by Pieter Thomassen, with Peter Walker.
Designation: Raptor-class Orbital Corvette (FAC)
Names and disposition:
- The Raptor corvettes were unnamed warships. A total of 600 Raptors were built for the Federal Space Defense Force (FSDF, Navy) on the L-5 orbital factories.
- The Raptors entered service with the FSDF from 2048 onwards, with production ending in 2062.
- Crew (4 men); commander, pilot, defensive systems operator and offensive systems operator.
- Life support limits are for the crew and 4 supernumeraries (the latter for short durations only and very cramped internally).
- Length: 35.8 m over all.
- Height: 10.4m.
- Width: 21.2m.
- Mass: 300 metric tons (unloaded).
- Main power system: RRG mk56 protoculture-fueled Reflex furnace.
- Maneuvering thrusters: 15 x Rocketdyne PR-200 plasma-shock expansion engines with protoculture energizer mounted in one bank of three on the ventral side and in three banks of four on the dorsal side. The thrusters can maneuver the corvette with 3.5 g in those directions.
- Reaction-mass thrusters (main): 2 x Rocketdyne PR-700 plasma-shock expansion engines with protoculture energizer in the back. The engines carry enough fuel for a sustained 4-g acceleration for 15 minutes. 10 g of acceleration can be sustained for six minutes.
- Reaction-mass thrusters (secondary): 10 x Rocketdyne PR-350 plasma-shock expansion engines with protoculture energizer mounted on a rotary platform on the sides. The engines are mounted in two blocks of two engines on each side facing in one direction and in one single mount per side facing in the opposite direction. Typically, the 8 tandem engines face to the rear and the two singles to the front, but the entire engine mount can rotate and make the tandem engines face forward, to the dorsal or to the ventral side. The tandem engines, when both firing in the same direction, can impart 2 g on the Raptor for 23 minutes.
- Planetary Capabilities: The Raptor can land and take-off from planetary surfaces, but is optimized for space. The craft can attain higher speeds during an orbital insertion or in evasive maneuvers, but cannot sustain these in an atmosphere.
Endurance and mobility limits:
- The dry stores endurance is three days maximum. After this time, the ship will have to restock its supplies.
- The ships’ missile launchers are typically exhausted after one battle.
- The Reflex furnace can function for about 5 years at normal usage levels before an energizer rebuild is necessary.
- Reaction thruster endurance for the Raptor class is 90 minutes at 1 g, 18 minutes at 4 g and and 6 minutes at the flank acceleration of 10 g. The maximum delta-v is about 15 kps.
- Typical sustained atmospheric speed is 1200 kph, while burst speed (using overboosted engines) is 6600 kph for short periods, but the Raptor is easily detectable at this speed and is advised to accelerate to orbit or decrease speed and altitude as soon as possible.
- Two General Electric OMD-1 mass driver cannons in rotary turrets on the outside of the auxiliary engine pods. These cannons can fire a 0.220 kg projectile at speeds approaching 30 kps. The ammunition supply for each cannon is 1000 projectiles. The turrets can rotate in the vertical plane through 360 degrees, and elevate 10 degrees inward and 50 degrees outward. The impact energy of one projectile is 198 MJ, the rate of fire is 20 tripple salvos per minute.
- There are two projectiles; the Kinetic Core Penetrating (KCP) round is a depleted-uranium dart that will impact and penetrate until its energy is spent, causing damage to airtight compartments by breaching them and thus exposing them to explosive decompression as well as by leaving an hypersonic and superheated shock-trail in its wake. The Kinetic Penetrating Incendiary round is a tungsten capped plastic composite which vaporizes after the outer hull layers have been breached into a directed plasma hot enough to ignite the ship structures themselves. The blast overpressure can blow out several ship sections as well.
- Two Bofors E-55 laser cannons mounted in a gimbal turret for close-in fighter defense. In the Raptor-A corvette the turrets are mounted on top of the Raptor next to one another behind the rear cockpit, in the later Raptor-B one turret is placed on the dorsal centerline behind the rear cockpit, the other is placed on the ventral centerline before the bottom maneuvering thruster cluster. Each turret has 360 degrees horizontal rotation and 95 degrees vertical elevation. The turrets mount one Bofors E-55 20MJ laser cannon apiece. Each cannon can fire once every second.
- Four secondary E-47S particle beam cannons are mounted on the auxiliary engine housing. In the most common flight configuration, they point forward. The cannons are the adapted (-S) version of the standard Mauser E-47. The E-47S version is optimized for both space and the Raptor wing mounting and can fire 12.5 MJ maximum particle beams at 60 shots/minute. The particle beams can rotate 45 degrees outward and 15 degrees inward.
- Two missile canisters mounted at the rear of the mass-driver cannons contain 16 RMS-2 “Angel Of Death” Nuclear Stand-off missiles. A reaction warhead (up to 200 kT) mounted on a long range (15 to 293 km) Mach 4.0 combined multi-spectrum imager and active radar homing Reflex missile, customized for anti-starship/anti hive operations. The maximum delta-v in space is 5 kps
The Raptor class corvettes are basically orbital defense craft with secondary atmospheric capabilities. Each Raptor can be subdivided into four sections: nose, main body and the two side thruster/cannon assemblages. The nose contains the crew positions. The four man crew was located in two cockpits in tandem, each containing two men with their backs to one another. The forward cockpit seats the pilot facing forward and the offensive systems operator facing backward, the aft cockpits holds the commander in the forward seat and the defensive systems operator in the back seat. Both the pilot and the commander can pilot the craft, and the systems operators can take over each other’s tasks; this to ensure that the loss of one cockpit will not immobilize the craft. The nose section further contains the forward landing gear, the life support equipment, small cargo spaces and assorted electronics. The section is about two meters wide and runs 40% of the crafts’ length. There are also some minor fuel tanks located here.
The main body is about 10 meters wide and high. However, the edges are sloping so the total result is a rounded rectangle. The aft part contains the two main engines, the forward part the fuel tanks, maneuvering thrusters and defensive turrets. About halfway the main body are the side mountings for the auxiliary engines/cannon pods.
The side pods can rotate through 360 degrees on their mountings, so the thrusters mounted on the pods can point at any point of the vertical plane. The four particle beams are mounted on the front end of the tandem thruster assemblages, and the main mass driver cannons are mounted on yet another 360 degrees rotatable mounting on the outside of the auxiliary engines. Therefore, the main cannons do not necessarily point in the opposite direction of the auxiliary engines. The two anti-ship missile pods are mounted to the rear of the cannon assemblages, and the missiles are expelled from their launchers backwards and to the side of the ship, so that they drift clear before engine ignition.
The Raptor corvettes are capable of planetfall and of making orbit, but as this uses up a large amount of the reaction mass, standard procedure is to base them on an orbital station and only send them to the surface for servicing and maintenance. Additionally, the Raptor can fight in an atmosphere, but is not really suited for it. The only scenarios in which this happens is when a Raptor chases hostile craft into an atmosphere, but preferably these ‘leakers’ are left to the planetary defense forces.
After the Third Robotech War against the Invid, the Terran forces entered a large expansion program, with the aim to build a fleet capable of protecting the Earth against any known adversary. This was possible because Earth was now a protoculture producing planet, and because the Robotech Factory satellite was repaired and in operation once more. Among the vessels produced were the Orchid class Frigates, the Valiant class Battlefortresses, the Eisenhower class heavy cruisers, the Intrepid class of light cruisers and many more. One of the designs was for a Reflex cannon intended for orbital use, functioning much like the Zentraedi Monitor class of Battlecruiser had done. However, there was also a requirement for an anti-fighter and dropship vessel, to protect the lower orbital reaches where the larger ships were too vulnerable to surface and space launched missile strikes.
Of course, so small a vessel would not be able to defend even itself against the larger ships, let alone a battle fortress, but it would, because of its larger numbers and small size, be quite effective against dropship and fighter sized enemy forces. The armament was therefore optimized against these opponents, with only a secondary capability against larger vessels.
The primary armaments of the Raptor class are its two large mass driver cannon mounted at the sides. These rapid firing cannons can destroy smaller dropships and shuttles with one salvo, and seriously damage the larger types. The two cannons are independently rotatable of the auxiliary engines, and have a reasonable field of fire. As a secondary armament against larger starships, against which the mass driver cannons are less effective, the Raptor mounts 16 ‘Angel of Death’ missiles. These missiles, further developments of the missiles that were so effective in the Zentraedi Holocaust, are specifically designed to penetrate starship defenses. However, all contemporary ships carry specialized defense systems against these missiles, so only in a massed attack can these missiles expect any degree of success.
The other armaments are defensive in nature. Four particle beams are mounted on the auxiliary engine pods, and typically deliver supporting fire against fighter aircraft surrounding dropships, or against the vulnerable parts of the dropships themselves. The main defensive battery consists of two laser cannon turrets. In the -A version, of which only a limited production run was made, these two turrets were mounted next to one another on top of the corvette. The tactical strategy was that this massed anti-fighter firepower in one quadrant, with the other quadrants covered by other corvettes (a typical corvette squadron has four vessels) or devoured of hostiles. It was soon recognized that a more balanced placement would increase survival chances by lessening the chances of losing both cannons to one hit, increasing the covered quadrants of singly operating corvettes and made no difference in the volume of fire of corvette formations. The -B series therefore carried one turret on the lower hull, and one turret on the upper hull. This series has entered series production, and is expected to be in service for many years to come. There are also plans to convert the -A series into -B series, as they come in for regular maintenance.
Robotech (R) is the property of Harmony Gold. Megazone 23 (R) is the property of A.D. Vision and studios AIC, Artland & Tatsunoko. This document is in no way intended to infringe upon their rights.
Original artwork by: Shinji Aramaki, Toshihiro Hirano, Haruhiko Mikimoto, Yasuomi Umetsu and Hiroyuki Kitazume
Acknowledgement is extended to Peter Walker, Pieter Thomassen and Robert Morgenstern of the unofficial Robotech Reference Guide. Peter Walker, Pieter Thomassen and Robert Morgenstern are given credit for all quotes and paraphrasing of the unofficial Robotech Reference Guide that has been utilized in this publication.
Content by Pieter Thomassen, with Rob Morgenstern
Copyright © 2003-1995 Robert Morgenstern, Pieter Thomassen, Peter Walker