese also served admirably during the Killik and UNT Wars, once again proving to be a cornerstone of Alliance ground combat power.
The MBT-01A4 specification entered testing in mid-2011, originally designed as an incremental upgrade to the Cerebrese design. It featured a redesigned turret, with increased ammunition storage, as well as a streamlined armor system and new active-protection system. However, months after beginning field tests, Defense Force command pushed for a new standardization initiative, and the Cerebrese chassis was designated to be the basis for most Alliance fighting vehicles. As a result, the interior of the MBT-01 was redesigned to carry 8 troops, and the engine plant was replaced with a split model to allow a center rear exit hatch to be added. With this, the MBT-01 chassis was now capable of directly fulfilling the IFV role, while other modular weapons could allow it to replace a number of other fighting vehicles in service.
Design and upgrade work continues on the MBT-01 with current plans calling for the vehicle to remain in service for another twenty years before full replacement, although this time frame may be adjusted based on future developments.
The MBT-01, like all other Alliance vehicles and warships, is covered with a passive color-shift coating that allows the vehicle to alter its external coloration as needed to fit a particular environment by running an electrical current through the exterior. The default setting for this coating is flat dark earth, however, presets exist for woodland, urban, desert, arctic, low-light, and other environments. The coating is designed to provide a reduction in visual signature, but not true invisibility as the coating cannot shift rapidly enough to completely hide the tank's outline. The coating is also used for parade duty, and it can display unit insignia and decorations when needed.
The coating has the advantage of being a passive system that requires no continuous input of energy to maintain; once a pattern has been selected the coat will retain its coloration until a new pattern is chosen and a new current is passed through the system. The coating also greatly reduces upkeep and preparation work by ensuring each vehicle can be properly camouflaged for a given operational environment without the need to manually repaint each vehicle, and new camouflage patterns can be quickly distributed as a software update to existing vehicles rather than requiring any external modification. The color-shift elements can display 100% of the human eye's color gamut, allowing for more realistic color schemes to blend in with surrounding foliage or terrain.
ConcealmentEditFor battlefield concealment beyond its color-shift coating, the MBT-01 is equipped with a standard therm-optic camouflage system that renders the vehicle almost invisible on the infrared and visible light spectra. The system uses special meta-materials that possess a negative refractive index when subjected to precise amounts of electrical current, allowing them to warp light around the tank. By manipulating this warping effect precisely, light can be warped in such a way as to render the tank almost completely invisible, with only an extremely fine distortion field still in view. In practice, this system provides effective invisibility from optical and thermal scopes as the distortion field is almost impossible to discern against a moving or otherwise active background. As an active system, the tank's reactor and computer systems must be active in order for the system to work, and distortions caused by water or other liquids coming into contact with the vehicle are more than the tank's onboard computer can account for, creating a much more visible distortion field until the liquid motion stops.
Some MBT-01s are fitted with a true cloaking device and supplementary reactor in a modification referred to as the MBT-01A3ST. Unlike the therm-optic camouflage system, the cloaking device renders true invisibility to all spectra of electromagnetic radiation and masks all other emissions from the tank. This renders the tank undetectable to all save starship-grade sensor arrays, although at the cost of increased weight due to the additional components. This modification is rare in practice however as the cloaking device is heavy and adds another maintenance task for the crew, and is only fielded for specific missions, although all tanks possess the capability to mount the system when needed.
Active Protection SystemEditActive defense is provided by the AMAP-ADS armor system based on a concept developed in the early 21st century C.E. by a German company. The tank's outer surface is equipped with a pulse-laser system similar to the Kusanagi system mounted aboard Alliance warships, which allows the vehicle to respond to threats from any direction. The system is tied into the tank's sensor package and has a reaction time of picosecond, allowing it to respond to threats even in a short-range urban environment. The use of a directed-energy beam also prevents collateral damage from the interceptor beam, protecting nearby infantry and any civilians. The tank's onboard electronics also have a standard jamming function to impede the guidance of anti-tank missiles and further reduce the chances of a direct hit.
The MBT-01A1 specification added a 40 mm projectile interceptor as well as a dedicated turret laser interceptor to the armor system, both mounted atop the turret. In addition to their standard functions as interceptors, both are also capable of firing on conventional targets, with the 40 mm projectile interceptor functioning as a light cannon and grenade launcher and the laser interceptor capable of firing a 1 megawatt beam, making it deadly to light vehicles and infantry alike.
The MBT-01A4 design removed the top-mounted laser interceptor in favor of the laser system introduced on the FFA-203 Mave fighter, a more powerful and flexible but larger alternative. The Mave's laser system has been mounted along the left side of the turret, with firing conduits allowing it full coverage around the tank and a lower response time than the turret-based laser interceptor. The power increase also increases the range and engagement envelope of the system, particularly useful in field battles and inclement weather. The micro-missile battery is also capable of interception of larger guided ordinance, but is normally held in reserve for anti-air use.
ArmorEditThe armor system has undergone more revisions than any other subsystem of the tank, being revised heavily with each new specification. The original MBT-01 was considered to be relatively lightly armored in comparison to heavier tanks of the period, and the armor scheme was redesigned in the MBT-01A1 to add a layer of non-explosive reactive armor for better defense against light non-penetrating ordinance and to provide a more rugged outer coating capable of withstanding the elements. The armor layers themselves were also rearranged, to leave the composite armor on the bottom layer, followed by the electric reactive armor, the depleted uranium mesh plating, and finally the non-explosive reactive armor. A standard shield generator was also fitted, as with all other military vehicles, to provide an outer regenerating layer of protection.
The MBT-01A2 design added a layer of nano-composite armor above the depleted uranium layer but below the non-explosive layer to provide more reactive protection against incoming assault. As a result of the new addition, all previous layers were thinned slightly and a new space was added in the armor to house the nano-composite layer. This space also serves as a spall liner to stop the transmission of kinetic energy to the interior of the vehicle, although a polymer spall liner is also installed on the inside of the crew compartment. On the outside, the tank was covered with a new layer of energy-dissipating Arzorium, just below the color-shift coating, which provides additional protection against heat- and energy-based weapons.
The MBT-01A3 design altered the armor yet again. Once again the layers were thinned, this time to make space for a layer of trans-phase armor. Similar in design to the heavier variant used aboard Alliance warships and mobile units, the trans-phase armor provides greatly increased protection although its energy demands are greater than the onboard reactor can provide, requiring the use of capacitors that can be depleted under heavy assault. Although not readily visible, the remaining armor layers were also reformulated for greater efficiency, resulting in a reduced weight without a cost to protection. After the MBT-01A1 revision, the MBT-01 is now proof against its own main gun from the forward and side angles, a capability that was retained in the MBT-01A2 and MBT-01A3 variants by improving the armor system to account for the enhanced main armament.
The MBT-01A4 shifted the armor scheme toward a less complex form, removing the non-explosive reactive armor from the standard armor outfit. Dimensions were not affected as the composite armor layer was thickened to account for the difference in depth, resulting in overall greater protection. Non-explosive reactive armor plates may be added beneath the AMAP-ADS system if necessary, along with other modular armor systems.
Damage ControlEditFire suppression and damage control is provided by a network of micro-forcefield generators and halon fire suppressor systems, similar to those used aboard warships to avoid a loss of atmospheric integrity. The tank is capable of limited self-repair via its nanoweave system which can be supplemented by pulling nanites from the nano-composite armor layer. The nanoweave system can also be used to heal crew injuries to a limited degree. More intensive work is possible using the system, but is a relatively time consuming process depending on the severity of the damage.
High-explosive and incendiary rounds are stored in a special ammunition compartment with blowout panels to protect the crew in the event the ammunition compartment is damaged. The kinetic penetrator storage area does not have these precautions as the penetrators are inert and cannot be detonated. The entire ammunition stowage area is sealed off from the rest of the tank, however, along with the autoloader and cannon system. The system can be accessed via manual hatches in an emergency for manual loading or repairs. Fuel storage areas were previously housed outside of the primary armored box (but within the tank's frame), but the MBT-01A3 revision removes the need for large fuel tanks through the use of a more efficient electrolysis plant to distill hydrogen from the air or water.
In the largest change from the previous models, the MBT-01A4 introduces the unmanned turret. The entire turret assembly has been sealed and treated as an ammuntion storage area, partly a necessity to accommodate the new laser system and micro-missile battery. Access is possible from within the tank, but the turret is normally left sealed during combat operations to improve compartmentalization.
Primary ArmamentEditThe main armament of the MBT-01 is a high-power rail-gun fed by the tank's onboard reactor. Two distinct models of rail-gun have been used to date, with the current MBT-01A3 using the M1312 150 mm rail-gun. Both are capable of high-angle shots to act as make-shift artillery, and can launch anti-tank guided missiles if required. As a rail-gun-type weapon, both are smoothbore designs that use the tremendous speed and aerodynamics of the shell to maintain a stable flight path. This also allows for the more effective use of HEAT and cannister cartridges due to the lack of rifling.
M1311 144 mm high-power rail-gun (L/44-L/54)
The M1311 144 mm rail-gun is the original armament of the MBT-01, initially fitted in a L/44 configuration. As with most tank guns, it is capable of firing a variety of anti-tank, high-explosive, anti-personnel, incendiary rounds. The original M1311 L/44 gun is capable of accelerating a 200 kilogram tungsten kinetic penetrator to 7,800 m/s, giving a maximum range of 30 kilometers without obstructions on a flat trajectory. With the introduction of the MBT-01A1 the M1311 gun was lengthened to an L/54 gun, with the additional length allowing for acceleration of the same penetrator to 9,200 m/s at maximum output, giving a range of 35 kilometers without obstruction. In the MBT-01A2 the capacitor and discharge systems were reworked to allow for a greater rate of fire at the same output, although velocity remained the same. As a large gun firing heavy shells, the weapon is fed by a smart autoloader capable of selecting and loading the designated type of ammunition as needed.
M1312 150 mm high-power rail-gun (L/55) & M1300 25 mm rapid-fire rail-gunThe M1312 150 mm rail-gun replaced the original 144 mm gun in the MBT-01A3 variant, significantly increasing lethality and range. To account for the gun's longer length, the base is set further back into the turret, reducing the length addition to the vehicle and minimizing the chance of the gun fouling while crossing uneven terrain. The M1312 is capable of accelerating a 250 kg tungsten penetrator to 10,500 m/s, giving it a maximum range of 40 kilometers on a flat trajectory without obstructions. The larger diameter is a result of requests for stronger high-explosive and incendiary rounds for infantry support, which could be best accomplished with a larger-diameter weapon. The change also served to transition to a more uniform caliber. Like the M1311, the M1312 is fed by an autoloader.
Standard ammunition load is 120 rounds, including sub-caliber rounds. Due to the power of the main gun, most anti-tank rounds are sub-caliber, while explosive rounds are relatively compact. This loadout includes ten 250 kilogram full-bore heavy anti-tank rounds, six 75 kilogram full-bore high-explosive rounds, forty-eight 70 mm 30 kilogram light penetrators, sixteen 25 kilogram HEAT shells, sixteen 20 kilogram HESH shells, twelve full-bore cluster shells, and twelve full-bore shrapnel shells. Also carried are two each of smoke and illumination charges.
Along with the M1312 cannon, the M1300 25 mm cannon was reclassified as part of the main armament, to denote its use against lightly- and moderately-armored vehicles. The M1300 was added in the MBT-01A2 variant as a coaxial weapon to support the main rail-gun against lighter targets as well as provide covering fire for supporting vehicles and infantry. Like the M1311 and M1312, the M1300 is capable of intelligent ammunition selection, shifting between armor piercing and high-explosive rounds as necessary. Standard ammunition load is 600 rounds.
Secondary ArmamentEditThe MBT-01 is equipped with five secondary weapon stations at various points:
- A remote weapon turret equipped with a 8.36 mm machine gun and 25 mm grenade launcher mounted just above the main gun. This is the most flexible mount, capable of a full 360-degree field of fire. It is normally computer-operated and programmed to fire on confirmed hostiles or suspected hostiles with crew permission. The turret can also interface with nearby Alliance infantry to provide covering fire for infantry operations should the tank commander approve the fire request. Standard ammunition load is 2,000 rounds of 8.36 mm ammunition, and 400 rounds of 25 mm ammunition. The current arrangement replaces an older 12.7 mm machine gun turret when the Alliance discontinued use of the 12.7 mm caliber.
- A coaxial 8.36 mm machine gun, to provide light suppressing fire against infantry targets in the path of the main gun. It is aimed and controlled with the same fire control mechanism as the main gun and 25 mm support gun. This weapon feeds from the common 8.36 mm ammunition stock in the turret. This replaced an older 7.62 mm weapon when the 7.62 mm caliber was phased out in favor of the 8.36 mm caliber.
- Two pintle mounted 8.36 mm machine guns mounted to the right and left of the main gun. These provide forward fire against light targets regardless of the orientation of the main gun and support turret. They are controlled by the onboard computer with manual backup, and can also be remotely interfaced. These also replace previous 7.62 mm weapons. These are fed from a separate arsenal of 4,000 8.36 mm rounds in the crew compartment, also accessible for use by infantry and the crew.
- A 20-cell mirco-missile launcher. The launcher is designed to provide protection against low-flying aircraft, missiles, and other highly-mobile targets. It may also be targeted against fixed positions and ground vehicles. Normal missile range is 10 kilometers, but the missiles in the MBT-01 are equipped with boosters pushing their range to 30 km. This unit replaced a 4-cell anti-aircraft missile box launcher.
- A high-power microwave emitter for non-lethal operations. The microwave emitter is designed to disperse crowds and civilians in a safe and harmless manner by causing an intense burning sensation on a target's skin. In combat, the output can be increased to a lethal setting, capable of causing severe damage to light vehicles and fortifications and killing the average humanoid.
Storage space in the tank allows for the storage of a full complement of infantry weapons for the crew. Normally this consists of four service rifles, four light shotguns, and a multi-purpose missile launcher, although this mix can be modified as needed. All crew members are equipped with their standard service sidearms. This allows the crew greater survivability in the event they must exit the tank in a hostile environment.
The MBT-01 uses an integrated fire control system that links all of the tank's weapons into a single computer network, allowing the computer to designate the most appropriate weapon for each target. The computer takes all of the input data from the tank's onboard sensors as well as relevant sensor data from nearby networked sensors to calculate the necessary firing solution. The computer is capable of intelligently selecting the most accurate data in case of conflicting data sets, reducing its susceptibility to jamming or other concealment techniques, and can generate firing solutions that are updated 1,000 times per second. These firing solutions are fed directly to the commander and gunner's cyberbrain interfaces, and either can approve the computer's solution or replace it with their own manual calculations as desired. In essence, the entire operation of the tank's armaments is automated, and the gunner and commander are responsible only for approving the computer's proposed firing solutions. In the event of the incapacitation or absence of the commander and gunner, the computer will automatically feed the solutions to the next ranking officer onboard, and can even feed the coordinates to an off-site command center, allowing for completely unmanned operations. The fire computer is also equipped with a delay system that will automatically delay firing if the tank encounters a rough terrain feature at the instant firing would have normally occurred. The system can predict existing features on the present terrain as well as alterations made by other ordinance or weather factors and adjust the firing sequence to ensure the round stays on target.
A pair of optical sights are fitted for use by the gunner and commander, both equipped with vision-enhancement for low-light and adverse weather conditions. Firing of all armaments can also be achieved manually, by removing the ammunition compartment panels in the case of the main gun and supplementary cannon, or by direct use in the case of the other armaments. The anti-aircraft missile launcher can be directly interfaced either via a closed-loop digital control system or by direct cyberbrain interface in the event the tank's electronics are compromised. Iron sights are equipped on all of the secondary machine guns as well as optical sights that normally feed into the tank's computer. Situational awareness is provided both by direct cyberbrain interface and by holographic projectors.
Tactical MobilityEditThe MBT-01 is powered by a Patriochev Motors AM-342 ultracompact fusion reactor, which puts out enough energy for all of the tank's onboard systems. The MBT-01A2 upgrade replaced the original AM-342 with the new AM-342H, providing 50% more power to supply energy to the new weapons complement. The initial MBT-01 was supported by an electromagnetic torsion bar system, but this was replaced in later models by a more complex but more capable in-arm suspension unit that allows for on-the-fly adjustments to ride height and cushioning for a smoother ride and reduced crew and vehicle fatigue. Using tracked propulsion the tank can travel at up to 120 km/h on road and 80 km/h cross-country, with the primary limiting factor being track wear which accelerates above these speeds. However, in emergencies the tank can move at speeds up to 160 km/h on road and 100 km/h off road, at the cost of increased wear to the drive system. Improvements to the MBT-01A4 design have allowed it to achieve speeds of up to 140 km/h safely on flat terrain, and 90 km/h cross-country.
The tank is also fitted with a repulsorlift system for rapid movement to and from a battle zone. Traditionally, this system is used to get the tank within several kilometers of a designated battlefield before the vehicle switches to tracked propulsion for greater stability and damage resistance. The repulsorlift system is capable of propelling the tank at speeds up to 300 km/h and a maximum height of four meters. It is not favored in battle however due to its susceptibility to jamming and the active nature of the system, which can cause damage to the tank of the repulsorlift system is disabled. The tracked propulsion system provides greater stability and leverage to dissipate the recoil from the main gun as well. The tank is fully self-contained, and capable of operating under high compression and vacuum states, including full underwater and space operations. For these operations, the tank has an onboard ballast control system and electromagnetic tracks to allow adhesion to surfaces in the absence of gravity.
The AM-342H reactor consumes hydrogen fuel like any other fusion reactor, and is capable of distilling fuel from the surrounding air of an Earth-class planet or from water supplies. In environments lacking an atmosphere, hydrogen can be extracted from any suitable source or fed from an optional storage tank. This tank is not traditionally fitted on MBT-01A3 variants as it was determined an unnecessary fire risk for normal operations. Cooling systems dispel the heated air via a series of ports along the sides of the tank, rendering the vehicle safe for close-infantry operations while the engine itself has an extremely low accoustic signature. The reactor is supplemented by a gas turbine auxiliary power unit that can use a variety of fuel, including liquid hydrogen, to provide power for the tank's onboard sensors and computer systems should the main reactor be powered down.
The AM-343S reactor is a special design, putting out slightly more energy to power the new weapon systems, but primarily being designed as a 'split-engine,' with the reactor vessel on one side and the fuel and power conversion systems on the other. This allows a center exit hatch to be added to the vehicle, allowing the ingress and egress of crew and infantry.
The MBT-01 was initially criticized for its relatively poor strategic mobility, a function of its tremendous weight. The early 80 tonne weight caused problems with most existing transport systems and made airlifting the tank a difficult proposition at best. Later variants with even greater weights only exacerbated this problem until the MBT-01A3 revision brought the weight under control. This coupled with larger transport aircraft and landing craft have allowed the MBT-01 a greater degree of strategic mobility. For matter transport, the MBT-01 is classified as large cargo, requiring a high-end cargo transporter for unmanned movement, and prohibiting the use of all but the most powerful biological transporters for crewed movement.
Variants and UpgradesEdit
- XMBT-01: Experimental model. Eight test-beds were created, the first four with a conventional cannon and the last four with the M1311 rail-gun.
- MBT-01: First production model. Slightly redesigned armor scheme from the previous XMBT-01 for greater efficiency, although greater weight.
- MBT-01R: Revised model used to test MBT-01A1 upgrades.
- MBT-01A1: Second production model. Incorporates upgrades from MBT-01R as well as later updates from separate programs. Armor system redesigned, and active defense systems added.
- MBT-01A1R: Revised model used to test MBT-01A2 upgrades.
- MBT-01A2: Third production model. Incorporates upgrades from the MBT-01A1R plus a new AM-342H reactor. Main gun lengthened to L/54, and new secondary armaments added.
- MBT-01A2R: Revised model used to test MBT-01A3 upgrades.
- MBT-01A3: Fourth production model. Incorporates upgrades from MBT-01A2R, plus new trans-phase armor and a new main gun.
- MBT-01A3ST: Stealth variant of the MBT-01A3 mounting a cloaking device and concealment equipment for covert operations.
- MBT-01A4: Slated to be the fifth production model, but never entered service. Replaced by MBT-01A4T variant.
- MBT-01A4T: Current (fifth) production model. Adds troop capacity and an improved protection suite.
Specifications of VariantsEdit
|Height||2.47 meters||2.57 meters|
|Top speed||70.6 km/h on road, 50.8 km/h off road||88 km/h on road, 70 km/h off road||120 km/h on road, 70 km/h off road|
|Weight||72.15 tonnes||78.23 tonnes||79.63 tonnes||84.55 tonnes||67.34 tonnes|
|Main armament||120 mm smoothbore test cannon||M1311 144 mm L/44 rail-gun||M1311 144 mm L/54 rail-gun||M1312 150 mm L/55 rail-gun|
|Crew||4 (commander, gunner, driver, engineer)|