As mentioned in the piracy thread I’m working on a boarding craft, being inspired by the (now sadly cancelled) Vanguard Kickstarter.
I aimed for something that would fit and be deployed from the hangar pods of the recent Element cruiser Kickstarter:
Hangar pods are equipped with launch and recovery for craft up to 20 dtons and usually carry 24 light fighters and 6 launches, so I intend to replace the launches with my design. The standard launch and my boarding craft are however similar enough in external dimensions that any ship with docking space for a launch could carry this one, if needed/wanted.The hangar pod is designed to allow the rapid launch and recovery of small craft, typically light fighters or utility craft used for customs inspections and similar routine tasks.
Preferably, any boarding would be conducted against a target that has already surrendered or freely allows itself to be boarded (customs check). This is not always possible however, and thus the boarding craft is relatively heavily armoured and fast, and is equipped with a breaching tube and forced linkage apparatus. The breaching tube is booby-trapped to prevent counter-boarding.
Boarding craft carried aboard a ship with launch tubes (such as an Element cruiser with hangar pods) will be able to rapidly close with its target and deliver its load of up to 20 marines. A pair of craft can thus together carry and deliver an entire platoon. The trip is usually made as short as possibly, launching from close range when possible, primarily to reduce time exposed to hostile fire and to prevent a fast-moving target from running away.
The very cramped passenger section also means that passengers prefer not to travel within these craft for too long, though once the shooting starts few complain about the autodoc taking up precious leg room.
While the boarding craft is primarily intended for ship-to-ship transport of personnel, the hull is streamlined and it can be used for surface insertions when needed (or personnel transport to and from orbit). The acceleration benches can be folded away to create working space, such as for treating wounded after a hostile boarding, or to carry some cargo.
The shuttle is lightly armed with a beam laser, primarily meant for self-defense. The laser is by its nature a very accurate weapon, which is helpful for the lone pilot. Besides, a mothership and/or fighter escort should be available most of the time, so it can better focus on deliver its primary weapon, the onboard marines.
I might try to draw a deckplan some day, but for now I kinda imagine that breaching tube and forced linkage apparatus dominate the nose, with passenger and cargo space in the middle. Bridge is placed aft, with engineering at the far stern.
Anyway, here it is:
Boarding Craft, “Leech” (Temporary name)
TL15 Tons Cost
Hull 20 dt, streamlined 1,2
Armour 12, bonded SD 2 0,08
M-drive Thrust 6 1,2 2,4
Power plant (TL15, 20) 1 2
Fuel tanks 4 weeks 1
Bridge 3 dt 0,5
Computer /5 - 0,03
Fixed mount - 0,1
Beam Laser - 0,5
Acceleration Benches x20 5 0,05
Breaching Tube 3 3
Booby-trapped (8D/round) - 1
Forced Linkage (TL15) 2 0,5
Autodoc (TL14) 0,5 1
Software Library, Man/0
Total 20 12,36
Potential options include trying to squeeze in a slightly more powerful M-drive, a more powerful computer to run evade and/or fire control, change the weapon, add reflec, but this is what I’ve got for now!