Thursday, November 8, 2012

Enter BattleMech #11: CATAPHRACT

It is confirmed - Cataphract will be added to the game on November the 20th this year.

CATAPHRACT CTF-3D concept art

The Cataphract is a heavy BattleMech and one of the first original designs since the start of the Succession Wars, though it had inauspicious beginnings. When the Capellan Confederation lost the world of Carver V to the Free Worlds League in 2953, it also lost its main heavy and assault 'Mech production lines. Unable to build anything bigger than a Vindicator and desperate for a heavy 'Mech, the Capellans designed the Cataphract from spare parts they could still manufacture. Using components from the Marauder, Shadow Hawk and Phoenix Hawk, they were able to field prototypes which were functional, if not aesthetically pleasing, and more importantly reproducible. Dubbed a FrankenMech for its appearance, the Cataphract was set to become the Confederation's standard heavy 'Mech and a limited production run had already begun when the Federated Suns captured Tikonov and its Cataphract factory during the Fourth Succession War. This embarrassing defeat was further compounded as many Davion units, including the Crucis Lancers, adopted the Cataphract as their own. It wasn't until 3032 that the Confederation finally replaced the lost factory with one on Betelgeuse, producing their own Cataphracts in time for the Andurien Crisis.
Shortly after 3025 the Federated Commonwealth began work on the CTF-3D, intended to stand toe-to-toe with an assault 'Mech and be as versatile as possible. This included the use of formerly lostech autocannons for impressive firepower while eleven tons of armor allowed the Cataphract to easily absorb damage. Sixteen heat sinks kept it cool while four HildCo Model 12 jump jets gave it a jumping distance of one hundred and twenty meters; room for these improvements was made by using a GM 280 XL Engine. Despite the upgrades the CTF-3D was only marginally deployed by the AFFC and eventually relegated to the Crucis March Militia as an insult to the Capellans. The onset of the Clan Invasion caused everything still in production, including the Cataphract, to be rushed to the front lines. For their part the Capellans were able to produce the CTF-3D from stolen plans and went about creating their own variant, the CTF-3L, which would go on to make up twenty-five percent of all their newly-acquired heavy 'Mechs during the 3050s. In the years afterwards use of the design would wane, though a few new variants would continue to be produce as new technology and new demands arose. [source]

Technical specifications

Mass: 70 tons
Chassis: Earthwerk CTF
Armor: 11 tons of Kallon Royalstar
Engine: GM 280 XL
Communications System: CommuTech Multi-Channel 10
Speed: 64.8 km/h
Jump Jets: HildCo Model 12

  • 1 x LB-X Autocannon/10
  • 1 x Ultra AC-5
  • 4 x Medium Lasers

BV (1.0): 1266
BV (2.0): 1325

Note: BV stands for battle value

  • CTF-1X - The original prototype of the Cataphract, the 1X model is armed with a Ceres Arms Smasher PPC as its primary weapon, which is backed up by an Sarlon MaxiCannonAutocannon/10 with one ton of ammo and the four medium lasers. Additionally, since the 1X was built before the discovery of the Helm Memory Core, it lacks any advanced Star League technology and is built with a standard VOX 280 engine. The 'Mech also lacks the jump jets of the 3D model. BV (1.0) = 1092, BV (2.0) = 1316
  • CTF-2X - Another prototype of the Cataphract design, the 2X is armed with a much more diverse weapons mix. The PPC has been replaced with a FirMir MaxiLaser Large Laser and the arm-mounted medium lasers replaced with Hovertec Quad SRM-4 in the left arm. While the Autocannon/10 torso-mounted medium lasers are kept, the latter now fire forward. An extra ton of autocannon ammo is carried, while two heat sinks have been replaced for two additional tons of armor. BV (1.0) = 1035, BV (2.0) = 1344
  • CTF-3L - Produced by the Capellans based on stolen Davion designs, the 3L is an upgraded version of the Cataphract that follows more in line with the prototype 1X model. It is propelled by an XL Engine with MASC instead of jump jets allowing it to reach speeds of 86.4 km/h in short bursts. While it is also armed with an LB-X Autocannon/10 as its primary weapon this is instead matched with a Ceres Arms Warrior ER PPC for powerful striking capabilities at long range. Other differences include the use of four Medium Pulse Laser and double heat sinks in place of the standard models. This design was produced by the Confederation at Grand Base following the ascension of Chancellor Romano Liao. BV (1.0) = 1302, BV (2.0) = 1545
  • CTF-3LL - This basic refit of the 3L replaces the PPC with a Plasma Rifle. Tonnage is freed up for its three tons of ammunition by swapping out the two forward-facing pulse lasers for ER Medium Lasers. The reduced heat load gives the 3LL the luxury of not building heat before it is damaged. BV (2.0) = 1,664
  • CTF-4L - A Capellan upgrade produced during the 3060s, the 4L is built using a standard fusion engine and utilizes thirteen and a half tons of Stealth Armor along with a Guardian ECM suite for protection. The 'Mech is armed with a Gauss Rifle and an ER PPC as its primary weapons, giving it a powerful long-range punch. For close range defense, the 'Mech carries two ER Medium Lasers. Produced in the wake of the Xin Sheng movement and the recapture of Tikonov, the CTF-4L was intended for the growing number of Shadow Lances within the CCAF. BV (1.0) = 1634, BV (2.0) = 2037
  • CTF-4X - The 4X is a Federated Suns prototype produced following the capture of Tikonov, but never saw use due to a lukewarm reception. The Large Laser of the 2X is retained, but all of the other weapons are removed in favor of two Autocannon/5s and an LRM-5. In order to fit all of this equipment, the top speed is lowered to 56 km/h. In a strange twist of fate, the copious ammunition bins for the autocannons became popular with the creation of special munitions, making this design much more well-liked than it had been in the past. BV (2.0) = 1216
  • CTF-5D - This upgrade of the 3D removes the weapons and is powered by a Light Fusion Engine along with enough improved jump jets to leap up to one hundred and eighty meters. This enables it to bring its Plasma Rifle and Light Autocannon/5 to bear, though a one-ton ammunition bin for the autocannon limits its ability to use special munitions. Two ER Medium Lasers provide backup in case an enemy closes with the Cataphract. The inclusion of a Small Cockpit allows for the armor to be increased to eleven and a half tons worth. BV (2.0) = 1510

Custom Variants
  • CTF-2X Cataphract George - Taking a 2X variant Cataphract salvaged after the 7th Crucis Lancers capture of Tikonov to replace his aging Warhammer, in the lead-up to the War of 3039 Fox's Teeth member George Lytton's Lucky Thirteen was outfitted with an experimental NAIS Mk. III ER Large Laser prototype to replace the standard model and corrosive coolant Double Heat Sinks. BV (2.0) = 1,367
  • CTF-3X Cataphract Sara - Salvaging her father's 'Mech after his death fighting Clan Jade Falcon on Wotan in 3051, fellow Fox's Teeth member Sara Lytton had Lucky Thirteen fully upgraded prior to the FedCom Civil War. Adopting a modern take on the 2X variant's weapons load-out, the now production grade ER large laser is joined by two ER Mediums in the torso while the SRM-4 is swapped for a ammo-efficient Streak SRM-4 and single ton of reloads, with the standard autocannon replaced with a advanced Rotary AC/5 supplied with three tons of ammo. Mounting Ferro-Fibrous armor allows a ton less to be carried to be devoted to CASE in each torso, while switching all its heat sinks to doubles improves its heat dissipation.
  • CTF-5MOC Cataphract Naomi - Magestrix Naomi Centrella's customized variant used during Jihad battles on Sian and later Canopus IV, the 'Mech has been equipped with a Heavy PPC in its right torso and a Plasma Rifle with 2 tons of ammo found its right arm. Also, it has 4 one-shot Ten-Tube Rocket Launchers mounted into both torsos. As secondary weaponry, it has been given a Medium Pulse Laser in its left torso and Extended Range Medium Laser in the right arm. To handle the heat load, the 'Mech has 15 Double heat sinks. Protecting the hull of the wife of the Chancellor, 'Mech is encased with Stealth Armor with it required Guardian ECM Suite. To give it mobility, the customized machine has four Jump Jets mounted into its torsos. BV (2.0) = 2104

Confirmed in-game variants: [source]
  • CTF-1X
  • CTF-2X
  • CTF-3D
  • CTF-4X

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