IN THRUST WE TRUST
BY NORMAN McMULLEN
The other car was closing fast and firing its guns. As shots bounced off the armor, Sam thought, "Damn, now what should I do?". Then he remembered his most recent vehicular addition. Sam hit a button on the steering wheel and a steady burst of flame scorched his opponent's hood. The two cars were now separated by a great distance that kept increasing. "Whew, that was close", he thought, as the trees along the road went by like a picket fence.
Sounds interesting, uh? Wouldn't you want to have a rocket engine for getting out of the tight spots? Rocket boosters? I'm sorry to say the current rocket boosters are firecrackers compared to a rocket or jet engine with a sustained acceleration of at least 10 seconds. Why have a one second firecracker when there's's other options available. Jet and rocket engines offer the following: long burn durations, variable acceleration rates, and higher top speeds. Granted, they are more exotic than gas and electric engines, but they get you here to there faster.
There's three ways to push a car with jet or rockets. They are: 1) solid rockets, 2) liquid rockets, and 3) jet engines. Each has it's own advantages and disadvantages.
Solid rockets are similar to rocket boosters/jump jets, but put out more power and have a longer duration. These are a long, thin cylinder container with a nozzle on the open end. They are packed with a solid base propellant. A solid rocket is ignited by an electrical spark in the nozzle. Once ignited, they cannot be shut off or controlled and will last as long as there is propellant available.
Liquid rockets are a nozzle/combustion chamber connected to two tanks of chemicals by valves. When the chemicals are sprayed in the combustion chamber, they ignite from the result chemical reactions (however, not all liquid rockets work this way). The resulting thrust is directed out from the nozzle. The thrust is controlled by the amount of chemicals that enter the combustion chamber. Some rockets do work on a hydrogen/oxygen mixture that is hard to maintain due to the need for below-zero temperatures for the liquid forms of these gases.
Jet engines are cylinder engines that use fan blades to pull air into them. They then mix a fuel with the air and ignite it. There are a few variants of jet engines: turbojets, turbofans, and turboprops. The turbofan is an efficient jet engine that has an oversized fan on the front of the engine to pull air into and around the engine. Jet engines can be used in cars, helicopters, airplanes, boats, and most other vehicle types. Turbofans can get more miles than a regular jet on the same amount of fuel. Turboprop engines are used to drive propellers or rotors on an aircraft or helicopter.
Jet and rockets are expensive and hard to find. They can be linked together to combine their power factors.
|SR=Solid Rocket, LR=Liquid Rocket|
|Light SR||$400||100 lbs.||1 space||8,200 PF||2 DP|
|Medium SR||$600||150 lbs.||2 spaces||9,700 PF||3 DP|
|Heavy SR||$1,000||250 lbs.||3 spaces||11,500 PF||4 DP|
|Light LR||$8,000||300 lbs.||1 space||9,800 PF||4 DP|
|Medium LR||$16,000||400 lbs.||2 spaces||11,500 PF||5 DP|
|Heavy LR||$32,000||500 lbs.||3 spaces||13,500 PF||6 DP|
|X-Hvy LR||$64,000||600 lbs.||4 spaces||16,000 PF||7 DP|
|Light Jet||$10,000||300 lbs.||1 space||13,500 PF||2 DP|
|Medium Jet||$18,000||400 lbs.||2 spaces||16,000 PF||3 DP|
|Heavy Jet||$36,000||500 lbs.||3 spaces||23,500 PF||4 DP|
|X-Hvy Jet||$72,000||600 lbs.||4 spaces||29,000 PF||5 DP|
Solid Rocket Options:
Solid rockets can be mounted in EWPs on Helicopters and microplanes only. In this mode they are called RATO packs - Rocket Assisted Take-Off, since they are mostly used to shorten the take-off time and give instant airspeed.
Turbofans add 50% of the regular cost and weight. Fuel lasts two minutes per gallon. They also take up an extra space and may mount afterburners.
Turboprops cost 25% less than the regular cost and weight. Fuel lasts one minute per gallon. They also take up an extra space and have a 20% reduction in power factors.
Top speeds for solid and liquid rockets
|Cars - (720 x PF)/(PF + weight)|
|Boats - (480 x PF)/(PF + weight)|
|Helicopters - (600 x PF)/(PF + weight)|
|Microplanes/Airplanes - (1,440 x PF)/(PF + weight)|
Top speeds for jet engines
|Cars - (480 x PF)/(PF + weight)|
|Boats - (320 x PF)/(PF + weight)|
|Hovercrafts - (360 x PF)/(PF + weight)|
|Helicopters - (600 x PF)/(PF + weight)|
|Microplanes/Airplanes - (960 x PF)/(PF + weight)|
I left out hovercraft on the rocket speed table. When looking at a hovercraft I see no way to mount a rocket engine safely on them. A hovercraft is difficult to control normally. When a rocket is attached it would be unsteerable and very damaging to the vehicle's skirts.
On helicopters, jets are mounted separately from normal power to the rotors. If a helicopter is powered solely by a jet, it has to be a turboprop.
Turboprop speed formulas for Helicopters, Hovercraft, and Microplanes
|Helicopters - (400 x PF)/(PF + weight)|
|Hovercrafts - (240 x PF)/(PF + weight)|
|Microplanes/Airplanes - (640 x PF)/(PF + weight)|
Prop-driven vehicles may not exceed Mach One (680 mph), because the propeller/rotor will destroy itself. Treat it as an automatic rotor failure.
Turbofan jet engines may only be mounted on microplanes and hovercrafts only. They lose no power are quieter than a normal jet and don't produce a smokescreen behind the vehicle.
A normal jet may be heard within a 18" radius. Turbofans can only be heard at half that distance (9"). Turboprops can only be heard within 6". Stealth modifications can be made to jets, reducing their noise radius by one-third. Rocket engines cannot be modified for stealth operations.
Since jet and rocket engines have more power factors than normal gas engines, the acceleration rates with jet and rocket engines are greater also.
Rocket and Jet Acceleration
|1/3 of vehicle weight||2.5mph/turn|
|1/2 to 1/3||5|
|1/2 to equal weight||10|
|weight to 1.5||15|
|1.25 to double||20|
Liquid rocket fuel costs $60 and 6 lbs per gallon. One gallon of liquid rocket fuel will last for 30 seconds and requires a gas tank. Use the gas tanks from Dueltrack.
Jet engine fuel costs $140 and 6 lbs per gallon. One gallon of jet fuel will last for one minute and requires a gas tank. Use the gas tanks from Dueltrack.
Both Turboprops and Turbofans use these fuels also.
Now that we've covered what we're dealing with, it's about time to discuss the combat related modifiers of jets and rockets.
Rocket Nozzle: -6 from the rear only.
Jet Nozzle: -6 from the rear only.
Jet Intake: -3 from the front or sides only.
-1 to hit for every 100 mph above 80.
Rocket and jet engines with damage are effected similarly to gas engines, but with more dangerous consequences. Solid rockets have a 3 in 6 chance of catching fire when hit. They explode on a roll of 1-2 on 1D6. This chance of explosion continues until the rocket has no DP left.
Rocket Engine Damage Table (2D6)
2-4: Clang! Something was hit but nothing vital.
5-7: Engine failure in ten minutes. Medium repair job if shut down before this time, otherwise it becomes a Difficult repair. 3 in 6 chance of fire while engine is in operation. If on fire a roll of 1 on a D6 indicates an explosion (see 11-12).
8-10: Engine dies. Very Hard repair job for mechanic. 4 in 6 chance of fire. If on fire a roll of 1 on a D6 indicates an explosion (see 11-12).
11-12: Engine explodes, doing 2D6 damage per gallon (liquid - for solid its per space) of fuel to anything within a 4" burst radius. Vehicle totally destroyed.
Jet Engine Damage Table (2D6)
2-4: Clang! Something was hit but nothing vital.
5-7: Engine failure in ten minutes. Same results as for 5-7 for a rocket engine.
8-10: Crunch! Fan blade breaks and rips up nearby components. Immediate loss of all power and acceleration. 1D6 damage to nearby components. Fire chance 3 in 6, explodes on a 1 on a D6.
11: Engine dies. Fire chance 5 in 6, explodes on a 1 on a D6. Does 2D6 damage per gallon of fuel to anything within a 4" burst radius. Vehicle totally destroyed.
12: Roll one D6. On a 1 the engine explodes, doing 2D6 damage per gallon of fuel to anything within a 4" burst radius. Vehicle totally destroyed.
Thermal Signature Suppression System: $5,000, 100 lbs., 1 space for cars; $10,000, 250 lbs., 2 spaces for oversized vehicles. This system will shield cars from being detected on infrared systems on a 1-4, 1-3 for oversized vehicles. On a successful roll it will keep infrared homing devices from homing in on the target vehicle.
Air Brakes for Cars: $200, 1 space, 75 lbs.(comprises two brakes), armor $10/5 lbs per point, maximum armor weight of 100 lbs. per brake. These air brake panels are built into the side of the car and allow for greater deceleration at high speeds. They must be original equipment; they cannot be retrofitted. The air brakes will allow safe deceleration up to 30 mph. At 35 mph its a D3 hazard, 40 a D5, and at 45 its a D7 hazard and all tires take 1D6 damage. A deceleration of 50 or greater will see the car straight into crash table 1 and all tires take 2D6 damage. Air brakes cannot be used on oversized vehicles and cycles. If the side of a vehicle equipped with air brakes is hit, roll 2D6. On a roll from 10 - 12 the air brake is hit.
Blade Airfoils: for helicopters only. These blade airfoils are composed primarily of slatted airfoils on the rotors, increasing the helicopters top speed. $1,000, 75 lbs., increase handling class by 1 and top speed by 5 mph.
Sunburst: $500, one space, one DP, 20 lbs., 20 rounds, WPS 1 lb., CPS $5. Total cost $600 and total weight 40 lbs. This device shoots out a small flare 2" which lasts 3 seconds. Each flare gives a -2 modifier to all heat seeking weapons at it also has a 1-6 chance of fooling an IR system.
Heat Seeking Missile Launcher: $3,000, To-hit 7, 2 spaces, one DP, 200 lbs., 2 rounds, CPS $700, WPS 50 lbs. Loaded cost $4,400 and loaded weight 300 lbs. The heat seeking missile system locks onto a target's heat source (exhaust typically) in its arc of fire. The firer must have line of sight to the target at the time of launch. The missile will track the target afterwards, moving 4" per phase, up to 72", as long as the missile has line of sight to its target. However, if there is more than one heat producing object within 45 degrees on either side of the missile's front a roll of 6 or better on 2D6 is needed for the missile to keep its original target. If line of sight is lost due to an obstacle an unmodified roll of 7 or better must be made to avoid the obstacle. If the missile loses line of sight or its lock it will continue in a straight line until it hits something or run out of fuel. The missile will always try to hit the hottest spot of it target. The missile may be targeted at -6 penalty by the target and by -8 for everyone else.
NOTAR (NO TAil Rotor): Cost 50% of the helicopter body cost, no weight modifications. Increase HC by 1 and top speed by 20. This modification eliminates the tail rotor of helicopters and replaces it with an air jet system to counteract torque forces. Notar is more stable than the regular stabilizing rotor and is easier to control.
VSTOL Engine Modification: Add 50% to the cost of the jet engines being modified. The VSTOL modification allows a jet by use of special exhaust nozzles to have vertical and short take offs and landings. An aircraft with power factors equal to or greater than its weight can up straight up on take off. If it weighs more than it has power factors it can reduced it's normal take-off (stall) speed by 1/3.
G-Suit: $4,000 and 3 DP. An improved G-Suit costs $8,000, has 6 DP and reduces the GE an person so equipped by one. The G- Suit is made to help the human body cope with the high G- maneuvers associated with jet or rocket-powered vehicles and aircraft. The G-Suit has a -4 modifier for G-induced consciousness dice rolls.
Swivel Nozzles: 10% of engine cost. A Swivel Nozzle can be fitted to jet and rocket engines. This nozzle can reduce the difficulty of any maneuver made by the mounting aircraft by 2. It can also be used by cars but not by VSTOL aircraft.
Particle Inlet Filter: $500, 50 lbs., 3 DP per engine fitted. These filters catch fine debris that would otherwise enter a jet intake. A filter can take up to nine debris-counters worth of junk before failing and shutting off air to the engine. If the engine continues to operate it will overheat, causing a roll on the jet engine damage result table every ten minutes. The intake can be targeted at a -3 from the front only.
Doppler Navigation Radar (DNR): $16,000. DNR uses high resolution radar to navigate very close to the ground. When used in conjunction with an autopilot and computer navigator the system can fly the equipped vehicle at any height safely. Preferred height and course must be programmed in before using this option.
Heat Resistant Armor: 4x normal armor cost, 1.5x normal armor weight. This armor type is capable of withstanding high temperatures one would find flying at high speed or even re- entry. It also reduces damage from flame weapons. The armor can withstand 1/3 of its present value before taking damage from such weapons. Example: a car with 30 points of side armor that is heat resistant takes 12 points of flamethrower damage. The armor will negate 10 points of that damage, taking only 2 points of damage. Heat resistant armor is also fireproof. It can be made radarproof at 8x the cost.
Roadrunner: Medium Cycle, hvy. suspension, medium power plant, 2 PR tires, cyclist, MG front, light solid rocket rear, SWC. Armor: F30, B30. Accel. 10/40 w/rocket, top speed 115/235 w/rocket, HC 2; 1,300 lbs., $6,250.
Microblast: Light Trike, hvy. suspension, large power plant, 3 PR tires, cyclist, MG right, light solid rocket rear, targeting computer. Armor: F35, L28, R28, B20, T5, U5. Accel. 10/35 w/rocket, top speed 120/225 w/rocket, HC 2; 1,600 lbs., $7,770.
Shakedown: Subcompact, x-hvy. chassis, hvy. suspension, medium jet engine w/15 gallon racing gas tank, 4 PR radial tires, RL front, spoiler, airdam, SWC. Armor: F25, L22, R22, B21, T3, U8. Accel. 35, top speed 410, HC 5/6 @60+; 2,760 lbs., $27,261.
F-31 Bandit (Stealth): Large Microplane, delta wings, two light turbofans w/particle inlet filters, 2 30-gallon racing gas tanks, retractable landing gear w/PR tires, pilot, concealed VMG w/HD ammo front, one 600 pound 2-space concealed weapons compartment, one 300 pound 1-space concealed weapons compartment, hi-res computers, safety/ejection seat, tinted/no-paint windows, radar, radar detector, two radar jammers, maneuvering foils, IFF, surge protector, autopilot, computer navigator w/2 programs. Sloped RP armor: F30, L28, R28, B29, T28, U28. Accel. 25, top speed 590, HC 1; 5,992 lbs., $84,341. Can carry 900 lbs of additional weapons.
My thanks to Jay Chladek, Don Viner, Ted Hunter, Cliff Christiansen, and Tim Jacques. The phrase "In Thrust We Trust" was first coined by duellist Ted The Toaster.
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