Outrider Hover Scout

The following is excerpted from a meeting between a VRDF Supply Corps officer, and Leftenant-General Detroit (call sign "Wrecker"), the VRDF's self-appointed expert in high-speed warfare.

Supply: ...so you see, sir, the problem is not the Zinger's combat utility, but simple cost. Between battlefield losses, and the expense of outfitting the new Errant Divisions, the VRDF simply cannot afford to continue using the Zinger as a standard unit.

Detroit: I realize that cost is a problem. But what would you propose to do about it? The Zinger is one of our best vehicles!

Supply: RDC has provided an answer, sir. (He presents a design) Let me present the Outrider. It is a derivative of the Zinger, but has a much more reasonable price tag.

Detroit: Oh really?

Supply: Yes, sir. It starts by downgrading the engine...

Detroit: WHAT!?

Supply: (with an "I knew this was coming" roll of the eyes) Yes, sir. The single biggest factor in the Zinger's cost was its XL engine. That nearly doubled the unit cost by itself. The Outrider uses a standard fusion engine.

Detroit: (grumbling) How much of a downgrade is it?

Supply: The Outrider has a top speed just over 150 KPH.

Detroit: Too slow.

Supply: That aside, the Outrider also uses standard armor to further reduce costs. It keeps the same level of protection by using slightly more tonnage in armor.

Detroit: It's too slow.

Supply: The Outrider also uses the same electronics package as the Zinger, and the same turret package as our Destrier ISV. This will simplify the switchover in production, and reduce long-term costs.

Detroit: Did you not hear me? I said it's TOO SLOW!

Supply: The end result, SIR, is a unit that is still one of our fastest vehicles, at a much lower price.

Detroit: (grumbling some more) How much lower?

Supply: (beaming) For the price of one Zinger, we can get two Outriders, with change to spare. The unit cost is less than half the cost of a Zinger.

Detroit: (silent glare)

Supply: (quietly) Sir. The Outrider may be slower, but cost is the issue.

Detroit: Yes, I know, but...(trailing off) You know I do not like this one bit.

Supply: (smiling slightly) Yes, sir.

Detroit: And you also know I have no choice, you bastard.

Supply: (grin broadening) Yes, sir.

Detroit: (sighs one last time, then signs the form) C'est la.


BattleTech Vehicle Technical Readout

Type/Model:    Outrider Hover Scout
Tech:          Inner Sphere / 3067
Config:        Hovercraft
Rules:         Level 2, Custom design

Mass:          25 tons
Power Plant:   95 RDC Fusion
Cruise Speed:  97.2 km/h
Maximum Speed: 151.2 km/h
Armor Type:    RDC Crysteel Standard
  2 RDC E2 ER Medium Lasers
  1 RDC Tightspot TAG
  1 RDC Guardian ECM
  1 RDC Beagle Active Probe
Manufacturer:  Republic Defense Contractors
  Location:    New Normandy
Communications System:  RDC Comlink with Guardian ECM
Targeting & Tracking System:  RDC Firelink with Beagle Active Probe and TAG

The Outrider is a light hovertank designed in the Veiled Republic. But before discussing the Outrider in depth, it is first necessary to explain its ancestor, the Zinger.

The Zinger was a fast, XL engined hover scout with a top speed near 200 KPH. It was good for its role, but it cost nearly 3 million C-bills per unit. Between battle losses, and the cost of outfitting new units, the VRDF quickly found the Zinger's price to be unacceptable for a standard unit.

As the Shark War wound towards a conclusion, the VRDF reworked the Zinger's fundamentally sound design, into a much cheaper but still very effective unit. Thus was the Outrider born, as a low cost replacement for the Zinger.

At 25 tons, the Outrider is the same size as the faster Zinger. A full lance of Outriders fits neatly into a heavy vehicle bay, making it easy to drop a whole scout unit all at once. 
The Outrider's standard fusion engine is smaller than the Zinger's XL, but is still good enough to top 150 KPH. It is worth noting that even with a downrated engine, the Outrider is still one of the VRDF's fastest vehicles.

The Outrider has seven tons of standard armor instead of the Zinger's six tons of ferro-fibrous. This cuts costs, while keeping the same overall level of protection.
The Outrider carries two ER medium lasers and a TAG unit in a turret; this same turret is also used on the Destrier AFV series. The Outrider also carries the same electronics as the Zinger: ECM for stealth and EW, and an active probe for scouting work.

Finally, there is the question of price, the point of the Outrider design: just under 1.4 million C-bills, less than half the cost of a Zinger. On this basis at least, the Outrider is truly successful.

The Outrider has replaced the Zinger on the VRDF's production lines. Many Zingers are still in service, and are slowly being phased out as replacements are required.

It is worth noting that the Outrider is much more suitable for export sales than the costly Zinger. The Veiled Republic is aware of this potential, and has quietly begun marketing the Outrider in the Inner Sphere and Periphery.

Type/Model:    Outrider Hover Scout
Mass:          25 tons

Equipment:                                 Items    Mass
Int. Struct.:  15 pts Standard               0      2.50
Engine:        95 Fusion                     0      3.33
Shielding & Transmission Equipment:          0      1.67
    Cruise MP:   9
     Flank MP:  14
Heat Sinks:     10 Single                    0       .00
Cockpit & Controls:                          0      1.50
Crew: 2 Members                              0       .00
Lift Equipment:                              0      2.50
Turret Equipment:                            0       .50
Armor Factor:  112 pts Standard              0      7.00

                          Internal    Armor
                          Structure   Value
   Front:                     3         23
   Left / Right Sides:        3      22/22
   Rear:                      3         22
   Turret:                    3         23

Weapons and Equipment    Loc  Heat  Ammo   Items    Mass
2 ER Medium Lasers       Turret  10          2      2.00
1 TAG                    Turret   0          1      1.00
1 Guardian ECM           Body     0          1      1.50
1 Beagle Active Probe    Body     0          1      1.50
TOTALS:                          10          5     25.00
Items & Tons Left:                           5       .00

Calculated Factors:
Total Cost:        1,396,250 C-Bills
Battle Value:      441
Cost per BV:       3,166.1
Weapon Value:      252 / 252 (Ratio = .57 / .57)
Damage Factors:    SRDmg = 8;  MRDmg = 3;  LRDmg = 0
BattleForce2:      MP: 9H,  Armor/Structure: 0 / 4
                   Damage PB/M/L: 1/1/-,  Overheat: 0
                   Class: GL;  Point Value: 4
                   Specials: ecm, tag, prb