This is a list of the multitude of ground, air and space assets deployed by the United Solarian Marine Corps.
Author's Note: All accompanying pictures serve merely as very rough approximations of the vehicle in question. Anyone trying to unilaterally derive anything from them runs the very real risk of being called a raging jackass by the author.
- 1 Ground Effect
- 2 Drones
- 3 Aerospace
- 4 Interstellar Transport
The Blackbird is the most modern IFV equipping frontline USMC armored infantry formations. It is a suspensorlift vehicle designed to act not simply as a powerful personnel carrier but as a reconnaissance and command vehicle, capable of closing with the enemy, disrupting his command, control and communications, and then directing nearby USMC assets into the disruption zone. To this end it carries an extremely powerful EW suite for a vehicle its size.
Weapons-wise the Blackbird's turret contains two main systems, a 20mm plasma gun and a co-axial M120 plasma repeater. At the side of the main turret is a single launch system for SADAR missiles, and an M97 grenade launcher is forward-mounted in the main hull. In addition the Blackbird is equipped with two microlaser defense systems (which are also used as conventional machine guns), a battery of counter-measure dispensers and directed fragmentation packs that can, in a pinch, also be used as anti-infantry weapons. The emphasis is to enable the Blackbird to cross ground as quickly as possible whilst overwhelming enemy defences with a combination of direct fire and countermeasures, suppressing an effective response.
The M6S2 Blackbird can carry a command section of six power-suited troops in addition to its C&C and EW facilities; typical USMC doctrine is for one Blackbird to be accompanied by three Hellhounds in an armored platoon, embarking thirty soldiers excluding vehicle crews.
The DeBarros M12A1 Hellhound is the primary suspensorlift IFV used by the USMC. It is very commonly seen, agile, fast and heavily protected; the main body of the Hellhound is designed to have the same level of armour protection as many much larger vehicles, primarily on forward and top arcs its armor package rivals that on the larger Ranger. The crew of the standard Hellhound is ten strong. A driver and gunner are the permanent members of the vehicle crew, with the gunner also doubling as commander when the embarked section is on the ground. The troop compliment is the standard eight man section, the section commander sits in a rear facing seat to the left of the turret basket and has access to the full range of command equipment through a snap down console. The remainder sit in a central row of impact-proof jump seats, four on the right and three on the left.
An older design than most LARCs, its main distinction is its large array of missiles: two VLS racks of heavy stand-off missiles with one reload each, complimented by a SADAR launcher on top of the main turret and two flush-mounted pencil-missile launch racks. Direct-fire capability is provided by an 13mm M78 phased plasma gun, a twin-linked 10mm M120 in a remote-controlled turret and a further co-axial M120. The Hellhound is protected by two microlaser defense systems. Directional fragmentation packs and antilaser cloud dispensers can be mounted on the hull for additional close-in defense against nearby infantry and armored units.
The Ranger is a SAWco-manufactured LARC, officially classified as an IFV but in reality armed and armored heavily enough to classify as an MBT in most galactic militaries. It was designed with the lessons of late-34th century ground conflicts with the Bragulan Star Empire in mind, namely that any gun combat between USMC and Bragulan tanks results in serious attrition losses for both sides, and that the Marines achieved some of their best results against Brag armour using lighter, faster, missile-armed tank destroyers. The Corps therefore decided to combine a tried and tested gun and fire control system whilst also mounting a substantial missile armament enabling the Ranger to stand off and co-ordinate long range strikes through reconnaissance assets.
The primary on the Ranger is a heavy 50mm plasma cannon in the main turret, co-axially mounted with an M120. Mounted on top of the main is the secondary turret, containing two independently targeting M78 plasma guns and two heavy missile launchers, each with a set of reloads in blow-out panels within the hull. A tertiary remote-controlled turret holds an M97 grenade launcher and a pencil-missile launch rack. Self-defense is ensured by four omnidirectional microlaser sets and an onboard hyperfield generator that ensures high survivability even in areas crawling with Bragulan bogies.
The Ranger can carry a six-man infantry section. These antigrav-tanks usually are deployed in 'wolfpacks' of two to four vehicles, typically with a loose Blackbird/Hellhound platoon following in their wake.
The Sledgehammer is a self-propelled, AI-controlled and thus unmanned missile platform based on the Ranger chassis. Most of the marines' artillery is concentrated in orbit or suborbit aboard its collection of troopships and gunships. However there is still an occasional need for tactical fire-support on the ground, and this role falls to roving packs of Sledgehammer autonomous platforms. Designed to provide quick-time fire missions, the Sledgehammer delivers Multiple Round Simultaneous Impact (MRSI) fire onto targets designated by forward observers.
USMC artillery units usually fire en masse, with the usual rate of fire of one round every second. Battery fire is common; standard doctrine is to fire in battery (eight vehicles) or battalion level (24 vehicles), with each chassis unleashing six missiles, hence the target receives 48 or 144 missiles in six seconds. Sledgehammer units will then emergency displace at top speed. According to anti-Brag doctrine they need to be at least 25km away inside of five minutes to avoid counter-battery fire. Batteries usually follow a shifting 'race-track' pattern of movement areas, firing positions and re-supply points. Because Sledgehammer units are reserved for tactical strikes, they rarely engage targets more than 200km away.
- Main Article: Terminator MBT
The HK72K2 main battle tank, the "Old Dog" of the Solarian military, is a venerable design that has been the mainstay of the USMC tank fleet for six decades. It is the most formidable battletank in service with the Marine Corps, the only threaded assault vehicle left in its entire arsenal and armed with a plethora of weaponry powerful enough to level small cities all by itself. The Terminator is so heavy that it requires dedicated carryalls to bring into action, as it cannot by itself sustain the operational speeds favoured by the USMC of the 35th century.
SD1C Shillelagh Mobile Autolaser Battery
The SD1C Shillelagh is a mobile defense platform developed by DeBarros Planetary Warfare Division, intended for use against targets in low, mid and high orbits. It is particularly notable for being the only mobile planetary autolaser system deployed by the United Solarian Sovereignty, and the smallest such weapon currently produced anywhere in the galaxy. Even so the Shillelagh is a very large vehicle, based in fact on the Terminator tank chassis. Its size is necessary because the SD1C is fully self-contained, carrying the autolaser as well as its own sensors, fire control section, dark energy reactor, hyperfield generator and point defense weaponry. The Shillelagh is a strategic weapon; the nature of its role as a defense against targets in space does not require it to be very fast, so though technically mobile it will typically be redeployed by carry-all just as the Terminator. Neither is the SD1C designed to engage planetary targets; the autolaser can be depressed enough to fire at the horizon, but targeting shouldn't be expected to be much more refined than 'remove that mountain over there'. Then again, considering the energy levels involved in an autolaser discharge one shouldn't need more than that anyway.
The USMC utilizes a number of drones which are deployed principally in situations were it is deemed to unsafe to risk the lives of its Replicant forces. Amongst others these situations include chaotic urban combat, assaults in confined spaces or area denial operations. Because of the need for expendability USMC drones are sub-sentient and usually remote-controlled by a CI battle manager.
The Curveball AMU (Autonomous Military Unit) is likely to be the oldest weapon in the USMC arsenal, predating even the venerable Terminator MBT. It was designed by Maibatsu during the First Bragulan War as a cheap disposable drone platform for use during combat ops on Eta Bootis and Formalhaut. It has proven so succesful and adaptable that the design was retained, in one form or another, over the centuries, and continues to be produced. The original Curveball carried four missiles and a chain-driven gun; modern versions have replaced the missiles with a quad-mortar and an M120 plasma gun for close-quarters work. Its chief purpose is to provide quick tactical mortar support to USMC forces. To this end individual units can be attached to dismounted marine squads: although older versions were slow and cumbersome, modern suspensor technology allows recently-manufactured drones to keep up with USMC hovertanks.
The Squeaky is a heavy combat drone deployed as a recon and shock element by USMC troops. It is not exceptionally fast, certainly not capable of keeping up with the typical pace of Marine operations, but it is ideally suited for methodical sweeps of dangerous areas: the Squeaky is highly survivable, heavily armed, and equipped with a powerful sensor and comms. suites to discern and tag threats which it can then decide to take out or assign to other USMC assets in-area. This AMU is armed with a single M78 plasma gun, a triple forward-facing laser emitter and an internalized SADAR launcher. It is protected by heavy armor and a small EW device. The Squeaky has no internal reactor but instead is powered by an advanced battery that at regular operational pace can keep the unit running for one month.
The SI-60H orbital interface gunship is a very reliable tactical transport employed by the USMC to deliver up to 4 IFVs and 32 fully power-suited marines and their combat gear to forward positions directly from orbit. Its nature as a suspensorlift vehicle allows it to take off and land from unprepared sites, granting its embarked troops the extremely high mobility desired by the Corps.
Each SI-60H gunship consists of two sections: payload bay and cockpit, with an airlocked step gantry granting passage between the two. The pressurized cockpit features two crew positions (Pilot and Crew Chief / Weapons Officer), seated in tandem, as well as twelve further seats for passengers. An intelligent autopilot facility allows the computer to fly all phases of the mission profile, including ingress and egress to the target zone as well as landing and docking cycles.
In addition to it's role as a transport, the SI-60H can act as a gunship with its pair of twin-linked 10mm M120 plasma repeaters, fixed point attack rockets and a pair of door-mounted M78 plasma guns. A trio of microlaser point defense emplacements round off its weapons array. Because the cockpits of previous Marine Corps dropships proved inordinately vulnerable to K-bolt fire or even hurled pointy objects of the coniferous kind the SI-60H has no glass canopy. Additionally, a small but sturdy hyperfield generator provides defense against weapons fire as well as added aerodynamic stability.
The mainstay of the USMC fighter fleet, the F-188C is an older but still capable tactical fighter, designed by DeBarros to gain and maintain aerospace superiority in aerial combat. It is considered among the most successful modern K-Zone fighters with over 57 aerial combat victories to each spaceframe loss in dogfights against Bragulan fighters like the SNT. In its 50-year servicelife the Peregrine has been exported to many independent militaries in Wild Space and beyond; its relative cheapness, rugged design, ease of maintenance and large munition carrying capacity making it a favorite amongst world- or continental-sized dictatorships and democracies alike.
The Peregrine was originally designed to win dogfights chiefly through quad overpowered plasma cannons that fed off its twin microfusion plants, however because of the progress of Bragtech and the emergence of progressively more agile opponents the C-variant has switched to missiles for its primary armament. No less than five internal missile bays ensure that the Peregrine can carry a huge volume of stand-off missiles; in case this is not yet enough the Peregrine can be fitted with underwing multi-role ordinance pods, though this has a significant negative impact on its in-atmo handling. The F-188C accepts all standard Solarian datalinks, but is also equipped with a powerful nose-mounted sensor system capable of burning through significant atomic jamming. This sensor has exceptionally agile beams and enhanced multi-target tracking capability, simultaneously guiding multiple missiles to several targets widely spaced in azimuth, elevation, or range, making it ideally suited to handle the traditional swarm of Bragulan fighters.
S/A-222 White Shark
Sleek, big, fast and capable of carrying more weapons than most people can count, the S/A-222 White Shark is the USMC's greatest and most modern aerospace superiority fighter. A revolutionary aerospacecraft designed to engage and destroy virtually any viable target and dominate areas literally crawling with bogies, the Shark is flown solely by elite transhuman aces of the Corps' Replicant squadrons, crack pilots designed from the ground up to be the best rocket-jockeys the galaxy has ever seen.
The Shark itself is eighty meters of smooth hyperalloy elegance, robust and aerodynamic, powered by twin dark energy reactors and propelled by a series of suspensor strips that grant it truly ridiculous agility. Designed after the ageing F-188 was proven to have difficulty dealing with the ever-increasing swarms of SNT fighters on the 'Brag Alleys' of Wild Space, the White Shark has been designed to engage dozens of targets simultaneously and come out firmly on top. Its armament consists of six independently-targeting 20mm plasma cannons, multiple spaceous missile bays for a variety of superbright missiles and four wing-integrated microlaser systems. Its omni-sensors are powerful enough to burn enemies out of the sky all by themselves.
SB-101 Aurora II
The SB-101 Aurora II is a multirole gunship optimized for ground support missions, but can also perform credibly in aerospace superiority and anti-satellite roles. The Aurora was developed in response to a USMC demand for heavy yet flexible artillery support, in order to deal with opposing superheavies such as Dredka overtanks or Titans. Traditionally such targets were assigned strategic fire missions from orbital troopships, but these division-level assets have to prioritize their barrages and lacked the flexibility demanded by ground commanders.
The Aurora went a big way to solving this problem. The orbital gunship is capable of launching large amounts of missiles, ranging from traditional 'mass missile' kinetic impactors to Magnum heavy strategic devices, providing a obscene hail of stand-off fire in support to ground forces. The Aurora further mounts three light autolaser batteries, the smallest such devices available, and a large number of microlaser defense systems. The Aurora is designed with operations in total war environments in mind; its construction can withstand missile, bomb, rocket and cannon fire; it is equipped with a rugged hyperfield generator and can operate with only 1/4 of its suspensorlift engines operational. The design team put some effort into making the Aurora rudimentarily aerodynamic which together with its hyperfields and suspensors allow it to operate in deep-atmo despite its massive size.
In Marine Corps doctrine each individual Aurora represents a brigade's worth of artillery firepower; in the intergalactic hull-type classification scheme the Aurora is categorized as an ultralight vehicle, even though it does not possess an FTL drive of its own.
The premier tactical dropship employed by the USMC, the Bullfly can drop a full marine mechanized battalion plus its vehicles and gear down from orbit in one go. Typically such a battalion consists of eight Rangers, four Blackbirds, twenty-four Hellhounds and 168 power-armored mounted troops, though its precise composition can vary depending on mission profile. The Bullfly has ramps at the front as well as the back, allowing vehicles to disembark twice as fast in the field. The dropship is further fitted with a significant number of weapons, from SADAR missile launchers to twin-linked M78 plasma cannons, in order to defend itself during hot drops. Ruggedly reliable and extremely flexible, the Bullfly is assured to remain in use with the Marine Corps for years to come.
The Hurricane is the bigger brother of the Bullfly, a massive hulk of a ship fitted with powerful suspensors that allow it to rapidly deliver an entire marine expeditionary brigade to a planetary surface (or pull it back up to orbit). Unlike the Bullfly the Hurricane is designed to deliver more than just combat troops, carrying vast stores of missile munitions, hydrogen pellets for micro-fusion plants, energy cells, foodstuffs and other supplies a USMC brigade needs to fight its way through a Bragulan horde. On the ground Hurricane dropships function as supply depots and ammo dumps, moving with the troops as their lines shift. Such forward bases can be resupplied directly from orbit via the USMC's automated carryall fleet, thus eliminating the need for long, ponderous and most of all vulnerable supply lines. After all orbit is at all times only a few dozen miles away; the same cannot always be said for bothersome surface-based depots that can suffer from all kinds of pesky nuisances common to stuff on planets during times of war.
The Snakefly is the premier carryall of the USMC. It is a fully automated vehicle piloted by a virtual, self contained operating system ‘cloned’off a USSF warship CI, but it does feature seating for up to 48 passengers in an optionally-pressurized forward bay. SI-50 carryalls are a vital part of war deployment because of their ability to carry huge volumes of supplies from space directly to distribution points near the front (or, when necessary, even directly to front-line troops). These supplies are loaded in fully standardized cargo containers or 'dump boxes' which are sturdy enough to be dropped from low altitudes and survive impact with their freight intact. They can thus in a pinch be used as unguided projectiles. Indeed many an unfortunate Bragulan grunt has been pasted by rugged USMC munitions containers.
In addition to its important role as a supply carrier the Snakefly is also used to deploy or redeploy Marine Corps superheavies. Vehicles such as the Shillelagh and Terminator are themselves not tactically mobile enough, so it falls to the SI-50 to pick them up from the surface or in space and release them on battlefield. A single Snakefly can carry up to four Terminator-size vehicles at once; in fact the carrying capacity of the vehicle is so great that it can carry Imperial scout Titans if need be. The Snakefly is not undefended either; it has its own hyperfield generator and no less than six microlaser defense systems to defend it from incoming projectiles. This allows it to pick up or deliver its cargo even in 'hot' dropzones, a feature that is vital when for example extracting marine armor in danger of being swarmed by Karlacks or Bragulan infantry.
Kodiak command vehicles are large flying craft that serve as USMC forward tactical command posts during campaigns in Wild Space. Equipped with powerful sensors and communications equipment, Kodiak vehicles can provide all-weather surveillance, command, control and communication and over continental distances even in situations where satellite support is unavailable, as well as independent Datasphere connectivity owing to an onboard submeson core.
Kept aloft on powerful gravity suspensor fields, Kodiak vehicles are capable of traveling to orbit under their own power. The Kodiak possesses facilities to transport and support troops, including armories, fighter hangars and medical bays. Because these vehicles are high-value targets they remain mobile at all times, and are usually defended by flights of grav-tanks and/or aerospace fighters. That is not to say they are themselevs defenseless: All Kodiaks are fitted with hyperfield generators, missile racks and twin-linked M78 phased plasma guns that can be used both defensively as point-defense as well as offensively.
The Thunderstroke-class deep space assault carrier, is a modern troop carrying planetary assault starship in service with the USMC. Designed well after the threat of a new Bragulan invasion was perceived to be fading, and with intervention in smaller Wild Space brushfire conflicts in mind, the Thunderstroke is a more flexible carrier, conveying a smaller contingent of troops much more quickly than older and larger troop ships did.
Thunderstroke class ships have a relatively simple modular configuration involving several hangars across the full breadth of entire decks, which can be easily reconfigured using force shields and internal blast doors. The upper decks are used to stow supplies and non-essential gear; middle decks are configured for vehicle storage and flight ops for the embarked USMC aerospace contingent, including fighters, gunships and the very large number of landers, interface craft and carryalls organic to a marine expeditionary force. The lowest decks contain the ship's planetary artillery. Like all USMC attack carriers the Thunderstroke has an important function as an artillery platform, meaning it mounts several missile batteries designed for space-to-surface strikes, which can in a pinch be used against spaceborne targets as well. The rear section of the ship contains all the other major elements vital for a combat starship, including the drive, powerplant, CI core, comms, TAC Ops Center and bridge.
At standard load the Thunderstroke has a crew of 50, and can embark five marine brigades including support personnel. This isn't much for a planetary assault ship; then again ships of the class are not designed to take and hold entire worlds but rather with much more limited (in scope and time) actions in mind. Even so, the Thunderstroke's life support systems are designed to accomodate double occupancy in times of crisis, although this is not a pleasant experience for any of the troops aboard.
The Hornet Peak assault ship are heavy troop carrying vessels that provide spacelift to three divisions worth of marine troops. Capable of keeping pace with fast moving warships, they provide a capability to spearhead full blown planetary attacks with numerous small, medium and large landers and planetary bombardment batteries. Primary aim of these ships is to operate in small squadrons in order to conduct concerted assault landings of entire battlegroups onto any hostile world, supported by USSF assets.
Hornet Peak class ships are huge, owing to the need to carry not just tens of thousands of troops but also their support equipment and supplies for prolonged campaigns, as well as ordnance for the bombardment batteries which consist of a large number of missile launchers. These ships are highly valuable targets and as a consequence they are very well protected, sporting force screens of a strength normally seen only on strikestars and multitudes of multiple redundant defense batteries. Even with this sigificant self-defense capability however Hornet Peak class ships are not expected to operate alone and will at all times be escorted by USSF warships. Because of this permanent-escort doctrine the USMC has not lost a single Hornet Peak class ship since the Battle of the Tannhauser Gate, and even then it only lost a handful of empty ships docked at the Tannhaus fleetyards.